I've been meaning to put together a basing article forever... the only thing holding me back for so long is that I assumed most people had seen similar articles. But finally I decided that it's really just part of the completeness of this site to have a basic basinc article! So, without further ado... Also, there is some humourous-ness in that I chose some GW figs for this article :)
One question that I'm often asked is 'why do I paint the base before I paint the figure?'. The primary reason is so that I can paint the base without worrying about ruining the meticulous painting that I did on the figure. Essentially, I can be fast and sloppy with basing. This makes sense since I am going to carefully paint the figure, there's not paint in having to carefully paint the base too! The other reason is that when the painting is done, the figure is done! I don't have to spend time basing :) It's helped me because I'm never tempted to play with unbased figures!
The figures ready for the first step: gluing the figs on to the bases.
First, the super glue. I don't use plastic glue for a number of reason, but primarily because the fewer different glues I need, the happier I am. Super glue (cyano acryllate) is pretty good for anything. And also with cyano, less is more!
After the super glue/cyano is dry (not before) put some white glue down. I use standard Elmer's all-purpose. Don't use 'school glue', it's not as good because it doesn't stick to plastic all that well.
Spread it around with an old brush. If you didn't bother to wait for the super glue/cyano to cure this is the point where your brush turns into a hard clump of super glue, and you may as well throw it away now ;) You don't want the white glue to be too thin here. Thicker is fine, but don't let it cover any parts of the miniature.
Light sprinkle of coarse ballast. Coarse ballast comes from the train or hobby store from Woodland Scenics. I get the black stuff (I think it might be called coal or something) because then I don't have to base coat it. Of course, you can always buy ballast of the desired base colour as well. For me though, I do bases in different colours often, so black is the best option.
Dip it in fine ballast, or black sand, or whatever. The fine stuff. The stuff I'm using in this picture I got from the commercial craft store and it's kinda sparkly. I don't recommend it, except that it's much cheaper than fine ballast from Woodland Scenics. Unfortunately, you have to paint it pretty well otherwise it will be a bit sparkly... then again, it will sparkle a bit if you use glossy top coat on your figures anyway... so use what suits you best.
24 hours later we have the raw figure with the basing material applied. I typically do all the basing on my next set of figures just before I finish the current set. This allows me to leave the bases to dry over night without leaving me with nothing else to do in the mean time :) At this time, it's time to prime the whole figure. I also prime before the basing material is on as well. Either is fine.
Now it's time to paint. This is one of my favourite basing colour schemes: dark gray, light gray, white. I mixed all these myself, but you get the gist.
Another favourite basing paint scheme for me is the 'KHAKI GREY' base colour from Vallejo. Some time ago I had the local hardwawre store mix up a huge can of this colour for me, so I have droves of it! I mixed the highlights myself.
My final favourite basing scheme is burnt umber, roman stucco (from Delta Ceramcoat), which is the same as IWM 'leather', and finally ivory. I can pretty much guarontee that all of the figures on my site are based with one of the above three colour schemes.
Tough to see well, but with these figs I decided to go with the gray to white scheme, and this is the first dark-gray colour applied. It's not drybrushed, but not painted perfectly. Just quickly painted with some of the black showing through in the cracks.
The second highlight is heavily drybrushed on to give texture and depth. Feel free to stop here and call it finished.
But if you want a little more height and definition, do a light or very light drybrush of white. Now it's time to paint the figure!
Once the above miniature is painted up, I'll extend this article to include additional flocking such as static grass, clump foliage, grass tufts, and leaves... until then...