How to Create Snow Bases for Miniatures

How to Create Snow Bases for Miniatures

How to Create Snow Bases for Miniatures: A Guide for Tabletop Gamers

As a warhammer universe enthusiast with over 20 years of experience painting miniatures, I love creating immersive environments for my figures. And few things set the scene like a frosty snow base! The clean white backdrop makes colors pop, implying a rich story behind these small sculptures come to life on our tabletops.

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll be sharing the most convincing snow basing techniques I’ve learned for adding winter wonderlands to any mini, from Warhammer armies marching through the tundra to holiday gnomes gathering beside cozy cottages.

Looking for some Paint Sets? Check here for The Best Paint Sets for Warhammer Miniatures

Warhammer 40k Space Marine Snow

Why Add Snow Bases?

Before jumping into materials and step-by-step instructions, let’s consider why snow flock works so beautifully for miniatures compared to grass, sand, or other basing textures:

Provides High Contrast

Against darker bases and figure colors, bright white snow draws the eye towards those incredible mini details we painstakingly paint. Snow bases framed my Ultramarine tank perfectly! The blue didn’t get washed out.

Sets a Theme

Snow implies a chilly setting – whether a Winter-themed force like my White Walkers army or just a Lich braving the elements. Snow bases help establish an overall mood and cohesive look across even disparate figures.

Layering snow themes can be difficult, click here to learn How To Layer Paints for Miniatures


Warhammer 40k Space marine

Adds Realistic Texture

Piled up drifts, dusty layers, crunchy ice – snow’s variability makes for gorgeous basing depth and visual interest. We’ll explore options for different snow textures shortly!

Elevates Any Paint Job

A clean, bright snow base is the perfect showcase for displaying our brushwork while keeping focal points clear. Similar to exhibition galleries using neutral walls, snow bases prevent fights between elements and enhances miniatures as a whole.

Let it snow, let it snow! Now that we’ve covered why snow flock works so beautifully for miniatures compared to grass, sand, or other basing textures, let’s gather materials for recreating winter magic.

Snow flakes

Snow Basing Supplies

To start, you’ll need:

  • Snow flock – I prefer Woodland Scenics Snow Flake flocking because it’s affordable and specifically designed for scale model work compared to thicker clumping grass types. The light, powdery texture looks convincingly like snow at miniature size.
  • Glue – For adhering flock, use hobby-grade white PVA glue or multi-surface adhesives like Mod Podge. I appreciate Mod Podge for its resealable container and built-in sealant to protect snow bases during gaming sessions.
  • Paint brush – Have a spare brush on hand for scooping up glue-flock mixtures and applying to bases and miniatures. I use cheap craft brushes I don’t mind getting gunky. Read up on the Best Paint Brushes for Miniatures
  • Container – To mix up glue-based snow, use a bottlecap, jar lid – anything that lets you glob snow base paste onto a brush.
  • White paint – Just a few drops of white acrylic paint mixed into snow paste tints the entire base, preventing transparency issues where brown basecoat shows through thinner areas of dried glue.

Optional items include:

  • Cleaning supplies like stiff-bristle brush for removing loose flakes, air bulb blower for quick touch-ups between games
  • Cold weather miniatures to match frosty themes
  • Snow base additions like plastic icicles, winter tufts and rocks. We’ll discuss enhancing bases momentarily!

Now let’s get into the magic steps for making snow base mixtures.

Not sure if you want to paint your Warhammer? Read here for Do You Have to Paint your Warhammer Minis? 

Mixing Colors

Mixing Snow Basing Paste

To recreate textures from fluffy powder to crunchy ice on miniatures’ bases just takes 3 ingredients: glue, paint, and flock.

Exact measurements don’t matter – snow paste consistency depends more on the effect you’re aiming for. Add a dash of water to thin out thick clumps or extra flock to create frostier textures.

But as a general guideline for snow paste:

  • 2 parts PVA glue
  • 2 parts baking soda OR fine white flock
  • 1 small brush-load acrylic white paint
  • 1 brush-load water

In a mixing container, first measure out glue, then baking soda or flock powder. Next add white paint – I use only 1-2 brush loads to lightly tint the mixture. Finally, thin down paste with clear water until reaching desired texture.

Aim for a thicker mixture than liquid glue alone that plops easily off a brush rather than running smooth like milk. Snow paste should mound up on the brush bristles clumping into little drifts perfect for dabbing across bases and working between crevices.

Got that mix down? Time to blend! Check here for How To Paint Blend for Miniatures

Warhammer 40k Space Marine Snow

When applying snow paste, go for randomness! Sculpt little piles, dust light coatings across flat spaces, splatter melted tracks from feet and wheels trudging through…

For building up thicker bases or snow gathered along tank treads, wait for the first layer to dry before adding another fresh clump on top. Fully-sculpted snow drifts create fun opportunities for storytelling – did troops dig out shelter caves beneath these mounds? What massive vehicle rolled across here judging by the heavy tread marks?

If desiring a smooth, icy appearance, apply snow paste then level flat before drying. Allowing rounded mounds of paste to set up first means avoiding pesky air pockets beneath translucent finishes later.

We’ll explore finishing options for everything from fluffy powder to frozen ice momentarily. But first, a few specialty techniques…

Warhammer 40k Space Marine Snow

Special Snow Base Techniques

Beyond a simple dusting or heavy drifts, a few special approaches take snow bases to the next level:

Blood Splatter Snow

Add shocking drama by flicking red acrylic paint lightly over fresh white snow bases using an old toothbrush. Charge ahead bravely into battle, but beware leaving tracks behind…

Sparkling Snow

Glitter paint or fine craft glitter sprinkled over layered snow paste adds flickering dimension, perfect for ingesting lore-friendly mystic artifacts. Adapt steps for mixing snow formula by swapping plain flock for sparkle flakes.

Embedded Snow

Rather than resting snow flock lightly atop bases, push larger chunks like Woodland Scenics Snow flakes into fresh PVA glue with a shaper tool like a cocktail stick. Let fully cure for embedded ice chunk basing.

Frosty Foliage

Don’t overlook snow interactions with other base elements! Dust a light snow layer over grass tufts, rocks, and tree branches rather than totally burying landscape features like newly-planted saplings poking through the chill.

Now let’s move onto finishing techniques for achieving different wintry textures once basic snow cover is adhere​d to miniatures’ bases…

Warhammer 40k Space marine snow

Finishing Snow Bases

Snow paste applied and shaped? Excellent! Now we play with textures and sealing to complete the frosty look:

Powder Snow

For billowy heaps of snow, sprinkle extra flock over wet paste, allow to fully cure, then shake off any excess not locked down by PVA tackiness. This airy application method works especially well after brushing the snow paste on rather than using thick gobs that block light flock from filtering down.

Crunchy Snow

Rather than a top coat of loose flakes, add flock directly into initial snow paste mixture. Baking soda proves ideal for capturing hardy ice crystals compared to soft, powdered flakes. The grittier texture better mimics real packed snow.

Warhammer 40k Space Marine

Slushy Snow

Skip adding extra flock or sealing completed snow bases for satisfying slush effect. Transparent dried glue oozes the appearance of partially melted drifts.

Wet Icy Snow

Brush watered-down PVA over cured snow bases to suggest moisture beading atop older ice without fully melting into slush yet. Shiny finishes like satin Mod Podge work beautifully.

Sealed Snow

Once desired snow consistency achieved from fluffy powder to crunchy ice, brush watered-down PVA over the entire base for sealant and protection. Glossier glazes add sheen while matte finishes prove more subtle. Let dry fully before handling so layers don’t lift during tabletop gameplay.

By playing with paste recipes, layering techniques, and sealants we unlock all kinds of custom snow environments! Now let’s talk taking these wintry bases up a notch…

Warhammer 40k Space Marine Snow

Enhancing Snow Bases

Beyond basic white flocking, extras create added realism:

  • Sparkling snow reflects rainbow colors amidst glitter flakes for whimsical charm
  • Arctic animals like penguins and polar bears traverse the frozen scene
  • Icicles dangling off rocks and fortress walls imply bitter cold
  • Flower tufts peeking through snow represent persevering nature like crocus bursts of hope after winter
  • Blood splatters staining pristine drifts add ominous story
  • Snow-covered logs, fallen trees, and rubble imply this winter lasted ages undisturbed

And one of my favorite finishing touches for snow bases – water effects transforming into frozen new landscapes!

In previous tutorials I’ve shared techniques for creating realistic water on miniatures using products like Woodland Scenics Water Effects. Take these liquid illusions a step further by adding layers of snow flock, allowing to fully cure, then sealing the whole base in icy harmony. Forest floors crack open to reveal frozen ponds, decorative fountains halt mid-spill encased by frost.

Paint brushes Miniature painting


 Let’s recap everything we’ve covered about creating stunning snow bases for miniatures:

  • Snow flock’s clean white pops against darker colors
  • Sets winter themes and cohesive looks for forces
  • Fluffy powder to crunchy ice adds realistic texture
  • Creates neutral backdrop showcasing brushwork

We gathered materials from flock and glue to mixable snow paste ingredients before sculpting unique depths and styles. Then played with finishing options between fluffy billows, icy cracks, and slushy translucence for different snow stories. And finally discussed enhancing bases further with sparkling layers, themed decorations, and frozen water effects.

Now animated characters come alive atop these customized winter wonderlands ready for painting project masterpieces and thrilling tabletop adventures!

I hope you’ve found these comprehensive snow-basing guides helpful for miniatures work or scale model settings.

Now get out there and let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

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