6 Nov 2008

Tutorial - Basing Made Easy - 10 Steps to Perfection

You can paint the wee men first or after. I prefer doing base last as if you get paint (mud) on figures toes it ties him to the base visually, if you get paint on the base from the figure it looks gash. Besides, you have hundreds painted already so it will be the right way round in my opinion. I’ve broken it down into 10 easy stages so you can set up a production line of 5 at a time, the Stage 2 PVA will need a drying time but the other stages can pretty much be done one after the other.

Here’s a list of what you’ll need to produce a GW style finished effect like mine, or of course paint it to match your Table Top surface:

Pot of water to rinse brushes and PVA glue.
Drybrush (preferably an old one, this process will ruin a new brush eventually).
Normal brush - 'Basecoat' brush size.
Modelling sand - I use GW modelling sand.
PVA Glue.
Calthan Brown Citadel Foundation Paint.
Kommando Khaki Citadel Colour paint.
Bleached Bone Citadel Colour Paint.
‘Ardcoat Gloss Varnish (or this stage can be done with watered down PVA)
Matt spray Varnish or varnish you prefer (Purity Seal or Army Painter)
Suitable Flock (burnt/scorched grass).

Stage 1 – Using an old brush, paint PVA glue on base straight from tube/bottle making a layer not too thick or thin. Push the bristles close into the model feet and be careful to wipe away excess glue from the bevelled edge before stage 2. Rinse brush in water after completing batch.

Stage 2 – Dip model in modelling sand up to its knees and gently compact the sand just above the base with finger tips to ensure a good bonding layer. Remove from sand and ever so gently brush any sand from models legs/feet tops and bevel base edge taking care not to touch base sand layer. Leave to dry overnight or at least 6 hours. You’ll remove excess sand from base once glue dry at Stage 3.

Stages 2, 4 and 7 completed.

Stage 3 – Use a used drybrush to gently stroke away any excess sand which has not glued from Stage 2 and apply a coat of ‘Ardcoat varnish or seal with watered down PVA (50:50) over sand to lock it in. Leave to dry for an hour or longer if watered down PVA. Don’t worry if you get a little on the paintjob, it will be sprayed with Matt varnish later, or PVA dries clear.

Stage 4 – Use a used drybrush to apply a good coat of Calthan (Mournfang) Brown to sanded base, take care near model or leave a gap around figure. Use an old normal brush to get paint up to and next to the figures feet and paint the bevelled edge with Calthan Brown, don’t worry if it is not a perfect cover, it will get another coat later.

Stage 5 – Give the sand a drybrush of Kommando Khaki (Karak Stone).

Stage 6 – Without the need to wash your drybrush, give a light drybrush highlight of Bleached Bone to sand.

Stage 7 – Tidy up the bevelled edge with a coat of Calthan Brown or your base edge colour of choice with normal brush.

Stage 8 – Use an old brush tip to add PVA random small daps of glue to base, one or two patches for each base. Add burnt/scorched grass flock to patches, I use a tweezer pinch load. Using the back edge of the tweezers I gently pat the flock down to ensure a good bond and then tap the base against the cutting mat to free any excess for recycling and blow the base to remove any stubborn excess. Add any tufts of grass with a small dab of Super Glue.

Stage 9 – Open the window or go outside, spray a coat of Matt Varnish over the whole model. Test first over a spare model until happy with process. I sprayed too close / too heavy on one scout and it ‘frosted’ ruining it and needing extensive scraping and re-painting!

Stage 10 (optional) – Paint a coat of ‘Ardcoat gloss on the bevelled edge of the base to protect and shine. I do my Relictor shoulder pads and any gold and glass effect too, and any lenses/glass for a reflective shine. Rinse brush thoroughly.
The finished base.


  1. Nice step by step for basing.
    Everyone has got their ways but this is a nice, simple and clean method for basing.

  2. ah the art of basing.... i must say i dont really enjoy basing. its a delay to the finished model but it has to be done really. so any article making my basing life easier is great in my eyes.



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