On The Desk - Basing with James Wappel Part 2

Back for part 2 of my James Wappel inspired basing experiment. Last Week (shameless link) we constructed a base out of sculpey, cork, sand, stones and passion. This week comes the painting. First up here is the primed base as we left it.

As I mentioned last week James has written many articles on this technique over the years but I feel this ones is the most useful. Link

The rocks I drybrushed with a variety of grey tones, and even some flesh tones in places.

I started the marble with a very thinned down layer of doombull brown and added a little blue to add some variation, just wet mixed on the base. What is this for? Well...I must admit I'm not entirely sure. I guess it provides a varied base for the marble. You might notice I added a little skull to the base after priming. 

We start with a couple of think coats of our base colours. I've used a mix of black and Dark Prussian Blue from Vallejo Model Colour. This is the colour I used in the shadows of the miniature so it helps tie it together.

Starting on the marble. I took quite a large brush (I used some cheapo synthetic brushes I have that I use for paint mixing. I mixed more Dark Prussian Blue and very loosely sketched some veins in, using a damp brush to help blend in places.

From here it's just lightening the colour and finer veins, following the pattern I started with. I lightened the blue towards Alaitoc blue (a blue I used for the model too)  

Keep going! White added, even finer veins.

Last thing I did was go back in with a darker mix (almost black) and added a few darker sections.

There was a final step but I forgot to take a photo so it's mixed in with the next section. I glazed over the whole marble area with a very thinned layer of grey(VERY thinned, you don't want it too thick because it will ruin it!) what this does is help give it a much more natural depth.

Now comes the tough bit, the emblem on the top. Always slightly terrifying painting over a surface you've spent time on! Not really easy to correct mistakes so you have to be very careful. I sketched the design I wanted on paper a few times for practice before picking up a brush. I used a pencil to mark out a few key points to help guide me. Then with a thinned paint (Celestra Grey from GW) I started with the eye in the centre of the design.

And onwards, taking it one shape at a time. Anyone know what it is? Answers next week :D

Black lining will help, I used a very dark grey for this, not pure black. Veeeery carefully I went round the entire design. Can also see I used some blending on the grey to add some variation. I also used some of the grey to help thin a few bits of black that I'd made too think.

Cracks! Remember I sculpted some cracks in the sculpey? Time to add some dark blue/black paint to the cracks.

Then some light grey to help define the cracks.

Final step is the washes on the rocks and the little skull I added. I used a few Secret Weapon Washes (Soft Body Black, Drying Blood, Algae), Army Painter Strong Tone and GW Drakenhoff Nightshade. All mixed on the base with a damp brush. The skull itself was painted with GW Karak Stone, Black and Ivory to shade and light. Note: I've filtered out the model until next week's showcase! Looking at the photos I still need to add some gloss to the marble for that shine factor. The model needs a few finishing touches too.


  1. Wow! That is pretty incredible stuff, I got his shaded base coat video tutorial and my test model turned out horrible. His technique is backwards from everything standard painting has taught me so it was a rough outing, it's cool to see someone do well from his tutorials!

    1. Thanks Ryan,.yeah it was nice to push myself to try something different. Freehands are something I really need to practice on to improve.

  2. Wow great job, looking forward to seeing it with a model on! :)

    1. ditto! Hopefully I can find some time over the Christmas period to finish it.