Having put a similar article on the Baccus forum some while ago I thought it time to update it, do a few more photos, and post it here. Often at the SMS clinics I only really get chance to talk to people about basing techniques in 6mm given the problems of drying times. The two main methods I tend to discuss is the floodwashing technique (AKA the Baccus basing system) and the Mikey Mud technique.
So what is Mikey Mud I hear you cry. Well over the years I have tried many basing techniques. Firstly was the old PVA and drop on some sand, but I found this ‘flat’ and kept coming off by the grain or even sometimes in chunks. This led on to mixing the sand with PVA which added more texture but still shed all over the place ( I think the PVA I was using and the plastic bases had some part to play in this). Then came the 15 min epoxy which was very solid but also very messy and very expensive! I had a trial out on basetex but found is consistency to be inadequate. Things came to a bit of a head a few years back when I was confronted with the rebasing of some 7-800 28mm Wars of the Roses figures. I needed something that was going to be relatively cheap, easy to use, workable, acted as a filler to cover integral metal bases, and ideally acted as a base colour to paint from.
My thoughts were that something along the lines of basetex was the right direction to go in. I concluded that I needed a particular base (sand), PVA, and a pigment (paint). Happy to do a bit of ‘structural’ gardening I often had some builders shard sand knocking around (bought by the tonne it’s as cheap as chips). The next step is really important unless you want to grow a variety of fungi and moulds in your Mud pot. This is cook the sand – this burns off the carbon matter in the sand. I tend to do mine in an old roasting dish and cook in the oven at 200 C for an hour or so, two or three lots has provided me enough sand for over 5 years now.
Next is to get the grade you are after. With the 28mm models I initially was using this on I thought to use raw would provide some more stoney bits I can use to give greater depth to the texture. I quickly learnt that it was better to have removed these as they proved more trouble than they were worth as it was so much easier applying and working with a ‘smoother’ mix of mud. This is where personal preference comes in as to what ‘grade’ you want to go for. I use an old children’s fishing/butterfly net or a fish tank net. I feel this gives enough texture to the mix whilst being very workable. Keep the larger stones and grit that are sieved out as they come in handy later to add clumps of rocks to the bases.
..and as I embark on expanding my Epic 40K forces and get stuck into some 15mm Sci-fi I find the need for a black mud so here is a fresh pot.
This made too thin a mix so ~ 30% of it went into another pot and more sand was added. Essentially use the water and sand to create the texture you are after.
Mikey Mud in Action
So here we have a step-by-step guide to using Mikey Mud on some freshly painted Rapier Persian light cavalry. Please note I would normally be holding the mounting pot but only having two hands meant I have placed it down to take the photos.
The finished models on their painting strip.
Figures stuck down to the base (basing is for Impetus 60mm x 40mm).
The Mikey mud is first of all spooned on to the base using a modelling tool, focus on getting the right amount on the base as opposed to getting it the right place.
Next up take a largish brush and using liberal amounts of water you can mould the Mud across the base and into the recesses. This also brings up a bit more texture on the surface.
To further add some texture I drop on some grit and stones which are gently tempered down into the mix.
Painting the base
First up is overbrushing the whole base with Valejo 127 Ochre Brown. Firstly this is done around each model with a smaller brush before using a larger brush to cover the larger areas.
Next up is a patchy drybrush of Valejo 123 Dark Sand, using two coats on the stony areas.
Finally an edging in dark brown and the addition of MiniNature Moss pads late fall (747-24 S)
… and the completed base, which will be available for viewing on the Rapier stand at Triples (onwards) along with other Persians I have painted.