Tutorial: Primitivo, Base Step by Step

by Massive Voodoo

Hello Jungle Painters, 

the last tutorial voting decided to see "Primitivo" as a winner and so  
Massive Voodoo's year of the painter brings you another free article for your hobby joy.

The following article is written by Roman and we jump right into his brain and thoughts on his figure from July 2012. Time is running fast, eh?


The project idea "Primitivo" arrived while the company Russian Alternative held a contest about their cool barbarian models.

For my rule, such wild barbarians are always located in war, restless souls who just want to butcher and plunder. My idea was to put the barbarian of my choice into a town that was sacked just in that particular moment. A wildling running around, searching for victims, kicking in doors and searching for gold teeth to fracture them out of bloody jaws.

Well, sorry for such a cruel introduction. 
There is a reason why I tell you this, the reason is the story you need to build an athmospheric base. If you have no idea about what your model is doing on that base and why it is there, will look just the same in the end. If you think about a "story" your figure can be very well connected to your basework, they might even form a unit that can tell a story with a single figure on a base. The story of your model is just a rough plan on what will happen on that base, no total strict plan, but a backup for you when you start while working on your base.

This being said we jump right into the next step, after the story is decided: Material brainstorm.
That step is always connected to your story, to the visions that form in your mind when you think about what your model is doing where. In our example these are the questions you have to ask yourself:

- What is the Barbarian doing? 
We said pillaging, roughly rapping at foreign doors, kicking in windows and searching for victims, coins and food. Well, our story.

- Where is he doing it?
Is he standing on top of the town's castle walls as they just have been breached? Or is he in the middle of a town that is already panicked and running/hiding away from that barbarian horde? Is he searching for the lord in the town's hall or is he in a pig barn? What exactly is he doing where?

My vision brought my primitve barbarian into a - let's say a merchant's home - where the door was kicked in, everything is already in chaos and he is ready to strike his double bladed axe into ... well, he is primitive, so let's say in everything he has fun with. I was in need to find material for this specific moment and started to collect all that I might need from my collection.

A wooden four-edged plinth, some pieces of wood, some plastic card and a brick wall, that was created with this technique, afterwards casted in plaster, were my starting tools. Not to forget my tools and superglue.

I did build up the frame of my house by glueing plastic card to the plinth. Checking for the height of the room he was entering. I wanted to make it look realistic in the scale. A big issue sometimes is that you build up something but don't think about the scale of the model on that base. In our specific example, this could have lead to a room height that is much too small or too big for a 30mm figure and it already might look awkward. Try to think about a harmonic scale build up, when you start building your  base.

Next step was bringing the big pieces on the base. Building the main frame of my scene. Using PVC glue for all that was done mainly, but sometimes added a drop of superglue when I was annoyed. In this stage it is already important that you made some thoughts on basing composition.

Mkay, next step was adding a little more detail to it, just a little. I used the barbarian figure, an old Rackham barrel and a resin package (no idea where I got that from, sorry was found in my bitzbox) to test-place them on my base. I added more interior with white plaster and wood to make that room more static and interesting. Below the upper white plaster beam you can spot small parts of a reeling I found in the ship corner of my local scale model hobby store. Added those as interesting detail and it shows off that the former merchant was kind of not the poorest guy.

In the beginning I even had the idea that the barbarian could search for a little scared girl, but I found that idea to cruel in the end. The barrel you can spot on the left on this photo was bought at a Christmas market.

The door was a resin cast and dayumn, I don't know the company anymore (if you know it, let me know and I place a link asap).

It grew. Now to more detail work and superglue, no more sketching this time. I used some putty, in this case magic sculpt to create some solid that catches the wind from the open door. I did it this way.

I destroyed the door, to make it look like it was opened with force.

Used the same putty to create sausages hanging on chains, more fabric on the ground and placed some volumes for the planned snow here and there with the remains of the putty. Again, some detail wood parts have been added to show destruction here and there. Small metal rivets have been used to show exactly the same, rivets on the wood parts. The table was created by using a coin - as far as I remember from "The Witcher 2" Computer game - and again, four of the small reeling wood parts.

The bottles you can see on the base where bought, but I can not remember from which company. I spent the last 10 Minutes to search for it, but did not succed. I recommend to you to build your own bottles, following the great explanation of Fantasygames.

I told you about the wind that rushes into the room and is caught by the fabric. Well, I used some thin rope to give the wind more material that he can play with. You could also do belts in the wind like this. Wind is a powerful thing you can use in a base. It is not actually there, but if you play it right, a ghostly presence will take hold of your athmosphere.

Well, let's have a look on more details.
In the upper area of the base I used, dayumn, I remember I bought these vases via Battlefield-Berlin, but I can not find a link to them anymore, sorry (if you know the company let me know via comment and I'll add them asap). Well, you can have a look at Pardulon models too, they got nice accesoirs for your interiors. Some more chains were put in the upper storage part and dangling in the wind, but not as wildly as the rope or the fabric as the material of the chains is heavier and not that easy to be moved by the wind. Just in normal life, eh?

A white plaster sack - I guess it was a Hirst-Art part was also added in this storage area. I added some old veggies via putty to the sack, not an important detail, but a detail.

Still the little girl was an option for me in this sketch as you can see her sit, hiding behind the table. I decided to skip her in the final version and was happy enough with the teddy bear I used close to the door, who has lost a leg already. With the girl in the scene the cruelity of the moment would be pretty though, with only the teddy bear it is more subtile, but still cruel.

Ahh, the bird at the door. Another piece I do not remember where I found it, but I am sure you all are capable of searching for different animals in different scales. He was meant to represent the merchant's wealth again, a padded animal. The sign he is placed at was bought at a local train store and a small piece of wood was glued to add a mount for the birdie.

With the little rests of putty I had left I have tried to sculpt smaller details to the table area. Like some already cutted sausage that was thrown of a wooden plate while the chaos started.

Ok, that was the build up, nothing more happened via the build up. I found one bad, blurry photo to show you progress while painting the base. The figure was painted seperatly.

Well, to complete the scene I added snow that was blown into the room from the outisde. Again a wind thing coming into play.

Well, remember a story vision is important to build up an athmospheric base. What if the primitive Barbarian kicked in the door to a library? You could have worked with tiny books for example. Or imagine him kicking in the door to a bucket maker. Even I don't have an idea what he might hope to find in such a workshop. Maybe the golden bucket of king's poo? Who knows ...

I think that is all I can tell about the build up of the base from this project called "Primitivo". I hope you enjoyed the read and hope that a hint or a tip here and there took home.

Let me know what you think, what you liked, what you disliked and let me know questions if some appear.

Keep on happy basing!
Best Wishes


Make ready for this week's tutorial Voting on Thursday. Your vote counts and decides which article will be up next in your happy painting jungle.

Your MV-Team


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