Monday, January 5, 2009

Quick and Painless Basing by Dummies

Because Unclean, of HeavyGear-France asked me about my basing texture, I'll give quick step by step. I'd like to state first that this is the way I do it. There are many better ways. You will probably prefer some more flashy way of basing, and CMON is full of gorgeous bases that look so much better than mine.

I came up with this basing process because I didn't like sticking minis in slotted bases, and then applying some flock or texture. I like pinning. I love pinning. If you play with HG miniatures for any length of time, because they are so poseable and therefore have a lot of fragile parts, you'll learn to love pinning too. But I also like simplicity. And speed. This method is meant to represent some very broken ground, with lots of slate or maybe something vaguely volcanic. I was also inspired by the way mud dries and cakes in dried-up lakes and such.

The first step is to take your standard hexagonal base and a sheet of cork (the kind that's used for pinning things on your wall, for example). I used to prefer GW's round bases, but after much reflexion, I find the though more expensive, DP9 Hex bases are just of superior quality.

The second step is to plug the slot in the base. I use toothpicks and standard PVA glue.

Then, tear a small piece of cork that will vaguely cover your hex, but leave some clear areas. You want an irregular shape that will look more natural. You also want to tear strategically so that your cork is of the proper shape for your mini's feet to stand on, and also so that you don't have to pin through the toothpick. Glue it in place with PVA glue and let it dry completely overnight.

Apply white primer to the base. I use spray, but you can use brush-on primer if you want. I'm lazy that way.

Next, give the base a couple coats of diluted paint. I use Citadel's Foundation line here (Kalthan Brown, I think) because it has rich pigments with very good coverage. But even so, because you are working with cork, two coats at least will be necessary since the cork will "drink" the first one.

Brush lighter colours on the elevated cork area of the base to give it depth. Apply PVA glue around it and sprinkle on the basing material of your choice. I am a very big fan of the Japanese company Kato, producers of railway models, when it comes to these things. Very high quality, very low cost. Remove any excess material before it dries in place.

Finally, pin your mostly painted model in place through both feet. Here is an unfinished Cheetah on such a base. Make sure to spray varnish on the base after the PVA is entirely dry, as the varnish will provide added solidity to you base.

Ta-daa! They don't look perfect, but these bases are guaranteed to be fast, tough, and provide a feeling of unity to your army. You can add extras such a lichen or rocks, but I like fairly bare bases that don't distract from models. Enjoy!


  1. Thanks your this tutorial ! that's a good way to produce realy good looking bases quickly !

    I like the texture of the rock, the cork is working very well.

    Good job !

    ( yes the other comment is by me, but wrong gmail account =] )

  2. Est-ce que le matériel pour maquettes de train est facilement disponible en France? Au Canada, c'est très difficile à trouver, mais comme je vis à Taiwan, beaucoup plus de compagnies japonaises exportent leurs produits ici.