Scenic Bases Part 1 – Working with Cork

By: Kitbasha Jay

This week we’re taking a little break from terrain. With the Jungle Fever table complete it’s time to get back to some general hobby stuff. The next couple blogs will be sort of in the area of terrain but with more of a focus on the miniatures. We’re going to build some cheap and dirty scenic bases.

All we will need for materials are some 1/4″ cork board. I purchased a pack of 2 18″ x 18″ sheets for $3 at my local dollarama. I then took some standard 40k bases of variable sizes and started tracing the circles onto the cork tiles.

bases drawn on cork

Once I had the entire sheet filled up with circles I carefully began to break them out with my hands. If you arrange them in perfect rows it will make your life a lot easier since you can just break off rows of them and then break them out individually. Since I arranged them in order to maximize space I had to be more careful when breaking them out as not to split adjacent circles when trying to release one.

Try and break the edges off of your pieces so that the remains is a rough shape. Make sure that you break pieces off outside of your marker lines. This ensures that the base is slightly bigger than the intended size rather than smaller. In 40k there is an unwritten rule that you are always aloud to make a model’s base larger, never smaller. In a game like AOS base sizes mean absolutely nothing. These are intended for 40k so I attempted to make them slightly bigger than the original base used to trace the shape.

bases all broken out

The pieces that are broken off of the edges, as well as, the remaining space in between the circles are now going to be used to build up these bases. Take any pieces you have that still have straight edges on them. Make sure to break them up so that there is no manufactured edges on the pieces. It will look more natural if they are all rough shapes. Then simply take some PVA glue and arbitrarily stack the smaller bits on top of the base pieces.

Once our bases are built we simply leave them alone for a few hours to dry. After they have dried we pull out the PVA again and paint the entire base with it. You will want to do 2 or 3 coats of PVA on these to ensure that they have a hard shell and don’t break apart in the future. This will make them almost as hard as plastic once you have put enough layers of glue on. Simply apply one layer, wait for it to dry, and then apply another.

Bases painted with PVA Glue

Pro Tip: If you paint one side of the base with PVA, make sure you do the bottom as well. White Glue will shrink as it dries. This will cause your bases to warp if you only paint one side. So paint one side, let it dry, then paint the bottom side, let that dry, then put another coat on the top.

After the final coat of PVA is dry it’s time to add sand. This is the simplest step. All you have to do it paint the remaining flat areas with PVA and then dunk them in a tub of basing sand. Tap off the excess and repeat with the next base. I used a mixture of playground sand and balast for the ones you see below. I just feel this gives me a greater variety of sizes of grains of sand. After we do this, we let it dry and then we’ll go on to painting.

Bases with sand added

You can paint these in whatever scheme you wish. You could do them desert colour, snow themed, jungle rocks, etc. The possibilities are endless. If you want to see what colours I’m going to use to paint them, check back here on Wednesday and I’ll walk you through a quick and easy paint job that will make these look spectacular.

If you don’t like reading instructions, have no fear. There will be a video tutorial on these exact same bases in a couple weeks on Encounter Wargaming‘s YouTube feed. So head on over and subscribe to the channel so you will be notified when said video is released. Join me again on Wednesday so we can get these bad boys painted.

Until our next Encounter!

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