[This article is part of the Painting for Tournaments article series.]
We are back for a second installment of my Painting for Tournaments articles series. In my last article, I talked about How Not to Paint. This basically encompassed some egregious errors that I have seen made in tournament settings. Today, I thought I would talk a bit about basing an army and how doing it well can greatly improve your painting score at tournaments.
Before we get into basing though, I have to make something apparent. Painting for better scores in tournaments does not mean golden daemon painting level for each model. It actually doesn't mean that level of painting for any of your models. I have found that the best way to get solid paint scores in a tournament is to paint for the tabletop, paint for coherency, and paint to make your army "pop".* If you can accomplish these three things, generally you will do well. If you want to go above and beyond that, then feel free to do so,. Generally those people capable of going above and beyond and who do so are the ones who win "best army" and such.
*I have bolded and underlined this statement because it will be the premise around which I do my articles and any tutorials they possess.
On to the bases. As mentioned there are some terrible sins committed when basing an army, but there are easy ways to fix them or to insure that you never make them.
I am going to start with coherency because basing is probably the easiest way to provide coherency for your army. It's simple really.
Base all of your models in the same way.
Earth shattering, I know. That is how you build in coherency for your army. Think of a Chaos Marine army. You can represent multiple factions in a single army and those factions will probably have different colors (Nurgle green, Khorne red, etc.). However, if you base every model in the same way, the army will look cohesive.
There are a few ways to make this happen. The easiest, but most expensive route is to buy resin bases. There are quite a few resin base manufacturers out there. I really like Dragon Forge. Dragon Forge bases are strong, well detailed, and require little to no prep work to start painting, though I would recommend a good washing to insure paint sticks and you will probably want to pin your models on. Resin bases yield a solid theme via their design and when painted consistently will yield nice results across the board. Below is a picture of some High Elf models I did awhile back that have resin bases. It really makes them look solid.
Our next option is to base the models ourselves. This is the far cheaper option but can be fairly labor intensive. I have a few simple rules for basing your army. The first follows the old adage, "Keep it simple, stupid." Easy enough. Keep your theme simple. It makes it easier to get an army based well. That leads to the next rule, keep it consistent. Don't try a lot of different basing details as they generally tend to make your army look a bit "everywhere" and they also make it harder to keep consistency across the army. My Templar Wolves are a good example of a simple, homemade, consistent bases.
Tabletop and Pop
These two elements can generally accomplished together. Painting for the tabletop simply means painting models in a way that makes them look good on the tabletop at arms length. This is surprisingly easy to do with just a bit of effort. Making models pop requires a bit of color theory and a willingness to pick out details. That said, let's apply that to basing.
First, basing doesn't require a ton of painting expertise, but will possibly require several layers and shades of paint. I generally do 2-3 colors depending on how many elements there are on a base. For instance, my Sanguinary Guard below.
This leads to the final element, "pop". We can see those models in our mind that really pop and just look good. We want to accomplish this from the base up. The easiest way to do so is to use color theory to help you out. There are a few key things we want to accomplish with bases so that models pop. 1) We want to make sure our colors complement or at least don't clash, and 2) we want to balance warm (red is a good example) and cool (blue is a good example) colors. If we do these things correctly, we will have a model that looks good on it's base and pops, but at the same time doesn't get lost or washed out by the base.
To help, I am going to base a Chaos Sorceror model I am currently working on.
So, that wraps it up for this article. How many of you are simply blown away by this? Hopefully, not many. This isn't earth shattering stuff. It's simple, easy to do, and will help you make your army look better. In my next article, I am going to take a look at painting an actual model for a tournament setting. It should be fun.
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