Creating a dungeon display base - part 1

by Roman aka jar

posted by roman, jarhead, kong


This is some kind of test now - a mixed media tutorial article, if it needs a name.
and much text is always best to read when it is served with good music!

There is a good video camera flying around here at the Massive Voodoo headquarters and as i never did a video i thought it might be a good time to start. I just kept the camera running through the last couple of days while i did build up a base that i am planning for a bigger personal project and did some rough cutting. I have to say sorry for some unsharp moments as i am still not very used to the camera, i will get this fixed through practice. There will be no audio comment by myself and now comes the explanation of my so called "test":

I highly recommand to you that you read the article following connected to the visuals of the video. I try to explain everything here and answer questions here too, if there might be some. Let me know what you think about this test and if you like what i try to explain. Happy Base Building now!

This is the preview of the finished base:

1. Inspiration and Material
I plan a true typicall Fantasy Scene which was inspired by some great 28 mm models by Red Box Games. Tre's limited Figure series are really rocking. Some of the best Fantasy miniatures i know when it comes to Character, detail and quality of the sculpt. They always call my muse even it is dark outside.

I want to explain how i do a base, how i let it flow and go, how it rises from itself by doing - without too much thinking and planning and being mad because my plan didn't work exactly the way i want - i always am the type of guy to go mad if plans are going wrong, so I just don't make them. At least not when building and creating a base as i think a base is as important as a miniature that stands on it to tell the whole truth and story behind the idea, but compared to painting it grows best from just doing it. My idea was a typical dungeon, where a group of heroes poses for a group shot. So i was in need of a dungeon. Here comes a list of material that i just put on my workbench to work with them and bring my idea to life:

Basing Material
- an old Rackham white metal door
- 3x the same old white metal column by Rackham
- Some fine wire and little plastic by Busch (Miniature Railroad manufacter from Germany)
- Gypsum parts done with Hirst Art
- some wooden parts i got in my wood box
- skulls by Games Workshop
- some small Resin parts by Games Workshop's Basing kit
- some fine piece of string stolen from my girlfriend
- common earth

- Sanding Paper
- Super Glue
- PVC Glue
- Water
- Magic Sculp
- an old knife
- a scalpell
- a gripper

That's all i guess - i hope i did not forget something. If you think so after you watched the video let me know via comment here and i put it back up to the list.

2. What I did?
I did start it all on another great socket by
Those are really recommanded as he brings sweet and affordable stuff to the workbench which you can fullfill every of your visions. Make sure to know that the Sockelmacher also provides special sockets, done after your wish.

First, I did put another piece of flat wood to the socket by using PVC glue to make the scene leveled up in the back. I did put the door in place with super glue, directly at the wood as i knew later on there will be much weight to keep it there. I did not center the door as a centered door looks ... uhm ... too centered and in my eyes having the door a bit too the left from the viewers eyes would help to the get a good view into the scene. Most time, when anyone of us looks at something he starts in the upper left and comes down to the lower right (just think about reading a book), that is why i work my way with such thoughts about composition of weight, height and stuff. The scene itself is still centered, but it is a cut out that you see on the base. Hope everyone can follow this explanation. I did a little sketch with my famous green colour on what i mean - here you can see it already on the finished base:

Directions to guide the viewers eye are important, starting on the upper left, going over the door to the lower right, in all these places you can see weight and dynamic that makes the base intresting. It also gives a frame to the scene wihtout being too dominant (for example only 2 heavy columns on every side). Bigger and smaller parts arranged in compostion is the key, but as this is not on the content of the first minutes of the video i now go back to ordered step by step.

Next i used many gypsum parts. I always destroy them with my gripper or a knife or even with my teeth. I slowly let it grow by putting them in place, building it all up around the door and the statues. As Hirst Art parts have a texture very often i just run them over my sandpaper if i want untextured stones or something. I guess i can say that there is no stone without damage i did as it will be an old dungeon. I simply put them in place by using super glue (be aware that this can break, if you are threating it too hard, so i would not recommand it for gaming miniature bases).

When it comes to the wall i really took my time to bring every stone in place as i like him. As i told you i have no plan for that but i try, take another stone, pick another one or even another one. Just let it rise and flow, if something breaks it breaks with a reason. The skulls have been placed in between, also the Resin Parts by GamesWorkshop have been inclued in the composition (skeleton on the viewers right and shield in the middle left). Using some wood parts to underline the directions and using the fine string to link 2 of the wooden pieces together.

After everything was build up I took some common earth and PVC glue mixed with water to bring some earth in place between the stone flags and also to hide places that are not the best. I don't try to put the exact amount of earth at some exact place - just let if flow and it will grow :)

After the i did build up the back a bit chaoticly i decided to use Magic Sculp for the gaps between the gypsum parts. I just mix it up 50/50 and it is best if you want to be fast to roll it between your fingers. It also makes the Magic Sculp warm and easier to handle. For sure you can use whatever you like here, from Milliput or even a wall of plastic card would have been a solution here. Just do it your way. I rolled the sized pieces i need, pressed them in place and just use some water to make it all flat and easy to sand with the machine.

As you can see i had much more stuff to be inspired like those by Busch, but there is no need to use it all - let it flow and go and it will grow to the base you wish for. Freedom of the mind is best if you build up a big base to fit to your miniature and to bring your miniature into the right scene.

Sanding with a machine will be the next step to make the back and side clean. This will happen in the next part of the video. Hope you enjoyed this little trip and believe me - letting it grow from itself is the best idea for a base... here comes the video, make sure to watch it in HD (720p) and again sorry for some unsharp moments as i am learning:

Let me know what you think and if this mixed medio test helps you to be inspired and rock your own projects. If you like it and want to say thanks in form of support please feel free to press the donation button here to get your city carved into the big bamboo tree.

Happy Painting!
Best Wishes


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