Addicted to Base

Time for one of my random articles ... today, Notes from the Modelling Table on bases.  I've recently been trying a few more interesting variations on the normal flock 'n' shake, and thought I'd put up a little spiel on what I've come up with.

Firstly, the lovely models to key left are Warlord Games' 28mm Waffen-SS.  They're part of a WW2 project, looking at some of the less well-known aspects of the war (in this case, some of the foreign contingents; these will eventually be French volunteers).  I know it's not Palladian Guard, but I'm going somewhere with this.  As regular readers may know, I'm a big fan of using polyfiller.  It can instantly apply great deals of bulk for things like mud onto a model, it's very cheap, and it naturally dries into quite a rough, natural finish and is easy to paint.

One of my biggest problems with the standard issue slottabases (and all war-games bases), is the flat, drab surface onto which a lot of really
top-quality bases are modelled.  I like to emphasise the details in the ground by having furrows, mounds, ledges, etc, something that's hard to achieve with PVA bases.  This NCO below does look a bit more natural up to his ankles lying down in the mud.  This is really as simple as it looks, I couldn't even do a step-by-step.  I used a sculpting tool to push the filler on to the base but this is a bit of a luxury.  A finger works just as well.  The whole boxed set took about 45 minutes to do, which is quite a lot of investment in terms of time, but the finished result should look a lot more natural.

One thing I will say about filler: it can be quite fragile once dry, and bits shear off it from time to time.  This can be prevented by a) not being too ambitious and building anything which sticks off the ground too much, and b) by applying a 50:50 mix of PVA and water to seal the base afterwards (see the MG42 gunner below).

So, what does it look like when it's done?  Well, the mud base (no pun intended) gives you a lot to play with.  For the WW2 blokes, I'm tempted to go for a muddy swamp (for the mostly Eastern Front games), so probably a few toothbrush-bristle reeds and a Scorched Brown thick mud should look good for them.

For a bit of contrast, the Gladiators I'm (still) working on have a unique base in being very pure, flat sand.  Even in this case, a bit of rough, uneven texture improved a model I would have just just based with plain sand.

For comparison, I've you can take a look at my 'standard' technique I use on my current Guard army, which combines the 40K basing kit with common-or-garden sand.  In actual fact, this sand was free since I stole it off a beach in Scotland many years ago, and it's still supplying me now.  As with most of my bases, I tend to undercoat them first then paint on the colours myself, except for grass flock, of course.

So, bases secure and ready?  I think that this is a somewhat underestimated side of the hobby, and that they really serve to unify an army visually.  Take the example of Warhammer Skeletons; some of the flattest, monochromatic models out there but with some decent shading and time spent on basing you can have a really top-quality model with comparatively little effort.

Anyway, signing off now, still waiting for GW to send my blasted order, so no updates to the Guard army I fear.  I pretty much have the 2,000 its I need for our club's normal games, so now I'm in the 'buy whatever looks cool' phase of army construction, as well as going back over old models and polishing them up a bit.  Hopefully, once I get through all the monotonous infantry squads I can do a whole army photoshoot.

Until the next time, comrades, game long and prosper!


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