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Mirage - Making a dry desert lake or river

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I always found deserts to be fascinating habitats. A cursory look will leave you with the impression that it is hell on earth: sandstorms, unbearable heat during the day and freezing at nighttime. Yet, the desert is not only home to thousands of plant and animal species, it also has a simple beauty to it, dominated by the shapes the wind forms. They are thus a worthy subject for the modeler and can provide an atmospheric backdrop for our games. The exploits of the Crusaders come to mind as well as the cultures inhabiting Northern Africa, for instance the ancient Numidians.


I made a number of arid terrain pieces, but this time I will show you two desert lakes or oases that are slowly drying out. Using a similar technique I also built a partially dry river bed, with only a small stream of water remaining. I will provide you with short step-by-step instructions how to make a cracked lake or river bed, but if you want to know more you can also check out a longer tutorial on my blog (given this is not a full tutorial here I put it in the show off section).










The build is pretty straight forward:


1. First we use XPS or foam board to define the lake bed.
2. We apply the crackle paste.
3. We cover everything with filler or modelling paste
4. We embed the magnets/steel tacks.
5. We add sand and animal tracks.
6. We apply a basecoat and drybrush.
7. We add some brushes and a water effect.
8. We make the barren tree and add it as a final touch.


A more detailed how-to can be found on DaggerAndBrush:





Edited by Peithetairos
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That is a WONDERFULLY crafted scenery piece,  AND quite realistic; i.e., I now have the theme from Lawrence of Arabia playing through my head. VERY WELL DONE!

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Thank you Malefactus. This year's Tactica (German wargaming convention) has a lot of desert themed tables and participation games, including Lawrence of Arabia. It seems without knowing I followed a trend.

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