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The Great Basing Materials Compendium

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The Great Basing Materials Compendium

(As Promised)


This file will be updated periodically pending new information/and or new products people might find that are useful. This is not a how-to on basing, but a listing of all the items that people find useful for doing basing so that when you are stuck on what to use, all you have to do is access this file and see what will fit your needs. Hope it helps! As always, your mileage may vary.


Since this topic is a locked topic, please drop me a PM if you wish to add information to it and I will add it for you. Thanks. ::D: Also if you find any broken links, please notify me. Thanks. ::D:



-Super Glue/Cyanoacrylate glue: Many people use this glue in conversions along with pinning but it also works well in glueing stuff to bases such as static grass or rock - especially the rock. Certain glues meant for fake fingernails are cyanoacrylates and can be used like any other superglue. (Update 6/18/05)


-Zap a Gap: Basically a super glue, and it is usually sold along side other Zap products that might prove useful such as Gap CA, and a thinner/adhesive remover.


-Elmer's School Glue/white glue: Leave it to Elmer's to be all purpose. Works well when slightly thinned for an adhesive for static grass and other foliage.


-E6000 or Goop: Both products are made by the same company and take a lot of abuse. I find it works well for gluing a mini to a base. The E6000 was formulated to resist abraision, vibration damage and is weatherproof. Goop comes in several types, each type has certain specific things it is used for. Read the label. E6000 is sold Industrial strength at some craft stores such as Michaels and Jo-Ann's. Just a note, this glue should be used where it is well ventilated. (The fumes can give you headaches and make you nauseated, please use where you have air movement and clean air coming into the area. Outside is preferable if possible.) (Update 6/18/05)


-Epoxy: Used for adhereing minis to bases. Use in a well ventilated area. Comes in different forms too, such as: two part, five minute, or 24 hour. Also sometimes used along with pinning in mini conversions.


-Aleenes Tacky Glue: Like Elmer's it can be thinned and used to apply static grass and foliage.


-Carpenter's Glue: When thinned with water you can use this for applying flock and it dries waterproof. (Not all carpenter's glue is created equal, read the package labels for further information.)



-Hex bases: These are pewter or plastic bases that are about an inch in diameter and shaped like a hexagon. Very useful for basing. Just glue on the mini and then your other items. Sold by Reaper in packs.


-Round plastic bases: These are sold by several companies and can also be found at most local hobby shops. Some are solid, some have a slit in the center for the mini to slide into - depends on the manufacturer. Games Workshop's Warhammer line apparently has some good plastic bases.


-Metal Washers: For those lopsided or off balance minis.


-Wood disks: These are my favorite. Mainly because they are inexpensive. Roughly $0.99 for a pack of 6 at Michaels. They are fine cut and sanded and perfectly smooth. Glue mini to the wood and base as you would with the hex bases or plastic bases.


-Wood Shapes: A brand name in these is Forester. Not as thick as the wooden disks, but usable.


-Wood Plaques: Great for basing large minis such as Dragons or monsters.


-Tumbled rocks: Find a rock of your choice which really catches your eye and glue the mini to it, it is that simple! Some people use polished tumbled gemstones.


-Magnets: As requested by the Uber Froschmeister, I am putting in a small area in here. He notes that one can make magnetic bases using sheet metal cut up into one inch squares and magnets. Ask him for details!


-Ceramic Tiles: According to FranktheDM ceramic tiles make great bases. You can get them in small one inch sizes at Home supply and flooring stores. He suggests roughing them up a bit to make sure the mini sticks to it well with epoxy.



-Kneadatite (AKA: Green Stuff, brown stuff), epoxy putty, plumber's epoxy putty: Essentially an epoxy in putty form that can be used to make your own sculpted scenery which is highly durable when dry, and can be sculpted with a wide variety of tools. Most hardware stores should sell the stuff as does Reaper. Also can be used in mini conversions. Brown Kneadatite tends to take edges better, so some people prefer it for sculpting swords and other sharper edged items. A NOTE: Not all putties are alike. Plumbers putty may set up faster and please use gloves with it, chemicals in the plumbers putty can be absorbed by your skin. (Update 6/18/05)


-Milliput: This like Kneadatite is an epoxy putty. Though some say it does not work up as well as the kneadatite. It is sold by Micro-Mark. ( The general consensus seems to be that it is decent for forming fine edges and also good for basing. It dries harder than Kneadatite and can be sanded, therefore is good for making items that might need to look like they have a sharp edge.


-Creative Paper Clay: The name says it all. A lightweight clay mainly of volcanic ash and cellulose fibers (wood pulp) that is nicely sculptable. Small pieces make good rocks if you let the stuff dry then carve planes into it with an exacto knife. Can be found at Michaels and JoAnn's.


-DAS Pronto: Comes in white or Terracotta. A clay that air dries hard. Use like paperclay for rocks and scenery. Lightweight, and also somewhat easier to sculpt than Paperclay but has some of the same ingredients as Paperclay. Can be found at Michaels or JoAnn's.


-Sculpey/Premo/Fimo/Cernit: A polymer clay, which is essentially a clay composed of plastic. Only drawback to using this is whatever you sculpt has to be baked before being applied to the base of the mini. Otherwise it is hard after baking and can take sanding and painting well. Bake sculpey at 275F for roughly 10 to 20 minutes depending on the thickness of the piece. Most craft stores carry this variety of clay. Disks made of supersculpey make great solid bases for basing minis.


-Wire Mesh: If you are doing a very large diorama and need to make a mountain or huge landscape this is usually a good bet. Can be found at most Craft stores. It essentially looks like screening, and comes in either sheets or rolls. Wire Mesh is meant for the armature.


-Plaster Craft: Cloth strips impregnated with plaster of Paris. Simply wet them and apply to a wire mesh armature to create sturdy solid terrain to be decorated. Can be found at Michaels and JoAnn's.


-Marblex: A craft clay that can be found at Michaels or JoAnn's that can be modeled then allowed to air dry. Once completely dry it can be painted as any other sculpting material. Roughly $9.99 for a container. One container goes a LONG way.


-Mexican Clay: This is made by the same people who make marblex. It is self hardening, and comes in a terracotta color.


-Stone-ex: By the makers of Marblex, looks almost the same as far as workability and sculptability. I shall try some and keep you posted.


-Makins Clay: Found at Michaels, Jo Ann's and other Craft Stores. This stuff air dries and comes in many colors. It is best used for sculpting rocks on bases and large detail. It's ability to do fine detail is limited. If using for anything other than rocks, an armature is recommended.




-Crank style pasta machines for rolling out thin sheets of polymer clay. This is useful for doing bases and scenery in dioramas. Check out stores such as Kitchen supply shops for roll style pasta machines. Michaels, JoAnn's, and other Hobby stores also carry clay extruders that you can force polymer clay and other softened sculpting materials through to make different shapes. The Pasta machines themselves can be found at a variety of craft stores. A note on cleaning them: Use rubbing alcohol on a cloth and wipe the mechanisms down to keep them free of clay residues. DO NOT use the pasta machine for food after using it with the polymer clay. (Update 6/18/05)


-Sewing Needles: Can be used for incising and fine line detail.


-Straight Pins: Again fine line detail and the heads can be used to make indentations.


-Xacto Knives: Blades are good for sculpting fine edges, hair and other detail. Remember to use water to keep your tools wet is sculpting with milliput or kneadatite.


-Wire: Different gauges of wire can be used to create different effects depending on how you bend the wire and use it to form the clay.




-Fake Water: A couple different varieties can be found on the woodland scenics website.


-Spackling Compound: can be modeled to look like water then painted.


-Silicone Caulk. Model as normal. YMMV.


-Wonder Water: A floral product found at most craft stores. Remains gel-like. Good for making those strange oozes that maybe you can have some poor sap's mini get stuck in. Your Mileage May Vary.


-Envirotex: A clear thick polyurethane substance that is sold at most craft stores. Rumored to make decent looking water. Your Mileage May Vary.



-Kitty Litter: A couple cups of clean kitty litter will last you forever in making small rocks.


-Silica Gel Pellets: These are those tiny clear to whiteish yellow colored pellets in those tiny packages you find in with electronic equipment or in with computer equipment. The silica gel is a dessicant, meaning it removes water from the air, keeping things dry. They make great small round rocks. And since they absorb moisture, they will also help keep your mini dry in storage.


-Marblex/stone-ex: Take a piece and let it harden then smash it with a hammer - voila, rocks!


-Gravel: Never underestimate real gravel in making a scene look all that much more realistic.


-Sand: Great for itty bitty rock, and for texturing the base surface. A note on applying sand. Either have your glue thinned really well, or watch how you apply the glue so ridges do not form in the drying piece. (Update 6/18/05)


-Vermiculite: Makes great rocks. This can also be applied to a base as a whole when mixed with acrylic gel medium. The entire base then sparkles with the mica that vermiculite is made from. (Update 6/18/05)


-Perlite: You can get bags of this stuff that will last you a bazillion years at places like Home Depot. Like Vermiculite it is meant to lighten soil, but when glued onto a mini base and painted, it makes great rocks.


-Ground up or broken Cork board: Apparently this stuff makes good rock when painted.


-Liquitex/Golden acrylic texture mediums: Great for applying to a base and once dry can be painted to look like dirt or grass. Great as a textured base under statis grass or for a base on a gaming mini.



-Static Grass: Can be found at: Used to make realistic looking grass. Usually adhered to a base using thinned Elmers/Aleenes or superglue.


-Flocking: Basically the same as Static Grass, though smaller in particle size. Adhere the same way as static grass. Found at:


-Snow Tex/Liquitex texture medium: Apply with a paint brush or palette knife. Makes a great rough texture on the bases that if drybrushed just right can make decent looking grass that can withstand play. Can be painted. These products can be found at Most Craft stores. Acrylic Gel Medium can also be used and can have sand or crushed pumice in it to ceate texture. Baking Soda when mixed with PVA glue is supposed to make good snow. Adding crushed lightbulb glass is supposed to give the baking soda mixture that freshly fallen snow sparkle. Techstar snow is also good and is used by Jen Haley. She gets it through (Update 6/18/05)


-Spackling Compound: This stuff is usually applied with a small pallet knife of some kind and you can buy it at places like Home Depot. The main composition of the putty is usually vinyl. Dries hard and durable, and can be textured by adding sand or by making movements with the palette knife.


-Foliage: This is a bit like static grass but more fibrous and comes in a wide selection of colors and is used to create the effect of tree foliage and other things such as tall grasses and shrubs. Can be found at:


-Basil/Oregano/Other Spices: These can be sprinkled on the base after the base has been painted with thinned elmers glue or superglue.


-Small floral greenery picks: These can be found in the floral departments of most craft stores. Many have really small leaves, and when the pieces are cut apart, you have pieces that can serve as bushes, plants, or even trees.


-Diamond Dust: This stuff can be found at most craft stores. It makes great snow. I believe the maker is Delta Ceramcoat. It can usually be found over near the craft paints. Also is called Twinklets.


-Dried grasses, twigs: Good for simulating tall grasslands, stands of dead grass, also useful for making fallen branches and trees.


-Coffee Grounds: Use ground coffee that is unused and do not use the instant coffee. Makes great dark colored ground. Seal heavily.


-Tea: After using a teabag, allow the contents to dry, then glue onto a base as you would spices.




-Molding Compounds: Certain rubber molding compounds can be bought that you can use to make a lot of identical looking rocks with or other terrain. A compound that I use for making one piece molds is Melt Art's "Mold-n-Pour" by Ranger Industries. It works well using with sculpey, air dry clays, even wax. (Update 6/18/05)


-Rhinestones: Those tiny itty bitty rhinestones used for decorating fingernails are great for embellishing some of the items you might put into a diorama, or on your bases. They also make great gemstones for inserting in staffs, sword hilts and other items. Small acrylic rhinestones at craft stores can work the same way.


-Never underestimate the power of small found objects in lending reality to your bases. Coins, feathers, scraps of jewelry chain, wire, etc., can all add to the effect you want the base to give.


-Gemstones: Gemstone beads, rough shapes and donut shapes can really add life to a miniature. Broken beads can be used as colored rocks, they can also be used in accessories. Maybe a Quartz bead has a chip out of it. Apply glue to the chip and glue it to a hand and you have an instant crystal ball. Large donut beads are great for use as display bases Rough pieces of rock are also good for basing. A good source of gemstone beads is the following site:




They have a lot of neat stuff on that site that is useful for miniature conversion and decoration.


Other places of interest for stones:


Indian Jewelers Supply Company:



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Vallejo also makes something call 'Pumice Paste". They say it is a textured paste used for building up textures. I haven't used any yet, though, so I'm not sure how well it works.

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OK, I did some footwork as I am doing some bases that require a bit of research. I figured I would give the rest of you a list of links I found that has a lot of this information you might find useful in detailing art in sculpted rock. I gathered information from a wide range of ancient cultures. Enjoy and have fun! (Greek Stuff for those interested) (Scroll down they do have links to pics) (Some Native American Rock art from the Southwest.) (WHOA!!! That's all I can say this site has a lot of stuff) (link list) (You have to do a bit of hunting through the site but the pics are there in spectacular color) (Many links) (Indus Valley Rock art)



***EDIT: It you come across any of these links and they do not work anymore for some reason, PM me and I will remove them or update them. Thanks. ***


*Edit: Removed a broken link on 3/19/04

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Regarding using paper towel as carpeting...


I found an unpainted dias languishing in my pile. Apparently the paper towel and glue turn a nasty brown after a while, but I dont' recall any problems with paint adherance due to this.


the process is this:


1: cut a decent thickness of paper towel (I believe the photo shows 2 layers of PT) in the approximate shape


2: put a bead of CY glue where the carpet will live


3: place paper towel on glue


4: put a few drops of thin CY glue on PT to soak


5: mold, shape, and pat to get thickness and grain somewhat limited


6: trim with exacto blade


7: let sit for a good long while to harden (I've had it take longer then 24 hours before it no longer felt gummy, but that might have been a freak occurance, it's generally an overnight thing til I feel safe about it.


8: paint.


these photos are taken on (IIRC) 1/4" grid paper to give you a size reference. Given the skill level of this group, you might think it a bit out of scale thickness-wise, but for my eye it looks as in scale as the swords and fingers on the figures.




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I have additional thoughts and suggestions regarding basing materials. Old analog watches or alarm clocks are chock full of gears, springs, and other bits that are at a great scale for minatures. Even digital watches have bits with cool textures and circuitry patterns.

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I haven't seen anyone suggest this, but try getting old dental picks and tools from your dentist! I just got some from mine and they're great for sculpting. When they get old and used, they're generally thrown out, so your dentist will more than likely be willing to give them to you. Never hurts to ask, anyway! ::D:

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I haven't seen it mentioned, but I will just in case it wasn't.


Black Pepper is also a real good way of making dirt for a base. It is finer then ballast as most would know I usually mix it with glue and then sprinkle a bit more on top. Works really well with a superglue to add extra 'clump' effects.


Also a glue called Modge Podge is really worth the price. It's used primarily for coating a puzzle, but can be used for other appilcations. It flexible which is the real bonus of it and dries clear. It's like 5-7$ a pint though. Michaels or even Walmart carries it.

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I just found that ordinaty erasers are great for stone blocks! They're easy to cut with a hobby knife, they stand spray on primer and they're cheap! I use them together with cork to create different kinds of stone on my bases.

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Here's another one of my snow recipes I've been playing with. I figured it would fit in this thread. A while back I posted a snow recipe that used baking soda. Well I just experimented and came up with a recipe that really looks nice.


What you need:

Snow tex/clear tex

Titanium White liquitex paint (heavy body)

Clear matte indoor/outdoor brush on acrylic varnish

Pearlex powders: Pearl and Macro pearl


Mix two parts snow tex with one and one half parts titanium white paint, 1/2 part matte varnish, and a half part pearl pearlex powder. Mix this together well it will be like a thick paste. Apply to the model with a ratty old paintbrush or a small palette knife. Gently sprinkle a pinch of the macro pearl pearlex powder over the wet snow.


The snow looks clumpy right? Well wait a couple hours till a skin has formed on the snow. If you want to flatten out the snow, gently with a clean finger, press down on the snow and smooth it out.


If you want the snow to be thinner and not as paste like when applying add small equal amounts of titanium white and matte varnish till the desired consistency has been reached.


The pearlex powders add that extra sparkle to the snow without the use of glitter that can overdo the effect and without the use of crushed glass.


Allow a full 24 hours of dry time before sealing with dullcote or other sealants.

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