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I've just seen people briefly touching on how they prefer to base their models so thought I'd start a thread devoted to it. Feel free to add questions or links to photos of your own examples.

Basing before or after painting the model?
I'm currently building a few models at the moment and intend to base them first. It follows that if you base them before undercoating then the base is already 'shaded' when it comes to finishing it. I can't see any advantage to basing after painting, any thoughts?

What type of base material?
What materials do people use for what type of look?

How to finish the sides of the base?
I was having a conversation about what finish to use for the sides of the base. I personally believe it should be totally different to the top of the base or battlefied so as to give the appearence of highlighting the model. Opinions?
 

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in 40k at least i much prefer to do the sides of the base black as it gives the models an individual feel, makes them stand out more, and i feel, looks much better

Also there are 2 types of base that seem to work, bases that contrast the model, and bases that blend with the model, depending on if the army/mini is supposed to be a cameo model or not. For example spacewolves look great on snowy bases, whilst ultramarines look good on mud/grass bases
 

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i base mine with a grit/sand mix, and then paint the base first after spraying, as then you can decide what colours are best to paint the model with - eg if you were painting a space wolf, then you would not want to paint the base shadow or space wolves grey. However painting the base white and then adding snow flock would add character to the model. I mean how many armies do you see with snow bases?
i think that painting the side of the base black makes the baseing stand out more; either that or paint the side of the base one of the colours that features on the basing.
Also, think about where the army would be fighting. I know that this does not apply as much to DA, but you would not base a Tallarn army with snow flock. Similarly, you would not base a Vostroyan army who were released specifically for cityfighting on static grass.
Hope this helps
 

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I base each of my armies differently to add variety. I'll spray the models, then base them, then begin painting them.

I do this to get the bases out of the way - I've almost never a stockpile of figures waiting to be based.

And if it's a black sprayed model it lets me quickly know I went over the black with black paint by brush, which I'll always do before basing.

And it quickly adds something for light to reflect off if it been sprayed black to help better make out detail.

And it allows me to field the figure until it's finished. What I mean is if someone says something about it, I can say, "Hey at least it's based." It shows that someday I do intend to paint the figure.

My bases are always primarily GW sand. On the Catachans I also have patches of electrostatic grass glued on top of the sand.

My Imperial Fists have a brown earthy base with brown sides. It's my one time-consuming many series of steps to basing since it is my showcase army. Currently these are the only ones I gloss varnish the sides.

The Dark Eldar have a Camo Green base, drybrushed Rotting Flesh, with Camo Green sides.

The Tau have a snow base (Space Wolf Grey and heavily drybrushed White) with Space Wolf Grey sides.

The Catachans have a Chaos Black, overbrushed with Bestial Brown and then Bleached Bone base with Bestial Brown sides.

My Chaos base is different in that it's Black and drybrushed grey and white but then the sides are Camo Green which matches the jungle board I usually play on. I find it really works.
 

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what i normally do for basing is add the sand and seal it before I undercoat my model(s). then i go outside to look around for things that would look good on a base(little dried up plants, flower pods,seed pods) and i let that stuff dry is it needs to. After I am done completely with a mini and it has been sealed, then I the static grass shaded down with dark green washes so the grass isn't so bright. then I add all the dried stuff I found outside. Also, for the sides of the base, I just leave them black for a good clean "finished" look.
 

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I always apply my basing material after painting. I don't care to waste the paint on sand, after all, and unpainted sand looks a bit more realistic than painted sand when it's supposed to look like sand! For my bases, I use a fine-grain ballast. For "terrain" bases, I usually dip it in some static grass to fill in the gaps and make kind of a sparse growth appearance, and for urban bases, I just do two dips with grey ballast to make sure all the cracks on the base are filled and whatnot.
 

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I like to use cork as it really takes paint well and looks good IMHO. I always apply the basing last. Kinda of signifies to me that the job is done. I use the GW sand mix and have recently started drybrushing the grit after it dries. Like the look that I get from that as well.

I also really like the look of Static grass applied to the bases depending on the army that is being fielded.

Gub
 
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The key to snow bases is base them as u would normally, then add the snow over the top in patches (u can mix pva glue with the snow stuff and it makes a weird kind of past).

I generally start with schored brown and slowly work up to a sandy yellow colour.
 

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ive only been painting for a few months now, actually i've only been doing anything warhammer40k related for a few months now(except for dawn of war)

i found a method that works nicely for me, and ill post some pictures of my personal best basing that i've done

I like to dip it in sand before i undercoat it, then add larger pieces that would be boulders or debris, in the picture that im going to post, i cut pieces from the sprue, and glued them on, i think it looks nice, even more soo after i undercoated all of it, and drybrushed the bigger pieces bolgtgun metal


PICS! bear in mind, these are my first three space marines, first three miniatures, EVER!

However, the two pictures just show the one i was speaking of above^^^

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i71/un1d3n/ME012.jpg

http://i69.photobucket.com/albums/i71/un1d3n/ME014.jpg
 

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I tend to base my models AFTER I have finished painting them. Usually I use the GW sand and stone mix and depending on what I want to do with them I will add grass or not. The only time I do differently is when I intend to have the model standing on a bit of wargear or something. Each of my armies is based in the same manner but each also has a different theme.

My Black Legion was the first army I did to the bases are your basic sand/rock with a little bit of static grass. My Tau army has very little sand at all and is painted to look like rubble on a street. My wip Guard army is being painted to look muddy and I have gotten the GW water effects to create a wet look with tiny puddles and such.

I also like to leave the sides unpainted in general, although I did paint the sides of the Tau bases to match the top.
 

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I base AFTER. ALWAYS. I have found that if you try to base beforehand, th material may get in the way of the model's foot/claws/etc. by blocking it, or drying ON the body part--that is such a pain.
 

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hmmm i base my troops with....wait for it......dirt i pulled from my back yard :D looks the best, has the most abnormalities and is never quite the same....always good for the different (cheap arse) approach
 

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Actually it does work well enough as a base. You still need to prime and paint it tho and if the basecoat isn't thick enough to hold it in place it gets messy.
 

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I use Bird grit from a pet shop, PVA it on leaving some gaps for flock.
Then when its dry seal it with watered down PVA.
Then its spray time!
I still do the edges to stand out, but now use Camo green instead of Goblin green. (Many moons ago you had to have goblin green bases for Golden Daemon entries.)
 
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