Hills Turned into Quicksand

More Hill Projects?

Last week, I made a hill into craters. Pressing on with my overstock of hilly terrain, I’ve decided on reducing one to a new Steamroller terrain piece: Quicksand. In Steamroller, it’s a hazardous, rough terrain, where you lose pathfinder and take a point of damage if knocked down. So, I guess it is a flat piece. It could be modelled by a construction paper cutout, right?

Quicksand in real life also seems weird. It presents as a semi-solid surface, like wet beach sand, and could in rare occurrences as a dry sand or vegetative piece of land (according to a BBC article). I’ve never seen quicksand in real life, so I have to rely on pulp fiction films and nature articles for sources.

Reducing the Hill to Quicksand

First step again, for me, is cutting away the vinyl hilltop and removing foam until I get a flattish surface.

Since this is flat, it can be filled with your choice of ballast, sand, and flocking mix. My mix starts with a coarse ballast, then a thin layer of chunky sawdust.

The glue I use is a thick PVA. I hit it with a wet brush and smear it around to fill in the template. The gravel and sand mixture is added right on top of the mix. After it dries, I use the same PVA, watered down (50%) in a spray bottle to secure the top flotsam.

Multiple layers of mix and washes or paints help make it look like mud/sand/dirt.

A thin layer of gloss can make it look wet, but I prefer water effect. Just enough to soak into the sand mix makes the sand look like it could be just wet enough to suck you under. I sprinkle a light sand mix into the water effect to help absorb it, and give it a really thinned out, wet dirt look. I don’t want the water to be too thick, or it will look like… water.

You might notice, I added a signpost. The sign will be printed on decal paper and added later. There is also a little skull in the foreground. I have a little story in my head that the guy who was forced to plant the sign died in the process, and was left to rot. His skull eventually floated to the surface and deposited itself on the edge. Perhaps his soul lingered long enough for his head to make it to the edge of the quicksand, before floating away to wherever souls go.

From my previous experience with the woodland scenic water, I will give this piece an extra couple of days to set before using in a game. The material is quite soft, and a model can leave an imprint on the surface if left resting on it too soon after pouring, or if it sets for too long.

Personal Critique

I am very satisfied with this piece. My daughter suggested that I add a hand reaching from the quicksand. I might do that on a later one. here isn’t anything about this that I would do differently.

Future plans

Next project is a forest redo. I have some old plates made from wood, that has warped, and I want to replace them with some MDF.

After that, I’m looking at doing a lake, and some acid tubs. I’m also hoping for some game time.

Wish I had a clever sign-off….. thanks for reading.