Friday 6 December 2019

CCXLIV. AoS28: Arcanist, and Basing Explained

Another Arcanist figure for my Order warband. Unarmoured and armed with only a hand weapon, this specialist is an expert in ancient lore and languages.

The mini was built using the new plastic female wizards kit from North Star. It's the first plastic Frostgrave kit I've bought, and it's pretty good. The bodies will be useful for all kinds of robed figures, there are dozens of female heads, a whole bunch of empty hands, and some other nice bits.

The sprue.

The box contains two identical sprues, and a sprue of plastic bases.
Since I preordered the kit through a Nickstarter, I got a few metal extras - including a new metal wizard. She's good material for another Conjuror. I love the little hooded familiar.

The plastic wizards can be mixed with Perry bits, which is very important to me right now. They lean a bit more towards heroic scale, but when combined with Perry parts they fit well in my collection of AoS28 humans.


I've been asked quite a few times about my current basing method, and now I'm at last delivering the tutorial I promised. 

I've changed my basing several times over the years. For quite a while I used to put my fantasy minis on grassland bases that matched my Wilderness board and scenery collection. You can find the step-by-step here: CXXVI. I'm still fond of this method, but its drawbacks became apparent when I started planning other scenery environments. When you put a grassy-based mini on a stone tile board, it sticks out and works against overall coherence of the tabletop. 

There were several solutions to this problem I could think of. First, there are transparent acrylic bases. That looks really good on scenic shots. However, I see the base as the background and frame of a miniature, and when photographed in a non-scenic context I would totally miss a "proper" base. Another solution is to make swappable bases for the minis, but I did not consider that very long due to all the extra effort and cost. 
I came to the conclusion that I would have to come up with basing that is subtle enough to fit more than one type of terrain, as well as being more detailed than a simple sand texture in order to offset the minimalistic paintjob.

After some testing I ended up with a recipe that is quick and easy to reproduce each time.

Step one: I apply PVA glue to the base, and then a layer of DAS air-drying clay. I use the pictured tool to work the clay. The glue enhances durability.

While the clay is still wet, I brush on a layer of watered-down PVA. Using tweezers, I place shards of miniature bricks on the base. I sink them partly into the clay. Additional texture is achieved by selectively sprinkling a little bit of rough basing sand. I use the tool from the first step to push the sand grains into the clay.

The paintjob is truly quick. I mix ochre with matt black to get this dark, poorly saturated, greenish tone. I daub that thick on the entire base.   

Highlights are produced by adding a light grey into the mix from the previous step and stippling it on while still wet. As it's wet on wet, I can do a bit of painterly blending and texture this way. As the final step, I use thinned black to darken the area beneath the model and around its feet. 

This is the sort of brush I employ for the task.
That is all. When I have a pre-sculpted base, I simply apply this painting formula over the entire base, disregarding the "natural" colour of the details: like you can see in this example: Dathalus.


  1. This is a nice look at this new Frostgrave kit. Ospery Games/Northstar has quite a few different sets now. I have not paid too close attention to any of it, but every time I went looking for information about the kits, I could not find good pictures of any of them on their official website. Not sure how people are supposed to get excited about stuff they can hardly see (reminds me of Mailfaux, in that sense. They never had pictures of their models, only 3d renders).

    Regardless, thanks for nice pictures of the sprues. The models do look pretty good. I could see all of those open hands being very useful. As you have said, with some Perry miniature parts, the heroic scale can be reined in a little. I particularly like what you have done with your Arcanist. It is nice to see models of characters that are not traditional warriors.

    1. Thanks!

      I guess it just takes a bit more searching to get to the information. The online shop doesn't give much, that's true. But there are official pics of the minis painted, and images of the sprues/box contents. Plus, since they are widely used kits, there's plenty of info on them from fans and kitbashers.

  2. They look great Anna, excellent work!

  3. Just to add - your painting tutorials are very useful, its fun learning and trying your methods - they are appreciated. Thank you for doing them.

  4. Any advice on achieving those beautiful brown robes and dark metal? I love your AOS humans and I wanna try to do a warband in that style!

    1. I have a wide array of Scale 75 and Secret Weapon browns. They have a lovely matte finish you can't produce with Citadel paints; I think that plays a part.
      As for the metal, try this tutorial, but tone down the orange: + use white for final highlights. That's pretty close to what I do.


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