Dark Eldar webway portal or Daemon base

This could actually be used one of two ways. I think it'd make for a great Dark Eldar webway portal or maybe an even better basing theme for a daemon army. If not a whole army, then a character model for sure.

Making and using it as a webway portal
Dark Eldar use webway portals with great precision. Representing them on the tabletop is not always as precise. A while ago, I came up with the idea to use half of a plastic Wiffle ball to get something close to the GW version.

My first attempt there looks more like the GW version being a half sphere with cool lightning effects and such on it. It works, but it may not be what you're looking for in your Dark Eldar force. It does work wonderfully for a Vortex grenade though.

This time, after seeing this post over at joesavestheday where he talks about a crazy lighted plamsa marker he found at Adepticon, I decided to try my hand at recreating something along the same lines. Actually, it's not even close, I just needed an excuse to try to make this thing. I figured I could make something similar with a 60mm base, some greenstuff and some creative OSL painting. Lots of creative painting.

Here's what you'll need to make one of these
A blank 60mm base from Secret Weapon minis
Some pieces of chipped bark
Sand or texture material
Any extras you want to add to the base (trees, skulls, etc.)
Your sculpting tools and paints

How I built this thing
Building it is not as tough as it might look. The key is the blank base that creates an area for you to work inside of. I don't know as that I would try this on top of a normal base. The hollow blanks allow you to get that recessed look much easier than trying to do all of this on top of a regular base. That and the nice clean edge gives the base a finished look in the end which gives it some street credibility.

Here's what it looked like before paint.

How to build the base
The first step is to collect a few pieces of your chipped bark and arrange them in the center of the base so that you create what looks like a series of cracks in the ground. The closer you are to the middle of the base, the larger the cracks can be. By the time the crack reaches the edge of the base it has all but closed back up. This gives it the illusion of having just started to open up underneath you.

Once you have your bark pieces arranged, take the pieces off and set them aside in the same positions so you can glue them back onto the base one by one in the same configuration. Once this dries, take some extra greenstuff and fill in around all the outer edges of your base. It doesn't have to be perfect either, you're going to cover it with sand and such.

Now is when you add things like stumps, skulls and debris to match your existing basing theme. Once you get all the greenstuff in place, take your sculpting tool and cut the outer portions of the cracks in where you want them. You can see it's just the outer portions of the base that are done with the greenstuff.

Once that has had time to cure, cover it with whatever basing material you used on your army already.

How to paint the base
I started by priming the whole thing black. The first thing you need to paint is the underground or cracked open portion. I started by using a light blue color and painted the bottom of the base in the cracked area. Don't worry if you get it on the rocks... in fact you want to get it on all of the inside edges of the rocks. That will help you create the lighted look.

Once you have your light color down, give it a wash of a similar color. In this case it was blue as well. I'm not giving the exact colors because you could do this with any color you want really, reds, greens, purples... I just chose blue for this example.

Once your wash is dry, go back and drybrush the inside edges of your rocks and try to catch the edges to show that they are being lit from below. Once your drybrush is done, go back with your original base color (light blue) and repaint the centers of the cracked areas to clean them up. This step is repeated two more times. Each time, add a little bit of white to get a slightly lighter tint and don't go as far out. The last pass should be with pure white and in the very centers of the cracks.

I made mine look more like lightning instead of lava in this case. I used small angular lines instead of a series of broken shapes like lava would have. You can use whatever effect you like best.

Once you have the inner portions painted, then you can move onto the ground level stuff. If you try to paint the ground first and then the interior cracked portion, it will be much harder.

The ground is nothing more than two heavy drybrushes. The first pass is with a grey color that is done near the cracked openings. The second pass is with a dark brown and it is applied along the outer edges. The static grass is there for some contrast, but not necessary. In reality, you want to finish the ground level portion of the base to match your existing base theme for your army.

Making and using it as a daemon base
I know daemons just got a new wave of models released and lots of folks set their daemons on lava type bases to give them a certain look and feel. Kind of like the end of the world and it's tearing apart. It's very fitting for the army and the background associated with them.

Khorne Bloodletter
The only daemon model I've ever done

If you picked up enough blanks and had the chipped bark available, you could make a killer looking themed army using this approach. You could have the ground cracking open underneath them making it look as though the earth were tearing apart as they charge across the battlefield.

And you could use any color in the cracked areas as well. Want to make it look like blue or purple lightning? No problem. It might be a bit more work, but it would certainly make your army (or main character) stand out on the table.

Make sure to check out these posts as they might help:
What if I paint my bases first instead of last?
Using bark to simulate broken marble as well
A look at Object Source Lighting

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!