Custom Bases for Hand Painted RPG and Wargame Miniatures

I’m sharing the basic process I’ve developed for basing my minis. Aleene’s Tacky Glue, GF9 static grass and lava rocks/sand are all I’m using. Here’s What I’ve taught myself to do so far, in a nutshell:

Step one:

I’ll Spread some Tacky Glue or whatever I’m using as an adhesive glue on the base where I want some grass to appear.

Some Tacky Glue on the base to start. Click to Enlarge.
Some Tacky Glue on the base to start. Click to Enlarge.

 

GF9 Static Grasses that I'm using. Click to Enlarge.
GF9 Static Grasses that I’m using. Click to Enlarge.

I applied green “Winter/Dead Static Grass” (left in the picture above) first over the glue in front of the mini and then tamped that down a little with a toothpick. Then I put some yellow “Parched Straw” static grass over top of the green grass and smooshed it a little harder with the toothpick into the glue to make sure some stuck. I did the same thing for the grass behind the mini, only in reverse color order; first yellow, then green. I did that for comparison purposes but honestly there’s no way to tell the difference in the final product.

After application of static grass to the mini base. Click to Enlarge.
After application of static grass to the mini base. Click to Enlarge.

Next I squirted some glue on the remaining base surfaces, where I intend to place rocks and sand among the grasses. I then spread it around to get it on to all the surfaces of the miniature base and to even it out a little bit.

Spreading glue on the miniature base with a toothpick. Click to Enlarge.
Spreading glue on the miniature base with a toothpick. Click to Enlarge.

I use a hammer head (broken off of a wooden handled hammer that gave its life this year) to crush lava rock gas grill “coals” into dust, sand and pebbles for miniature terrain and bases. Having prepped the surface with Tacky Glue, I just sprinkle some onto the base, turn it over and tap off the excess and blow it off a bit.

Volcanic rock / sand and dust for miniature base and landscape. Click to Enlarge.
Volcanic rock / sand and dust for miniature base and landscape. Click to Enlarge.

It’s covered with sand at first. I just knock the excess off and blow on it a little to get rid of loose material that will just end up falling off the miniature base later on.

Red volcanic rock sand and static grass base. Click to Enlarge.
Red volcanic rock sand and static grass base. Click to Enlarge.
With just grass and sand. Click to Enlarge.
With just grass and sand. Click to Enlarge.

To ┬ábreak up that flat, even surface a little, I’ll add little accent rocks by gluing a couple of individual pebbles down on the grass or the sand. Just breaking up that surface with a couple of objects really adds a ton of character to the base.

Individual rocks and details added. Click to Enlarge.
Individual rocks and details added. Click to Enlarge.

 

Accent rocks and pieces added. Click to Enlarge.
Accent rocks and pieces added. Click to Enlarge.
Accent rocks and pieces added. Click to Enlarge.
Accent rocks and pieces added. Click to Enlarge.

Noticing the gap created by the slotty base I used to mount these vintage Ral Partha skeleton miniatures, I picked out a larger pebble and glued it over the hole.

 

Accent rocks and pieces added. Click to Enlarge.
Accent rocks and pieces added. Click to Enlarge.

 

A pebble that's twice the size of his head. Click to Enlarge.
A pebble that’s twice the size of his head. Click to Enlarge.
A pebble that's twice the size of his head. Click to Enlarge.
A pebble that’s twice the size of his head. Click to Enlarge.
The finished base with sand, rocks and static grass. Click to Enlarge.
The finished base with sand, rocks and static grass. Click to Enlarge.
The finished base with sand, rocks and static grass. Click to Enlarge.
The finished base with sand, rocks and static grass. Click to Enlarge.
The finished base with sand, rocks and static grass. Click to Enlarge.
The finished base with sand, rocks and static grass. Click to Enlarge.
Accent rocks and pieces added. Click to Enlarge.
Accent rocks and pieces added. Click to Enlarge.
The finished base with sand, rocks and static grass. Click to Enlarge.
The finished base with sand, rocks and static grass. Click to Enlarge.

 

Did you notice there’s only one step?

Step one: start.

That’s the most important one.