Often overlooked is the importance of the base for your model. It's not the focus, but it should accent what you've created and cheaping out will detract. I'm also a firm believer in using as many natural items to base with as you can to place your miniature in a believable context.

This becomes extra important on a project the scale of the Elemental King. Last week I looked at applying terrain on the Mountain King's body and today we'll apply it to the base.

The Plan

The whole time I'd intended to have him striding through a river that came up to roughly his ankles. So the base needs to be a rocky/sandy bed that ended at a shoreline. The wood was planned the whole time, but here I have to blend the land and water together.

Testing the Rocks

 To say I've built quite a selection of resources for basing is an understatement. (Just ask TheWife.) Hobby stores, pet stores, parks, beaches and vacations are just a few examples of places to build your own selection of supplies.

To find the right rocks I poured a few selections out on the base to get an idea of what they'd look like. I'm showing examples of zooming in and zooming out when looking at the stones to demonstrate this:

Looking at the whole picture will allow you to make the best decision about how your model will appear above what you've chosen for the base.

Basing Tips

  • Your base should cause the model to stand out.
    * The exception is for models that are intended to blend into their bases, like camoflage.
  • It shouldn't stand out on its own.
  • Choose colours that are different than, but compliment your model.
  • Avoid painting your base; Try to use natural supplies when possible.
    * Sometimes washing or shading the supplies you use will help.
  • Larger bases require more detail or they'll look plain and unnatural.
  • Don't go overboard.
    * Too much will force eyes to spend more time looking at the base than the model.

Blending the Riverbed

Like with my Earthy Wall, I used sandy gel to create a dirty (in this case, muddy) surface. Beginning with a rough green-stuff form, I used the gel to create a divider between where the water would meet the shore, the mud under the water that the log would be sitting in as well as some muddy forms for the grass to be glued on.
From a practical standpoint, the gel is also great for liquid-proofing the log. Next week I'll be looking at how I made the water for the base, but thinking ahead I knew that I had to make sure whatever liquid I ended up pouring wouldn't seep through, under or around the log.

Adding Sand and Interacting with Terrain

Riverbeds aren't just rocks.

Miniatures should interact with the ground they're standing on. For example, the feet of a figure standing in mud should look like they're sinking into mud. Grass should leave a spot for a food, not provide a sturdy platform. Build up some of the terrain around feet - dirt, mud, rubble, tufts of grass, etc. If you just glue a model on their base it will look fake.

The Mountain King's going to have a just a liiiitle bit of weight behind each step he takes, so I've got to make sure dirt settles around him and gets kicked up in the water when I pour it.

You'll also notice I've added a bunch of slightly larger rocks among the sand to mix it up some.

Finally, you'll see that I haven't glued the sand right up to the edge / lip of the base. This leaves room for the dam I'll build for the water effects.



The moss handles a few jobs for me. First, that giant fist was designed to be slamming into the ground and is flat underneath. The moss hides that little detail, which creates a great place to glue the moss and makes it appear to be bursting forth. Second, in my tests, the moss bled some of its colour into the water effects, adding a realistic murky quality around it.

Misc Plants and Tea

I've used a variety of plants to create a realistic shoreline. Small leaves dipped in varnish look like sea-weed type plants growing around the edges of the log. Larger orange-ish hunks of tea have a fungal (mushroom) quality that I've glued to the edge of the dirt. I lined the bottom of the log with tiny seeds from flower buds.


I've glued a bunch of tufts of green grass together around the base and up the side of the log, layered so it all appears to be a single mass. There's also some brown grassy flakes that I glued to the edge of the dirty area which got a weightless / floaty quality to them once the fake water was poured. (More on that next week.)

Flowers and Fungus

Aside from the actual spices in the tea I used, variety also adds to the realism created in this scene. Some more tiny flowers and shrooms like I talked about while Basing the Mountain Kings Body add that extra little touch to make your eyes think this is a real scene.

Take a look at my entire Hordebloods project.

Here you will find each model broken down into links showing each step:
Concept, Works in Progress, (for both sculpting and painting) and final photos