Groundwork Seminar Video by Ying Louie

Please enjoy this fantastic video of a groundwork seminar conducted by IPMS Toronto member Ying Louie at our July 2015 club meeting.  Ensure you also read through the comprehensive notes below which Ying provided to supplement the video.  Credit for the video goes to Robert Wlodarek.

Additional Notes:

The next progression to our models whether it be figures, trains, cars, or tanks. We want to see our models viewed in a form of reality.
Our best instructor is nature itself, where we just need to look out the window.

1. Begin with a theme a setting or backdrop for your model referring to a place, and time period.
2. Always look toward reference books, internet, and other sources that you find.

Scenery like all elements model/figures etc.. are all equal components together we should not treat any element with half hearted effort.
Put the best of your skill into all your elements.

First your base, should be a decent style display clean and clear of imperfections and faults if helped.
Choose a manageable size, balance your work to your base, oversizing and undersizing will challenge your base.

Placement and positioning
1. Avoid linear placement, having offset, or angled subjects will stimulate the viewers eye.
2. Choose the viewing direction of the subject and build around it.
3. Visual interest such as height and angles will enhance your viewers eye.
4. Work out the positive and negative space to balance your work.
5. Place your work towards a direction of light.

Ingredients to Groundwork

The Tools
White glue, dull coat spray, scour pads, insulation foam, sculpting tools, knives, train supply scenics, resin aftermarket items,
items of nature, art supplies, and model kit accessories are some of the many tools for dioramas and vignettes.

From the Trains store
Static grass, poly fibre, hydo-cal, shrubs, fine chipped foam, and trees, are some of the items we borrow to make ground work.

The Art supply store
Sculpa-Mold, Das Pronto, sculpting tools, x-acto knives, some paints like oil, and acrylic can be found here.

The Hardware store
White glue, scour pads, extra fine steel wool, foam insulation, plumbers seal are what you can search and find in these likely places.

The Hobby shop/Internet
Finding the accessory model kits for scenery, road signs, buildings, architectural foundations, resin and plaster aftermarket items are the likely things to find here.

Outside to mother nature
Soil, dry leaves, roots, stones, and small branches are real nature. Real nature looks best in your groundwork.
Real nature supplies great items like that of dry clay making great soil. Rain run off areas for soil.
Other areas I like to search are under bridges for soil.
Clumps of dry clay found by the streams, rain run off areas, uprooted trees, areas of soil erosion, under the bridge, limestone walk way (Stones).
Garden wood chips are great scenery additions.

Before your begin
Choose your base, you can find your base supplied by almost anyone.
A trophy shop, an art store, and even a dollar store.
Choose the size area that will look good with your model.

This part will be dictated by where you want your display to be. Seasons like fall, winter, summer are things to be considered.
History pictures of the places like that of towns or cities will make you think of urban scenes.

If you can think about the layout of how your going to place your elements before you begin, would really help your start.
It is here you consider placement and positioning. One thing we should all think of is a “catch idea” to create interest and to stir conversation.
Putting something interesting into your scenery like an animal of sorts, or a discarded piece of garbage.

Lets get started.

Place your frame out and find it’s size to balance your model work.

Take the size and measure it out to cut out your insulation foam. It’s easy to cut with a sharp knife or saw.
Think now about height and elevation. This is also the best time to consider angles and perspective views.
Use a sanding block to smooth away your imperfections.

Lay your foundation and plot your scenery items.
Using the Art supply store Sculpa-Mold, or Das Pronto try your hand with sculpting tools.
Shape your scene the way your want it to appear. The tools and the scour pad will texture a convincing surface.

If you have a model you will need to place it into the foundation and wait for it to dry.
Ensure you have a non-stick release on the vehicle such as Vaseline to help the model not to stick to the foundation.
Most foundations will shrink when drying, and is the reason to place the model in place at this time.

After foundation is dry you need to apply a primer coat of spray paint that will help with the painting that will come later.
Any items that are made of plaster will also be ready for paint if it is already painted with primer.

If your doing an outdoor scene now is the time to apply your glue to soils, static grass, and vegetations.
When laying things like static grass, we layout areas with diluted white glue, sprinkle the grass, blow the grass to standing. After the grass has dried we can then airbrush
and drybrush it. Tall grass can come from the hairs of a natural paint brush, plotting it out and place it with glue, or the use of extra fine steel wool.
Follow the actions by glue it, let it dry, brush it up, prime it, airbrush it, and drybrush it. Trees are roots that you find outdoors, upended, applying poly fibre to the roots.
Apply some glue to the fibres and sprinkle crushed leaves, or other items like railroad chipped foam. There is one other item new is Photo-Etch.
Certain points when using photo-etch. It is important to prime it, and to bake the primer to harden and make it resilient for use.
Choosing realistic greens use the airbrush to colour your photo-etch plants, last to give them a oil wash.
Here you can think about the angle of light and drybrush the textures to highlight toward the light direction.
Urban scenes start at the moment you plan your foundations like plaster items and resins. My thoughts about plaster and resin items are as follows
Prime it, paint it, wash it, drybrush, and detail paint it.

After the groundwork is applied and properly dried, we begin the painting process. Please avoid painting the natures roots for they already have a natural colour
that you will not have to paint again. The best efficient method will be the airbrush to detail colour your work. When you start airbrushing, I like to use acrylic paints,
it is logical to pre-shade your work using the airbrush. There are some areas of nature added, and railroad supplied products that do not require painting,
please use your judgement.

When the airbrushing is dry I come back to applying a liquid wash using artist oil paints. This will enhance the crevices and shadows of your scenery creating depth.
When the oil wash is finally dry we can begin the artist process of painting highlights and shadows with oil paint. I like to apply this process with a series of flat brushes
which adds enhancement to the blending of the oil paints to the surfaces of what we paint, and remember your painting toward and angle of light, and a point of interest.
After we have satisfied painting our work we last cover most of the shiny painted oils with a coat of dull coat spray.

My last ending point I will take from my design years to consider in everything you do… “LESS IS MORE!”  Without question you can always overdo the amount of details.

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