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Stern Kestrelmann

Stern's Rocky/ Grassy Bases

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Hello my fellow Reapers. I managed to sit down this morning at take a few initial shots for making EZ bases for your models. So, let's begin with a few things that you'll need to make this work.


1. Base materials


2. A Base


3. Helpful tools


Normally, I would have a mini on the base, but for the purpose of the tutorial I did not include a model on the base that I'll be working on.



Step 1: Materials


Here's what I use when I'm getting ready to base a model. Again, I will complete my base work after my model has been painted,, but not before I add the Dulcote.


a) Ballast mix (medium brown and medium black mixed about 1:1)


b) Bag of crushed gravel (not sure where you can get this) I got mine from a road near our old house! This stuff is real rock, but very light weight and brittle.


c) Large Round Plastic base from GW. I typically use the smaller GW slotta bases as they are cheap and work well to give the metal DHL base some added stability and display quality.


d) Super Glue and White Glue


e) A small dry brush and small standard brush


f) Paints for the rocks and grass


g) Woodland Scenes Static Grass




Next up, cutting and placing your stones...







Edited by Stern Kestrelmann

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Step 2: Cutting and Placing your Stones


Remember, your model will be attached to the center of your base and unprimed at this point. You'll be cutting and gluing your rocks on to your base in preparation for primer for both your model and your base.


a) Cut your stones to desired size. (Wear some goggles or shop glasses please) I prefer smaller pieces with nice edges. However, if you've got a bigger base or larger scale this may effect your choice on size and amount.


b) Pre-arrange cut stones. Before I glue my stones down I place them dry on the base. This helps me get a good sense of how they will look. Don't over do it. Less is more in most cases.


c) Glue stones down using some trusty cyanoacrylate (super glue) Try not to disturb your pre-arranged rocks as you glue them...




Okay, next up Prime time!









Edited by Stern Kestrelmann

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Step 3: Prime and Paint (Sorry a couple of these are a little blurry, it's tough to try and paint and take a picture at the same time)


a) Prime your model, base, and rocks. As you'll see I use a black brush on primer. If you don't use a black primer model, you'll at least need to use one for the rocks.


b. Paint the rocks. This is an EZ three step dry brushing. I don't recommend dry brushing in general, but for a quick way to get your rock painted think dry brush...


1. Rocks primed black

2. Dry Brush Graveyard Earth

3. Dry Brush Kommando Khaki

4. Dry Brush Fortress Grey

5. Light black wash is optional


Now you're ready to glue on your ballast mix...







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That is awesome. Bases are one of my weakest points when painting (well among things, ha ha), but this will help out allot.


What brand are your nippers your cutting the rocks with?


thanks for posting the WiP, Stern.



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Okay, one more post tonight...


Randy- Thanks bro. I hope it'll help you feel better about doing some solid base work. As far as the wire clippers, I'm not sure. They've seen better days though, I've abused them over the past 3-4 years...


Step 4: Adding your ballast mix.


a) Bust out the white glue! Squirt out a little puddle of glue about the size of a quarter on to your pallet paper. (If you want you can mix in a few drops of water to the glue to help it spread better). Using an x-acto knife or butt end of an old brush to add your white glue evenly to the base. Make sure you get around all the rocks and all the way to edge of the base. Act quickly as the glue drys fast!


b) Carefully dip your base into your bag o' ballast and remove. Give it a good shake over the bag to loosen any excess ballast. Try not to touch the glue/ballast until it sets.


c) Now inspect your ballast placement. See to it that none of the ballast is stuck to the top or sides of the rocks. You may also need to remove any extra ballast that is spilling over the edge of the base's rim. Don't be afraid to add a bit more glue to any spots that you may have missed or feel like they need a bit more coverge.


d) Let this dry for at least 30-45 minutes (or until you can see no visable moisture in the glue and ballast.


Next, on to the static grass!









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Great tut so far! Thanks for posting it.


I am eagerly awaiting the static grass installment in particular - IMO your use of that stuff is what really makes the rocky/grassy bases on your recently-posted minis stand out. My static grass clumps always come out too sparse-looking, and I can't seem to avoid having half of it glued down flat on the ground, no matter how much I blow on it or try to fluff it up with a brush.



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Stern, I too am looking forward to the static grass, I can't seem to get it right! Just a question for you, I have bought the light and dark green scenic woodlands, but it doesn't "pop" as good as your images grass, what color do you use?

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Good Morning my Fellow Reaperites!


C1974- Hopefully, I'll answer your question in the following segments.


Step 5: Adding your Static Grass.


a) Now remember the ballast on your base must be allowed to fully dry for this to work. Take your base, grab your static grass, some white glue, and perhaps an small knife or file to help with glue application. And have a small stiff brush ready as well.


b) First, dump out a small pile of static grass and squirt out a small puddle of white glue on to your pallet paper.


c) Now, using your hobby knife or file, carefully start to place small dots of white glue on your base. If you have rocks, make sure you place some glue aound the base of these as the contrast between the grass and the rocks looks great in the end.


d) Okay, working quickly, add your static grass on to your base. Make sure you cover all your glue spots, pressing lightly on the static grass as you go. (Note: No phone calls or distractions, your window to work this step is small as the white glue will set up quickly!)


e) Once your base is covered, blow off the excess quickly and confidently. If you're worried about getting grass all over the place you can hold the base over a trash can as you blow. 3-4 good controlled blows should clear the excess grass. You can also add more grass and blow if you missed a spot or two on your initial attempt.


f) Check the grass with your eye and use a small stiff brush to push the excess grass off the edges of the base and try to remove any taller pieces of grass with a tweezers or scissors.


g) Let your new grass dry for at least 60-90 minutes. This is very important as the grass needs to be fully dry and stiff before we paint it. I really like giving the base an overnight to dry if I'm not too pressed for time.


Next up; Painting your tiny lawn...









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Okay final post in this base tut.


Step 6: Painting your Static Grass


a) Your base is now dry and your grass should be relatively stiff to the touch (check with your finger by gently brushing it).


b) Paint Selection. Now this is up to you, but I use GW Scorpion Green and RMS White (mixed with a little Dick Blick Titanium White out of the tube)


c) Get your base set up near by and put a little dab of green and white on your pallet paper. Mix in a little white with your green, about 4:1 (don't add any water as I want the paint to be a litlte thicker than normal).


d) Carefully, start highlighting your grass. Try to get the top of the grass and avoid hitting the rocks, your mini, or the base's edge if you can.


e) Now mix in more white to the green on your pallet. This time 4:1 in favor of white. (Watch the paint load on your brush!) Highlight your grass again with your near white mix. It starts to really pop at this point! Don't worry about going to white, trust me it will look great on display and on film.


f) Touch up any mistakes and dullcote.




Now you too can have colorful, consistent, and repeatable bases for all your DHL and WL minis!











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lol! Thanks Jabb. It was a little time consuming, but worth every minute. I really hope it helps those who may be "Base Challenged"...


Thanks Jabb. It was a little time consuming, but worth every minute. I really hope it helps those who may be "Base Challenged"...



SK and SK

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Many thanks--I've been following this with great interest, and look forward to using some of these tricks the next time I base some minis!

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Stern, thanks for this. Awesome tutorial, and I'm glad I'm at a place where I happen to have two minis not yet based, so I can try this!


I do wonder: have you done your grass-painting with different colors, to create the effect of dry/dead grass or similar?

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