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After the recent Little Wars games in Melbourne I ended up with one of Alan’s rendered 4′ x 4′ tables. It was designed to be a typical desert area of some unnamed Hollywood studio. Inexplicably, Alan had failed to paint it, leaving the sand render over the MDF sheet. It looked good enough, I guess…

So I decided to give it a proper paint job. Again consulting the terrain guru, Alan informed me of how to give just the right tones for Afghanistan. Which was fabulous, of course, but of no interest to me whatsoever. My deserts were no where near Afghanistan. My desserts had a high iron content. Living in Australia, I know the colour of desert is bright red. Anything else is just a fantasy that happens on TV.

A quick trip to Bunnings yielded a pot of sample colour that had been mis-tinted and therefore discarded. For $3  I got a large pot of a light creamy sand colour. Perfect. The first photo shows this going on.

Using a watered down tube of artists acrylic in Red Oxide colour I then ran a wash over the mostly dry sand. I say mostly dry because there were some deep areas that were still a little moist, than this was good because the colours mixed. Also, by only roughly stirring to thin the red side I managed to achieve differing depths of the red colour. Some areas are dark while others are much more mild.

Finally, when totally dry I toned down some of the reset sand colour with a good helping of artist acrylic Titanium white and then dry brushed over the top. That is the second to last photo.

The final result gives a good range of depth through the colours. The final photo is a close up to show this range. The eye, I think, will be calmed by the organic variation, but not so arrested that it lingers on any point in enquiry.

The photos are at various times of day with varying lighting conditions, of course.