Hello fellow hobbyists and miniature aficionados!
Dr. D here to share something that isn’t on a color wheel at ALL…….sorta. I am going to show you how you can spice up some of your MCP model basing. I am not sure if you know this or not, but I have written a couple articles here and here about painting this space menace to society, Corvus Glaive. One of the most rewarding parts of finishing a model is the opportunity to give them a sweet narrative base. This is a first-class ticket to Flavortown when it comes to spicing your model up into something to remember. I know you guys are hangry for content, and since I was waiting for the next project model to show up, I figured I would get this article out in the mean time.
I hadn’t learned my lesson and forgot to pre-order the next model from one of the best shops in the land, that would even give me a DISCOUNT if I had remembered. So if you want to grab a Corvus Glaive to follow along with these guides, I would whole-hearted recommend you get it here! Just make sure you use the code PCME10 to get a sweet, sweet discount.
Thankfully, I had this base taking up space in my base box from who knows what unfinished project I was working on. Inspiration hit me and it was the perfect size so I decided to get cracking. I knew that when I started doing my cosmic Marvel characters I wanted to do a different basing scheme since they probably aren’t just waltzing down Broadway Ave. when a fight breaks out. When my eyes glanced this metal grate flooring, I immediately started thinking underground space base. Maybe that’s just how my brain works, but so far people don’t seem to mind my neuroses. Not only would it look cool, it also provided a pun for this article. Thanos clearly needed something from this buried and possibly forgot facility so he sent his TOP DETECTIVE!
One of the most enjoyable aspects of doing bases for cosmic themes is that you can do almost anything your mind can imagine. If you needed an opportunity to try something crazy and unexpected than you couldn’t ask for better. The open canves of science fiction allow us to create our own stories that we can hopefully sell to the other players of these wonderful games. Obviously, when it comes to doing extreme fancy ideas you are going to need more than what we are going to use here, but this is an EXCELLENT place to get started. Maybe we can even make a boat! I know how much you guys have been wanting one of those!
Here are (most of them pictured) the paints and Tufts I used for this Tutorial
First, we need to get the metal grating part of the base setup for the later stages. This is a very easy step and be done with any kind of metal that you are looking to use. I just took some Scale 75 Thrash Metal and dry brushed it on top of the black base. This is going to give the base some texture and some interesting details that will poke up through whatever goes on top of it.
When it comes to drybrush I always recommend that you give your drybrush a wipe on a towel or the back of your thumb so that you don’t get a big smeary clump streak when you swipe it across the base.
So if we are thinking abandoned space facility it should start to show some signs of wear and tear. Nature will always attempt to reclaim that which is not maintained so its important to make sure the metal part looks like it is losing the battle against Cosmic Mother Nature. When working with metal, it’s usually a good idea to start introducing some oxidation I have found a little bit of rust can break up the monotony of a steel or iron color. GW’s Ryza Rust is an excellent quick and easy to apply texture paint. It leaves something to be desired if you are going into extreme detail, but its perfect for terrain and bases.
I then put some GW Stirland Battlemire on the base to put some top soil on top of the facility. In my brain, this meant the facility is either so old that the surrounding earth attempted to bury it, or it was underground before the Black Order started pushing the dirt around. The great news is that when you do basing like this, other people will start to create their own stories in their head, and they won’t even realize it.
Neurological Trivia Time: The human mind attempts to create stories out of things in order to help remember and process information. So if your model is telling a story, it will 100% last in their mind longer than just a grey piece of plastic. This is why people don’t necessarily need to see the same exact story as you since they will be telling their own story in their brain.
I waited a day for the goop to dry into the picture above. I was a little disappointed by the clumped up nature of the texture paint, but I only allowed myself to see an opportunity to test myself. I knew some simple drybrushing would bring the details up to the…….SURFACE. Did you get it?
I used some of GW’s Skrag Brown for a pretty heavy drybrush followed by GW’s Screaming Skull for a lighter drybrush. My only recommendation is that you wait for the Balor Brown to fully dry so that you don’t just make this sloppy mixed color that won’t create a texture we are after in the dirt. If you find that you want even more texture, I would recommended taking the drybrush and stippling some texture into the dirt. This can be done with a drybrush fairly easily as long as it isn’t too loaded with paint.
After finishing with the dirt, I moved onto Corvus’s tactical rock. Since we were in space I knew I wanted to do something that added some pastel colors. I went with a red for some kind of lichen that was growing on the bottom of the rocks. In space, you just never know what you are going to run into. I plan to complement this by adding bright colored grass to the base to enforce the alien nature of where the model is located.
I used GW’s Stormvermin Fur for the base color of the rock and then drybrushed some Monument Hobbies Titanium White to get some texture.
I then went in with a glaze of Monument Hobbies Bold Phyric Rest to give it the red lichen/shadow effect going on. At this point, I was ready to start adding grass tufts to make it look like an alien planet.
I love Gamer Grass tufts since they have a big variety on colors and sizes. I have alot of samples that I received from twitch streamers that I am still using, but they impressed me so much that whenever I do more esoteric stuff or need a new color, I can’t think of anyone else. I used their blue, red, and purple tufts for this base.
Once I put the tufts on the base I thought I was done and could varnish it and get started on the next project. I am usually a big proponent of just getting the model to 95% finish, but something about this guy was just eating away at the back of my mind.
So I admit that after I put the tufts on there and varnished it thinking I was done, I just couldn’t put my finger on something. I DIDN’T LIKE IT AND I DIDN’T KNOW WHY. My better half then told me that it just looks like normal Earth dirt colors. I then realized that she was telling me precisely what was wrong.
I sat in an empty room and totally black room for years thinking on this subject. I pondered on what an alien planet could really look like. When I thought about the shows and movies I have watched I realized that one image would keep popping into my head when it came to alien planets.
Namek from Dragonball continuously popped into my head, and I realized that it was alien because of the strange looking trees and the fact that the grass was some kind of turquoise color as opposed to Earth green. I realized that I needed to change the color of the dirt to give it more of an alien planet feel.
I pulled out Monument Hobbies Bright Yellow Green and got to work. I put some on the pallet and started watering it down so that the values of the dirt would show through. It was probably roughly 50:50 on paint to water. I then put down a thin layer over the dirt until it suited me on how alien the planet looked.
There you have it, a Dr. D sponsored talk on some simple narrative basing. I LOVE that AMG includes city street basing with the models since it prevents people just just having flat black bases with grass flocked on top of it. I can’t tell you how much I love the coffee cups, bottles, and crushed cans that come on the sprues since they can add such an amazing element to a base. The most important thing to remember is that the scene on the base is going to help tell a story to the person looking at it, and if done well, will cement that model into their brain.
Thanks for reading this side project while I was waiting for a big model to finally cross the threshold of my house for the next, possible more than one, post as I diary my journey on painting the King of the Dark Elves.