I have tried several styles of flocking from the most simple to more elaborate options. Almost all my armies are from the Mediterranean – mostly Spain – so I like a parched look to the bases. In chronological order I’ve tried…
My father didn’t flock his bases. He just painted the bases green. My first armies were inherited from my father and followed the same pattern. Plain paint might have a certain period appeal – harking back to the early days of wargaming in the 1960s and 70s – but doesn’t really do it now.
Back in 1988 a painter called Maureen in Sydney painted and based my first 15mm army = Arab Empire. Subsequently I tried to follow her style of flocking. Essentially it meant gluing a home blend of burnt grass flock to the bases. If I still did this I’d use Woodland Scenics Burnt Grass rather than a home grown blend.
The problem was nobody in New Zealand liked my blend, which I suspect is because it was dry and NZ isn’t. That aside it wasn’t very interesting.
Burnt Grass flock
with Iberian Scutarii
Mottled Green and Burnt Grass
Roland Davis did my Blue Division stands this way because it doesn’t detract from the figure painting. Glue half green grass (home blend) and half Woodland Scenics burnt grass to the base to give a mottled effect.
The problem was some people said it was bland, which is probably fair when compared to Flames of War bases, but doesn’t address Roland’s argument.
Mottled Green and Green Grass
I did this for my Maori Wars figures. NZ is green right – Land of the Long White Cloud and all that – so burnt grass didn’t seem appropriate. I went for Woodland Scenics green grass and a slightly contrasting, but still green, flock.
The problem was it was green but bland. Not enough contrast in the colours. Not enough texture. And not very appropriate for the Med.
Mottled Grass and Sand
Same idea but I used my parched grass plus some brownish sand as the two elements. I used sand to give more texture. I originally did my Spanish Civil War using this scheme.
The problem was it didn’t look dry enough for Spain.
Roland’s XF-52 Flat Earth
Roland Davis used this approach for my Carlist War figures. Plaster, paint with Tamiya’s acrylic Flat Earth (XF-52), dry brush highlights, glue on patches of Woodland Scenics Burnt Grass.
Good effect. Only gripe might be there is insufficient contrast between earth and grass.
This was my 2006 enthusiasm. I liked it because it reflects the colours of the Med in the sun. Plaster, glue on rocks, paint white, wash with diluted Woodland Scenic Earth Undercoat (C1229), and gluing on patches of flock. For troops from desert areas (e.g. North Africa) I didn’t use any flock. I rebased most of my Arab figures using this approach, and initially based my Russian Naval Infantry using it.
The problem was Chris Harrod calls it my “brown slime”. In truth I was a little erratic with the the washing process and didn’t achieve a consistent look. The dark bits didn’t necessarily correspond to the hollows, etc. And it involves a lot of steps. Too many steps.
My latest flocking method was inspired by Mark Case’s blog on Basing the Hussars; Mark specialises in the Peninsular War, which rang a bell, so I thought I’d give it a go. Glue on sand, paint with Tamiya’s acrylic Flat Earth (XF-52), then dry brush to get a parched look, and finally glue on static grass flock. I have redone my Ancient Spanish, WW2 Russian Naval Infantry and Spanish Civil War. All my new stuff uses this method including my Peninsular War Spanish. And as I add figures to my Maori Wars collection I’m redoing them as well, despite the fact that NZ is quite a lot greener than Spain.