Lava Bases for Warhammer 40k Miniatures: A Powerful Guide Step-by-step Guide

Lava Base Warhammer

The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Mesmerizing Lava Bases for Warhammer 40k Miniatures

As a seasoned painter with over two decades of experience creating captivating miniatures and dioramas for Warhammer 40k, I’ve developed a profound passion for designing immersive bases that transport viewers into dynamic, fiery realms. Lava bases possess an undeniable allure – the striking glow effects, bubbling textures, and the impression of intense heat can breathe life and energy into any Warhammer scene.

In this definitive guide from the experts at Warhammer Universe, I will comprehensively walk you through my proven techniques for crafting stunning lava bases guaranteed to elevate your Warhammer 40k miniatures to new heights. Packed with vivid step-by-step instructions, invaluable tips gleaned from years of experience, and crucial advice for sidestepping common pitfalls, this guide provides everything you need to start infusing your collections with the mesmerizing dance of molten rock and blazing cinders. Let’s dive in!

Envisioning Your Lava Base Design

Before we plunge into crafting scintillating lava effects for your 40k bases, careful planning is essential. Hasty execution without foresight can compromise stability, foundations, and overall cohesion. Begin by contemplating these key factors:

  • Base dimensions – Determine optimal sizes to accommodate planned rock formations, Warhammer model placement, and your lava flow design.
  • Miniature positioning – Visualize your model’s posture, protruding accessories, and critical contact points that will connect with the base.
  • Rock configurations – Experiment with various shapes and sizes of rocks for your lava base. Torn cork sheets provide endless possibilities!
  • Lava flow paths – Map out the trajectory of molten streams as they weave between rocks for maximum visual impact.
  • Special effects – Brainstorm eye-catching details like bubbling lava pockets and ambient glow effects to enhance realism.

Warhammer Lava bases

Assembling Your Lava Base Materials and Tools

With your lava base concept crystallized, it’s time to gather the necessary materials and tools for bringing this fiery Warhammer terrain to life:

  • Bases – Select bases appropriately sized for your planned Warhammer 40k models.
  • Cork sheets – Rugged cork tiles work wonderfully for creating jagged volcanic rock structures.
  • Adhesives – Super glue and PVA white glue will be your go-to bonding agents. Modeling putty – Green stuff and other modeling putties are perfect for sculpting lava bubble effects.
  • Acrylic paints – You’ll need an assortment of dark greys, blacks, oranges, reds, yellows, and whites. Paint brushes – Grab a variety of brushes suitable for washing techniques and precision dry brushing.
  • Texturing tools – Sandpaper and sculpting picks will help you achieve realistic rock textures.
  • Pinning supplies – A pin vice and pins are essential for securely attaching miniatures to the base.
  • Optional enhancements: Fluorescent paints for intensely vibrant lava flows An airbrush for seamlessly blending ambient glow effects

With your lava base arsenal assembled, it’s time to fearlessly plunge into the heart of this volcanic terrain, harnessing the power of masterful painting techniques to bring it roaring to life!

Sculpting Volcanic Rocks for Your Lava Base

  1. Begin by cutting cork sheets into an assortment of rock shapes and sizes. Layer and glue these together to create impressive stacks and platforms for your Warhammer miniatures to occupy. Let your imagination run wild as you experiment with unique combinations!
  2. Amplify the realism of your lava base by texturing the surfaces of your cork rocks using sandpaper and a sculpting pick. Reference photos of genuine volcanic formations as you strive for believable randomness in your textures.
  3. To create the illusion of bubbling lava pockets, affix small spherical pieces of green stuff or modeling putty beneath areas where you plan to paint lava streams. Once dried, these raised circular shapes will convincingly suggest roiling bubbles lurking beneath the lava’s surface.
  4. Thoughtfully arrange your textured rock formations and bubbling lava pockets on the base, keeping your initial concept sketch in mind. Consider how the terrain will harmonize with your Warhammer model’s pose and the overall composition.
  5. Securely attach the rock structures and lava bubbles to your base using super glue. For added stability when mounting your miniature later, drill guide holes for pins through the base and cork layers.
  6. Create a flowing lava texture by mixing white PVA glue with a small amount of water to increase its fluidity and glossiness. Apply multiple layers of this mixture over the designated lava areas, allowing surface tension to form smooth, domed shapes. Avoid using a hair dryer to speed up the drying process, as it may introduce unwanted air bubbles. Instead, allow the lava base to dry overnight for a flawless finish.

Lava Base

Priming and Basecoating Your Warhammer Lava Base

With your lava base terrain securely in place, it’s time to shift our focus to the transformative power of paint. Watch as meticulously layered colors breathe vibrant life into your Warhammer base, unlocking new depths of realism with each stroke.

  1. Begin by priming the entire base with a coat of black paint. This dark foundation will serve to enhance the luminous colors that will soon emerge from its depths.
  2. Using a dry brushing technique, gently apply medium and light grey tones to the cork rock formations on your base. Focus on highlighting raised edges and textures to convincingly capture the essence of volcanic stone.
  3. Undercoat all bubbling lava areas with a mid-tone orange-brown hue. This warm base color will energize your lava base, setting the stage for the scorching colors to come. Be sure to paint right up to the edges where lava meets rock, as this transition suggests the gradual cooling and solidification of the molten material.
  4. Progress to painting all lava zones with a vibrant red, allowing hints of the underlying orange-brown to peek through near the edges. Carefully blend the two colors to achieve a subtle, realistic transition where the lava begins to cool.

The Secrets of Painting Molten Lava – A Masterclass in Layering

At the heart of crafting spellbinding lava bases lies the art of color layering. By gradually building up hues from shadowy depths to searing, radiant highlights, you’ll conjure an otherworldly illusion of glowing, molten rock. As we embark on this lava painting odyssey, remember that restraint is key – focus your brightest tones around focal points for maximum impact and believability.

  1. Begin by glazing a thin, watered-down layer of fluorescent orange paint over all lava areas on your base. The sheer intensity of these pigments will beautifully capture the luminous properties of molten rock. Pay special attention to lava bubbles and ascending lava flows for added pop.
  2. Re-establish definition between lava sections by applying another layer of pure red, allowing slivers of the underlying orange to remain visible at the edges.
  3. Designate hot orange as the primary color for the majority of your exposed lava areas. As you paint, envision the chaotic swirls of bubbling magma just beneath the surface. Don’t forget to let some of this fiery light reflect onto nearby rock formations for a convincing, integrated look.
  4. Sparingly apply dabs of hot yellow paint onto the orange lava layers, targeting areas that appear closest to the scorching surface. This intense hue should be reserved for only the most searing upper regions of your molten flows.
  5. With a steady hand, place minute flecks of pure white acrylic on the very tips of your lava bubbles to suggest an explosive bursting potential. Remember, less is often more when it comes to these brightest highlights.
  6. For an even more captivating, sizzling effect, consider glazing additional layers of fluorescent paint over the white-tipped bubbles and hottest lava zones. The key is to build up the vibrancy gradually for a truly mesmerizing result.

Glove Lava

Adding the Finishing Touches to Your Lava Base Masterpiece

With your lava base now pulsing with an ethereal, luminous energy, it’s time to lock in your hard work with some final enhancements before sealing the deal on this volcanic showpiece.

  1. Tidy up any wayward colors by running a thin line of black paint along the base’s edges. For added depth and realism, speckle some black flecks throughout the lava flows to suggest volcanic minerals churning within the molten rock.
  2. In recessed areas surrounding the volcanic rocks, apply thin lines of black paint to emphasize shadows and definition. Remember to keep these accents subtle and use thin, controlled layers.
  3. Experiment with incorporating authentic stone textures by applying gritty mediums or pastes before undercoating your rocks. A touch of this texture on your lava bubbles can also enhance their realism once painted.
  4. To protect your painted lava base from wear and tear during gameplay, consider applying a matte varnish as a final sealant. However, it’s crucial to test the varnish on a small, inconspicuous area first, as it may slightly diminish the intensity of your fluorescent highlights.

With your lava base now erupting with jaw-dropping brilliance, it’s time to mount your Warhammer miniature. Securely affix your model using pins that embed firmly into the cork and base layers for unparalleled stability. At last, step back and marvel at your scorching masterpiece – a captivating centerpiece guaranteed to ignite the envy and admiration of fellow Warhammer 40k enthusiasts!

If you’re seeking further guidance, we highly recommend checking out this informative YouTube tutorial: How to Make and Paint Lava Bases

In conclusion, by following this comprehensive guide, you now possess the knowledge and techniques to craft mesmerizing lava bases that will elevate your Warhammer 40k miniatures to awe-inspiring new heights. Feel free to experiment, push boundaries, and explore uncharted territories as you continue to refine your lava base artistry. If any questions arise along your journey, don’t hesitate to reach out to our passionate community of fellow lava lovers. We can’t wait to see the fruits of your fiery labors showcased proudly!

  1. Citadel Texture Paints – “Mordant Earth” and “Martian Ironearth” are essential for crafting realistic cracked earth and lava textures.
  2. Vallejo Water Texture – This clear, tintable medium is perfect for simulating glossy, flowing lava on your bases.
  3. Green Stuff World Lava Paste – A ready-to-use, textured paste that allows you to effortlessly create convincing lava flows and bubbling effects.
  4. Vallejo Fluorescent Paint Set – These vibrant, eye-catching paints are crucial for achieving that mesmerizing, molten glow on your lava bases.
  5. The Army Painter Wet Palette – Keep your paints moist and easily blendable while you work on your lava base masterpiece with this indispensable tool.

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