Thursday, December 9, 2010

Flock, and ways to make it better

Everyone has their own take on basing. Some use nothing but resin bases, which they paint, others use sand, etc. etc. etc. Many start with basic 'flocking material', you know the stuff, green, a slight breeze (or a sneeze) and it gets everywhere, and it never matches any gaming surface (except maybe felt cloth). Others get some hobby sand and use it, painting it, or not.

Well I've gone through a number of stages in the 20ish years I've been into painting miniatures. I started with the evil green dust, expanded into sand, worked up to gravel, then on to resin bases. But recently I've decided that no one option is really right. Each has its place, but no one is better than the other. On the other hand each has its drawbacks.

You know the stuff... flocking material, in a basic green. Evil stuff... gets everywhere.
Now, this is where I am now, at the point of finding that mixed flocking materials are much better than any one material. And static grass makes even single material basing look better.

Typical 'gravel' flocking material. Not bad, but lets be honest it looks like big rocks with most 25-28mm figs.
Something you have to keep in mind when using basing materials, thickness of the glue. Thin glue is great for using as a over coating after you dip a base into the materials and let it dry awhile. But if you don't have a glue that is thick enough to start, that initial dipping will have most of your material falling off in patches when you paint of over coat it. I use Elmer's School Glue, but you have to be a bit selective, because they have changed packaging a bit and you may end up with a bottle of their watered down junk glue.

A not too bad mixed sand/gravel flocking material. But even this has issues with the 'mini-boulders'.
I started doing a bit of research on flocking the last few months, and came across the not at all new idea of mixing flocking materials. The theory being that mixing the materials gives a more natural look to the base. With different colors, sizes, and textures blending together to help make a base which looks very pleasing to the eye, without being tied to one type of battlefield.

Overall I think this idea makes up for a number of shortfalls in most single or dual material flocking mixes. So I took my green evil dust, the sand/gravel mix, the gravel mix, some very fine sandbox sand, and a mix of sand/rock/gravel from the edge of a driveway (which oddly enough is a TROVE for basing). Gave it all a thorough shake and mix, and came up with this mix.

Overall this mix blends very nicely, and with static grass patches looks like your typical field in the late spring/early summer. With different mixes you could get any time of the year, or any type of terrain. So don't be shy on mixing those materials together to get a more natural look. It does look good and works much better than just one type of material.


  1. How can you go through all of that and then not have a picture of a based miniature? Come on!

    I want to see a follow up post with the new mix in all of its glory!

  2. LOL, yeah that occurred to me only after the fact. I'll be doing a follow up post later tonight with some pics, old stuff and new stuff to show the differences.