Thursday, 4 June 2020

Hunting for Basing Material

Hi folks,

If you have been following the blog for a while you will know that a lot of my units have nature-themed bases: forests, grasslands, wastelands and sand dunes. I use some artificial products for basing, such as flock, static grass, grass clumps and textured paints from Citadel, but I also use a lot of natural material. With a big Age of Sigmar Army painting challenge on the horizon, I went on a bushwalk a while ago to see what I could find.

The track entrance, 2 minutes from home.
The track entrance, two minutes from home.

Generally speaking, the most useful natural materials are things like sand, fine rocks, seed pods and wood pieces. So I had these in mind as I walked. In particular, Sgt Waz had asked for some wood pieces for his lion (top), which may or may not make it into his Old Dogs/New Tricks project. 

I also had snakes on my mind. It felt somewhat morbid to pack my compression bandage, but my wife and I always see snakes late in the season. Our assumption is that the juveniles are all getting too big and moving away to establish their own territory. The two I am most worried about are the eastern brown snake (quite common; we have seen ~ 4 since moving in 2 years ago, the most recent being the day before on the same track), and the death adder (good luck seeing one even if you step on it). Eastern browns are generally accepted as the 2nd most venomous land snake, and death adders have the word Death in their name for a reason 😄   I should be worried about tiger snakes as well, but haven't seen any in this area yet.

Eastern Brown Snake: King of the Nope Ropes 

Death Adder: Shneaky Shnek Supreme

During my wonderings I collected a small amount of sand and small rocks, just for base texture. I also found some nice spiky seed pods that will be good for spicing up some terrain pieces. I only took a few that had already fallen off the tree and had emptied their seeds. This patch of bush in particular was impacted heavily by fire two years ago and is still in the process of regeneration.

At the top of the rock formations I found some wood pieces that would be good for large scenic bases. It was sad to see a venerable old tree, one that has been much loved by the community for generations, had not made it through the summer storms. Weakened by fire and drought, this tree would have copped some huge wind blasts when the rain finally came at the end of our fire season. I have never seen storms so big.

A local Tyranid

On the way out I picked up a few choice pieces of wood chip from the carpark and some hoop pine leaves, which I use for my Sylvaneth to represent dead leaf litter.


All things considered, a very successful basing material hunt! I hope you have enjoyed this little foray through my corner of the world. It is beautiful and terrifying. Now... if I could just get to the basing stage on one of my projects... 😂

See you across the table,



  1. Nature has some amazing things in store, if you know where to look - I like to use some really big pieces of bark to represent fallen logs and have quite a bit stored away in my terrain box. I also recently had the luck of getting my hands on some slate since a nearby construction site excavated tonnes of the stuff. Amazing stuff for basing!

  2. Cool bits for the scenery, yeah I'm glad I live in the UK no real animal threats of any kind.

    1. It is strange: you get used to it after a while. What really scares me is larger land predators. I couldn't imagine living with bears or lions!

  3. ....Well that is horrifying, far too many snakes for me.

    1. I don't mind seeing snakes when I go for a walk, it is the ones that I don't see that I worry about ;-)

  4. Marc posts like these only further my belief that Australia is really as wild as it's always been portrayed in American TV ;-)
    I have a tip from a pal that can help with basing while also not endangering your life: Green Tea! My friend was looking for a forest floor basing material for his SW Legion troops and it turns out loose tea looks great glued on a miniature's base to make it look like the scattered leaves and branches that would be on the ground in the woods.

  5. I live fairly close to the centre of Sydney, in a pocket of bushland. 30-60 minutes away it gets a lot wilder. (in any direction, really). It is such a big country with such varied environments. I haven't tried the tea leaves, but have heard of that as a trick before! Very cool. I have just bought a pile of miniature autumn leaves that I think will look fantastic.