Step by Step: Creating a fantasy base

by Massive Voodoo

Good Morning Jungle,
today Oli aka Honourguard takes you through an awesome step by step of one of his wonderful bases. Oli is famous for his delicate little wonders of bases 
and we wish you all a lot of fun with this article!

Now Oli takes over! Enjoy!
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Step by Step: Creating a fantasy base

In this step by step tutorial I want to show you the different steps how I create many of my fantasy bases. Maybe you can take this as inspiration for further projects.

So lets start, at the beginning
I always chose the models I want to paint and think about a scenerey where I would like to see them. I chose a display socket, it should not be to big, but neither to small too. There is no mathematic rule for the size, it just should fit in your opinion. On the next steps I often make a drawing of the scenery, think about the positions of different elements and of the figures. You can also write down some notes. When you work on a project, always be open for changes. Everything can happen during a project (new ideas, something doesn't fit to the rest..). That can mean to change figures or remove basing elments. It is important to keep the whole project in mind as one picture or element, even when you work on different small tasks. Bigger projects need a lot of time. That's why I am not scared of adding more work if I have to change anything. Because I always try to get the best result or a result that fits to my ideas, conceptions and wishs.

It is important to get interesting surfaces on the base. Then it is easier to paint it in the further steps. I used wood barks, roots and common earth. On this step also think about the plains at the side. I use sandpaper to get a very smooth surface. That's important for an clean general view. This surfaces represent the sides of the landscape break-out. I burnished them with sandpaper, first with rough and later with finer sandpaper.

I always try to get interesting surfaces on the base (for example the stone texture, or a stone-flagged road). That makes painting easier it in the further steps, because you can work a lot with washes, pigments and some kind of dry-brushing. I used Milliput, wood bark, roots and common earth for the base.

In the past, I always painted my figures first, and when I finished them, I created the base. But I think it is much better to create the figure with the base. Than you always have a good overview over the "complete" project.

The painting process started with a thin layer of Tamiya Grey Primer. After that I used my airbrush to bring some colours to the base and to create the first lights. It is important to set lights cenital but also light up the areas where the figures are placed later. That helps us to catch the focus to the figure.

The airbrush work was still very rough, I worked out the different lights and shadows. I painted the edges of the stones and trees with a brush, because the edges are always brighter than the plane long they don't lie in a shadow area. After that I added a lot of washes, with different green tones and some brown for the trees/bushes. You can also add washes with pigments, or AK-Washs on the areas that represent earth later. I do that because I don't want that all areas have exactly the same color (trees, bushs, stone, earth, sea ground).


Often I got asked how I create the plants on my base, there is not just one foliage that you can use for everything, I work with really many products, I use only small parts and built up the scene. I can recommand you to buy the most basing materials on model rail road stores, because they are much cheaper and you will get packages, that rest a really long time. Companies I use: Wooland scenics, Heki, Noch, Busch, Polakmodel..

That's a really nice product from Polakmodel I like to work with, they offer different meadow types.
Adding more green step by step, a bush here, some dosh there.
As you can see I have many different products for my bases. The good part in our miniature hobby is that you only need small amounts of the materials, so they will rest for a long time. The foliages you can see on this picture are from Polakmodel.
Here you can see how I have created small randomly grass tufts. I mixed grass fibres of Noch. I took some of them between my fingers, rolled them and put a bit superglue in the middle. Than let it dry and cut it in two pieces. Now you have random grass tufts in a few seconds. It is important to know that everything in the nature grows different and individual. It doesn't look good if you want to create a meadow with 10 single grass tufts and all are looking perfectly round, with the same lenght and the same color. Sometimes I glued single fibres on the base with a tweezer.

Water Effects
I have added some reeds to the quite water areas and added some green/blue washes to the sea ground. After that I worked on the waterfalls and the water effect. After that I added more arylic texture gel to create volume on the big waterfall. Not easy to work with the water effects, I still have problems with bubbles and harden out sometimes. I use 2K water effects from Noch.

And here are the last pictures of my finished diorama. In the last steps, I added the figures, some mouse bones, leaf, a thin layer with dark brown and pigments. And some AK-Interactive colors to give the stones the final touch. What's also nice is too add some small animals or some mushrooms for example or other small details, which could look nice on your base.

Here is another example of one of my last bases:

I hope you liked this step by step of my Rackham Strohm warrior diorama.
You can write questions in the comment section.

Best regards


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