All About That Base - Basing Gallic-Celtic Cavalry

Something which has been gnawing at me for a while is how best to base my growing force of ‘ancient’ miniatures. I have over the years established quite a variety of different basing practices, and inevitably these have developed over time, but as I started to explore more ancient settings, I figured it was time to branch out.

NB: The cavalry in this post are all made from the beautiful plastics from Victrix. Shields are by Little Big Man, also via Victrix.

All of my 20th Century miniatures are based in the same time-consuming, fussy way which involves drybrushing rocks and separating patches of different coloured grasses, so I started by trying pre-mixed basing on my small force of Thebans for Footsore’s Mortal Gods - using Luke’s APS ‘Mediterranean Soil’.  This is a superb blend, and it resulted in exactly the arid, parched look I was hoping for, but for my newly-painted hordes of Gallic-Celts (and, soon, my Dark Ages Norse and Anglo-Danes), I really wanted something darker and lush.

The basing test mini - a Dark Ages archer from Gripping Beast

Well, after a long period of experimentation and research, this week I’ve finally settled on a basing solution which meets my needs, specifically.

  • lush and a richer green,
  • some subtle variation,
  • inexpensive to create,
  • easy to do in one application, and
  • easy to replicate and/or produce in bulk.

It’s a mixture (roughly 50/50 but with the grass more prominent) of Luke’s APS Mediterranean Soil and 2mm ‘Summer’ grass from Mininatur:

I like labelling.

I was glad to be able to make so much of it, and the process for its application is as follows (no surprises here, but I include it for completeness):

  1. Bevel the edge of the miniature's plinth to its MDF base using paint-dyed filler (to start with, I used an old bottle of Games Workshop's 'Stirland Mud' textured paint) and allow to dry;
  2. Carefully spread slightly diluted PVA/white glue over the base (I always find that rocks and textures adhere less well if the glue's too diluted);
  3. Make a shallow trough in the basing mix and scoop the mix on, pushing it gently but firmly into place;
  4. Turn the mini over upside-down and tap sharply to remove any excess mix -this also helps the static grass to 'stand';
  5. Allow to dry…and later on, I look forward to supplementing this mix with various tufts and flowers I have kicking around - not least if any rocks come loose.

The finished articles:

I really do like labelling


Having spent waaaaaaay too long trying to settle on a lush, simple basing result that I’d be happy with for all of my Northern European ancients, I’m delighted to have mixed up a significant tub of the stuff.

Some saddle detail - some have Celtic curlicues drawn in fineliner too:

And these are just some of their infantry allies waiting to be based - a mix of Victrix and Warlord minis:

Now all I need to do is finish off basing those infantry and move on to the chariots…

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