Sunday, February 1, 2015

Musings on Bases

Basing miniatures properly is, from what I can see online, often overlooked. Not only do bases provide a backdrop against miniatures are to stand out from, but they also provide an opportunity to complement the model.

For example, if the model is mostly flat and without detail, the base could be busy and very detailed to offset. Or vice versa. Or, if the model is mostly dark, the base should be light in order to at least help accentuate the shape of the model. Or, if the model is very colorful, a gray background could make the model stand out.

My army color scheme is a combination of dark grays and light blues, for the most part. The blues were to be on the outer parts of models, in general. So, the backdrop needed to be warmish in tone. Considering the parallel between Necrons and Tomb Kings from Warhammer Fantasy, the choice was obvious: parched, dry, desert earth. Interesting texture of a nice, warm color. Not much opportunity for props, though. Skulls, bones, some stones maybe, not more than that.

I searched online for ways to create this parched earth effect. I stumbled upon these two resources: a tutorial by Tyros on WestGamer, and a video by EonsOfBattle. There were a few others, but these two achieved an effect that was closest to what I was looking for.

I bought some Distress Crackle Paint online and got started. My first experiments were not going that well to say the least, and I ruined a few bases before getting to what I was looking for.

The leftmost base had the best cracks, but it looked very boring, pale like that. The upper base is a more classic Necron base: strange, dark material with green crystals. The model blended in completely, it looked terrible. The right base looked sufficiently dry, but too brown, and I completely messed up the cracks on that one. They were far too big. The last base, the one down, I repainted several times completely, trying to get the colors right. I just couldn't.

To get the cracks the way I wanted to, I applied a thin layer of PVA glue before a layer of crackle paste. I cannot really tell how thick the layers were, I don't remember. But some bases turned out great, some not so much. Not really helpful, is it. Later down the line, I had to completely redo the crackle on my Scythe base after getting it wrong.

Eventually, after sufficient random experimentation, I got something that looked alright:

Basically, (pun proudly intended) it's just Tallarn Sand, followed by a light application of Agrax Earthshade, followed by a drybrush of Tallarn Sand (to ensure any wash remains in the recesses only) and a drybrush of Ushabti Bone.

Here is a pic I took after applying the first coat of Tallarn Sand, before washing and drybrushing:

I painted stones in Eshin Grey and drybrushed Scar White.

And here are they!

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