Sealing Terrain 

What do you do when you need to seal large piece of terrain? The sealer needs to be sturdy, but affordable.

There are a few options: sealers like those used for sealing paint, matte medium, or Woodland Scenics Scenic Cement (WSSC).

I recommend WSSC overall. It makes for a decent protective layer, holds flock in place well, and has an adequately matte finish.

Paint Sealers

This can work fine, but it tends to expensive very quickly and while these sealers work great for paint, they do not work as well for turf and foliage.

Matte Medium

I tried this at the suggestion of a fellow terrain maker, a member of many lists I have joined. If I use a 1:1 mix of matte acrylic medium, as suggested by the maker for a "fixative" application, the consistency and resulting fixative properties are mechanically similar to Scenic Cement. If I spray modestly, I get about the same results as Scenic Cement (not very robust). If I spray heavily, I get about the same results as Scenic Cement (very robust). It also sprayed from the Scenic Cement sprayer in a similar fashion.

At a 1:1 ratio, the price is about the same as Scenic Cement for me, although your local marketplace may vary.

Note: an additional knock against matte medium was that I ended up with an odd bluish milky sheen on a couple of spots of terrain; regardless of why this happened, it was not something I have seen with WSSC.

Given those data points, I probably won't go on to test the 1:4 ratio that Flak Magnet mentioned.

So, my own conclusion would be that 1:1 matte acrylic medium:water is comparable to Scenic Cement in its sealing properties, spraying properties, and cost, but not as reliable; so, if one is preferable to you for other reasons (you already keep it stocked in your supplies) or more readily available, you can probably use either for sealing your turf, though you might need to practice a little to get matte medium to work as desired. And if you are only sealing turf on a flat surface, a thinner mixture might be fine. However, my turf has come out very robust with these treatments (SC or 1:1 medimu:water).

I would still use plain old off-the-shelf white glue (e.g. Elmer's) for laying down the initial turf. Such glue is pretty cheap and works well for that stage of basing.

One final comment - IMO, white glue is preferable to cyanoacrylate (superglue) when basing because you can wash away mistakes readily, dry the base and start over. This allows greater experimentation and thus exploration of creative basing ideas. Just last night I took full advantage of this when basing some unusual trees I had created.

If someone ever does a side-by-side comparison of a 1:4 medium:water mix and Scenic Cement, please post your results.

Questions? Comments? Please let me know via my questions/comments form!