This 8th episode of the Dwarfology series (I'm quite impressed by myself for having made already eight episodes!) is about something that I'm not particularly good at: painting bases.
For some reasons, despite I love bases and I think that is crucial to create nice sceneries for our miniatures, I always struggled to paint them, properly. There is something that I probably missed, about them, a long time ago.
However, I decided to start this new decade in the best way possible and I'm really focusing on overcoming my limits! Before going on, let me say that at least 50% of the (satisfying, indeed) result that you're about to see is thanks to my brand new Jedi master, Josua Lai. Josua is not only a talented painter, but he's also THE man, concerning bases. To improve me and train my abilities with sceneries, I obliged him to adopt me as a humble padawan and I've already learned a lot: thank you, master!
Now, let's see what I've managed to do with the first scenic base, made for the beloved Iron Crow Sentinel B.
Before starting, please let me apologize: during the furious process of painting, I've forgotten to take pics of the very last step of this process (adding the moss and final details). I'll try to explain as better as possible the hypothetical step 7.5. Sorry!
So, as always I just started with a smooth base (1). I chose a kind of khaki, mixing Deheneb Stone (one of the best colours ever created, unfortunately out of production) and a bit of Vallejo Scorpion Green (a very little amount of it, just to warm a bit the first colour). Of course, you can choose whatever colour you want, because stones have endless hues and colours in real life. I wanted something neutral, so I decided to paint a desaturated beige/ dark cream.
I then washed the whole base (2) with a mix of Agrax Earthshade and Athonian Camoshade (wtf, Games Workshop!!).
From step 3, I just improvised. At first, I wanted to give cold and green shadows, so I mixed some Kimera Kolors Phtalo Green (it's like Citadel Caliban Green) and Kimera Kolors Phtalo Blue/green shade (a dark blue), to have a dark green. I diluted this mix 'till glaze consistency (approx. 1 part color, 1 part water, half part Lahmian medium) and I painted subtle layers on the surfaces I wanted to darken (3). Then, I add some Kimera Kolor The Red (finally a cool name!) to the previous mix, to increase the shadows and I gave at first a subtle glaze of highly diluted Scorpion Green on the remaining surfaces. Moreover, with less dilute Scorpion Green, I started to add some texture to these areas, using the stippling technique (4). This way, I tried to have cold hue on shadows and yellowish/warm hue on lights, and I started to add texture to the stones.
I then took the basecoat colour, I mixed it with a bit of yellow (just to warm it a bit more, any kind of lemon yellow is fine) and I started to highlight the base, using the stippling technique (5).
I added a bit of Vallejo Elfic Flesh to the mix, and I increased the lights, always with stippling technique (6). At this point, I focused mainly on the "ruined dwarf road" and my beloved dwarf stones: I used the darkest shadow mix to define better the recesses, and I define better the texture alternating light dots (light beige mix) and shadow dots (dark brownish-green mix). This "alternating process" is important when you paint using the stippling technique, because it helps to define better the surfaces and, above all, to smooth the transitions.
I then added more Elfic Flesh to the mix, and I added tiny tiny dots to increase the highlights of the base, and I gave very subtle layers of Andrea Napoleonic Blue (any kind of light blue works fine) on shaded areas (7). As I mentioned above, here there would be another step, before step 8: nothing special, I just increased a bit the lights and I kept on defining the surfaces, alternating dark, light and mid-tone dots.
Finally, I added the moss (see next part of the tutorial) and I complete the bases painting the roots (it's just a dark brown, highlighted adding sand yellow at first and Elfic Flesh for final lights) and adjusting the final lights, adding dots of pure Elfic Flesh (8). Once the moss-blob dried, I added very subtle dark green glazes to merge it a bit more with the bases.
And here is the final result: probably the best base I've ever made, for one of the best Dwarves I've ever designed!
After a lot of crazy (and messy!) experiments, I managed to achieve an interesting recipe to create artificial moss. Or at least, I like how it looks and I hope you like it too! I don't believe in secret recipes (for everything but my Amaretti&Dark Chocolate cake!), so here is how I've made this mossy blob!
At first, let's talk about the ingredients (1). To achieve my moss-blob you need to have:
•Some average snow powder (I use Prochima snow powder, you can use whatever you want as long as it has this consistency. I think that baking soda works fine too) (A).
•Some "coarse-grained" snow effect (B). This one is by Obscurium and it's called "wet snow", I honestly don't know if it's still available. It is basically composed of very tiny plastic flakes. This guy helps you to have a more textured moss. If you don't have it, and can't find it, use something that helps to have more texture (for example, sand).
•Some yellow and green inks or similar (C). I use Vallejo Transparent line, but normal inks work fine too.
•Some water effect (D). I think that Vallejo Still Water is perfect, but any kind of water effect with the same consistency and, above all, not bi-component, works fine too.
Are you ready?
So, take a random box that you are not too much attached to (things will get messy...), and start mixing, approximately, a tablespoon of A, a pinch of B (not too much), two drops of yellow ink, half drop (you don't need to cut a drop like a samurai, just put a little bit of green ink in the mix) of green ink and a coffee spoon of water effect, then start mixing the ingredient (2). For your interest, here is a view of the ingredients mix ratio for a single portion of moss (3).
When you mix the ingredients, check the result and adjust it at your wish: for example, if you see that the blob is too wet, add some ingredient (A), if you want a rougher moss, add more ingredient B, if you want a greener or more yellow moss, add more green or yellow ink (please, consider that this mix becomes a bit darker when it dries), if your blob is too thick, add some ingredient D.
Once achieved the result you have in mind, just use an old brush to take a little amount of mossy blob and put it on your base: it's better to work with few amounts, little by little. This blob is awesome because it dries slowly, so you have time to properly "sculpt" the mossy texture (using a moistened brush) at your wish. Once dry, you can paint this moss with glazes, to add shadows and lights, or you can just leave it the way it is. You can also prepare two or more blobs with different hues (a more yellow one, a more dark green/blue one, a more camo green one) and mix them directly on the bases to achieve even more realistic results!
Now go my friends, and make this world more mossy than ever!