Monday, February 6, 2017

Basing your miniatures for Age of Sigmar and Warhammer 40K

A nice base makes your miniatures look cool and can be used to tie your army together visually. Now you can hop over to GW and get some texture paint (and that is fine), but I prefer to go a bit further. I do this for three reasons:

  1. It looks cool.
  2. It gives me a chance to practice modelling.
  3. It gives purpose to excess bits.
Not featured: Lord Harkon (excepting his feet).
As the base of my Vampire on Zombie Dragon shows this can be taken quite far. Aside from spare miniatures most of the practical basing materials are quite cheap.


From left to right: Rough beach sand with a lot of broken shell, beach sand with fewer shell bits and dried masonry sand with some rougher particles mixed in.
I picked my sand from the beach. If you never get near a beach try your local DIY store (or construction site). Alternately you can throw wet earth on PVA and follow up with (cheap!) superglue. Superglue reacts to water giving interesting effects like this.

The ground of this bit of terrain has been made by using earth, PVA and superglue (and a lot of paint after it dried).


Bye bye coaster, you will serve a new purpose now.
Cork is a cheap material to raise models on your bases. I got some cheap coasters for use as basing material. Rip the cork apart to get interesting edges. You can take use multiple layers of cork to get a real rise like I did with Arbaal the Undefeated.

My Arbaal is truly undefeated because I have yet to use him in a game.


Not mentioned: mixing PVA and superglue with a cocktail stick to create textured slime between the layers.
I use 1mm cardboard to make roof and floor tiles (and occasionally create other interesting shapes). Cover the cardboard with a few thin layers of PVA to give it strength, or use a bit of superglue and PVA to get some texture. Here I combined cardboard and cork to make the base for a Great Unclean One.

I added a few layers of Nurgle's Rot to give it that truly slimy look.

You can also keep it simple, adding a few tiles to a base to give it extra character.

Lord Nurglitch is marching down an ancient road. 


Never throw anything out (until you risk getting featured on a hoarders-like show).
Using spare bits can give any base an extra bit of character. For instance the useless window in the Honoured Imperium terrain set actually works on the base of a Wraith Knight.

I stomp on your corpse god monkeigh!

You can also use parts provided by GW like the small rats that come with the Hellpit Abomination. By adding some cork I managed to leave the Dwarven rubble of my model.
Add rats, some cork and don't forget your small rocks.
Use a few bits to make Ripper Swarms slightly more interesting (and at the same time to reduces the amount of Rippers per base, extending the size of your army).

Small rocks

No basing kit is complete without a variety of small rocks to pick and choose from. Just PVA them to the base and don't forget to use sand to fill gaps. You can also use this technique to integrate resin Warhammer Fantasy bases (square) on pretty round (and oval) ones. Like with this Troll Hag from Forge World.

Integrating a square resin base on a round one using rocks and sand. 

Green Stuff

Its a lot of Green Stuff (or Kneadatite as it is actually called by the manufacturer) 
Use green stuff to create effects (and fill gaps). Green stuff is excellent for making craters and every amateur (i.e. me) can make simple tentacles with it. You have to admit that a few biosludge pools add character to a Tyranid army. 

What is that underneath the Tyrannofex?
Why it is a melting Catachan and a hapless Crimson Fist.

Or just keep it simple with a few melting corpses underneath a Hive Tyrant.


Zombie Werewolf by Reaper Miniatures (in use as a Varghulf in my Vampire Counts army)
I am not the biggest fan of using Polystyrene on a base as it is rather weak. But sometimes it is just to tempting to create interesting shapes. Just don't forget to add extra layers of PVA to strengthen it (and to stop spray paint from melting it). I used it on this Zombie Werewolf to give the rather smallish miniature a bit of extra oomph.

Also dded: extra blood and parts of victims.

Spare bits and garbage

Close up from a basing bits box, how exciting!
Perishables aside, I don't think there is anything you can't use on a base. I keep a number of boxes and bags of chains, bits and assorted goods handy to go through as I make new bases. One thing that is in the box is an assortment of plastic beads. I use these (among other things) to make bubbles in liquids like with these trolls.

Bubbles produced by beads.
A few rocks, some sand and a bit of spare electric wire to get that future battlefield look. 

Raid the kitchen!

You can get some fun basing materials from the kitchen (remember not to use perishables!). For instance adding a split pea, a cocktail stick and some superglue gives you nice and easy mushrooms.

Make you own mushrooms.
Simply cut the cocktail stick stem to size and glue them to a base for instant effect.

No Nurgle army is complete without some suspicious looking 'shrooms around.


Tufts rule!
Most of my bases feature grass tufts, because I like the effect, some also feature static flock. I use it sparingly because I want my sand to show. I do maniacally use some extra PVA to hold these in place as I can't bring myself to trust the stickiness of the tufts themselves. 

Painting order

I prefer to build bases separately from my miniatures. I glue the miniature to a temporary base (or an old cork). This give me more freedom to paint the base (without risking the miniatures paint job). At the end of the process I cut the miniature of its temporary base (or cork) and glue it using PVA. If PVA is too slow to dry I occasionally cheat by adding a small drop of Supgerglue to it. Be carefull with this trick as it dries white forcing you to repaint a bit of the miniature. I tend to pin heavy (or metal) models to their new base, giving the connection a bit of extra strength. 

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