Guide to Basing Texture
Most gamers typically paint and flock their element bases, perhaps adding a few small stones or kitty litter. Others take basing a step farther, using a filler or medium such as spackle, plaster paste, putty, modeller's paste, or flocking gel to build up the element base in order to create the impression of rough or uneven terrain and/or to hide the bases of the miniatures. The technique depends to a certain extent on the medium, but typically involves spreading the medium on the base with some type of metal spatula, flat wooden scrap, heavy card or brush after the miniatures have been adhered . The dried base texture can be painted and left exposed and/or flocked. A variety of materials can be used to provide texture to your element bases. Here are a several suggestions and useful tips clipped from the rec.games.miniatures.historical newsgroup and other sources:
Jerry: Miliput or a similar material has excellent adhesive properties, does not fall off, can be painted and flocked if you choose. Another alternative is woodfiller that is sold in a small plastic container. It can be worked with a small pallette knife and does cover well. First choice for me would be Miliput.
Joe Hlebasko: I've used some stuff called "Molding Paste" made bu Golden. It is an acrylic based material and can be found at most arts & craft supply stores such as Hobby Lobby or Michaels for around $7/8 fl oz bottle. A bottle can do around 300 figures. I have based over 400+ figures with it and no cracks! It also can be tinted with colored paint so I tend to add a drop or two of green paint and if it does ever crack it won't be that noticeable because it all green. Another trick is to add bits of model railroad gravel to the paste to get a rocky textured finish.
Blaze: I've got a section started on my site using Flocking Gel (by Renaissance Ink). It is a fine texture gel which tends to be much nicer than using putty. You'll find most modeling putties have a harsh odor. Most folks don't like that. However, modeling putty is an option. I'd suggest ordering a sampler kit from Renaissance Ink. I got one and I've tried out all of the flocking Gels. This will let you try out all of the textures to see if you like one of them. Medium coarse is the one on my tutorial right now. I've used the others and it seems that medium looks best for 25mm figure bases. The extra fine dries clear and seems to be good for water. The fine dries cloudy but is thick enough to set up as a filler around the base.
Shawn Fisher: I bought some spackling compound the other day and it seems to work fine. I based some trees I made, using the pipe cleaner method (and I'm happy with how they turned out) with it and let it dry according to the directions. It's been over a week now and I have no cracks or chipping. The specific product is called DAP DryDex and it comes in a small 4oz. squeeze tube--it comes out pink, but dries white. I just kneaded the tube, snipped off the end, and squirted it directly onto the base of the tree, then let it dry overnight (the pink bases looked really sissy, but they dried to a nice neutral white). Then I covered with white glue/water and dipped it into my bowl of flock and kitty litter. Glued on some pebbles for character and then painted the whole thing with some touch up and wash. Finished up with a couple of coats of Dullcoat on the base and I was done. They seem to be holding up fine and they look great.
Andy O'Neill: I use Tetrion filler, which is used to fill dents in plaster walls and includes some sort of acrylic substance I think. I have a tub of tetrion with black and umber acrylic paint mixed - so if the base chips there's a darker patch rather than white. I have no problems with this stuff cracking. Over the filler, I slap PVA + Black + Umber acrylic, dip in dried earth. Patches of mixed cork flock and then mixed static grass are then glued on with thinned PVA. If you can't find any better filler material, I would suggest whatever you got plus sand plus PVA will mix up into a paste that'll be less likely to shrink. Maybe the cheap acrylic paint I add also has some sort of structural value.
Mark Serafin: I've had great luck with spackle. I use the lightweight stuff, like Red Devil (or the Eagle equivalent), which is cheap and lasts a long time. I thin it with a little water and add some brown paint to it. Adding the paint to the mixture allows me to skip the step of painting it, and it any gets chipped off, one isn't left with a glaring white spot on the stand. Slather the stuff on and add flocking. Press the flocking in a little bit, let it dry and tap off the excess. Works fine for most gaming purposes, but then I'm only doing 15mm and 25mm individual. I'm not sure how it would work for a detailed multi-figure 15mm stand, though it seems like it would be a good medium for those, as well.
Last Updated: March 10, 2001
Comments, suggested additions, and/or critiques welcome. Direct them to Chris Brantley at IamFanaticus@gmail.com.