Basing Tests for my Chaos Space Marine Army

I’ve been building a Chaos Space Marine army for awhile now, and I’ve gotten to a point where I have enough of them built to finally start thinking about painting them. However, before I paint them, they need to be based.

Miniatures (this explanation is for people who aren’t nerds like me) usually have a round or square base that they stand on, depending on the type of game. To make a figure really stand out and look good, it’s best to both texture and paint the base to look like whatever terrain they’d be likely to be standing on. This could be dirt, grass, cobblestones, spaceship deck, or whatever.

Runic Mountain bases from Secret Weapon

There’s a whole cottage industry that’s sprung up around pre-made resin bases. Depending on the company you buy from, you can find any kind of subject matter or style you want. It’s best, when building a whole army, to have a common style throughout your entire force.

I, however, don’t use “store-bought” bases; I model my own as I go. For my Tau Empire army, I modeled the Firewarriors and Kroot to be standing on dirt and rocks with a bit of foliage in the form of a little green wash and a bit of green static grass glued in small clumps here and there. For my Chaos Space Marine army, I’ve decided I want them to be standing on a field of burned ash and blasted rock, very bleak in grey and brown. Therefore, it’s best to do a materials and paint test before actually gluing things to the bases of my built figures.

Sand, glue, shards of slate. Painted, drybrushed and washed

This test piece is using “colored candle sand” from Hobby Lobby, glued down with normal CA glue (kind of like superglue) and some small pieces of slate from the Games Workshop Warhammer 40k model basing kit. Then I spray primed the whole thing black and did some simple painting and drybrushing on it. Then a wash and some more drybrushing and it was all done. It’s not a bad look, and it shouldn’t take away emphasis from the models.

This base used baking soda instead of sand for a much finer texture

Then I built this base: I used the same paint and wash colors and the same slate, but instead of using the sand, I used much finer baking soda with the CA glue. Also, I put down two layers of it; I covered the whole base with CA glued baking soda, waited for it to dry, and then put on a second layer, but only on half of the base. I wanted it to look somewhat like wind erosion, and tried to emphasize it when I painted it, as well.

These photos don’t do the bases justice. The two-layer effect on the baking soda base is quite noticeable in real life, and the texture difference is much greater between the baking soda version and the sand version.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with the color scheme and I’m probably going to go with the baking soda technique for my basing. It will probably take a bit longer, but I really think it’ll look better in the long run. I’ll probably just do a group of five Chaos Space Marines to start, and see how fiddly or difficult it’s going to be, and then I’ll primer those five guys and get to painting. Of course, determining how I’m going to actually paint my army will be a whole post by itself, so keep an eye out for that.

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3 Responses to “Basing Tests for my Chaos Space Marine Army”


  1. 1 Glenn Buettner June 22, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    Very nice. I really need to base my Space Marines. It seems wrong to leave them standing on the plain black discs. They have served the Emperor well, they deserve a reward.


  1. 1 Beginning the Black Legion Paint Scheme « atom smashing Trackback on July 19, 2011 at 12:48 pm
  2. 2 Proper Photos of My First Chaos Space Marine Squad « atom smashing Trackback on June 11, 2012 at 4:52 pm

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atom smashing

A gaming blog talking about miniatures games, miniatures painting and collecting, game design and other nerdly delights.


The Statistics – 2013

Minis games played:
• WH40k (1850 pts):
   BT/GK vs Kevin (Eldar/DE) LOST
• WH40k (1500 pts):
   BT vs Jason (D.E.) LOST
• WH40k (1500 pts):
   BT vs Kevin (S.W.) LOST
Minis finished:
 none yet
Terrain finished:
 none yet
Cons attended:
 Fire & Ice
updated 28FEB2013

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