Base Experiment: Wet, Dark Earth

I have been thinking for awhile now about how to base my miniatures because for the past five years or so I have almost exclusively based my figures by simply gluing sand and maybe putting in a rock or bush somewhere.  Works fine, but now I’m painting miniatures that I don’t want to put in the sand, like dwarves, so I’ve trying out some different things.

I liked some of the bases John did, over at Just Needs Varnish!, so his ideas served as a starting point and spurred me to buy some Vallejo texture pastes.  For my latest base, I wanted to use a fairly easy process to create some wet, dark earth and the pictures below are what I came up with.

The pictures show the bases a bit lighter and grainier than they actually are, but they do convey the general idea.  The basing process I used is as follows:

  • Glued a couple of rocks onto an old, unprimed base, then applied Vallejo Dark Earth Texture (26.218).  I watered a bit of the texture down and used it as a wash on the rocks too.  I used some texture wash on the plant as well.
  • Washed base and plant with Agrax Earthshade and Nuln Oil in two steps.  Used some watered down Agrax on the rocks, but I skipped Nuln Oil because I didn’t want to darken down the rocks too much.
  • Dry brushed with Gorthor Brown.
  • Applied Glossy Nuln Oil to base and plant.  Thinned the wash down greatly so I would achieve some shine without excessive darkening and applied to the rocks.
  • I think I could do some additional dry brushing with Gorthor Brown again, if I wanted to lighten things up more, but I’m happy with how it looks for darker earth.

For my next basing experiment I would like to try something like what I just did, but add a mud puddle or two to the mix.  This will serve the dual purpose of allowing me to learn something about puddles and to see if I can replicate a base similar to the one I already made.

I recently finished poxwalker #18 in my long-term project of painting the twenty that came in the Dark Imperium set.  I’m going to include this now painted worthy in my April Paint the Crap You Already Own! challenge, and I will put up some pictures of my newest addition to the Painted Horde for my next post.

Any advice about creating mud puddles?  If so, I’d love to read what you have to say in the comments.

It’s a deep subject….

Basing with Vallejo Earth Texture

Since I’ve started doing more painting that involves roleplaying games and less that involves Warhammer 40K, I’ve been thinking about basing more lately.  For many years my basing consisted of some sand with maybe a rock here and there, and the occasional yellow shrub.  I don’t see the majority of the miniatures I’m painting or thinking of painting these days being desert themed, so I figure it might be a good idea to experiment with some different bases.*

I noticed that Baron John Varnish wrote about some bases he did using Vallejo Earth Texture, that look easy so after conferring with him a bit on the subject (thanks, John!) I thought I might give it a whirl myself.

Finally found a use for those square bases.

Turns out I really like this Vallejo texture.  You get a good-sized pot for the price, and all I had to do was slather it on.  No priming or prep work of any kind needed.  I did two bases and washed the larger base on the left with Agrax Earthshade and the smaller base on the right with a 50/50 mix of Agrax and Nuln Oil.

One thing I quickly found was that you only need a little Nuln Oil to darken whatever you mix it with.  My half-and-half mix ended up looking like straight Nuln Oil.  I noticed that the Earth Texture has a lot of orange and retains its orange highlights even with a couple of doses of Agrax.  Now that is fine if you are trying to model, say, clay from a riverbank or what have you, but for the most part I think I’d rather have the tone look more like the smaller base on the right.**

Same texture, different washes.

I wanted to continue along the same likes as John so I finished off the base by dry brushing with Gorthor Brown and adding an Army Painter winter tuft and some static grass.***  The result below isn’t too bad, I think, considering how little work it all took.  Tonight I’m going to put some Agrax on the static grass to make it look a bit matted down and dirty.  I’ll post another picture of that probably next time, along with my first finished dwarf.

I am almost done with the blond guy and all that I have left is shading his red cloak and tiding up the base.  After that I’ll probably finish the orange-bearded one.  I also bought a pot of Celestra Grey so I can base the cloth on my friend’s pig demon.  Will post more pictures once that is done.

Unicursal hexagram 100 wide

* For instance, I don’t see my dwarves as being a bunch of pseudo-Bedouin hanging out with Durin of Arabia!

** I decided to buy some Vallejo Dark Earth Texture (26.218) as well.  Once I get a chance to try it out I’ll report what I think.  That orange “clay” does remind me of northern Maine.  That stuff is pretty common up there.

*** John only reluctantly admits to maybe possessing a couple of ancient, encrusted bottles of GW washes, no doubt scavenged many years ago from a now long extinct FLGS, since as I understand he runs in certain, rarified painting cabals where GW products are heretical.  My discussion here in no way is meant to imply that John endorses, approves of, owns, or tolerates GW products in general.