Five Tricks for Better Warhammer Bases

Warhammer bases can make or break the look of a miniature.  Here are our best tricks to make sure they bring out the best of your models!

Making bases is an important part of the hobby.  After all, every model needs one*!

Much like building terrain pieces, bases are kind of a hobby within a hobby.  It uses a lot of the same paints and techniques, but it’s a whole different set of skills.

So we’ve compiled the five most important things to know when making bases for your models!

Five Tricks for Better Warhammer Bases

All these tricks are also implying an army display board, because if you’re going to paint your army, you might as well display it.  Also, most tournaments require one to get the full painting points, so yeah.

The display board, while a whole other beast to make, is an extension of the bases, and should fit with them.  Think of bases like mini dioramas, and the display board as the actual diorama.

1- Make them all together

This is number one on the list for a reason.  If you take away only one thing from this article, let it be this one.  When you make and paint your warhammer bases, you make the whole army’s worth.  If you’re going to need an army display board, you do it at the same time.

This has multiple benefits:

  • Saves a lot of time.  Wether it’s waiting for glue to dry, breaking down cork pieces, or painting the trims in black, repetition takes away a lot of the time required.
  • Produces uniform results.  Because bases tie the look of an army together, having them be exactly the same is paramount.  This can be using the same colors the same way, to just having the same basing materials.

So when you sit down to make bases, you make bases; plural.  Get the sand, the glue and just go to town.  When you sit down to paint them,  same deal.  You’re not drybrushing a single base.  You’re drybrushing bases like there’s no tomorrow.

Because that’s the goal:  you sit down and paint bases once, then it’s done.

2- Make Extras

Sort of the continuation of point one, when you are making bases, make more than you need.  In this case, more is better than less, for obvious reasons.

Lists change, new models are released, whatever the reason, you will need more.

You don’t want to just break off a model that gets replaced to use its base.  Yes, I’ve seen it done before.  No, it’s not the way to go.

This trick is a frustrating one, because the present you thinks he’s got it all under control and that, for whatever reason, making extras is not necessary.  And then future you is going to need some bases and kick himself over present you’s know-it-all approach.

This is a tale as old as time that everyone’s past selves lured us into.

So make extras, the worst that can happen is you end up not needing them.  There are much worse thing to have in your pile of shame than un-used bases.

3- Use techniques appropriate for bulk

Trick is, simply put, setting yourself up for success.

This part is a two prong approach to making your army’s worth of bases. On one end,  you are making sure that making an army’s worth of bases (plus extras) is manageable.

What does it mean for techniques to be suited for bulk?

Simply put, is it something you can replicate easily.  This could be buying resin bases, or 3d printing some rather than crafting them yourself with plasticard and brass, or picking a scheme that does not require you to mix colors.

I really enjoy the sector mechanicus warhammer bases myself, they are plastic and in a wide enough variety.

You can also flip this question into a negative:  If the first thing you think about when making or painting your bases line-assembly style is:  “That will never work because XYZ”, well, XYZ is not bulk-friendly, and you should consider an alternative.

These desert-themed bases are a good example of this, where finding an alternative is key.

GW’s Steel Legion Drab versus The Army Painter’s Leather Brown.  Arguably, Steel Legion Drab is my favorite color of the two.  It is a lighter shade, and covers remarkably well.

However, The Army Painter’s Leather Brown is available in a shaker can, meaning that the bases and board can be base coated in under 10 minutes.  So that the one to go with, even if the color isn’t 100% what I wanted, I’ll take 90% close and much, much faster.

4- If they’re all special, none of them are

This is a little bit counter-intuitive, but it is the purpose of tips three and four.

If you are trying to make every base stand out, the opposite will happen.  As such, it’s important to pick your battles so to speak, and carefully select which models you want to stand out with a stand-out base.

Trick 4 and a half would be that your heavily detailed and intricate models usually don’t require a complex base.  A simple base will help the model stand out without drawing away the focus from your high quality paint job.

After all, if you pour blood sweat and tears in a freehanded cloak, the last thing you want is people to talk about the rock on the base of your mini.

5- Complement or Contrast

Now, we’re getting artistic with it.  Bases should either Complement or Contrast the model that’s on them.

1-  Muted bases that showcase a model.

This method works great when you have a vibrant and colorful model.

A muted and dark base will showcase those colors.  This eldar army is a great example:  if the bases were light, the vibrant red and turquoise would get lost.  The dark bases make your eyes drawn to the models first.  Boom, showcased.

2-  Contrasting bases that create a theme

This is my method of choice for dark or speed painted models, like the Stormcast Eternals below.

With bold warhammer bases, the models just blend in the army as a whole.

*Yes, I’ve heard of vehicles…

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