Sunday, February 24, 2013

Highland Bases Tutorial

With Adepticon around the corner I decided to build and paint a brand new 1200 point army for the team event.  While I will be unveiling the army in the future I wanted to take this opportunity to share the bases that I've come up with and provide a tutorial for my process.  The goal was to give the army the look of standing in a highland field reminiscent of the Lord of the Rings movies.  I used resin bases appropriately named Highland Crag from Forgecraft Games. I highly recommend these bases as they are high quality, inexpensive and Forgecraft ships them very quickly.   

Here is my step by step tutorial for how I transformed the blank resin base to the finished base in the picture above.

First clean the bottom and edges of the base with fine sand paper.  Follow this with scrubbing the bases with soap and a tooth brush then thoroughly rinse.  This ensures all the release agents are removed.

After letting the bases completely dry prime the bases with Krylon Gray spray primer.

Base coat the base with 2 thin layers of Vallejo Cold Grey.  

Highlight the bases with with a heavy dry brush of Vallejo Stonewall Grey.

Highlight the bases with a light dry brush of Vallejo Ghost Grey.  

Break up the grey on the bases by sporadically applying GW Agrax Earthshade Wash.  Apply the wash on the horizontal surfaces in small splotches and quickly remove the wash using a second, dry brush.  Here is what the wash looks like before removing it.  Make sure to remove it quickly or the wash will leave unnatural rings on the surface.

Here is what the wash should look like when after the excess wash is removed.  What you are going for is a subtle staining of color that breaks up the grey surface.  

Apply GW Athonian Camoshade wash to the edges of the rocks, paying particular attention to overhangs where moss would likely grow.  As with the previous wash use a clean, dry brush to remove excess wash.

On the areas that will receive the grass apply a thin coat of Vallejo Charred Brown.

Re apply Vallejo Cold Grey to the edges of the base. Spray the base with Dull Coat, or any clear protective spray you want to use. 

Using a small dropper bottle applye a 1 to 1 mix of PVA glue and water on the areas painted brown.

Using a wet brush spread the glue mixture to ensure full coverage.

Using a sifter apply Farm Pasture Flock and Turf Blend over the wet glue mixture.  Try to ensure that you get full, but light, coverage as this will be the undergrowth of the final grass.  When dry shake off the excess material.

After the glue is completely dry apply from the previous step apply the same 1 to 1 mix of PVA glue and water to the grass areas.  Use a wet brush to ensure you get complete saturation.

Using a Static Grass Applicator place the ground into the wet glue mixture and sift Late Summer 2mm Static Grass over the glue. By using the the applicator you will find the grass stands naturally on end.  However, in a pinch the Noch Grass Squeeze Applicator can also achieve excellent results. 

After the glue is completely dry apply additional plants to the base to break up the static grass texture and add visual interest.  For these bases I've used Silfor grass tufts and flowers from Scenic Express.  Place a drop of PVA glue and gently push the plants into the glue.  Don't push down to hard or you will deform the plant.  After the glue is dry additional watered down glue or matte medium can be applied near the base of the plant to ensure they stay in place. 

Here is the finished base.  Realize that this process is a more difficult if you have a miniature mounted to the base.  :)

One last thought, make sure to add magnets to the resin base to make it attach to steel inserts in the movement tray (if you go that route).  

UPDATE:  here are some photos of these same techniques applied to a chariot base.


Eric said...

Yes. Highly recommend Siflor. That stuff is good and way cheaper than the tuft you can get from some other sources.

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