Wednesday, February 24, 2010

WIP: Using Drywall Paste for Basing Miniatures

I've started to paint up my Cygnar forces for Warmachine, and I'm using drywall paste to do up the bases. I've found it's pretty easy to work with and can give you a nice rough ground effect. One of the finished bases can be seen to the left. It still needs some static grass applied to it to break up the blue-grey, but the result is close to what I was going for.

The Privateer Press bases are really good for this. The center of the base is a depression and the drywall paste fills this up nicely. You can slop it on the base and push it around, creating little hills and rough patches. For my Cygnar I want a rough surface so I poke and stab at it with a hobby knife to give it some texture, but you can just as easily smooth it all out if you wanted a flat surface. It's also really easy to push in around stuff if you want to have sticking up out of the ground. Finally, it's cheap and if you live somewhere that has drywall you've probably already got the materials.

I've learned a few things about using it:
  • The drywall paste isn't strong enough to hold stuff by itself. You need to glue the model and any other bits and pieces you want sticking up out of the ground to the base before putting the paste on. After its dry you could go back and add rocks or grass with PVA glue like you would for any other base.
  • Adding a bit of card to the feet of your miniatures raises them up so they look like they are standing on top of the ground rather than sinking into it.
  • It takes a while to dry. I'm not sure how long but I leave mine overnight. Different manufacturers probably have different drying times.
  • After it dries you can use a knife or some fine grit sand paper to knock off any bits that ended up sticking to your model or the sides of the base.
  • You can paint your model before doing the base. Just use some gesso to prime the dried paste before painting it then go back and touch up any spots on the feet of your model once you've painted the base.
Cheap and durable, drywall paste can add some variety to your bases outside of the glued gravel look.

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