Published on by Chris Abbey
Over the last few months I have been painting and basing miniatures for Wars of Ozz. Wars of Ozz ia a mass fantasy battle system. Units are typically five stands. With each stand containing four, two or one miniature (depending on the size of the miniature). I've had quiet a few people email me with questions about how I base the miniatures. The important thing to note is that I base my miniatures so that they exactly match the Terra-Former terrain tiles that they are going to be fighting on, so in essence each figure base that I landscape is landscaped in exactly the same way, with the same materials as if it was a terrain module. If you are using different materials for your games table, such as static grass or coloured sawdust flock, you will want to use those materials on your bases, rather than what I am going to show you.
After I varnished the figures with brush on gloss varnish and then sprayed on Matt varnish, I took the figures off the temporary painting bases and glued them onto 2" square MDF bases using Superglue.
I don't like to be able to see the 'plinth' that figures are cast on, so I use ready mix plaster to build up the terrain to hide the bases.
I think this type of plaster could be called 'spackle' in the USA? I use a sculpting tool and an old paint brush to get it between the individual figures bases with out getting any on the actual miniatures.
Using cheap 'craft' paint which I buy in a 2oz bottle the bases are undercoated a dark brown color (Burnt Umber)
The next stage is to glue some interesting scenic pieces to the base. I use twigs and gravel from the garden. I have found that the woody parts of lavender and heather look best as scale logs and brances. I also use a number of tufts from Army Painter and Gamers Grass ranges.
Over the years I have come to the conclusion that nothing looks more like soil, than real soil, so I cover the bases with soil from the garden. The soil I use has been carefully prepared. It has been dried out for several hours in the oven to kill any micro-organisms and get it to a dry powdery consistancy. It has then been sieved a couple of times to remove stones and larger particles. To apply it, I carefully brush pva glue onto the base, taking care to come right up to the sticks, stones and tufts but not to get glue on them. The soil is then sprinkled on and left to dry.
Once the pva glue is dry on the soil, I take the models outside and give them a good sprat with Army Painter 'Anti-Shine' Matt Varnish, which I have always found works very well. As well as varnishing the figures, this helps to fix the soil in position.
When the varnish is dry, I use and old paint brush to cover the bases with PVA glue a second time for gluing the turf down. I water the pva down slightly, and apply liberally as I want it to soak into the foam turf material. I try to leave patches of soil showing to add interest, particularly around the logs, stones and clumps of palnts. The turf material I use is 'Woodland Scenics' fine turf. This is a ground foam products. I've tried lots of products like static grass and powdered sawdust, but this is what I use exclusively now for terrain making and figure basing. I use the 'Green Mix' which I buy in the big shacker bottles.
As soon as I have sprinkled the 'Green Mix' base coat on and tapped it off, I apply some pinches of other colors. I have used red flower mix on all the Ozz bases to represent poppies. I also use a bright green and a dark green, applying pinches to give tonal variety to the grass.
The figures are then taken outside again and the bases are given a good spray of Isopropenyl soloution. This is diluted down to about 40% strength and sprayed through a household cleaning product mister. It acts to break the surface tension on the foam material, saturate it and draw the still wet pva glue up to solidify inside the foam.
... and that's about it. Here's my unit of Winkies deployed on the battlefield and ready for action. I hope that you've found this article useful. I believe that extra time spent on basing is never wasted as it sets off and complements your figure painting and ties your miniatures in with the terrain that you use.
If you would like to find out more about Wars of Ozz, click here to take a look at the pre-order / late pledge site on Gamefound.
Or click here to take a look at the initial products that are in stock and available to ship straight away.