The Specialist Arms Forum

@ the coffee machine => chit chat, gossip and rumours => Topic started by: osjclatchford on October 08, 2018, 09:30:10 AM

Title: leaf litter conundrum (HELP!)
Post by: osjclatchford on October 08, 2018, 09:30:10 AM
Hi guys. for years now i have used actual dried leaves (crumbled) as realistic leaf litter on my model bases.

as long as the leaves are suitably dried and not mouldering when you pick them up I figure you're generally ok.
I also will use a flower press (sat on a radiator for at least a month)to get them really dry.
the crumbled leaves are best put on with tacky-glue as a scatter, in actual piles (in logical places that leaves would accumulate.
the little separator bits from dried birch seed pod/cones make good real leaf shapes too but I find I end up adding these on individually with single blobs of tacky-glue as well as the scatter to add that bit of identifiable leaf shape here and there. (you can also get leaf punches in various scales to get precise leaf shapes, cutting/punching them out of the dried leaves, again these can be used in the same way as the birch seed bits to add some real character)

however I digress, the conundrum part is thus: I have a particularly damp house. its a humidity issue.
I have experienced issues with some models developing mould growth on them before (ig tanks actually) and my fear now is that all this organic material added to my dioramas is going to be the perfect medium for horrid old condensation fungi to spread around my cabinet again! I've got a de-humidifier on the go all the time and I even purchased a load of silica-gel packets which sit among my models in said cabinet and that seems to have stopped further incursions so far, and to be honest, even at its worst, the mould has, ironically, seemingly not affected the leaves I've added to bases in the past but they tended to be just a few individual bits added here and there so perhaps I just couldn't tell.
However on the scenery/terrain pieces, this is the first time I've gone to town with the piles of leaves. (I mean, hell, it looks amazing! but its got me a bit worried is all.)

also, I regularly brush the dust that accumulates on my models with a very fine makeup brush. however even as fine as this brush is it is removing some of the leaf litter on each pass of the brush.
soon it will will all be gone again! (ok thats a bit of an exaggeration but you can see what I mean)

so I guess what I'm asking is this; whats the best Matt finish varnish (or other medium) from whatever manufacturer that I can brush over the leaf piles that will not only fix them in place, but also protect them from nasty mould?  I'd sooner use brush on rather than spray (as I can apply it specifically to the parts I want to fix/protect) but I just don't know what to go for. any ideas and experience would be of great help guys!

Title: Re: leaf litter conundrum (HELP!)
Post by: Dave on October 08, 2018, 11:56:42 AM
I'd probably test anything on a small bit and see what happens. Ultimately, you're looking for something that's going to create a hard shell that wear's well and doesn't fade with age due to humidity/UV exposure. That says "oil-based enamel" to me, but again try some out and see if it works on leaves.

Have you got anything over the leaves? If you've already hit them with acrylic paint or top coats then you're stuck using more acrylic. You can't use an enamel over an acrylic.
Title: Re: leaf litter conundrum (HELP!)
Post by: osjclatchford on October 08, 2018, 12:25:53 PM
thanks for replying Dave,

As it happens I've not painted the leaves but they are scattered about the place on the floors and against parts of the ruin which are painted so as you say oily enamels are out as it'd fudge the acrylic paint on the floors. so I figured its acrylic or bust

the thing is that in my experience truly matt varnishes are a myth and some can dry awfully funny (white stuff in the recesses like when you use gw washes too heavy) also they can go odd when they get too cold/hot/damp or whatever. still I ask as its been many a year since I used any matt varnishes, the last one i used was nigh on twenty years ago (the old citadel one) and this did this very thing... I just figured that times and products have surely changed since then and it was worth asking. I know an internet search is folly as all you'll get is every firm saying that their product is the best... 
for now I've ordered the Vallejo Model Color Matt Varnish which is acrylic Based as it was cheap on ebay but if anyone knows better stuff to use I'm more than all ears...
Title: Re: leaf litter conundrum (HELP!)
Post by: Dave on October 08, 2018, 05:29:21 PM
I've never had Testor's Dullcote let me down.
Title: Re: leaf litter conundrum (HELP!)
Post by: osjclatchford on October 09, 2018, 04:19:58 PM
Looks to be the hobbyists favourite but being a laquer base means my acrylic models will be less than happy with this on them... :-[
Title: Re: leaf litter conundrum (HELP!)
Post by: Dave on October 09, 2018, 07:19:22 PM
All of my models are acrylic and covered in the stuff. I don't believe it's a true lacquer, it doesn't smell of alcohol.
Title: Re: leaf litter conundrum (HELP!)
Post by: osjclatchford on October 10, 2018, 06:21:26 AM
Well then that's sold it for me... I get me a pot of dullcoat!
Title: Re: leaf litter conundrum (HELP!)
Post by: osjclatchford on October 14, 2018, 08:30:31 AM
one test later and...hmm... did not go well... brushing on dullcoat is certainly not for minis already painted in acrylic! guess I'll stick to Vallejo's acrylic matt which was surprisingly good as it happens. however. I will be using the dullcoat on leaves prior to using punches/cutting out leaves as this will mean that no further treatment will be required after gluing them on.  this stuff is pretty strong and sound so it should protect the texture and colour of the leaves rather nicely...
thanks again for the help on this dave!

also while I'm here, I've discovered a few tricks for making up shaped leaves on the cheap and also figured out an excellent way of properly separating the birch seeds from the separators with ease and haste. (something I've known to flummox many a modeller hoping to avoid spending out on something so easily available for free yet having trouble getting the bits they need separated from the bits they don't!)
If there's any interest I'll post a tutorial or something?
let me know if you are interested folks...
Title: Re: leaf litter conundrum (HELP!)
Post by: Geep on November 01, 2018, 05:52:37 AM
I've done similar things for my wood elves, but used a variety of herbs rather than normal, crushed tree leaves. Some herbs (though I can't recall which) look like tiny leaves and do the job very well. I know those birch tree bits can be found for sale too- I'd like some of them, but haven't used any yet.
Title: Re: leaf litter conundrum (HELP!)
Post by: osjclatchford on November 02, 2018, 04:35:29 PM
yeah, I've used herbs for spring/summer woodland bases in the past. nothing fancy though just basic sainsburys mixed herb pot stuff... now they were some seasoned veterans! still I shall research the herbs that looked like leaves you suggested... as for the birch seeds; I've plenty spare now if you'd like some! ;)
Title: Re: leaf litter conundrum (HELP!)
Post by: industrialtrousers on November 02, 2018, 04:53:48 PM
The woodland base I've been using is a mix of green tea regular tea and a cranberry number to add a little color. In future I'll probably run this through the blender a wee bit to make it even finer.
Title: Re: leaf litter conundrum (HELP!)
Post by: osjclatchford on November 04, 2018, 08:49:14 AM
Tea!? What a blinding idea! Must try this! Thanks