Copyright © 2011-2024, Paul Scrivens-Smith

Copyright © 2011-2024, Paul Scrivens-Smith

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Sunday 27 April 2014

How to do those Scrivsland bases

Since I have been posting the pictures of my recent painting updates, both the Spanish Civil War and Battle of Keren ones I have had a lot of very supportive comments, many asking how I do my figure bases.

As I have promised a few people that I would do an how to article, I have put together a series of step by step images detailing the process. I have used Vallejo Field Drab as the main colour with these, to do the Keren style bases just replace this with Yellow Ochre.

The first thing I do is paint my figures, I know some people prefer to do the basing before the figures are painted but I never got on with that method.

For the record, I use Renedra 25mm rounds for the Officers and Sergeants and Renedra 20mm rounds for the rank and file. You can really use what ever you usually do though. I tend to get my Renedra bases from Steve at Arcane Scenery who offers great service. He also stocks all the Vallejo paints I use too.

As a start I paint my bases Vallejo Field Drab, when you see the process you'll probably think that this is an unnecessary step but it's a habit I have gotten in to.

The figures I'll be using for these photos are Spanish Civil War Guardia Civil from the Empress Miniatures range.

Next I need to add some small patches of grit to the bases. For my super glue, I use the No Nonsense Super Glue available from your local Screwfix Direct. It is stupidly cheap at less than £1.60 for 20g but really good stuff. While you are there I would also recommend their Super Glue Activator. I use this loads when assembling figures, building terrain etc.

I put a small blob of super glue on the base and then sprinkle on some coarse gritty sand. The sand I used was actually picked up on a beach in Catalonia but your local DIY superstore is bound to have similar stuff.

I don't do a patch of grit on every base, out of these six figures, one had two patches, four had one patch and one had none.

I put these aside for a few minutes to allow the super-glue to dry.

Next up is the rest of the texture, for this I use Vallejo "599" Pumice Gel.

I apply this with a modelling tool, but an old coffee stirrer is equally as useful.

Work around any areas of grit that you have glued on.

I clean up any spillage from around the base edge by wiping off with my finger.

Here are the group of figures with the pumice gel applied.

Eagle eyed readers will notice that at this step my Sergento lost the end of his pistol. While taking a photo the camera fell over and landed on him!

The figures are put aside for a couple of hours while the Pumice Gel dries. I actually left these overnight, but a couple of hours usually suffices.

Now it's time to paint the texture on the bases, for these Guardia Civil. For this I use Vallejo Field Drab

I use an old brush to do this and make sure the pain is well thinned with water.

Once this was done I left the figures to dry for a couple of hours while I buggered off to the gym and then did some shopping.

Next up it was time to start dry-brushing the texture, first of all I used Vallejo Dark Sand.

I use a knackered old brush that probably really should have been binned ages ago.

After the Dark Sand I use a lighter dry-brush of Vallejo Light Sand.

As the dry-brushing can be a bit messy, I then go around the edge of the base again with Vallejo Field Drab to tidy it up.

The bases are now ready for some 'feature' to be added and here are the ingredients that I use.


  • Mini-Nautur 'Late Fall' tufts - I get mine from Great Escape Games
  • Granulated cork bark, this is the left overs of a huge bag I bought from Charles Cantrill when James and I were texturing the Keren mountain side.
  • Games Workshop static grass. Probably the only Evil Empire product I still use.
  • Woodland Scenics Bushes: Olive I bought these from the now defunct Model Zone, you can get in quite a few other places still.
  • Woodland Scenics Clumps: Medium Green I bought these from the now defunct Model Zone, you can get in quite a few other places still.

I break up the cork bark into small pieces 2mm to 4mm square, pick off a few of the tufts and break up the bushes and clump into small pieces. I find it best to have these ready before you start this step.

Using blobs of PVA glue these features are stuck to the bases.

Nearly finished now!

I water down some PVA glue and put a few (three to seven) small dots on each base.

I then drizzle the static grass onto the wet glue.

The final step once the PVA glue is dry is to lightly brush off any excess static grass and then to give the pieces of cork bark a light dry-brush with the Vallejo Pale Sand. The final step is to magnetise the base and then to give a coat of Matt varnish.

Despite the loads of photographs and apparent lot of steps it really does not take long nor take a lot of effort to give your figures an effective looking base.

I hope this article is of use to some of you.


  1. Nice work - and obviously effective!

  2. Brilliant - thank you. A very clear and helpful article spurring me on to get to grips with my own SCW project! Please keep writing, I really enjoy your Blog.

    Monty's Wargaming World

  3. Thanks for posting Paul. I had no idea about the pumice gel. I have to get some, that'll save so much time combining the base build up and sand application.

  4. Thanks chaps, happy to be of some help.

  5. How do you magnetize the bases?

    1. I use self adhesive A4 sheets - £4.99 for three from Abel Magnets: