Update 10/31/2010: Took this down to the LA Battle Bunker last night. The turn out was a little disappointing since there were only 3 entries. However, this worked out well for me and the two other guys who entered as the staff awarded prizes to the top 3, and only 3, entries. After letting the people in gaming area vote for their favorite, my entry took the top spot, followed closely by an Ork warboss wearing purple and sporting Joker face paint. Third place was a mutated clanrat with an exposed brain. I won a regiment box and picked out some Temple Guard to keep my Slann company and 2nd & 3rd place won a blister. I had no idea beforehand that there were prizes to be had, but hey kids, you cannot win if you do not play.
Finished just in time for the contest!
Here's the quick and dirty breakdown on the base. The round platform is a blank cardboard Christmas ornament I found a craft store (I didn't have a spare large sized base to sacrifice to the project). It's bit on the larger side considering that there's not too much action going on here, but this was my first attempt at a diorama, so live and learn. The base was then built up with bark chips, light weight wall Spackle (I think you guys outside the U.S. call it filler or something) and then covered with sand. The tree is a real piece of tree branch that took a healthy amount of hot glue to attach to the base. The grave stone is just a piece of card board with the edges filled in and some grains of sand selectively glued on for texture.
Your super awesome modeling tip of the day relates to the leaves strewn about the ground. After doing some research, I found several sources stating that there are two methods for producing decent looking leaves for basing with all natural ingredients. First, you can use birch tree seed pods, which fall apart into little flakes that look like tiny oak leaves. These can even be dried out and then painted. Unfortunately, I could not find a birch tree in my neighborhood to plunder of its seed pods and I didn't want to pay 10 dollars to buy some off the internet. Enter solution number two, taking real dried up leaves and crumbling them into tiny flakes.
I kinda did number two. In my kitchen spice rack I found some crushed bay leaves, which are just the right size and are multicolored. Just lightly brush some white glue onto the base of the model, sprinkle some crushed leaves onto the area and then tap off the excess. If you over do it, just take large brush and gently brush off some of the flakes. Try to build up the leaves more in areas where they would gather after being blown around in the wind, like here around the base the of the tree and the crevasses created by the rocks.