Tutorial: Basic Basing

Tutorial: Basic Basing

We’ve got more than a few players in the local store new to the hobby aspect of miniatures gaming and while I was frantically basing up about 20 of my woefully incomplete Circle Orboros models I figured I’d snap a few pictures and write up a simple basing tutorial.  The basing I use here is pretty quick, easy and cheap.  It’s hard to mess up and aside from drying time it took me maybe an hour to get 20 models from bare base to finished.


The end result of my basing.

For this tutorial I’ve got a bunch of basing grit from Gale Force 9 mixed together in a Tupperware container.  The container itself is large enough to easily insert a 50mm model into and shake around a bit.  This will come in hand later.  The grit inside is the bulk of your basing material.  In this instance, I’m using a mixture of super fine, fine, medium and rocky basing grit with a little bit of concrete rubble.

These hobby rounds have lasted me through a lot of Circle Orboros, Trollbloods, Guild Ball, Warhammer Fantasy and a number of other miniatures.  They’re $5 a pot retail and I definitely feel like I’ve gotten my money’s worth.  My mix is a little heavier on the fine and super fine grit rather than a 1:1 ratio of all the different varieties.

First things first, if your model isn’t already glued onto the base, you’ll need to start there.  You can either glue it directly onto the base or onto some of the larger chunks of concrete rubble like my Feral Warpwolf above.  Most of my models are just straight on the base and I’m pretty impatient and ready to play them as soon as I get them.  Once you’ve got all your models set either on a base or on some scenic bits atop a base, you’re ready to start mixing up some watered-down PVA glue.


Watery glue on the palette

A lot of folks will tell you that you want a consistency of milk, but I prefer my glue a little thicker than my paints and I mix about 3/4 glue to 1/4 water.  Stir it up with a crappy old brush or a cheap new one you don’t mind getting messed up.  You’ll be using it to paint the glue onto the bases later.

You can see that I’ve gone ahead and poured a fair amount for myself in the photo above.  Unless you’re doing a bunch of miniatures at once like I was, it’s likely you won’t need so much.  If you’re unsure of the amount you’ll need, it’s perfectly fine to do the process piecemeal and mix the glue and water as you go.

Once your glue is all mixed up and ready to go, start painting it onto your bases inside the rounded lip.  Get good coverage, but be careful of the model’s feat or anything other details you’re afraid of obscuring.  When the base is good and covered, dip the model into the container with your basing material and shake it around a bit, letting the model sink in and the grit get all over the base and glue.  As long as your glue isn’t too watery, it won’t glob off into the mixture and will more or less stay in the center of the base.  Wipe off any excess from the edges of the base if you don’t want it there and set it down to dry.


Your bases should look similar to this at this stage.

Give this some time to dry and come back later.  Once the glue is dry, take the model and hold it over your mixture of basing grit and give it a good few flicks or shakes to get anything that wasn’t glued down off and back for a different model.

Next, I use a sepia colored wash (Vallejo in this case) and go over the entire base, watering it down a bit the whole time.  If you want, you can add the sepia shade a little before the glue has fixed drying completely and it will give the most recessed areas a muddy vibe.  If you’re so inclined, you can also brush a little water over the highest areas of the wash so they don’t get quite so dark and the whole thing looks a tad more dynamic.


Waiting to dry…

Dried wash.

Dried wash.

All of the day's work so far.

All of the day’s work so far.

Now you’ve got a good looking, easy base all done and ready to go.  If you’re not satisfied with it, you can ahead more thematic elements by gluing them on top.  Army Painter (and a few others) make tufts of static grass, foliage clumps and flowers to grab with some tweezers and glue onto the base with little or no fuss.  Glue these on top of areas of the basing you’re not pleased with the look of or anywhere that breaks up the monotony.  For these Circle-loving forest-dwellers I’ve used summer static grass, swamp grass tufts and meadow flowers, all from Army Painter.

The end result of everyone.

The end result of everyone.