Monday, November 14, 2011

Tutorial - brass etch fern

Hello there. Today I decided to have a look on how brass etch plants work and how you can use them on your bases, terrain and even the miniatures themselves.

What you need
  • The brass etch, obviously. I'll be discussing fern here.
  • Floral wire
  • Superglue
  • A pin vise or a similar means of holding your fern while you are working on it.
  • Clippers, pliers and paint.
Step one

Cut lengths of floral wire a bit longer than your plant leaves. You can use any wire you have around, but floral wire or plastic-coated paperclips work best - superglue has much better adhesion to plastic. Leave some wire as a means of holding the whole thing in a pin vise.

While mounted in the pin vise, bend the wire as the leaves tend to bend naturally.  The wire is of course your armature. To get it to bend more smoothly, use a round object as a jack, like a bottle, or even a big brush. It all depends on how big your plants are.

Step two

Cut the plants from the frame. Take your time and use a new blade. You want sharpness and no repetition while working with such delicate bits. Use various sizes of the fronds, don't stick to the same on a single bush, it will just look unnatural.

I actually primed the whole frame black before I did any work on it, but this is entirely optional, as you'll be priming the whole frond anyway.

Step three
Glue your fronds to the armature. Take your time and be patient. This is delicate work and it needs to be treated with care.

Don't glue the whole thing at once. Start with the base, let it properly set and see how far your frond goes. Clip your armature just a bit short. This goes a long way in hiding the wire.

If you have a CA glue activator, use it. It works wonders when a strong bond is needed fast.

Step four

Prime and paint! If you have an airbrush, you will never be more grateful to own it than on such projects. If you don't, by the time you get here you'll already know how gentle a thing you're working with, so again, take your time. Use the best varnish you can find!

Step five

Get your fronds out of the pin vise and use the bit you were holding them with as a mounting support. In the following picture, I actually drilled holes in the tree bit and glued the fronds in; the mounting is parallel to the base:

As a final word, don't try to save on quality of your brass etch. This stuff is pricey, but it is pricey for a reason. Get as much bang for your buck as is possible. I can't name any brands for you, but a trip to your local model store will solve your problems if you are unsure.

And look who came to visit while I was shooting these pictures for you:

Thanks for reading, we'll see each other on Friday!

No comments: