Friday, May 18, 2012

Building a Beach for Bear Booty: Tutorial

Now that it's getting warmer,  it's time to head to the beach for some bear booty!

... sorry, couldn't resist the pun ;) though it might be appropriate- my girlfriend still thinks it's scandalous the bears don't wear pants!

But I didn't have a beach for my last LPL entry, Dread Pirate Roe Bear, so I needed to build one.
I took pictures as I went so that I could make a tutorial, so if you've forgiven me for the pun yet, on we go...

I decided to make more than I needed for just the picture, so it could be useful in gaming.
Luckily, the main piece comes in a 2 foot by 4 foot section: pretty useful for the short edge of a standard gaming table, or could be used on the long by covering some of the edges of the beach to make a lagoon.

What you will need:

* Plastic covering for fluorescent light fixture: 2ft x 4ft, crackle pattern, or other pattern that is not uniform
 - don't get a geometrical pattern like a grid or diamonds. Anything too uniform will look wrong.
 - I got mine from Home Depot, cost about $6
* PVA/ white glue.
* Sponge flock ground covering, I used Woodland Scenics (color to match your desired gaming surface)
* Sawdust
* Snow flock, type sold by Gale Force 9 or GW is fine.
* Paint: Blue, Turquoise, Jade
* Optional: Airbrush: could do without, but much easier with one.
- Remember: with an airbrush work in a well ventilated area and use a mask at minimum, I use a Niosh 3M respirator filter mask.

Be careful with the plastic sheet: it can crack pretty easily.

The goal:

Caution: Paint the underside: the smooth flat surface.

You'll want a few shades for the water. I wanted a bright Caribbean Blue, so I picked a range from light jade through blue-green to indigo blue. You might want paler or greener water, depending on what type of ocean, sea or lake you want to represent, just be sure to have several shades.
Start by painting the lightest color, here a light blue-green, in random crossing wave lines:
Don't bother painting the entire thing, leave about 1/4 of the top unpainted, since it will be covered by land.

Next give a thin coat of darker blue:
Airbrushing does dry quickly,but do give it time to dry between stages.
Add a darker color to this as you go down (heading out to sea).  Don't make it too thick of a coat though, you want to leave some visibility for the next stage, where I add some Indigo:

Starting to take shape,but not quite there yet. 

Next flip it over to the textured side and apply PVA glue, slightly watered down, where you want the beach.
I used a medium sized cheap house paint brush for this. 
Make the beach line a bit wavy, so it's not straight across.

Apply the sawdust to the area of glue:
No need to go all the way to the edge. Sawdust is very cheap (read: free) and works fine. If you want to spend more time and money you can use sand texture paste or make your own and paint it, but I think this works pretty well and costs a lot less considering the amount of coverage.  And it worked well for my time constraint: 1 day before the LPL pictures were due ;) If you want to paint the sand to be lighter at this point you can. 

Next add the grass covering to blend your beach section into your game board.
Same method as above with glue for the beach: 
If it is a bit patchy don't worry too much, since laying it on a gaming board will darken those spots and blend it in fine.  Give the ground a few coats of matte spray varnish to help it adhere. 

Finally, add a few white breakers.  Mix your snow with white glue to a thick paste and place it for waves:
Give the snow many hours to dry. That is the longest part of the process.

Now it's ready for some rocks, lichen seaweed, whatever you want to place on it for gaming.
You can make better and more realistic beaches with a lot more time and materials, but to my mind this is a pretty good effect for fast & cheap :)
A 2 foot x 4 foot beach: 
Cost approx. $7.50. 
Time: 1.5 - 2 hours
Teddy Bears' Booty on the Beach: Priceless. 



styx said...

May have to use that idea for Legends of the High Seas!

Anne said...

That's a nice bit of work Ferret and good of you to put up instructions for how you did it. Your girlfriend is right, bears should wear pants and so should pigs.

Michael Awdry said...

Genius, pure genius. This was such a fun project and looks absolutely wonderful!

Ignore the ladies, Bears should be bare!

Remco said...

Nice tutorial, water is always hard to make.

Rodger said...

This is a great tutorial. I will have to keep this in mind. Thanks.

Mr. Lee said...

Holy crap batman! That was quick and easy! Never thought about using sawdust for beach sand before neither.. good stuff.. and again.. congrats on the 5th placing ;)

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