Aim High- Basing 40k Flying Stands

Following on my recent article about converting Ork Bommers it seemed useful to talk about scenic basing flyers for Warhammer 40,000.

Flyers usually sit on a clear plastic stand mounted on the large oval base made by Games Workshop. Since the clear stand doesn’t take up much room on the large plastic oval that leaves a lot of blank space that just cries out for some scenic basing to accentuate the large flying machine model sitting atop it. Here are some ideas for filling that space that are fairly simple and not terribly time consuming.

First, it’s important to come up with a theme. Do you want a random battlefield look or something specific to the army to which the flyer belongs? Do you want urban or countryside scenery? Imperial or alien buildings and debris? There are many different themes possible limited only by your imagination, so have fun with it.

After choosing a theme you’ll have to find some thematic bits to glue to the oval stand. Extra bits from other model kits you’ve already built work well as do parts from scenery kits. Additional things like plastic girders and tubing available from Plastuct make for good scenery.

Besides the game company product with which most 40K fans are familiar there’s also Woodland Scenics who makes all manner of scenery building items that are helpful for basing models, creating dioramas and making game table scenery.

Once you’ve selected the pieces and scenery items for your base carefully place the bits around as you see fit. Remember to try not to crowd or cram the base, some spacing is good for aesthetic reasons. We want to make the space appear to be part of a 40K battlefield, not a weekend swap meet! Parts should be placed to seem natural to the setting you’re creating whether it’s sparse woods, dense jungle, ruined cityscape or random battlefield debris.

The photo below shows the work in progress for my Chaos Heldrake base. I’ve used parts of a Stormraven to suggest the destruction of Imperial flyers, specifically Grey Knights and Daemonhunters, by the forces of Chaos. Arch enemies always make for great thematic basing.

I’ve also added some Chaos looking Spikey Bits to suggest the ground on which the battle is taking place is being corrupted by the warping influence of the Chaos powers. Pieces of sprue around and under certain pieces help boost them up so that when I put texture over them it will sit higher in those areas without having to use excessive amounts of the texture material itself. After the texture goes on I’ll prime it black.

REMINDER: Be sure to MASK the clear flying stand while spraying the rest of your base or you’ll ruin its transparency! I usually tape some newspaper around it making certain that it goes all the way to the bottom. Watch your angle of spraying to ensure the spray doesn’t get under your mask and ruin the clear stand. Alternatively, you might want to prime your scenic bits before gluing them to the base.

My next step will be to add texture material. This can be sand, textured paint or any number of things. I’ll be using Vallejo Black Lava. When the texture gets a bit firm, but before it’s too solid to push it around I’ll create lava channels in it so I can paint it as if it’s a Chaos induced lava field like that of my Chaos Hellblade flyers shown in the photo at the top. Here’s a closeup view of a Hellblade base.

My favorite atmospheric bit is the scorched and rotting partial corpse hanging from a spike as it really tells a story about the carnage the Chaos Marine forces have brought to the battlefield.

I’ve created a lot of bases using similar techniques, but with significantly different themes like this Ork Bommer base shown below.

This also used Vallejo Black Lava, but instead of painting it as a lava field I painted it as a more conventional area of rough terrain. The scenery on the base is made from a GW Ork Barricade and some off cut pieces from other GW model kits.

Sometimes less is more. I created a similar if simpler effect on this base for my Grey Knights Stormraven. Here I just used three scenery bits, part of a fuel drum and two bits from a GW Imperial City kit. The angled placement of the drum makes it appear as if it’s been there a while and that it is sinking into the mud as does the placement of the city bits.

The city kit bits are actually one piece cut in two and since I only used part of an oil drum I have the rest of that bit to use on another base.The simple red tail paint scheme on the Stormraven was inspired by one of the great US squadrons of WWII, the Tuskegee Airmen.

These techniques work equally well on other large bases where the model sitting upon it leaves a lot of open space (e.g., the Dreadknight). So why not have a go at some dramatic and thematic scenic basing? It’s a great way to give your large flyer models that little extra something. I’m about to texture the base for my Heldrake and then paint that and the Heldrake model. Unfortunately, this bumps other projects aside for a bit but I can’t wait to see the Heldrake soaring along with my Hellblades as wingmen. The lure of Chaos is strong!

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