Basing 101 : Broken Ground

Realistic basing is easy and inexpensive and really adds to your model.
Often many of the basic basing techniques and material are improperly applied and can really ruin an otherwise great looking mini.

In this article I will show you the techniques and material that I use to make my most common bases.

I call this "Broken Ground", it can be used to represent many different types of terrain, such as dirt, stone, desert and more. By changing the paint colors and adding details, it is also a great foundation for more complex basing like snow, woodland and swamp. It is a great start for a base for your miniature and can be used to represent many battlefields.

Here's what you will need;

A model and base
PVA or white glue
small slate chips
paint and drybrush
black wash
static grass, short

1. Build your model and attach to base with super glue, make sure you do all the build up work to the model and prep it for paint including removing mold lines and seam filling.

2. Glue small size slate chips to base with superglue. I am using a single stone, but you may add more to make a rocky base, but don't go overboard. I use slate because I like the longer flatter stones, when glued down they give the look that they are in the ground and not sitting on top of it.

3. Using PVA or white glue, and a toothpick spread the glue around to cover the rest of the base.

4. Dunk the base into the sand mix. I like real sand from outside, I have found a great spot with some coarse sand that I like best. It has small particles and some slightly larger bits here and there. The particles should be very small like table salt to look realistic, avoid model railroad ballast as it is all the same size and too uniform.

5. Primer the model, this will lock down the sand.

At this time I paint the miniature.

6. Paint the base with 3 graduating coats.

I start with a sloppy drybrush of Graveyard Earth.

then a drybrush of Kommando Khaki

and finished with drybrush of Bleached Bone.

7. A wash of Badab Black to add some depth and blend the highlights.

8. Then I cleanup the edge of the base with black paint.

9. I use a small dab or two of PVA/White glue and some static grass. I like using pale green or dead looking tan grass, and I place it in small clumps or next to the base of a slate chip rock. You could also use snow flocking instead of the static grass using larger dabs of glue.

And that is pretty much it.

An inexpensive way to make your own slate stones is to buy a 1 foot by 1 foot slate flooring tile from your local do it yourself building depot, I got mine from Home Depot for about 3 bucks, and bust it up into small pieces with a hammer.

Thats a single tile in the box which is shoebox size and the chips will need more hammer work to get them small enough for basing.

In the UK you can buy bags of chipped slate for garden use, but I haven't found a source yet in the US.

As for static grass, I like to buy the giant model railroad shaker jugs, a huge 32oz for 10 bucks.

As a bonus for all of you that have read this far, and without advertising in the title, I will randomly select from the comments 3 readers to send a custom basing set with a supply of my special secret sand mix, some slate stones, static grass, and my secret formula basing wash.

All you have to do is comment on this post and write a review of the basing set after you use it. ( in email form or on your own blog)

Hope you enjoy!