I posted this guy the other day and talked about the process behind him. During the final steps of this guy, I took two photos. One when any normal hobbyist could call it quits and walk away with a great looking model and another after I went back in and added just a few more details to the model to bring it to life.
Most of those details were added to the base. I didn't have to do much. Actually, I didn't have to do anything, but I wanted to give the base an extra touch or two like the model had to bring it up to the same level.
The base will show you how complete the model is
Ever notice the bases on other armies? You remember the nice ones don't you? You remember those few bases that had the extra details added to them that really made them look complete. I'd go so far as to say you could judge the completeness of a paintjob by how much work was put into the base as well.
For this model, I did four extra things to it. All together, it was another 30 minutes or so including drying time. They were:
1. Add some additional spot washes for color.
2. Add one additional layer of highlighting.
3. Add some static grass.
4. Add a few patches of snow.
These aren't terribly difficult things to do to a base either. Taking a couple of different color washes a dabbing them on in a few places isn't tough. The benefit is that you can add some color variety to your otherwise dull and monochromatic base. It doesn't have to be much, just a hint of color here and there.
The additional drybrush highlight... well that's nothing more than repeating a previous step with a slightly brighter color after you add your spot washes to get some contrast back on the more prominent edges.
The static grass and snow are quick fixes too. I've tried my hand at them before and can offer the following tutorials on how to apply them.
How to apply static grass so it stands up
8 different ways to apply snow to your bases
A complete base will do two things
A base that is up to the same level of detail as the model will do two things.
First, it will make the model look complete and second, it will do a better job of creating that environment your model is supposed to be operating in.
You don't need Golden Demon level skills to dab on some washes or drybrush the edges of some gravel. But if you take a few minutes at the end and look at what you can do to your basing to give it that extra touch, you'll be amazed at what it does for the overall appearance of your army.
Make sure to check out these posts as they might help:
Going the extra step in your basing