Image from Forge World
The idea for this post came from a fellow FTW member. He's working on a Siege of Vraks themed army and wanted to know how a "do-it yourself" person goes about building (and basing) a themed army.
It's a good question. How do you set out to base your army... give it a unifying, well thought out look that ties everything together and allows your centerpiece models to stand out, but not be so much work or be so expensive you need to take out a new loan to do it?
There are as many ways to base an army as there are Space Marine chapters out there. I figured I would solicit the help of another FTW Blogger Group member and see what he had to say. I asked Grey Death from The Painting Corps his opinion...
Image from The Painting Corps
"Basing is always a fun thing to talk about. You've likely seen all of the things we've tried to do on The Painting Corps, and really, most of it has been about creating simple and effective bases.
Themed basing is always much harder to pin down for a lot of folks. I find the best thing is to not over think the base. Use your bases as a frame for your models, to help tell the story while still remaining background to the figures. A few small details can really go a long way toward creating the narrative.
Size and scale of your basing will help determine how elaborate you want to go. For something as simple as a 25mm, you really don't need to get crazy, a single small detail to tie your bases together will do the trick. When you're talking something like 60mm base, you'll want to think more scenic, as the size really lends itself well to the large details and more elaborate designs.
Colors are one of the more important things to work out. The tops and sides of a base don't necessarily need to be the same either, and in some cases might work better with a bit of break up between the two. In this respect I'm thinking about my Sons of Medusa and how the rim of the base is painted black compared to the desert coloring on top.
This extra framing of the models works nicely with the models and drives home a bit more of the framing idea. Using a grass or additional detail that can help break up your basing is useful in creating interest. Be sure it doesn't contrast your basing too much, a slightly different hue to colors you're already using is usually best. Before working with any of these factors though, you need to think about where the models are environmentally, think of your narrative, your favorite table at the gaming shop, what season is the battle happening? All of these factor into the color choice you'll make and what other details you can add to the base to give your models the feel you hoped for when you started the force."
- Grey Death
Fellow FTW Blogger, A Gentleman's Ones, has come up up with a three part series covering the aspects he believes have the biggest impact on army theme the most, bases, iconography/emblems and color palette.
And then I decided to get the help and suggestions of the FTW Blogger Group by way of a Collaborative Post. Here's a handful of ways you can unify/create a theme for your army through basing and lots of other ways.
Relictors Scout Squad from Weemen
Two ways to create a unified army theme by Weemen
Building a theme by Sepulchre of Heroes
Three steps to creating a theme for your army by MAWS 40k
Wrecked city basing for and Assault Squad by Zombieburger 40k
Designing a Chapter by Lascannons and Lances
Unified theme with a "starter army" by For The Throne
Theme using alternate paint schemes by John's Toy Soldiers
Why your base color matters by Newb Blood Angel Works
Carrying your theme across units by Dark Future Games
Basing to unify Chaos Undivided by Anarchy's Heart
Theme without composition by Mind War FTW
Creating a theme with bits and bases by DSM Pontifications
Three ways to unify your army by My Dice Hate Me
How to unify your force by W40k Miniatures in Guatemala
Building themed armies by Mini Swelter
A guide to creating themein your army by E's Painted Minis
How I theme my armies by Tales from the Warzone
Tieing it all together by Tales of a Frozen Planet
Theme and sticking to it by Defending Humanity
Theme in your army by Gamers World
Making your minis your own by Ex Incendia et Flamma
Imperial Guard done with Fantasy bits by Alexander the Alchemist
Deathwing with unique basing by Indy 40k
Creating a theme and/or unifying your army doesn't have to be hard to do or cost a ton of money. Even something as simple as a unified paint scheme over simply done bases like my Deathwing will work towards unifying your army.