Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Cobblestone Bases Tutorial

I've had a few requests asking how I made the cobblestone street bases for my Seamus crew so I thought I'd put together a quick tutorial as they're actually very simple (and cheap) to make as for the most part they're made from stuff that most hobbyists have knocking around anyway.

Firstly you'll need some kind of hobby putty or green stuff. I've used a few different types but to be honest cheap generic 'Green Stuff' works just as well as the more expensive brand names. For these I'm using some of a generic variety that I purchased from my FLGS. You'll also need some sand (I use various grades mixed together to give a variety of textures)...

...a scalple or hobby knife, a couple of brushes (one to apply the PVA and another to dust off the excess sand with), some PVA and obviously you'll need some bases.

Firstly you'll need to mix some green stuff (or whatever you selected). It needs to be thick enough for you to cut grooves into but not so thin that you end up slicing straight through it. After application you'll probably find it has fingerprints in it but you can smooth it down just by wetting it and smoothing it over.

Then you need to use your scalpel to slice some grooves into the green stuff. If your mixture is sticky then wetting the blade slightly should stop the stuff from pulling away from the bases. I make the cuts fairly irregularly but it's possible to make them pretty much any size or level of uniformity that you wish as long as you have a steady hand. I do mine uneven to gain the effect of an area that isn't maintained and I also apply the green stuff slightly off level for exactly the same reasons but it's easy enough to smooth level should you be going for a more high status look.

If your base is slotted then you can either fill the slot or just create the cobblestone area over the slotted part.

You can create completely covered bases if you wish but for the purposes of this tutorial we'll be making some more damaged looking ones so we're going to leave a few gaps for the rubble.

 Which we'll then fill with a fairly thick layer of PVA,

We'll then dip them in the sand and then brush off the excess. Some of the sand will fill the larger gaps between the cobblestones and give us an even rougher look. Of course you can brush it all off if you wish a cleaner look.

If you want to add things such as lampposts or the like then now is the best time as you can push it into the green stuff slightly while it's sticky and get some extra adhesion.

As with most things I paint I use two layers of undercoat. Firstly I base-coat with black and then I do a lighter coat of white in order to get a head-start with shading and depth...

... and then I add the first layer of colour. Any light brown will do but I use P3's 'Bastion Grey'. They look a bit crappy at this point but they'll look better once we add a layer of dry-brush and a wash...

You need a slightly lighter shade of brown for the drybrush. I use Games Workshops 'Dheneb Stone' Foundation paint but any stone shade will do just fine.

Then we add a dark wash over the top. Badab Black used to be my preference but as the new Games Workshop equivalent is inexplicably different, I now use The Army Painter 'Warpaints' Dark Tone. I've gone quite heavy with it so as to get a more ancient and decrepit look but as with the other steps you can modify this for a cleaner or more maintained overall look.

Once dry I painted the rim an appropriate complimentary colour (I still have some Games Workshop Adeptus Battlegrey but I've also used P3's Greatcoat Grey). It's possible you'll want to use something colourful instead and that's up to you...I like dark and gritty myself, lol.

Once all this is dry then we need to add some undergrowth pushing up through the gaps. You could use grass or tufts I suppose but given the theme we're going for I prefer to use moss. A wide variety of hobby suppliers do such things. I bought mine from a supplier of train scenery but anything similar should be fine...

Then just add a tiny bit of PVA to the areas around the rubble or in the larger gaps between cobblestones and then either dip them into the moss or sprinkle it on before removing the excess. You should end up with something like this,

If you wish to brighten them up you can add an additional layer of dry-brush...I don't myself but that's up to you.

So there you go. If you use this technique to make some of your own then I'd love to see some pictures of your finished items.

Thoughts and comments are (as usual) most welcome.


  1. Thank you so much for this, will definitely be trying this when I get another crew :)

    1. Your welcome. I tried to make it as 'step by step' as possible.

  2. What size bases are the malifaux mini's on generally?

    1. 30mm for the most part though there's a few on 40mm and a small amount on 50mm.

    2. Thanks so much for taking the time to reply! I wanted to pick up some bases from dragonforge to put my new malifaux guys on :).

    3. Make sure you get the round lipped ones ;-)


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