Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Basing Space Marines

After painting your miniatures, the next best thing you can do is to add something to the base. A well painted mini is great, but an excellent looking base can make a model fantastic and add dynamic scenery or contrasting colors to the paint scheme. Basing is another step and more work at the end of an already long process, but it is well worth your time.

Choosing what type of base to do can be fun, and there's only a few guiding principles. When you first start out try to keep it simple with just one element on the base. For instance, a base covered in sand (as I'll show later in the post) or in grass or maybe rocks. Having sand and rocks, or rocks and rubble/debris, or a mix of desert grass and sand also looks great, and I would recommend trying those more advanced bases eventually, but those bases require another level of expertise.

Also, try to choose a base color that goes with your minis paint scheme. For Genesis Chapter, the brighter colored sand helps to lighten up an overall dark model. Generally models with lighter schemes have dark bases, and vice versa.

Here is a step-by-step process of how I based my marines.

Tools of the Trade. Citadel sand, tooth picks and Citadel PVA glue.

First, I take a finished Marine and clean his base. You can use water if you want. I normally take a clean "dust brush" so to speak that I use to brush away any dust that has settled while constructing the mini. This will create a nice, clean surface for the glue.

Apply the PVA glue by squeezing it carefully onto the base. I put glue on both sides to make sure I get enough.
Try to spread the glue evenly out of the bottle, but you can add more later if you need to.

I start spreading the glue with a toothpick. It's not too difficult, although the PVA glue from Citadel is not the easiest to work with as its pretty thick. Be patient with it and make sure to cover all the black areas. Any surface left exposed will not take any sand, so make sure not to miss any areas.
The glue does not set up fast, so don't rush through this stage. Work with the glue until you have all the areas covered.
Make sure to get around the feet too. Try not to get any glue on the armour, but you can wipe it off easily if you do.
Next comes "sanding" the model. I simply place the model in the sand and push more sand onto the base until the Marine is ankle deep.
Let the glue and sand sit for a couple minutes before working with it again.
Once you remove the Marine from the sand it should look something like this.
To remove excess sand, you can  gently shake the model at first. After that I use the stick of a paint brush and tap the side of the base to knock off any extra sand. The glue will not be totally dry yet, so don't push on the sand that is supposed to be there.
Finished product. The glue dries clear, so the sand will be a little darker eventually than shown in this picture. I don't add any paint to the sand as I like it's naturally color in contrast to the Genesis paint scheme.

The whole process only takes a few minutes, and the end result looks good. It is worth your time to base the models. I am hoping with my next armies to branch out with more creative basing styles.