How To: Scenic Toxic Swamp Basing

Step 2

Recently I talked about how to batch paint Plaguebearers relatively quickly. This follow-up article is about how to do the toxic swamp basing shown on those models.

Nurgle Daemons are disgusting both in appearance and in background concept so a little bit of vileness on their basing should help showcase them nicely.

Some hobbyists may ask, why bother to do scenic basing or even finish the bases at all? The reason is that an atmospheric scenic base will give your models that extra little visual impact you want to show off your work.

Even the most modestly painted models can look great with some fun scenic basing. Leaving the bases completely unfinished leaves the models looking flat and we don’t want that after spending so much time building, converting and painting them!

First you will need a basing medium. In this case I went to my current favorite product, Vallejo Black Lava. This medium coarseness textured paint is quite versatile at providing a wide variety of different looks depending on how it is applied and painted.

For this project I applied the Black Lava rather thinly with a paint brush, deliberately leaving some areas thinner than others or devoid of Black Lava altogether. The flat areas are deliberately surrounded by a bit of noticeable Black Lava raised edging.

After the Black Lava was allowed to thoroughly dry I dry-brushed it with a medium brown and then very light grey paint. I used GW Citadel paints, but any similar colors will do. After the dry-brush was complete I painted some yellowish green in the flat areas I wanted for my swamp effect.

In the photo below you can see the dry-brushed Black Lava with the first stage of green applied to selected flat areas. 

Step 1

The next step is to add some shading to the green areas so there is variation in the color. This will make it look more naturalistic like algae infested water or toxic polluted goo. I used Citadel Biel-Tan Green Shade. Apply it unevenly so that you don’t just end up with a darker green that’s completely flat. Notice the bubble in the middle of the green goo? I made that with a little modeling putty. Apoxy Sculpt or Kneadatite (“Green Stuff”) is good for this.

Step 2

After shading I highlighted with some bright Citadel Moot Green paint. I not only highlighted the bubbles, but select flat areas as well for more color variation. Bits of textured paint in the middle of the green areas were sometimes painted to appear as small bubbles as well this way.

Step 3

If you’re going to matte varnish your models do it now so as not to ruin the next step in basing. After the paint is fully dry and you’ve applied your spray sealant make the green swampy areas appear wet with either gloss varnish or a simulated water product like Woodland Scenics Water Effects. I actually put a fair amount of Water Effects into the green pools to give them more depth as well as a watery shine. If you want your swamp to have vegetation you can put some Woodland Scenics Long Grass on the bases to make it appear that tall reeds are growing in wetlands.

Step 4

Here’s the finished result on two units of twenty models each. When the models appear together like this the themed basing yields a nice area visual effect.

Unit 1
Unit 2

Here are both units together marching one behind the other. Nurgle is shambling forward in force leaving a trail of toxic slime in its wake!

Keep in mind that colors other than green could have been used for the wet areas for a different look and effect, but in this case I thought the bright green nicely showed off the mostly drab yellow-brown models while giving them an extra bit of toxicity to their appearance. When choosing basing colors try to pick something thematic that also contrasts with the colors and brightness of the models so as not to conflict with them visually.

Even though I had to apply this effect to forty models at once it only took me a couple of hours. Completing each step on all the models before moving on to the next one is a huge time saver and the techniques used are not time consuming while yielding a fun finished look that appears to have a bit of complexity to it.

podcast inset code View All of Our Shows Tau Break-Down Stratagems & Relics Episode 141

You might also like: