Monday, April 25, 2011

Basing walkthrough

Following up on the painting Confederates step by step a walkthrough of how I base my minis.

No shortcuts for me when it comes to basing. It is such an important factor to the final look of the unit that I even do some extra highlights on top of the usual three I do on figures. The time it takes to do an extra drybrush really is neglectable in the whole process. We are talking only a couple of minutes here. The complete unit was based in around one hour excluding drying time for the pumice.

The good thing about basing is that you can make mistakes. You will always get a second chance in the next step to correct and there is nothing a well placed tuft or grass can't hide. So I grab a large brush and start throwing pumice and paint on.

First up the end result

Because the walkthrough is picture heavy you will have to press the read more to enter...

The Tools

Very, very fine sand

Mixed with fine sand (sandpit)

Vallejo pumice with fine texture

The paints used, skip the chocolate if you want a lighter look

For the tufts I mainly used  737-22 Silflor Tufts for this unit. 4mm two colour. I also use different colours or lengths for variation. I have some flower packs from silflor as well which I will use on this unit. Bought some of the tufts from GreenLine recently and my first impression is they are more difficult to apply and are of less quality than Silflor.

The Steps

Apply pumice with an old brush and scatter the sand over the pumice. If I want some larger stones I press them in the pumice at this stage so it blends more naturally with the ground.

Vallejo chocolate brown over the complete base

Heavy drybrush of Vallejo flat earth. I also paint the edges flat earth and deliberately hit the shoes and pants.

Good drybrush of Vallejo Germ. Cam. Orange Ochre

Drybrush Vallejo Desert Yellow

Light drybrush Vallejo Iraqi Sand, also boots and trousers.

Just touch some area's with mix Iraqi Sand-Offwhite, 50/50

Apply the tufts and in this case red flowers that go nicely with the flag and the other reds...

Other examples:

On 15mm

Couldn't resist as I just finished these. Next post some more pictures...


  1. Excellent article.

    I really do not like basing figures but seeing the end results with your models, I really should do more.

    At least I have discovered Silfor Grass Tufts - definitely an effective way of dressing a base

  2. Great walkthrough, thanks!

    Great blog full of lovely minis, keep up the good work!

  3. You weren't kidding about detailed basing, that's great work.

  4. Good article, I do something similar myself but someghow it doesn´t turn out like yours.

  5. Very smart basing indeed. I really liked the Iraqui Sand being drybrushed onto the boots and trousers as well as onto the base.

  6. Fantastic stuff indeed; the extra effort really makes the difference. Well done.

  7. Hi Michael,

    Great tutorial very clear and good to follow. May I be so bold as to give some unasked advice ? Instead of using a Acrylic first layer of paint (in your case chocolat) I tend to use humbrol as a first layer. The reason being that it gives a much more matt finish but even better due to mixing it with terpentine it flows MUCH MUCH better than acrylic paint between the gritt and sand. admittedly it does smell a bit during application.

  8. Thanks for taking the time to reply! Much appreciated.
    Rene, good advise. I had sworn off Humbrol because of the hassle and the smell. Your comment makes me rethink so I look forward seeing some of your stuff when you join us for a game soon.

  9. Great post, I've not heard of the pumice material, I'll have to look out for that and give it a go, thanks for the tutorial!