How to make your own Zone Mortalis bases

Instead of buying the new Forge World Zone Mortalis brass etch basing kit, here's how you can make your own for next to nothing. The process is super simple, takes very little time and can be expanded to include additional details if you want.

Now don't get me wrong, the Forge World bases look cool and they match the Zone Mortalis boards, but you don't need to buy them when you can make them yourself. Believe me, it's super easy to do.

What you're going to need for the basic base
Enough blank bases for your squad
A few pieces of index card or cardstock (thinner is better)
A sharp X-Acto blade

Take your base and glue a piece of cardstock over the whole top of it. You want to cover the whole thing and have excess cardstock hanging off all sides. This gives you the foundation to build on with the rest of your layers.

The next step is to keep adding additional pieces that cover a portion of the base or select areas until you have a design you like. Make sure your pieces cover your base and you're not gluing them in off to the side. You can hold your layered base up to the light and look through to see your base glued to the underside of your cardstock. Using plasticard might make this hard to do.

Once you have a design you like, flip your base over and carefully cut out around the edge. Flip it back over and you're done. Paint it up, mount your model and you're ready to begin playing. The base I did here took me about 5 minutes to finish.

Keep in mind, this is a super simple one with just a few pieces of cardstock. You can make your designs mimic the Forge World patterns just as easy. Or you can create your own designs and give individual squads different themes. And this is just the beginning. You can add lots of other elements onto your base as well.

Adding more to your bases
With this model, I used some textured knitting screen to get the open decking look. I added some plasticard with some rivets over that. You can use wire or thin rolls of greenstuff to simulate cables and tubes running across the deck as well. You really can create whatever you want.

Painting up your bases
Painting these guys is super simple too. A quick prime of black followed by a metallic basecoat. Then all you need are a few washes to darken it down and give it that grimy look. I usually use a black wash over the whole thing and then go back and drybrush with my metal color to pick up the edges of my deck plates. After that, I'll use some other colored washes to simulate things like fluid leaks and spills.

My favorite way to paint Space Hulk style decks is like this. It requires two specific washes from Secret Weapon minis, but the effect is a very cool one in the end with the deck having a very battle worn, military ship feel to it.

I hope this post helps show that you can often recreate what the big companies are doing on your own at a fraction of the cost. And if you don't want to buy the Forge World ones or make your own, there is always the resin base route of which there are tons of companies out there making some very cool deck themed bases.

Make sure to check out these posts as they might help:
Bringing Space Hulk into 40k with Zone Mortalis
How to paint military ship decking easily

Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!