Basing 201

The tried and true bases made of sand, painted in increasingly lighter brown colors, and finished with a hint of static grass are a functional way to dress up large numbers of core units. You can see some examples of these in the Dwarf of my earlier posts. I wanted to add more interest and higher relief to the bases of the larger critters in my Lizardmen army. What follows is a step-by-step walkthrough of how I tried to accomplish this - missteps and all. Follow along and succeed where I half-succeeded, intrepid reader!

Here's the Kroxigor on the table today. The pose and bulk of these older 5th edition models is great. Looking at the model gave me a sense of how I wanted the scene to play out. The mini seemed to be asking for some space to look menacing, so he was placed in the back corner.

Taking a fine Sharpie in hand, I next drew out a map of where key elements in the base would be situated. Not look like much yet? Stick with me!

Taking a step sideways, I decided that some bits of ruined civilization might look nice out there in the jungle. Time to make some cobblestone. Green stuff was flattened out on a piece of glass with a bit of Vaseline underneath to keep from sticking.

This was scored with a knife and beaten up a bit to look more weathered. Just push in the corners of some stones and make some dents here and there.

I like to use natural rocks and you can see some bits of slate arranged along the lines that were drawn. These are glued down with super-glue and covered in some air-drying clay where I didn't want the tops of the rocks jutting out.

After the green stuffed cobblestone sheet has cured, some pieces were broken off and incorporated into the base. I wanted them to look a bit sunken into the landscape, so some more clay was built up around them.

One of my favorite new basing elements was also employed beginning in this picture: moss! The three piles of fine sand glued to the top of the right-hand rock formation might not look like much at the moment, but they will bloom into something much more interesting shortly.

In comes the priming. The rocks and cobblestone have been painted a flat black, and the moss a deep brown.

The rocks are beginning to come alive with some lighter and lighter shades of grey. I start with a medium gray that's applied liberally, and work up to a shade closer and closer to pure white, highlighting smaller and smaller areas on the rocks. Think of where light would naturally be hitting the features of your base and focus on lightening those parts.

This was the first time I tried water effects. I originally thought a deep blue base would be appropriate, but changed my mind mid-stream (ouch! I know I know) and switched to brown. Ahhh... much more fitting for a little river.

The moss is looking good after being drybrushed in greens. They begin with a deep forest green and finish with a very light shade that is about 75% white and 25% green. Allow each layer to dry in between applications and paint an increasingly smaller area as you move up. This moss has about 5 passes in it.

Next I did some tests on the color water I wanted to use. Only a very small amount of paint is added. I touched the tip of a size 1 brush into the color I wanted and mixed it into a dollop of product about the size of a half-dollar. Both of the colors depicted above looked great to me, so I tried to incorporate both into the little stream. My idea was to place one color at each end and seamlessly blend them into each other in the middle.

Here you can see the result: meh! The brown base seemed to mute the effect (and I believe it is even further muted by the photograph). It was apparent, but very subtle. As the material dried, it became more clear and did have a really beautiful translucent effect as you looked through the water into the riverbed. While the 'water' was still wet, I placed some tall grass into the mix - this is a useful product, but can be a bit clumsy with which to work. A pair of tweezers is very helpful.

The stream seemed a bit shallow after one pass, so I did another with the same blue-tinted composition. This took away the nice effect of being able to see the riverbed - my greatest regret with this piece. On the next attempt, I will use a less intense blue paint in the mix, and less paint in general.

That being said I'm very happy with the way this first effort turned out. The base was dressed up with some cattails and some clump foliage.

A weak stream.. just like grandpa

Stay tuned for the finished piece- Kroxigor and all.


John Gaszak said...

I am in awe over this one. The complete base is amazing and something I would like to steal if that is cool!

Midloo said...

Hey Equi!

Thanks much for the comment! Please steal away... let me know what works for you and what you come up with. Really appreciate your post and would appreciate any feedback/questions you have.

Mr B said...

Could you have applied just straight water fx on top of the blue layer and kept the same visibility? I have never worked with the stuff, but now I'm intrigued...would make for nice Nurgle slime. Also did you use the Woodland Scenics brand or the Citadel one?

Midloo said...

Yeah that's what should have happened... I underestimated how opaque the stream would become with a second layer having only a small bit of color added.

I played around with both Woodland and Citadel and was disappointed by both. My secret recipe :)

David Cameron said...

Hi Midloo

That is a really awesome base. How did you attach the mini to it?

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