I often get asked how I paint certain areas on my models, but the one I have been getting asked the most about lately are the bases on my Tomb Kings models. It's a really simple process, but apparently one that a lot of people like the finished look of, so without further ado!
I think the thing that makes my desert bases stand out a bit from some other ones is that I tried to make sure that the sand had a very warm tone to it. This meant getting an orange tinted undertone. It's not the most realistic look in the world, but it definitely gets the look and feeling I was going for with my Tomb Kings, a warm sepia look.
I glue all of the sand onto the base after all of the rest of the model has already been painted. I use regular PVA glue for this. Once the sand is glued down I coat all of it with an extremely watered down layer of PVA glue, almost more water then glue. This helps seal all of the sand in so it won't come loose when you are painting it. I just kind of dab the water glue on so as not to accidentally move all of the sand around.
I then give all of the sand a solid coat of Tausept Ochre. This is an old foundation paint that GW doesn't make anymore, but their new equivalent for it is Balor Brown, and it's a pretty close match, closer then most of the other paints in the range. I water this down a bit more then when I'm normally painting to help the pain flow around the sand better. It's also not a huge deal if the sand color shows through here and there on the raised areas since it will add some variation to the finished color.
I finish the sand off with a dry brush of Screaming Skull, trying to be as careful as I can to only get it on the raised areas. On some of my display pieces I then go back with a "glaze" of a Screaming Skull/Tausept Ochre mix and paint random blotches to make the sand more varied in color. This is especially useful on larger bases with a lot of open sand where you may want to break up the color a bit.
I then painted the rim of my bases black because I like the frame effect it gives, but you can paint it whatever color you want. The rocks were painted Calthan Brown, another old foundation paint. The new version of it is Mournfang Brown, but it's not as close of a match as I would like. This then got a wash of Agrax Earthshade.
The rocks then get a dry brush of Calthan Brown again, and then a Calthan Brown/Screaming Skull mix. I do several different layers of this dry brush, getting lighter with each one, depending on how I wan the rocks to look. On fancier pieces I layer the paint on instead of dry brushing, like on my Tomb King on Chariot model. This just gives it a cleaner, more professional look than dry brushing, but takes a lot more time.
That's it! Your desert bases are now down, with a distinctly warm tone to them. I hope this was helpful to everyone out there.