There are many ways to make craters. This is a very fast and easy way to make a large number of them. In this example we will be making them to represent a minefield, so they are all intentionally kept the same size. If you want to make some to represent artillery craters , consider adding a little variety to the diameters.
The rim of a real crater is surprisingly low to the ground, so keep this in mind while sculpting them. The first step is prepping the base. A crater is by definition sub surface, so it is important that you start with a base that has a little bit of thickness to it. If the entire crater sits above the base then it won’t look very convincing. For this reason we like to start with a thicker base and drill a slight depression into it. Alternately you can also add a lot of filler material to give a more gradual slope coming off of a crater.
Next you will need a tube of caulk, and a sculpting tool. The caulk must be “paintable”, but doesn’t need to be a very good quality. (If it cracks a little bit as it dries, this will only add to the realism). The sculpting too can be almost anything you want, (we used a match stick).
Squirt a ring of caulk around each of the drilled out depressions. Make sure that you push the two ends of the loop together a little to join them. At this point the caulk is just sitting on the base and isn’t really attached to it. If the ring isn’t joined then it will come apart on you during the next step.
Place the sculpting tool tip on the ring and push down slightly (this will seat the caulk to the base). Then pull the tool outward and blend the caulk into the base. Work your way around each ring doing this. The caulk will sometimes “roll” when you blend it with the base. The crater in the lower right corner of this picture has a very big roll in it, for example. Try and keep the rolling to a minimum, but don’t worry too much since it’s an easy fix later.
Once the ring is seated and blended, go back and add a little more caulk in the spots it rolled out on you. These spots require just a little bit of extra blending to get them to match the rest of the crater. Don’t overdo the sculpting, this is just the base layer, and a single quick swipe should be all it takes.
When finished with the caulking it should look something like this. The caulk is then allowed to completely dry before the next step.
The texture was added with some PVA glue and sand. We did the most basic texturing for this tutorial, but feel free to add as much detail as you want.
With a simple base coat of paint and a wash this is what it looks like. If you want to take it to the next level then add some scorch marks with a drybrush. All it needs now is some flock and it’s ready to use.