Faces, Bases, Something, Something: Bases for North Africa

Desert basing with a twist.

As you might have figured out by now, I like to put a little extra into my models and bases when painting my Flames of War units. So today we are taking a look at how you can make your bases for the North African desert a little more interesting to look at, than just doing plain sand bases.

The flat sandy desert.

The photo above shows how most of us imagine how the terrain looks in the North African desert. Open wide plains covered in sand and the little odd bush or turf here and there. But as you see on the photos below, there are also areas filled with mountains and valleys.

In this little tutorial I will try and explain how I did my bases as a dried out riverbed a while ago. 

How to start?

First things first. You have to figure out how many bases you will be needing for your army or unit. I plan to do three DAK platoons with mortars and HMGs, so 22 bases should do. I like it when the base form a mini diorama when they are lined up together, so I line them up and here comes the most important part. I add some 5mm  foam board to the bases to give me some height difference.

First test.

As you can see, I started making a plateau and drawing the outline of the rocky ground, but realised that this would just give me two groups of plain bases at different height, so I made some changes as you see in the photo below.

Test 2

Straight away this makes for a much more interesting look. Most of the bases now have two levels and none of them have the outcrop running parallel to the base edges. This all helps make the bases interesting to look at and draw the eye in.

Next up is forming the edges of the foamboard to look like rocks or slate. This I do by making a small cut with a hobby blade and cropping in it, making an uneven surface. Then I add spackle to the base and smooth it with a finger dipped in water. When dry, I cover the base in thinned down PVA glue and add some sand and small rocks and prime black.


When painting bases I find shades of brown are your friend.

I used colours from the Vallejo Model Colour range and started with English Uniform, then drybrushed with Khaki and finally a light drybrush of Iraqi Sand.

The rocks was painted using Olive Drab and highlighted with Olive Drab and Iraqi Sand 70/30 and the Iraqi Sand.

To finish it all off, I added a little static grass and some dark green and red flock as bushes and small trees. Last, but not least, the base edges was painted Olive Drab to add a little contrast to the the whole thing.

Now all I need to do is paint a complete Deutsches Afrika Korps Company, but that is a completely different story.!

As always I hope you saw something you might be able to use in your own projects and feel free to comment if you have any questions. Happy hobbying.

3 thoughts on “Faces, Bases, Something, Something: Bases for North Africa

  1. These look great and the extra effort does seem worth it. How do you attach the infantry to the base? I assume drill and pin? How do you get the bases off the infantry without making a mess of the feet? WHat size drill bit can be used and how do you stabilise the infantry for drilling?

    Sorry to ask so many questions but I am interested in trying this out and I could do with some pointers.


    1. Thanks Phil, I am glad you like it.
      What I do is as you guessed correctly is pin them to the bases. I made a little video on how I cut of the bases a drill the minis here

      I use superglue to fasten them and the places where they are on foam board I drill into the plastic base to make sure they have a solid anchoring point. Enjoy.

      And if you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

      Regards Soren.

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