Rocky Desert Basing Tutorial – Part 1


One of the bigger questions I have been asked is how do I do my basing for my Tomb Kings is how do I do the basing. I have tried to record this a couple of times for the Diary, but it just never seems to make it up to the web. At some point, a video will be out for this as well, but for now here are the basic steps.

The goal of this project is to end up with basing that looks something like the following:

 

Materials

  • Wall Filler/Spackle
  • Plastic base for miniature
  • PVA Glue
  • Bits to be put on the base in addition
  • Sand
  • Water

Tools

  • Old Brush
  • Hobby Knife
  • Sculpting Tools (not critical, but highly useful)
  • 1.5 inch wide putty knife

Step 1

In this first stage,  I start with the cleaning up the plastic base edges from where it was attached to the sprue and cleaning up any additional debris that was on the base from the molding process. Next up, I use little pieces of metal on the bottom of the base in my magnetic basing model so I glue those in place. This pretty much preps the base itself.

Step 2

Next, on the upper surface of the base I put some glue around straight from the bottle. Taking my old beat up paint brush I dip it in water and spread the glue around until I have a roughly even coat. This isn’t exact science here and I am really just trying to help the wall filler/spackle material adhere after drying has occured.

 
Taking the wall filler/spackle product I spread enough of it onto the base to work with pretty half hazard in manner. This helps start to give the base shape and makes it unique for each one. Using a sculpting tool and dipping it in the water to help keep the spackle from sticking to it. Not to much or the spackle turns to mud and then you won’t get your desired, rocky effect. Shape ledges and some contours as you see fit.

Let your base sit for about an hour before the next step.

Step 3


In this step, I spread some white glue on the base in much the same manner as I had done before. Using a little water and my old brush again, spread it to the areas on the base to where I want it. Once the glue is where I want it I have a tub of sand that is big enough for me to actually submerge my base in the sand but you could pour the sand over the base just as easily. Use sand that you like.

A note about sand and basing. Large sand, like what you would buy at the local game store is about the equivalent of sand box sand here in the US. It’s very mixed in texture and makes for very rocky look. It also looks very rough and very hard to walk in. In a nutshell, it works for very poor desert sand in my opinion. Rather, I find that a very, very fine sand such as would be used for texturing wall paint (such as a paint additive) is pretty good for sand. I still leave spaces on the base completely devoid of both sand and wall spackle and these get painted in a pretty light yellow to represent desert sands because out our scale of model the sand would not really be seen as little grains.

Step 4


In this next step, I am working with a Necropolis Knight on this particular base. To make sure my snake looks like it is slithering through the sands I push the snake into my putty and sand mix. At this point, the wall filler/spackle shouldn’t be so set up that it won’t take the model pressing into the base and leave an indentation. This really does help a lot as when the base has set up and is hard a model glued to it without this planning will look a bit awkward. Doing this helps the base and model go that extra little mile. After all, it’s your attention to detail that sets your model ahead of the next guys just that little bit!

Complete

Once dry, our project is complete and everything should look pretty great and is ready to paint. I like to paint a large base like this prior to gluing the model to it, but this varies a little bit depending on the size of the model. In the case of these Necropolis Knights, I glued the Knight to the base as I wouldn’t have problems painting the base. Warsphinx and Chariots on the other hand get their bases done first and the models painted separately before the two come together.


Next up, painting!

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