Sunday, February 2, 2014

How to Make a Scenic Base - Step By Step

Hey again! In this tutorial I will show you some basics on making scenic bases for your miniatures. This can be done rather easily, and can add a little something extra to your tabletop or display piece to make it really stand out! I will be going over the materials I usually use, as well as provide pictures of what each stage should look like.

The first step is to gather all the necessary materials needed for this venture. You will need the following:

Super Glue (I prefer Zap-a-Gap)
PVA Glue (White or Elmer's Glue works fine)
Cork (I use cork coasters that you can easily find at a craft shop)
Rocks / Gravel
A Base (Of Course!)
Good ol' play sand

*Not pictured but also needed is an old crappy paint brush to move your PVA glue around, as well as a cutting device such as an Exacto knife or plastic clippers*

NOTE: Please be careful while cutting your plasticard - I am NOT responsible for any injuries you may incur during the process of building this base. Proceed at your own risk.

Phew, now that all the administrative stuff is over we can get on with our base making!  We will start by making a foundation layer that we will eventually put our plasticard "rock" face onto. Begin by breaking apart your cork into small manageable pieces that will fit onto your base. You can also use some gravel or rocks for this stage too as this will add a little bit of diversity to your finishes.

Be sure to have some of the heights differ as this will add some movement and elevation differences to your plasticard in the end.

Once you have the pieces cut out / designed the way you want secure them to the base using your super glue.

Once everything has dried you should have a nice solid foundation to build the rest of your base off of. We will now start on creating our plasticard "rock" face that will act as a topper for our base and give our model a nice flat surface to stand on.

Begin be tracing a design onto your plasticard - try to keep this asymmetrical to add some realism as we are trying to mimic a rock or cliff face with the design. Once you have your design traced out you can begin cutting it out. *As I mentioned before be VERY careful to not cut yourself on this process - if you aren't confident using a knife use some plastic cutters or clippers - they will be much safer.*

You should now have something that looks a little like this.

Now that your topper is cut out and shaped the way you want, we simply have to secure it to our foundation layer via super glue. (I can't stress enough how much Zap-A-Gap can help with this process as it has an extremely strong bond and will glue pretty much anything.)

During this step be sure to note how the plasticard is angled and sitting on the foundation before gluing. You may want to place your miniature on top to do a dry fit before securing anything down to make sure everything is resting the way you want.

After gluing you should have something that looks like this.

Ahah! We are now starting to see a base appear before our very eyes. Now that we have all our main pieces glued down we can begin to add any little final details to make the base stand out. You can use small rocks/ big pieces of sand, or even plastic bits that go along with your model/army theme.

I simply added some sand to the top of my plasticard to break up the flat surface, as well as placed some small rocks in between the creases of my base layer cork and gravel bits.

Here's what my base looked like after this step to give you some ideas.

We are almost finished! The last step, as you might have guessed, is to add our final touches of sand to the base. We will be applying this to any flat surface of our base that still might be showing between our foundation, as well as filling in any gaps between our plasticard topper and our foundation layer to create a nice solid look.

This is the last step so be sure to take your time and get all the gaps you want filled in nice and neat while being sure to not cover up all your cork and rock faces. I prefer to use an old brush to push the glue into the creases and gaps that I'm trying to fill to make it easier.

In the end you should end up with something like this. (Minus the model of course, haha.)

I hope this has been informative to some of you. I know it is quiet basic in nature, but I have had quiet a few people ask how to get some more dynamic bases onto their miniatures and I hope this helps! Thanks for checking this tutorial out, and in the future I hope to do another Step-By-Step on how to paint this base to show how all the different textures and finishes can add to your overall miniature!


  1. When are we going to see the completed model ?

  2. Thanks for your interest! I'm actually going to be using this base for a different model - namely Nicia, Tear of Vengeance - which is a Protectorate of Menoth model. I have Nemo on the base strictly for visual purposes. I'm hoping to be able to do a semi WIP/Step-By-Step tutorial for both the base and Nicia by the end of this month. Hopefully Nemo will get finished shortly after that as well!