Friday, 4 April 2014

Experiments with snow pt1

After posting my challenge casualty the other day, I got some nice comments about the snow asking how I'd done it. It's been  a while since I've just sat down and had a play with different techniques, so here are some notes I made last year (fleshed out a bit). I'll do a part 2 sometime soon, onc eI've worked out how to take better photos of the snow!!

GW Snow effect

The GW winter effects pack looked fairly promising in the shop, but getting it home and trying to use it was... interesting. This stuff is, as far as I'm concerned, pretty naff if you want to create actual snow as it is basically white static grass. It can be useful for the odd bit of frost covered grass when applied over white glue or varnish; other than that... I wouldn't bother.

Interestingly (or not) their effects packs contain no instructions at all on how to use the stuff. I guess they just assume you'll use it in the same way as flock, but I ran some experiments with it anyway. I wanted to see  how this GW snow reacts with different mediums; in this case, white glue (WG), MIG acrylic resin (R) and GW 'Ardcote gloss varnish (V). The image is a little tricky to see some of the differences; zooming in does help a bit.

Going left to right we've got each medium either mixed (+), or used to stick the flock on (-> ). For example top left is a mixture of the Vallejo resin and the snow flock (R+F) and bottom left is a layer of resin painted onto the base, with some flock over the top (R->F).

As you can see, in all the cases where the flock is laid over the top of the sticky medium it's fairly transparent so you can see a difference between the colours underneath. Whichever medium is chosen, you get light, fluffy looking effect that looks fresh, but thin. If you're doing this, white glue is probably your best (and cheapest) bet. For deeper snow you could try painting the surface with a very very pale blue first to give it a deeper, colder feel.

Mixing the flock with the different mediums is where we start to get some more interesting effects. In each case I've not been overly careful on quantities, but I did learn that mixing a small batch and applying it, then mixing a little bit more works better than trying to do a larger batch in one go as it tends to become clumpy.

Gloss varnish and the resin seem to give very similar effects; I would imagine water effect would also give the same look. In each case, the snow is quite thick, but slightly shiny, as if it's slowly melting in the sun, or under foot. Mixing the snow effect with the pva glue gives a very matt, almost paper-ish looking snow, which is good for very dense, compacted snow, or using as a base for another snow effect.

In future articles I'll be covering some other effects, including crushed glass and baking soda


  1. I had the same reaction to the GW "snow" when I purchased it recently. Currently sitting unopened in my pile of WTF do I do with that now stuff...

    1. I think frosty grass is about all it's useful for