Stone Bases

Lots of Stone Bases.

creator: x14km2d | build: 2021-10-14 | update: 2021-12-30


When you are new to a hobby, there is one big problem. Especially with Kings of War, Warhammer or Dungeons & Dragons. You watch the first videos or play a small round with friends. Of course, the others are already much further have great and painted figures or self-created terrain. So where to find a start. Stone Bases. Before you do anything that goes in the direction of tabletop wargaming, you should build stone bases. They are very easy to build and within a few minutes you have a small terrain. There you can place your heroes cut out of paper and play your first round. Of course it doesn’t look that great, but it’s ok to be a beginner. You have to find a start somewhere.

Why stone bases in particular? There are several reasons for that. I also built stone bases first, even before I had a hero. I just wanted to try it out. You can get all the materials at a dollar store for very little money. You don’t need professional equipment or expensive paints. These are the cheapest materials we can get. If you can’t print my mini wargaming base with a 3D printer, you should look for an alternative. Tabletop thrives on experimentation and improvised ideas. Why not use coins, plastic chips or other materials. I think cardboard is a really bad crafting material, but you can build with it if need be. We also don’t need any special materials for this project like tuffs or grass flakes. That will come later all by itself. What we really need are stones.


Large stones that are about half the size of the bases, then medium stones that are the size of a pea. And sand. All can be purchased at the dollar store or found at a playground. I use purchased products, but sometimes I gather material from nature. it’s cheaper and sometimes you want to break out of your pattern a little. But with material gathered in nature, you have to at least put the sand through a sieve so there are no other small sticks or trash leftovers in there. Still, those are our main components. In addition, we need superglue, cheap brushes and paint. I’ll tell you more about that in a minute. For now, let’s build the bases.

First, we glue a large stone to the base. To do this, we take the superglue and smear one side of the stone with it. Press the smeared side onto the base and wait a few seconds. It is best to build an average of nine bases. Of course you can also build less or more. The decision is up to you.

After the large stones have dried, we take a few medium stones and glue them to the base. We see where they fit best and then glue one on. It is not necessary to glue a medium sized stone on every base, because then it looks too regular. Such patterns are rare in nature and most of the time many stones are lying together in a wild pile. On each base should still remain space for sand.

Since (the purchased) sand is expensive, we do not waste any of it. Therefore, we put a small plastic bowl, cup or plate next to the sand to catch the sand that is not glued to our base. We take the open superglue in one hand and the base in the other hand. We smear superglue on the top of the base and then dip it into the sand. In the last step, we clean the edge of the base with our finger and put it aside to dry. That’s it. Of course, the base looks pretty stupid unpainted, so we will paint our stone bases in the second part.

Paint Job

As I mentioned in the intro, you don’t need expensive materials. A bristle brush (round) and a hair brush (flat). These are available in the Dollar store in a collector’s pack and should cost almost nothing. Then you need acrylic paint in white, black, green and yellow. These also cost nothing. You don’t need palettes, because for that you just take a piece of old cardboard and a water glass to clean your brush. Unfortunately I accidentally deleted the photo from the camera in which I painted the stone base completely with black paint. So in the first step we paint the whole bases completely black. This is our base coat. We let everything dry and if we are in a hurry we can also use a hair dryer to speed up the drying process.

Now paint with the flat brush everything with the green color what are not the stones. As you can see in the photo, this is the sand and the base. Since I use simple or cheap paint you will probably have to paint twice with the green color. This is quite normal, because cheap paints use less pigments to save costs. This will later represent our grass landscape.

In the next step we take the yellow paint and paint the small stones on the base. This is easier than it sounds at first and you learn pretty quickly what to do. This yellow paint will later represent our flowers that are on our meadow. Tabletop gaming is a mixture of models that represent something and our own imagination. If you look very carefully you can see the buttercups very clearly. You just have to look right.

In the last step we will dry brush our stones with white paint to give them a stone texture. To do this, we pour white paint onto our cardboard palette. With the round brush we take up a very small amount of paint and brush the paint out of the brush on a clean area of the palette until there is almost no paint left in the brush. Then, with careful movements, we brush over the sharp edges of the stone until paint sticks to it. In this way we create transitions and shades that give our stone a certain depth. We repeat this process until we like the result. Then we paint the edge of the base with black paint and have our first stone bases built, which are ready after a few minutes and can be used in a tabletop adventure.



Your first tabletop terrain is ready. I promise you that these are just as good as the other terrain modules from the pros, because that’s not what playing is about. It’s not about perfect models or the most expensive materials, it’s about having fun with your friends and having a great adventure. Terrain is really just a tool to stimulate your imagination, but a lot of people strive for mastery and place a lot of value on a great terrain. Eventually you will, and your bases, miniatures, and terrain will look different. But you need time for that.

Cold Stone

Of course we don’t want to build simple stone bases forever, but expand our repertoire. In the next step we will make stone bases that look much colder and stonier. For this we will also use two professional colors. Longbeard Grey and Praxeti White. I also changed the filament of my 3D printer. Since my Basic Orange was out anyway, I bought three rolls of Eono PLA in white1.

After we have glued the stones on our bases again, we paint them with a strongly liquefied black acrylic paint. It is best to use the same paint that we used on our other stone bases. This is not a wash! We just mix a lot of water with a little black paint. You’ll have to try it out for yourself. After some testing, you will find out how much water goes with how much paint. When we have made this mixture, we take a brush and paint all bases completely with it. After that, it must dry in peace, because for dry brushing the bases must be absolutely dry.

Now we come to the dry brush. In the article Medieval Staircase I have already described the technique in more detail and we will now proceed in exactly the same way. We take a bristle brush and dip it very lightly in Longbeard Grey. Then we brush on a piece of toilet paper until almost no color comes out of the brush. With it we wipe lightly over all the stones of our bases. Take your time, because it is very easy to apply, but a dry brush that has become too thick is almost impossible to get off and you have to start all over again. After we have worked on all bases, we clean our brushes and pick up Praxeti White. With this we are even more careful. We now wipe with the brush only over very sharp edges or high places, so that these are highlighted even more.

Now we just need to paint the edges with black acrylic paint and we are done. This is not so difficult if you know exactly what you have to do to get a certain result. But you also have to try a lot and gain experience and even I have at least 10 bases a month that I throw back in the trash because an idea was not so good. These stone bases can be used for anything that has a stony setting. On a moon like planet or a dungeon. The bases remind me of cooled volcanic ash that buries everything under itself after a volcanic eruption.

Warm Stone

After building cold stone bases, we also want to have some that are more likely to be placed in a warm region. For example, in a desert, steppe or muddy area. I used Wooden Deck Tan from a spray can as a primer for this base. The spray can (100ml/$17.14) was very expensive, but I wanted to test this for something else. Worked quite well, not perfect but you can work with it. When ordering there were no problems at all and I also did not have to prove my age.

In the next step I treated all bases with the Soft Tone Wash from Army Painter. Since I had some other paint jobs on hold, I let it dry overnight for about 20 hours. So I could be sure that the wash was really dry. After that I created a lightbrown out of brown and white acrylic paint and brushed all bases dry. That was all the skin work and now we come to a small detail. Tufts.

Tufts can be ordered cheaply and they can be quite helpful when building terrain or bases. Tufts can be used to fix small mistakes or to add an interesting detail to a boring base. But you should be careful not to use too many tuffs, because otherwise the effect will be lost. Of course you can also create a whole landscape with tuffs, but that would be too expensive and you should rather think of another solution.

Super many beginners assume that you need extremely expensive paint and materials for a fast tabletop terrain. this is not true. You can create very good results with two brushes, tufts and acrylic paint. Although I used an expensive wash here, you can also replace it with your own and very few people can tell the difference later. Most of the time, however, it’s just way too expensive to use mini washings for terrain.

Brick Stone

Now you can have a tabletop RPG not only set in a fantasy world, but also enter a science fiction universe. Then it looks better to have man-made bricks on bases2. Brick stones are super good for this, because every player immediately recognizes them as man-made. Besides they are a classic among terrain tinkerers next to rubble and also easy to paint. Again, we will only take very simple steps here, because we will revise these brick bases again at a given time.

As always, we start with a base coat of black acrylic paint. Then we paint some stones with the Army Painter Dirt Splatter. We take care not to generate patterns in our bases, so that, for example, all broken small stones are painted in one color. Subconsciously players can see that and it doesn’t look authentic anymore. Then we paint all the remaining stones with Werewolf Fur. We paint the applied sand with a layer of Hardened Carapace so that this doesn’t look like a classic black primer. We indicate with Castellan Green some small moss carpets, which we place at different small places of the base. After that we brush everything with Longbeard Grey and have our first brick bases.

This painting is for lazy people who need some bases for their science-fiction or Shadowrun adventure within one day. As I said in another post, it is better to work forward in very small baby steps. We will revise all bases again and again and also talk about the differences between terrain only and terrain mini basing. Until then we have to learn the basics.

Tips & Tricks


  1. Overall, PLA seems to be quite expensive in the U.S.A. and U.K. The Eono cost $20.85 in Germany. In U.S.A. it was sold out and alternative filament was considerably more expensive. In U.K., however, it seems to be the most expensive, the Brits paying $27.36/1000g. Since I had already ordered a total of three rolls last month, I paid $3.48 less. Prices seem to change very quickly and are subject to wild fluctuations. If you see an offer somewhere under $17.00 you should buy several rolls right away.↩︎

  2. Ok, yes. In fantasy worlds, of course, there are man made stones, such as in castles and stone houses. Almost the entire Dungeons & Dragons setting is set in a medieval-inspired game world.↩︎

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