Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Getting Basic Part 2

Part 2 - Or, I'm in ur base, killing ur dudes

This is a follow up from the Monday post which was getting kind of long so I figured I'd split it to two.  We'll be keeping the base theme going this week and Fridays post will be more in depth about this.  So now I've confused two necro-memes, back to the post.

A quick aside

This has come up so often that it is worth repeating.  "I got some lovely weathering done on my vehicle and then I added some sealer and it all went away."  Sad Panda.  Well...

Pigments (dry powders) are a great way of weathering vehicles and scenery, but as a lot of people getting into pigments have discovered.  Sealer makes them go bye-bye.  Pigments need to be one of the last things you apply as they fall into 'things you won't paint' category.  You can finish all your painting, add sealers to thoroughly protect the model, then add the pigments, snow, scenics, and finally add a very light coat of sealer to hold the pigments in place.  And that is the key thing, the pigments can only handle, and only need, a very light pass of sealer.

Other bits of basing

Mud.  The muds we made were a mixture of fine sands, pigments and realistic water.  Oregon beach sand is recommended as I guess Oregonians have it coming, but basically find yourself a fine, poorly graded sand.  Mix that with you pigments de jour and the realistic water and you have your mud.  And a very sad looking paint brush that was sacrificed to the basing class.  The mud will likely be too thin to start with, but this can be fixed by slowly adding small amounts of plaster.  If you make several colors of mud you can combine them to give more depth with a more wet look from the darker muds.  Don't make much, as we saw it is easy to end up with lots you then don't need.

If you are using wet-to-dry mud consider where it is.  On the ground the deeper holes will be the wettest so you can start dark and work to lighter, dryer looking colors.  A little realistic water in the recesses can easily add some puddles.  On vehicles the warmth of the body will dry the mud.  Flat areas on the main body will be dryer.  Extremities and areas like track guards and wheel arches are where the wetter mud will build up.

Lastly for mud, if you want spatters just get a stiff brush such as a tooth brush and use that to flick your mud mix all over the place.

Vegetation is another good way to add interest to a base.  There was lots of discussion about what works and what doesn't.  The biggest recommendation was Mini Natur (or Siliflor) tufts as they are easy to use and while not exactly cheap are far cheaper than other alternatives.  One limit was that they are good for 28mm, but if you are a flames of war player or other small scales, it is much harder to find suitable vegetation.

For using basic scenic grass fibers (field grass) the best method to get it to stand up was to get a small bundle, hold it tight together (you may need an extra pair of hands) and super glue the center.  Once the glue is dry, cut the bundle in half where you glued and then insert the glued end into a suitable size hole in your base.  You can then cut downward at the ends of the stems to make the lengths uneven and more natural looking.

Here is more amazing MS paint skills to try and visualize what I'm talking about.

Slight aside - what is it with 40K and entire planets being the same climate and environment?  Really, how is that supposed to work?  Do they not have seasons, poles, weather patterns?  So say you were basing up some space puppies from their planet where everywhere is cold and icy (but there are no wolves).  You need snow.

Snow is easily available in two flavors.  The every day, I've got kids, and the 'better to burn out than to fade away' style .  The other factor is what you mix in, PVA glue or realistic water?  Soft flake snow snow is whiter and duller than crushed glass.  The crushed glass really does have a great frosty sprinkle to it, great if you want to go all Thomas Kincade on your Herasy era Cataphract armor bases.  For the mixes, PVA is whiter and thicker but will, apparently, yellow with age.  Personally it is what I've used most as I have kids (so no crushed glass in my house) and thought the soft flake with realistic water looked a bit slushy.  Soft flake with PVA as a binder I thought gave a nice, cold snow look and is really easy to work with.

And yes, the crushed glass is of course crushed glass.  Sure, we already mess with a few nasty chemicals doing this, but the glass is something else that could really hurt you.  You'll get some great effects, but treat it with respect.

Bricks are something that often ends up on bases.  Well, unless you are only doing wood elves.  If you want to add bricks there are now decent, scale alternatives available.  Previously there have been lots of clay ones around but these are too large, uneven sizes, and more importantly, just colored on the surface.  The problem there being if you wanted broken bricks they would be white and need painting.  Well now we can get teeny tiny .  Yeah, who'd have thought.  Haven't had a chance to play with these, but worth knowing about.

That is about it for things we dealt with in any detail.  Hope this all helped answer some questions and get some of you thinking about your next basing project.



  1. I'm loving these articles. Sadly the army I just finished included a ton of metal models and older snap together models, so roughly 60% of them are in slotta bases. Wound up doing the basing last minute, so I used sand and paint and a few of those resin bits from the GW basing kit. I painted it as a desert color, I'm planning to add some of the late fall tufts from that same company, got those as part of the sportsmanship prize for the tournament I lost last weekend lol. After that, I'm going to add some of them to my display board too. Sadly I don't know what else to do for a desert army, maybe just some wreckage from the crash aquila lander I use on their display board.

    1. With some greenstuff or milliput you could just use that to make the mini stick to the base or make a new slot that is slightly elevated for many different results, it also helps for getting them in more dynamic poses. Cuz Let's face it, an entire world is usually not as flat as Denmark :P

    2. That's a good idea, I've never really thought about how to make slottabase minis more interesting. That said, the slot part really limits what fits onto a base, decoration wise.

  2. What I ended up doing for my Warmachine stuff was cutting the slots off the minis and then drilling pins into their feet so I could position them however I want. Thing is, Warmachine is way smaller scale so this was less work than would be needed for a 40K size army. If you are mostly plastic though some super glue will hold the minis onto the base and it isn't as much of a big deal.

    Then, like Icereaver mentioned, you can go to town on the base, including covering over the slot, and make it just how you want it.