Over the past few weeks I have often been asked about my basing. I know that mine might not be the best looking bases around, but I think they are hard to beat when it comes to time vs. looks. So here is how I do it.
First of all you need to prepare the minis and base. Most important is that you varnish the minis before the basing process. This has two reasons. First… during basing the bases will be dipped into sand, so the minis will need the protection. Second… after you are done basing there might be the odd fibre of static grass on the mini and you do not want that to be embedded in the static grass.
You should also paint the edges of the base in the desired colour. I use an olive grass-green for this since it blends in well with the terrain we use. If your minis come on integral bases you should apply some filler around the integral base, creating either a gentle slope (on large bases) or bringing all the ground up to the same level. Otherwise you will get what the Americans call a “pitcher mount effect”. E.g. he minis stands on a slightly raised patch of ground. You should not mind if the end effect is not completely even… real ground is not completely even either. When you are done your base should look like this:
Next comes the sand. I use sand that I took off a beach in Italy. Obviously that is not an option for everyone, so I will describe what it looks like. The grains of sand are about the size of grains is sugar or salt. Most of the grains are light in colour, some are dark. To keep with the kitchen analogies… like salt and pepper.
To this I added some bird-cage sand. These grains are larger and quite light in colour. These will look like nice little rocks strewn over the ground. I also added some coarse saw dust. You can get this from any carpenter… for them it is just stuff they need to clean off the floor in the evening. But it will give the extra atmosphere to your base.
Next up I paint the base in a chocolate-brown. I brush the paint on in liberal amounts, making sure that it gives a nice thick and especially wet coat. While this is still wet, I push the base into the paint. The wet paint will soak up the sand, tint it brown, and “glue” the sand to the base. If the base is too large to paint it all brown, before the paint dries where you started, simply split the base up in sections . Paint each section and push the base into the sand before you move on to the next section. Just make sure, that the sections do not take on geometric shapes, but rather have rounded and odd edges. At times an edge can show between the sections and you do not want that.
This is how wet your paint should be and what your edges should look like:
After 2 to 3 minutes (with smaller single mini bases about the time it takes to do the next base) you should push the base into the sand again. Why? Well after a few minutes a good amount of the brown paint will seep through the sand and turn it too brown. Another dip into the sand will give it the right look in the end. And this is what it should look like:
Step 2 finished
Next I add some Static Grass tuffs to represent the longer pieces of grass. I use two types. First some miniNatur “Spätherbst”. In the UK and US they are sold under the Silflor label and they should be the “late fall” type. Just glue them onto the base in irregular spots using white glue.
I also add some “Frühherbst” (early fall) tuffs:
Do not worry about some excess white glue. The next step will involve static grass and that will simply attach itself to the glue and create some nice blending effects. In this next step I use a mix of two types of static grass to present the flat grass you usually find on fields where it was trampled down by animals or soldiers. I use 4/5 Woodland Scenics “Burnt Grass” and 1/5 Heki “Winterboden”. Now Heki is sold under the Woodland Scenics brand in the UK and US, but they do not seem to sell this type of fibre (winter grass). But to be honest… I do not think that leaving it out would matter. The grass would only be a little darker. To apply it I simply brush on a mix of 3/5 white glue and 2/5 water and push the static grass into it:
Afterwards, just repaint the edge of the base where you accidentally got some brown paint onto it and you are done.
Since I was working on my Khemru yesterday, too, I thought I should give you some hints for the desert bases. Those are quite simple. Just use a caramel brown paint. Instead of static grass I simply glue some flock onto the base. The type of flock you usually use for trees. Simple as that:
Want to see the finished bases? Well look out for tomorrows posts! 😉