Monday, December 30, 2013

"Indiana Jones" Rope Bridge, Part 3

The stone sections with their black prime complete and their top surfaces masked, ready for the textured stone paint.
Much to my surprise, this ended up being the most time-consuming and "pain in the butt" part of the build. My thought was it would be simple. I would take the black-primed sections that the rope bridge would sit upon and give them a quick spray of Krylon "Make it Stone" textured paint. Then I remembered I would have to mask off the tops and bottoms of the sections so the texture would not interfere with the magnet and steel bonding. Simple enough. I traced the top-most birch wood section's outline onto paper, cut it out and masking taped it into place before spraying it.
Two of the stone sections after spraying with the Krylon textured paint.
Once it was dry (it takes quite awhile -- about 5 hours), I peeled off the paper, and flipped it over. I made another paper masking shape for the bottom and sprayed it with the textured paint, too. I also had to flip the upper bridge assembly over and spray the bottom of the end base sections, too. This required more masking with paper so the wooden bridge itself did not get sprayed. The long drying time for the textured paint and the need to spray both top and bottom slowed the build down a bit.
White paint is squirted into the gaps between the pine bark sections and coarse ballast is poured into it. This gives the start of the earth and grass that will sprout out between the rock sections.
Meanwhile, I had painted the entire surface of the upper bridge assembly -- wood bridge, posts, and pine bark rock surfaces -- a watered down black acrylic paint. Once it was dry, I squirted white glue into all the gaps between the pine bark sections and also along the edges. I poured Woodland Scenics Blended Gray Coarse ballast onto the glue. This would be the start of the ground and grass that would appear between between cracks in the rock surfaces.
A much more toned down stone look than the textured paint. I covered the entire surface with a dark gray wet brush, followed by a light gray dry brush. This was followed with an ink wash and further light gray highlight. Here the bridge posts and planks have not received its khaki dry brush nor its ink wash.
 With all parts done and dry, I looked at the stone sections and wasn't really crazy about the look of the textured paint. So, I took a dark gray color and wet brushed the entire thing surface of the sections and the bottom of the bridge ends. I followed this up with a light gray dry brush, black ink wash, and a further light gray highlight. A LOT of steps, and I wasn't even done, yet. However, I liked the look of the painted surface of the stone sections much better than the straight textured paint look. So, I guess it was worth the effort. In the meantime, I dry brushed the wood posts and bridge planks a medium gray, then a khaki. I did the wire connecting the planks in an autumn brown followed by a yellowish dun to represent rope. The skull beads atop the posts were dry brushed a yellowish parchment, followed by a sandstone. The entire surface then got a thorough ink wash.
The stone sections stacked up with the bridge assembly atop it. The posts, skulls, and bridge planks and rope are all finished here in this photo. One last bit of flocking remained after this stage.
My pine bark cliff sections have gaps of earth and grass in between sheets of stone, and I liked that look a lot. So, I decided to replicate it on the stone sections. I mixed up a 50/50 batch of white glue and brown paint and dabbed it on irregularly over the surface of the sections. I painted the gray ballast that I'd poured onto the top bridge ends with this glue and paint mix, too. While the surfaces were wet with this mix, I poured sand over them to give it more of a an earth look. This is very similar to the steps I do for the bases of my figures, and is essentially what I did for the two metal bases that the entire bridge assembly would sit upon.
You can see the earth flocking in spots on the rock sections and in the gaps of the rock surfaces, here. I'm hoping when grass is added to them that this will add to a realistic look to the pillars of rock.
I let this dry overnight. The only thing left is to put on the grass flocking, and any clump foliage I feel might look good. I'd say the rope bridge at this stage is about 95% done.
And finally, the flocked bases that the stone sections will rest upon. You can see the four "earth magnets" that will grip the steel base on the bottom of the stone section above it.

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