Hobby Shortcut: Quick and lazy miniature basing

I hate basing, I really do. It is nothing I enjoy at all. I am aware, that well made basing emphasizes the paint job on a miniature. But I loathe it.
So here comes my minimum-effort-basing tutorial.

Materials used:

  • PVA glue
  • cheap craft colours : black; dark grey; dark brown
  • your regular miniature painting colours
  • basing material : I use a mix of bird sand and very fine gravel.
  • a not to large brush, preferably not your expensive new one, but an old one.

A few simple Steps

1. Sticky stuff

Depending on the miniature and the theme, I start either with black/dark grey or brown basing. For most projects I use black. I mix simple craft colours with PVA glue and some water.
Afterwards I apply the mix to the base of the miniature.

It is important to have sufficient glue in your mix, otherwise the basing material might dislodge from the base. Don’t let yourself be fooled by the volume of the mixture; the craft colour adds to it, but won’t bind the basing material at all.
Keep in mind, the colour is only added in order to shade the glue.

If your mix is too sluggish and the sand doesn’t soak it up sufficiently, add some more water. It took me a few attempts to figure out a proper ratio. I rely on gut feeling and a lot of hope.

2. Adding basing material

Afterwards I “dip” the miniature into the basing material. If the glue-colour-water-mix is sufficiently fluid, the sand will soak up the colour. That way you waste less of the expensive miniature paint in order to colour/preshade the basing material.
There is no need to have all the basing material of your miniature densely coated in with your base colour.

(Note: I sometimes apply the basing before the priming, since the primer will add extra resilience.)

3. Drybrushing

Finally I go back to my miniature paints to finish the paintjob on the base. I tried to use the craft paint and lighten it up with white or ivory, but the brand I use tends not to coat well while drybrushing.
IMPORTANT : Let the basing material dry properly before the drybrushing step. If you drybrush over uncured basing, you’ll tear the basing material off your miniature.

I generally apply two layers of drybrush.
First I use “Dungeon Grey” or “Monster Brown” (both from Army Painter). For the second lighter layer, I use “Ash Grey”, respectively “Bone White”, from AP aswell.
Finally, I paint the rim of the base black.

VOILA, done. You may now add tufts, extra highlights or whatever basing shenaningans you desire to your miniature. I rarely go the extra mile for elements of my critter-box. Technically this method can be applied for any colour scheme.

I don’t/rarely use this method for more prestigious miniatures, like character models. But it works perfectly, if you want to finish a great mass of miniatures conveyor-belt-style.
If I build terrain, I use the same technique, but with a larger brush and sometimes Mod Podge(TM) with/instead of PVA glue.

Happy painting.