ruk·si

🤏 Miniatures
🏝️ Basing

Updated at 2024-02-25 09:01

TL;DR:

  • Use the default bases if miniatures come with some.
    • Optionally buy standard sized plastic bases in bulk from AliExpress or similar.
  • Use ready-made texture pastes to get a quick texture and color.
    • Optionally use white glue and sand.
    • Optionally use Milliput Standard for custom texturing and sculpting.
  • When doing a lot of bases, get polymer clay and a texture roller.
    • Spread the polymer clay as 1–2 mm thick sheet, roll the texture, use something shaped like the base to cut, bake in the oven, let cool and glue to bases.
  • When in doubt, paint the base with muted colors and paint the rim black.

A traditional wargaming miniature base:

  • Spread a thin layer of any white glue (PVA) on the base
  • Dip and whirl the base in sand
  • Gently shake excess sand back
  • Let the glue dry
  • Violently shake excess sand back
  • Repeat the glue+dip steps if you want more texture
  • Prime the whole thing black
  • Apply a generous drybrush of a darker color
  • Apply a softer drybrush of a lighter color
  • Add one or two grass tufts using a drop of superglue

If you want something simple, like snow, mud or asphalt, use texture pastes. Most miniature accessory brands have these. Craft stores also have economic structure pastes that you can use. Vallejo is also quite affordable.

Pro-tip; you can make your own texture paste even cheaper:

  • mix 80% drywall spackle / wall filler and 20% black acrylic paint
  • (optional) add more black paint to make it more liquid
  • (optional) add a bit of PVA glue and fine grain sand to give it texture
  • apply on the base and let dry overnight

I use Milliput Standard for one-off base texturing and sculpting, it works great. Green Stuff works more or less the same for bases so get which you can get cheaper.

If I forced out some differences; Green Stuff and Brown Stuff are more elastic when cured compared to rock-hard Milliput. So Green Stuff is slightly better for miniature tails and such pieces that wobble around. Both can be sanded, filed and drilled just the same. You can test the difference by rolling a small ball of both if you stab the Milliput ball with a knife, it will crumble, but Green/Brown Stuff ball can absorb the hit. So, Milliput holds together better when compressed while Green/Brown Stuff holds together better when stretched.

Silicone tools are excellent when working with Milliput and Green Stuff. Silicone doesn't stick. You get silicone brushes from the cosmetic sections of supermarkets.

I like to use oven-baked putties (polymer clay) when doing a lot of bases. You can use a texture roller to create a large plate of texture e.g. cobblestone on thin Super Sculpey, bake it in the oven and then snap pieces off to attach to bases. Alternatively you can cut the sheet to base sizes before baking. Polymer clay rolled to a sheet anything between 1–2 mm thick works fine; 1 mm is easier to cut while 2 mm works well for things that are meant to have a bit of thickness.

Green Stuff World sells nice texture rollers.

Use cork and MDF for adding layers. When I want higher layers and raises on the base, like cliffs, rocks and such, cutting, sawing, ripping and gluing some cork pieces or medium-density fiberboard (MDF) in layers works wonders before slapping on texture paint or putty. Any glue works, even hot glue gun. You can also carve dents to MDF with a hobby knife.

MDF can also be used for the actual base itself e.g. for terrain or dioramas. I prefer to use plastic bases, so I can more easily magnetize them (there is empty space below the base.)

When in doubt, choose muted colors for your base that contrast with the miniature. You can turn a mediocre paint job into an awesome one with a base that properly contrasts your color choices. Figure out the main or prominent accent color of your model and then use the complementary color for the base.

If the model is a blue space marine, use orange or brown in the bases.

If the model is grey with green accents, use purple or red in the bases.

A black base rim adds nice contrast between the base and the model. I would discourage using any other rim color, except if the rim color can be used to signify important information e.g. team or class color in some board games.

Special Effects

Moss: Mix Mod Podge or runny PVA with small green flocks, optionally add a drop or two of green ink. Apply with an ice pop stick or an old brush.

Cave In: Stack some small stones in a cool formation and pour runny superglue in the cracks. Optionally sprinkle some sand on top.

Gore: Use some glossy red paint e.g. Citadel Blood for the Blood God. Stipple the red paint on surfaces. Mix some UHU glue and the red paint with a cocktail stick. Slab some of the mixture on the base with the stick and drag the gore around.

Sources

  • How to Paint Citadel Miniatures, David Cross and Rick Priestley