If you’ve been watching my Warhamster streams on sundays, you’ll have seen I’m getting close to finishing the orange dragon. I’ve always intended it to have a base like cracked lava, so I thought I’d better practice.

I am using citadel paints, and they do have a good range of what they call “Technical” paints. These are usually used for effects: things like blood, snow, mud, and some have a special ‘crackle’ property as they dry.

I tried a couple of different ones and decided on Mordant earth as my black lava type top.

The dragon, on a tree, on a rock that’s going to be coming out of lava.

I have been told of a method for getting the best crackle, so I followed it and we will see how it comes together.

To begin, you need a good base colour. Obviously for lava that’s going to be red. Over that you need some yellow/ orange to make swirls and a visual texture. The tricky part comes next: PVA. Pva is a white glue, that goes transparent when it dries. It also shrinks quite a lot.

I didn’t take a picture of the base, but you’ll be able to see it when the pva goes transparent!
After about 24 hours, the underlying colour comes through.

The yellow was just ‘Slapped on’ to see how it could come through. I know lava doesn’t look anything like that.

The mordant earth, applied thickly.

The next trick I was told about is not to let the technical paint dry on its own. Using a hairdryer to quickly dry it gives more cracks, and makes them bigger.

I thought I’d gone too thick, so I added a thinner layer.

The thick paint didn’t crack much, so I added a thinner layer (closer to the camera in the picture). I sort of wanted something between the 2 finishes, so I thought I’d have to get the thickness of the paint just right. Except…. when I came back to it the next day something wonderful had happened.

It had continued to crack, getting almost exactly the effect I intended!

I’ll post another page about the actual base shortly. But suffice to say, it didn’t go quite as planned…….

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