Thursday, 1 August 2013

Making snow bases for miniatures

A mid week post!

As a follow up to my Legion of Orangeblight post, I've put together a quick step by step tutorial of how I made the bases.  I like to imagine someone asked me how I did it.

I also want to remind anyone out there who might be interested that I am giving away some painted Genestealers as a little compo on my previous blog post - not many people seem keen so a very good chance you'll get one if you follow the instructions.

So, snowy bases.

Step 1: Select your bases.   These are 40mm round recessed bases for Hordes figures, but this works for most bases.
Step 2: The left base is going to be a low base and I need to cover the slot as I will be using sand to texture the base.  The right will be raised with stone, using cork, so I dont need to worry about the gap.
Step 3: PVA.  I water the glue down by varying amounts for different uses.  At this point its 80% glue, a nice thick coating.
Step 4: Positioning some cork.  This is a 2-3mm thick piece from a tile.  Different thicknesses work, depending on the look you are after and what you can find (I'm struggling to find a supply).  The cork will stick really firmly to the PVA.
Step 5: Dipping in sand.  I have a tin with sand of all sorts of grades mixed in and some small bits of slate.  Whenever I pop to a hobby store and they have some sand I haven't seen before I buy a small bag and add it to my tin.  Make sure all the PVA is covered at this stage.
Step 6: Sealing the sand.  (Important!) Once the first coat is completely dry, using more PVA (50% mix this time) I completely coat all the sand with glue.  I've found over the years the bottom coat alone will slowly shed sand over time, especially if you play with the figure or transport it a lot,  This step helps prevent that somewhat.
Step 7: While the top coat of PVA was drying I added some more cork to my stony base to raise the level and make it wider - the beastie I have is quite long for his base size.  PVA used again (100%).
Step 8: (Only once everything is dry) position the figures. I'd already put together the figures that these bases were destined for (yes filed, pinned and greenstuff'd like the OCD hobbist I am) and added pins to their feet.  Using these as guides I was able to make small holes in the bases.  Next I used a pin vice to drill deep holes into the bases so I knew where they would sit once painted  - its easier to do this before you do a nice job and then mess it up with a drill!
 Step 9 : Undercoat - your usual choice of black spray
Step 10: Sand base coat.  I'm using GW mournfang brown here.
Step 11: Dry brush sand.  Using a small dry brush I've coated this sand in GW Averland Sunset.
Step 12 & 13: I missed a couple of photos here!  First I base coated the stone in GW Fang and then drybrushed it with both Russ Grey and Fenris Grey.  I should have tidied the black edges of the bases at this point - make sure you do.
Step 14: Snow goo.  So my recipe for cheap snow is baking soda and PVA.  I mix by eye, till I get the consistency you see here.  Just add more powder or glue as needed till you are happy.
Step 15: Apply snow like paste.  Plonk the snow down where you think looks best.  I'm still figuring out how best to do this both practically (with a paint brush or modelling tool seems best so far) and aesthetically (it doesn't always look great).  You can apply many layers of paste if you like (leave each to dry before adding the next) if you want really deep snow.
Step 16: Make fluffy snow.  Once everything was dry, using PVA (80%) I lightly coated the snow paste and then dusted the bases with baking soda.  This will mean that powder will come off the bases for a while (even blowing really hard doesn't remove all the loose powder) but it looks much better than leaving at just the paste stage.

Step 17: Was tidy up the paint on the bases but I quickly found out that the baking soda sucks paint to it from some distance away so this is not the place to do this.  Tidy the bases at step 13.

Well that's it, hope this is useful and don't forget, free Genestealers!

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