Shattered Dominion
Quick and effective bases using Games Workshop Shattered Dominion set
You can base your models in a lot of ways, and not all of these ways are fast. It can be a pain if you're doing an army, or just a big chunk of models at once.

There is an unusual way of doing bases, that is extremely speedy, easy, and also great fun.

One step of this method is really weird (it's likely you've never encountered it before). Which makes the experience even funnier.
How does one base 50 minis really fast?
Doing Shattered Dominion bases was part of my Silver Tower project. There's 50 miniatures in the box, and I needed some effective way to base them, at a reasonable time cost.

Usually I do either classic texture paste bases (for fantasy), or MDF / acrylic (for sci-fi). I had zero experience with plastic GW bases before, so it looked like a fun opportunity to experiment and invent something new.

This is the final look of some models on these bases, so you might know the direction we're going:
There were a lot of speedpainting experiments during the whole Silver Tower project. And, following that, I was wondering how to apply the same speedpainting mentality on bases.
You might remember the Speedpainting > Refining sequence from the LazyPainter Method, and step-by-step guide I'm gonna show today uses that sequence again.

In case you've missed the Method PDF, it's a quick 10-15 minutes read:
I'll note the exact step in the painting process where the shift from speedpainting to refining happens. And I also would point out some optional steps and opportunities to lessen the time cost even more.
Shattered Box Art
It seems that Shattered Dominion bases aren't very popular as a product. At least I don't see it that much. Despite the fact that the bases are actually quite good, and the plastic is superb quality that you might expect from GW.

And there's one reason I can think of... Box art for them is just horrible:
It's a mess of colors and details that don't really work well together, and also aren't coherent with the miniatures standing on them.
Still, if one would look past this ugly imagery, the textures themselves are nice. They would fit into any generic fantasy setting. Just don't concentrate that much on all those skulls, don't paint every little detail, and oh god please don't paint these with metallics.

So, I decided to play around the textures, but taking completely different approach regarding colors and painting method.
To best optimize the process, I opted for painting the bases on the sprue. It's a rare occasion when it's possible, and I decided to exploit this.
If you haven't encountered these bases — they feel like regular Games Workshop grey plastic, maybe just slightly more rigid than plastic used for miniatures.

(1) Directional Undercoat
Vallejo Black Primer > Vallejo White Primer
This step is unusual, and I haven't seen anybody doing bases this way.

Here I'm doing something similar to Zenithal Undercoat, but... Since the base is almost flat, zenithal makes no sense. That's why I'm spraying not 90° to the surface, but something like 5-15°, almost parallel.

I spray strictly from one direction, emulating light coming from one side of the base. Also, I make sure to build a lot of contrast. I keep a very distinct shadow area on the base, at the same time building highlight to almost pure white.

This trick highlights most of the details — in no time at all! One quick spray, and you can clearly see all the intricacies of these bases, looking like a Moon surface at this stage.

(2) Edge Highlight
This step is less pronounced, and I'm not sure if it is noticeable at a glance. I do a quick edge highlight with a regular brush, with almost undiluted white paint.

Edge highlight can be quite time-consuming, so if you're not very comfortable with the technique, you probably should forego this step.

These two steps create brightness gradient for us to work on next. And then the real fun begins.

(3) Airbrush Glazing
GW Seraphim Sepia
I do a glaze of sepia over highlighted part of the base.

The most bright part of the base gets the least amount of glaze. As I move closer to the middle line, I increase the amount of glaze, thus increasing saturation and decreasing brightness.

Note that I'm covering the base approximately to the middle line, keeping the shadow area untouched.

If you're unfamiliar with Airbrush Glazing, check out Directional Glazing article — I use the exact same components ratio described there.

(4) Airbrush Glazing
GW Reikland Fleshshade
Next I glaze the middle strip of the base with red-brown wash.

I try to not cover the brightest part, to keep my previous sepia glaze visible. There would be some overspray, of course, but that's totally fine and actually blends the colors. And I try to keep the darkest part of the base untouched, like in the previous step.

(5) Airbrush Glazing
GW Druchii Violet, GW Drakenhof Nightshade
Finally, I glaze the darkest part with violet and dark blue.

This creates a very pleasant color gradient and atmosphere. Personally, I imagine a fantasy-setting city, bathing in sunset, looking warm and calm, but at the same time hiding monsters and dark secrets in some lost alleyways and dungeons.

(6) Airbrush Glazing
GW Seraphim Sepia
Then I do the exact same sequence with the other half of the sprue. My highlight is the same sepia wash. That would later help to tie two different base types together.

(7) Airbrush Glazing
GW Coelia Greenshade
Then I glaze the middle part with blue-green wash.

Actually, it's the only color that is different in these two base types. My highlights are exactly the same, my shadows are exactly the same. All this helps create a coherent look between these bases that are so different.

(8) Airbrush Glazing
GW Drakenhof Nightshade
Last airbrush step is glazing the shadows with violet and blue.

While adding color to shadows, this also helps to darken the shadows. There's a little white overspray from undercoating (you can see it on the photo), and these washes bring it down.

Note how dark my shadows are in this final step, and note the difference between highlights and shadows. It's almost black to white!
It's okay to stop at this stage, and call them done.
If you're making a lot of these bases, it's fine to draw a line here. Just clip these bases off the sprue, slap some black paint on their rims, and they would look great. But if you're willing to do couple more steps, next comes refinement stage.

It's the exact philosophy I've described in the LazyPainter Method PDF: first speedpaint, and then — optionally — refine.

(9) Line Washing
GW Druchii Violet, GW Drakenhof Nightshade
Next I take a regular brush and do some Line Washing with violet (please refer to Washing tutorial if the technique is unfamiliar to you). This brings out all the details, at the same time keeping these bases easy to perceive.

(10) Edge Highlight
VMC Ivory
And the last step is Edge Highlighting with Ivory, to make the details stand out even more.

Note that this doesn't overburden these bases, doesn't make them look too gaudy and colorful. They are interesting to look at, but still very simple.
Final thoughts
After this step I just clipped them of the sprue, painted base rims with black, and put my minis on them:
Well, actually it wasn't that simple, and I wasn't sure about how to handle it. Luckily, my wife saved me from making a bad decision (but that's a story already told in Silver Tower Showcase).

Anyway, I think this is an interesting and quite effective process of doing bases, and I do recommend trying it.

It won't fit any bases, namely flat bases or flat bases with fine texture. But it would work great with any scenic base that has some details, height variation and texture. Give it a try!
I bet you know somebody who might need some basing advice. So let's make our hobby world a better place, where there are more painted and nicely based armies. Share this with your hobby buddies — send them a link or use social media buttons above.

And if you want to connect and talk about this technique or about hobby in general, ask some questions or share photos of your miniature paintings — hop on LazyPainter Discord server.

Paint smarter, not harder!

Dmitry Bogdanov

The LazyPainter
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