Back when I first started out with Warhammer 40k, I kind of thought all the fancy bases that I saw were nice, but ultimately a little unnecessary. It didn’t take me long to change my mind.
One of the things I like best about this hobby is that it’s a constant learning process. I’ll pick up a tip after reading an article or learn something from a YouTube video, and I’ll incorporate it into what I do with my hobbying. One of the things I’ve sort of changed my mind on recently because of this constant learning is basing the miniatures. For anyone not in the know, or if you haven’t quite bought into the wargaming thing yet, the bases that come with the miniatures often aren’t decorated at all. They’re just a black, flat, plastic disc, and you can definitely keep them that way if you want to. They’ll still fulfill the functional purpose of holding your miniature upright, since that is technically what they’re for.
But, they can also be a way to really improve the overall aesthetic of your army, and they are really not as difficult as I thought they were at one point. Of course, you could make it really easy on yourself and just by pre-decorated bases, but where’s the fun in that? In terms of the aesthetic of your army, if you’re like me, you started painting with an idea in your head of what your finished army would look like, and then you just glued them to the bases and left it at that. Then, of course, I ran into a problem: my Imperium army looked exactly the same. Different models and paints, of course, but the bases looked alike, and I really wanted the two groups to be distinct from one another. On top of that, I was also reading some of the Death Guard lore, and thinking about how they all come from plague planets that are diseased and decaying. Meanwhile I’m looking at these pristine black bases and just thinking “well, this doesn’t really fit.” Because of that, what I wanted was some way to capture the whole plague planet thing in a way that wouldn’t look weird with my already painted Death Guard.
What I settled on was actually far simpler than I thought it was going to be. Apparently, you can get texture gel at any hobby store, and it is not very expensive. The one in the picture was I think around $9.00, and it comes in a really sizable tube. The stuff itself takes a while to fully cure, but once it does, it dries onto the base itself and just sticks there. To test it out, I tried scraping some of it off, and some of it did come off, but it wasn’t easy. It is fairly solidly on there. After it’s fully dried, you can paint it whatever you want to, and it just looks like a kind of gritty dirt texture. For my Death Guard, I primed it in a flat black and then coated it over with a thin layer of a yellow-green color, and that was it. That was my toxic, plague planet soil. It’s a really simple process, and the only thing that took a while was waiting for the texture gel to completely cure.
So if you’re thinking of stepping up your hobby a little bit, I’d suggest picking up some texture gel on the cheap and getting to work on some basing. Like anything wargaming related, you could do this at a significantly higher level than what I’m working at, but even something simple like this makes a really big difference for the overall look of your army. For my part, it took me a while to see the point, but after having done some basing, I don’t think I’ll be going back to plain, black bases any time soon.