The second is just craft sand painted in the same colors, again with static grass (but under different light):
For fairness' sake, here they are side by side under the same light:
I like them both, in their own ways.
The resin sand version comes out lighter due to having less small texture. It also provides a more three-dimensional look, depending on how much of the material you use, and how you pile it up. Little clumps of resin sand in one area make those little peaks and valleys you can see in the pictures. The valleys are where I intend to put static grass and small plants. It seems to be a pretty durable finish as well. I believe I can glue small plants right to the painted base in those low areas and make them look convincing.
However, the resin sand method is imprecise. I had no idea what the base texture would look like when I applied it. The binder in the material evaporates and shrinks as it dries overnight. I'm not sure how this would translate to a 40mm or 60mm base. I can try it out on a 40mm spare, but I don't have any 60mm junk bases to play with.
I'm also not sure how I could sink rocks and other items on these bases. The resin sand medium is sloppy and goopy. If I placed a cork rock in the middle, would I be able to make it look convincing?
The craft sand version is darker because I essentially soak the sand in the darkest color, and then dry brush those tiny grains up to light grey. However, plenty of the dark color still shows through. I can dry brush more of the lighter colors to reduce or eliminate that, but I've found that it tends to look smeared and shitty when you do so.
There is much more control with the craft sand, as I'm painting on white glue, and then covering it with the sand before painting. I can glue rocks and other items right to the base before glue and sand and it looks nice enough. I'm positive that I cannot glue small plants to the sand. I'd have to attach them to the base before applying glue and sand, which would require precision to avoid sanding the leaves of the plants. No one likes sandy leaves. The alternative is drilling holes in the base after sanding, poking the plants through to the underside, and then gluing them in place.
Affixing the models to either base is about the same. Add a small piece of plasticard to the base where the feet go, apply basing, then scrape away the paint and sand from the piece of card. Glue as needed.
What do you folks think? Resin sand or craft sand?
Does the grey color stand out enough from my green/brown Tyranid scheme, or should I consider another color set?
Obviously, these are quick mockups that I threw together. A finished base will have static grass and various scattered small plants to break up the grey. I'm not 100% sure how I'm going to make the plants, but my first though is to grab some cheap silk plants from the craft store, and then cut my leaves and stems from those, using the appropriate scale. Then I'd bind it all together with floral wire (I already have a reel of it from past projects) and glue to the base using that coiled wire. I think I could also break out the airbrush to quickly spray the leading edges of the leaves another color like a light green, teal, or crimson.
In slightly related news, there was a list of interesting rumors online regarding a new hive fleet "Karkinos." That's my fleet name, dammit! The rumors talked about how Karkinos focused on poison and gas. However, the rumor set was debunked this AM as fake, but it did get me thinking.
What if I wanted my entire Hive Fleet to be poisonous? Every Nid kit is packed full of toxin sac bits, and you can buy them by the hundreds from bit sellers for a song. Adding a toxin sac to every melee claw/talon/blade arm would be some work, but it would also give me a chance to break up the monotony of green with more little purple sections as I would paint the sac-looking pieces of those bitz to match the ribbed flesh I already use.
On the table, I'd simply require every model to pay for toxin sac biomorphs, even if it makes little game sense. Toxin on a Carnifex with crushing claws? Go for it!
Speaking of painting, I have gotten all of the base blue colors down on my fourth Sternguard model. I just need to line highlight his armor and I'll be ready to move forward to the details. I'll try to get a WIP shot up early next week. The new book is out tomorrow morning as well. Huzzah!