Tuesday 17 November 2009

Alternatives to Flock

I'm not sure how much gets spent by gamers each year on basing materials, but I bet its a lot. There are lots of manufacturers selling a wide range of materials for the modeler and wargamer. Some items (like 'leaves') are quite specialist but much of what we buy can be substituted quite easily for materials we have already in our house or garden. Here are a few unusual alternative basing materials for your miniature.

  • Cloth - Cloth with rough fibres can be glued onto a base to simulate carpet.
  • Matchsticks - Cut to size & glued flat then sanded they make nice looking floorboards, especially if you use wood stain to darken them.
  • Beach Sand - Its more irregular than processed sand and comes in a variety of colours
  • Small twigs - They need to be cleaned, thoroughy dried in an oven and then preserved with varnish. Once given a dull coat they look very realistic!
  • Animal bones - Some small bones can be recoverd from chicken carcuses. Even your Sunday Roast has a role to play in your hobby!
  • Bits of cheap jewelry - Don't tell the wife but her jewelry might make good base decoration. Small chains or even paste jewels can be used to enhance a model.
  • Beard Flock - As suggested by my daughter when I didn't shave for a few days. Not sure how practical this is but its and intriging idea - "grow your own flock"
  • Ground Coffee - Actual ground coffee beans not instant coffee. This has to be sealed properly once glued into place.
  • Tea leaves - Dry out your teabag and use the tealeaves as mock leaf coverage
  • Spices - (There's a theme going on here) - Oregano is a famous alternative basing material.
  • Vermiculite - An absorbant packing material that also makes great looking rocks.
  • Kitty Litter - Apparently these make good looking rocks. Make sure you use clean litter!

I've used of these (except the Kitty Litter) items at one time or another. They look good, they cost next to nothing and your recycling stuff that might otherwise end up in the bin. So do your bit for the environment and save the planet, one base at a time.

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