We all know the value of sand as a basing solution for our miniatures. Most veteran painters will tell you to glue sand to your base before painting so that you paint the sand too. A common technique is to glue sand down, glop on some black and spread it around, then drybrush with successive layers of grey or brown to naturally pick up the raised areas.
I myself use that method often, but I've run into a few problems with it over the years. Firstly, unless you use something really strong (like superglue) then the sand will tend to flake off during painting. PVA glue and scenic cement aren't always strong enough to hold the sand in place for the purpose of painting. That brush is pulling on that sand like a two year old on daddy's chest hair and some of it is bound to be ripped off. Ouch.
Because of this, I started experimenting with staining the sand a few years ago. I'd use washes or inks, or dirty water even. And on small bases this was alright, but on the larger bases (and terrain) it didn't quite cut the mustard. The results were inconsistent and the mix didn't quite spread around the way I'd like it to. So I started experimenting with other mediums and discovered what I think might be the best use for Quickshade (dip) never invented. And that is shading your bases!
Here's what you'll need for this tutorial:
- An old base
- An old brush, wide, soft bristles
- PVA (white) glue
- Some wood stain (or Quickshade)
- An empty bottle (not required, but recommended)
(note, if you paint the base brown first, before gluing on the sand, then it will lighten the appearance of the base considerably. You'll see this in the final example, below)
For this next step (which is optional) you'll need a bottle. I use these bottles. You can find them at your favorite local craft shop such as Michael's or even four wall stores like Target and Walmart, etc. They are CHEAP, CHEAP, CHEAP, so buy a bunch for making your own custom mixes, inks, washes/glazes, etc.
Now just flock as desired, paint the edges of the bases, and presto! Instant shaded sand!
What's even better is that the quickshade acts like superglue and bonds that sand to the base like it were cement! That sand isn't going anywhere. The sand itself will absorb most of the dip and the rest will help to act as a grout between them grains of sand.
Here you can find an example of a figure we used this method on (it's base). As you can see, it creatures a rich, interesting base with next to no effort. Voila!
My name is Caleb and I am the owner of White Metal Games, a miniature painting and assembly service. Be sure to check us out on facebook too! And until next time . . .
PUT YOUR MINIS WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS!