Sunday, February 20, 2011

Tutorial - Stone step base

Hey all, this weeks update is brought to you by "Jackie Chan Adventures". Well not really, that's just what I'm watching while i update. Anyway I thought that it was high time I did a tutorial on something, anything really. One of the most important level ups in my painting skin was the realization that basing is in fact important - very important. I slowly learned that makeing my own bases was a good way to impress people. I am a pretty good painter but those well painted miniatures don't usually stick with a viewer unless there is a well executed base to go along with the miniature. In fact basing can take an otherwise flat or minimally highlighted figure and make it shine. So today I am going to post a how to with regards to making a base like this one which i used on my Malifaux Victoria.

So this is what you will need for this base. 1 30mm base, green stuff, a tool of some sort ( dental tools work the best ), super glue, flat smooth plasticard, scissors, exacto knife and a nickle (that's right a nickle).

Once you get all your materials together you can start (duh). So first what you will want to do is trace the nickle 6 - 8 times on your plasticard. Funny thing about nickles is that they are the exact size of the inside of a 30mm base (it's 30 right not 35? the small one). Once you do this cut out the circles. You probably don't need this many but depending on how tall you want your steps you might.

Once you get the circles cut out glue one to the inside of the base. This will cover up the slotta and give you a nice smooth surface that is flush with your base edge. Next cut all of the other circles in half. Take one of the half circles and glue it to the base so it is flush with the rounded edge (glue two together if you want a thicker step). This is your first step. After this take your other half circles and cut it so that there is an acute angle. Glue the larger piece so it is flush with the rounde base and on top of your first step ( glue two together for the thicker stairs). Finally do this one more time to make the top most step. 

Your base should be looking like the one in the picture above. The two non glued pieces i have in the picture are to show you the proper angles to cut and how they are in proportion to the circle.

So now we have our internal base skeleton. Its pretty cool, let's ruin it.

This is the part that takes a little bit of skill because it involves working with green stuff. Here are a few hard fought tips i have learned when working with green stuff.

- Lick your tool to smooth out green stuff.
-Push and pull the green stuff, do not try to force it into any particular shape.
-Water/spit smooths out green stuff
-Don't make too much green stuff, you can always add more but sometimes it is too hard to take stuff away.
So we will be making our steps from the top down. This makes it easier to preserve the shape. So first mix up a little bit of green stuff that is roughly the size of the first step. Get it wet and mash it up so its a nice green color. Then smoosh it to roughly to the shape of the top step. 

Next smooth it out with your tool.





Now that we have the stuff smoothed out we can begin to sculpt the stone step. Basically to sculpt the stones you just press the sharp edge of the tool into the green stuff to make the marks. Do not drag your tool to create the stones, simply push and pull the green stuff. Make circles starting with one pointed corner and working your way out. When you are done smooth out the edge leading down to the next step and make sure its nice and beefy.
Volia, you have your first step. Now repeat the process for the other two steps.

Two steps done now. Pay special attention to the edges facing the next steps and make sure they are nice and squared off. Below is a picture of how i do it with my dental tool.

Now finally we can add the very final layer of stone to the bottom. When you do this, after you are done smoothing it out, trim it so that it is flush with the base lip while leaving a small gap to deliniate the base and the base lip. Then carve the the final level of stones and you should get this:

So now you have an awsome stone base. You can go back in and spruce things up, makeing sure that the steps are at right angles to each other and such. Remember, spit and water to smooth green stuff out. You can also press the stones down with your tool to minimize the gaps between the stones if you want too. So you can leave it at this or you can add some vines to make it look old and ruinish. Here is how you do it.

First roll out some small "vines" by simply rolling the green stuff. You should get some things that look like this:

Now arrange them artistically and so that they all have a common origin point. Here is an example:





Do as many as you want to. You can really get some neat effects by make the shape of the vines conform to the shape of the steps like in the finished example i gave you at the beginning.

Next pinch out some oval shapes for the leaves. Keep them in odd numbers - usually 3 or 5 leaves - to keep it natural looking. Then place them over the origin of the vines like so:





Now do a few touch ups and you have yourself a nice stone base. In the finally produce i cleaned up the edges and added a few ridges to the leaves to give them some depth.


And that is it folks. Prime and paint. Good colors to use on this are a dark grey to a light grey with a subtle harsh white highlight. Brown for the vines and dark angel's green for the leaves.


I hope people found this helpful. I suspect that I will do another base tutorial next week. If anyone has requests let me know. I haven't finalized the plan for next week. Hopefully  I will have time for a good update.  

In the future I plan on doing an Anima Tactics review and possibly an Infinity review. I have all the models i need for an Anima review I just want to get em painted up so there are some pretty pictures in the blog. I will also be at Pax east (as I have said). I hope some of you will come see me!

Till next time,
Steve (MDX)

1 comment:

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