By smacdowall, Mar 6 2016 04:36PM
Basing is not one of my favourite things to do but good bases can make all the difference. After more than 40 years of playing around with various basing methods I am now very happy with my usual method which balances ease of application with good looks.
My first step is to paint the base green, then I apply water-soluble wood filler to build it up, cover the bases on the miniatures and to add texture. I thin the filler out with water and apply first with a cocktail stick and then with an old brush. I also tend to add a few bits of additional miscellaneous scenery such as pebbles, bits of lichen or twigs. I tend to do this at this stage since it is easier to embed them in the wet filler than to glue on later.
After letting it dry throughly (leaving it for a day) I use a very thin wash of Liquetex Raw Umber to stain it. This works just like staining real wood, shading the depths and bringing out the detail. It also turns the very light wood colour to something more like dry earth. It is important to let the wood filler dry out properly otherwise the watered down paint will mix with the filler rather than staining it.
Again I let it dry thoroughly and then quite often I will dry-brush the highlights with a sandstone colour. This lifts the detail and is particularly effective if I want the base to represent arid ground with only a few tufts of grass. The base of the figure on the right has been dry brushed while the others have only been stained. I usually don’t bother to do this for bases with lots of foot figures and lots of flocking as it will end up being mostly covered up.
Next step is flocking. I tend to use at least two types of flock. The first is fairly fine mixture to give a relatively full coverage while the second is static grass which gives both variety and more of a three dimensional look. For a more arid Mediterranean or Middle Eastern feel I tend to use only a few dabs of static grass over the beige/brown base.
As these Croats will be seeing service in Northern Europe I want more grass than dirt so I first dab bits of white glue in a random pattern around the base. I thin the glue down with water and use an old paint brush to apply it, not forgetting the base edges.
Then I place the figure in my flock tray (which started out life as a box of Ferrero Rochers) sift it around and shake of the excess flock.
This leaves a patchy looking base which I let fully dry off before applying the next layer.
Another few dabs of thinned down white glue follow to fill in the bare patches. As the lighter coloured static grass acts as a highlight I don’t attempt quite the same coverage as I do with the darker flock. What I am looking for is a few tufts to bring the base to life.
The finer flock will adhered easily to the glue but static grass needs a bit of encouragement so I press down on it with my thumb (or the back of a paint brush for hard to reach areas) this ensures a good clump will adhere to the base.
The final look I am after is a blend of different grasses and weeds with patches of ground showing through.
And here is another view of the finished Croat light cavalry unit.