27 March 2017

Tutorial: Sci-Fi bases

Back when I started making models for Mantics Deadzone, I decided to make some textured bases.

A good base will make a bad model look good, and a good model even better. I'll be using these bases for model in Deadzone, Scrappers and Necromunda/Inq28.

Tools and materials:
  • Miliput (the yellow one)
  • Play-Doh
  • Model bases
  • Greenstuff World Rolling Pin - Factory Floor in this case
  • Hobby knife
  • Random scrap: chain, lollipop tube, gears, glue lids etc.
Step 1:
Mixing miliput and play-doh is a neat little trick. It'll save you a bunch of money on putty and the miliput is easier to work with, when using pinrolls.

For bases and terrain features I make a 50:50 mix of the two putties. It'll still cure and harden without a problem. For bulk sculpting (like the core of a miniatures body) I mix it 75:25 - for more strength.

Scratch up your base with your hobby knife, it'll make the putty stick better.

Step 2:
Make sure you use plenty of putty on the base. It's easy to cut away the excess putty after you've used the rolling pin.

Step 3:
The rolling pin is used best if you wet it before use. I wet my hands and rub the rolling pin. It might take a few tries to get right. The putty will soak the water if you use too much, and then it'll get hard to work with. When I have to much wet putty, I mix it with some dry and use it on a large base.

When you rolled some texture into the putty, add whatever details you like to them. Just stick some chain, pipes, lids, gears, wire or whatever you like into the putty.You can secure them later with a dap of super glue, but the putty will properly hold them just fine.

Step 4:
A quick paint job later. I use army painter quick shade on all my models and also give the bases a heavy brush of varnish. A few pools won't be a problem, it'll just look like oil spills.

I've gone with a black base coat. Dark grey floor with a light grey drybrush. Added details in yelloe/black and metal.

Step 5:
And the finished base, with a big monster on it. 

A couple hours of work
What can be achieved in only a couple hours of work.  This load of bases where made with a couple of episodes of Firefly in the background. There's rougly half a pack of miliput used for all the bases shown here - with a 50:50 play-doh mix.

Another session (used orange play-doh this time). 2,5 hours of work, including breaks and clean up to make the following bases. Used just under half a pack of miliput.

A note of caution
I figured out recently, that's there's one drawback on mixing play-doh. Play-doh is made from maize and it can grow mold. I've have my bases out in the shed over the winter, not air tide. It's very damp and wet. When I took my bases in after a couple of month they had mold on them. It was no problem washing it off, and they still look good painted up.

Perhaps they won't grow mold after sealing with quick shade varnish and matt spray varnish. I'll have to make an experiment at some point. But better keep your models in a dry environment.