Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Smaller Scale Trees: Basing Test Results

The results are in and it seems everything old is new again.

I have two criteria for terrain making efforts - looks, durability and ease of application.  Both methods passed the looks category with a slight edge to the non-pre-mixed version.  The flexible pre-mix on the right can look a little smoothed over.  Since both will be covered 95% by ground foam those minot smooth spots will be covered up.

On Durability the pre-mixed flexible grout won hands down.  How do I test durability - I take the piece , turn 90 degrees and whack the side on the my workbench fairly hard.  The side with the unmixed grout just flaked off while the flexible pre-mix didn't show a mark.  I ended up redoing the unmixed by adding in a 50/50 mic of matte medium and water rather than just water - while the matte medium shows through it now passes the "whack-test"

On ease of application their both about the same so the winner is my tried and true pre-mixed flexible tile grout.  The unmixed stuff is still useful for patches and gravel but not great in covering large flat areas.

My ground texturing tile grout of choice is the "Simple Grout #105 Earthtone" and can be purchased at any big box Home Improvement retailer.  Here's a link to Home Depots listing - SIMPLEGROUT. It currently runs for $30.00/gallon - buy a gallon container as it keeps forever.

I just look for the purplish banner across the top.

I realize this and the previous post are rather basic in nature but its good to refresh some of the more foundational techniques in making terrain.  I've got a few more terrain squares to make up so those will be the subject of the next series of posts.


John said...

Thanks for documenting your process Miles! My group has been discussing the merits of MDF vs. linoleum floor tiles for basing, but now it seems a new contender has entered the ring. I'll need to get my hands on some PALIGHT to test it out.

I need to do some maintenance on my terrain soon... have you used Sculptamold? Any idea how it holds up against your preferred pre-mixed grout?

Miles said...

John: I use sculpt mold all the time - it's the substrate for the fiver banks of the river sections. Iy works fine but will crack a bit from normal wear and tear. The tile grout is a lot more flexible (at least the brand I use) and just doesn't crack. I also mix a little white glue into the grout which both extends it's working time but also creates an almost cement like shell.

Joe Procopio said...

Like John, I'm also following your detailed process with interest. I'm the one who has instigated the discussion over MDF and vinyl tiles in our club with a couple of my builds in the last year. I'm sold on vinyl tiles for their low profile on the mat, versatility, and how simple and cheap they are to work with. You can check out my latest project--dirt roads--on my blog post below, which also has an example and link to the rivers I built last summer using same.