Sunday, September 8, 2013

How to make a base, in the style of old asphalt road.

Today I will show you how I made the base for my Tau Commander.

We will need: gypsum (quick-drying), sand, white glue, and something to make a form. The form should be flat so our gypsum will imitate asphalt. I used an old plastic casing, but you can use some packaging left after a miniature (clampack) or a small box.

 It’s important to get a flat mold with a height of a few millimeters. I had to put a plastic base under one corner of my mold so the gypsum could not spill.
IMPORTANT: Gypsum was mixed with sand in a 60-40% proportion and I poured it into the form.
After several hours our gypsum should dry.

We then make a sand paste. Mix sand, white glue and a little water to obtain a thick paste.

Then we put the sand paste on the base and the formed gypsum (smooth side up) on the top. You can break the gypsum slate, to get interesting shapes. You can add a few things to the base, and I added a few pipes and placed thicker sprinkled stones. Now I left the base for one hour to dry a little.

After an hour the sand paste should harden a little, and now we can break the gypsum in a few places.

Then leave it to dry completely - around 12h

With a steel brush scrub layers of plaster (circular motions) until the surface is rough (this is our sand).

This is the effect you should receive.

In the meantime, I decided to add one more element to my base. I decided to make a concrete road barrier and for this I used a mold part from the Tau Commander.

The photo shows the mold before and after treatment with a knife.

And now it’s time for a basecoat.

The base colour (ironhull gray P3), light highlight (Astronomical gray CF).

Using the paper tape I made a template to paint stripes on the asphalt.

I used Mascol to made scratches on stripes.

Stripes after removing the template and Maskol.

Then I have painted the ground with Battlefield Brown (P3) as the base color, and then I highlighted the asphalt plates using Astronomican Gray (CF). Then a black oil wash was applied on the asphalt.

II mixed Vallejo pigments with water (Burnt Umber and Natural Sienna) and then I applied the mix on the ground. I did this three times with different proportions of pigments. In some places on asphalt I also have dry rubbed some pigment to and some interesting colors and dust.

added the barbed wire and I colored it with three shades of rust pigments.

IIn some places on asphalt I added some black pigment and rubbed it with a finger. Then I highlighted the ground with a mix of Astronomican Gray and some Burnt Umber pigment.   

Using airbrush I sprayed the whole base with isopropyl alcohol to preserve pigments. And then I sprayed the base with Vallejo matt varnish for a mat finish.

At the end I decided add two oil spots. To achieve the intended effect I mixed up Satin Varnish with Liche Purple (CC) then I did the same with Regal Blue(CC) and Vallejo Smoke(VMC). All mixes ware added on the base and mixed on the surface to obtain iridescent colors similar to the spilled oil.

And here you can see how the models look on finished bases.


  1. That's a very good idea, especially for its simplicity. Very effective!

  2. These look fantastic! Really great effect. Going to give it a try myself!

  3. Yup - great, easy, very nice looking and realistick - need to do some similar too :)

  4. Thanks for the input! The most "stunnng" part for me was the Mascol. Never thought of using that in that step. Supid me :D

  5. Consider this idea officially stolen!!!

  6. Brilliant idea, definitely going to try this!

  7. These are easily one of the best road bases I have ever seen, but one of the worst and most ambiguous writes I have ever seen. How much water do I use for the sand paste? Where/what brand gypsum did you use that is quick drying? The gypsum I bought is too brittle after it hardened, but since there were so many details left of this write up, I had to take shots in the dark and my base looks like crap right now.

  8. Gypsum is Plaster of Paris right?