Friday Quick Tip: Cork Basing

After realgenius' great Advanced Basing article, I thought it was high time to start delving into different basing mediums myself! So I hit up the shops and found a few things I plan to try out. This time around, we're working with cork!

I've seen cork used many times around the web by a bunch of different people. Most notibly at the front of my mind is Lemmingspawn's lava based Iron Warriors. While Lemmy has taken the medium to a hieght I'm not going to go to here, you have to start somewhere folks!

I went to Hobby Lobby and snagged this little 4 pack of tiles for a modest $4.99. It's a wonderful amount of material for the price and would likely base an entire army with this single pack! There are larger tiles as well if you're really looking to go nuts on your projects.

To start us off you're going to need to open up the pack, get your base ready, and break up some of the cork into a few large and small chunks.

When choosing the chunks you want to use, try and pick out a few that set together well and add good variation. You don't want too much to hang over the edge of the base, but a little bit helps give it more of a scenic feel.

You may have noticed in the last step just how brittle the cork really is. I decided immediately that the base would need a wash of white glue to help keep the base from breaking away as it is handled. You'll need to let this dry completely before you move on with the base, this is where doing the whole army's basing at once helps!

To add a bit more detail, I've gone ahead with some fine sand to add a bit more texture and help ground the base a bit more in 'reality'. Use it sparingly on top of the cork, but try and fill out any areas on the base proper. Once this is dry, get to painting!

I've gone with an arid theme on this one, but you could easily go with a number of different theaters. To get this color I started with Bestial Brown, drybrushed with Snakebite Leather, drybrushed again with Bleached Bone, and final drybrush along edges and sand with 50/50 Bleached Bone/Skull White. You can see I've also added some static grass for effect.

Cork requires a little bit more time and effort, but nets great results. Give it a try and you might find the basing theme for your next project!

If you've used cork or a similar material, we'd love to see/hear about your results!


  1. Excellent tip mate, thanks for sharing.

  2. I've had some problems keeping my models attached to the cork when I've used it. The bond between the plastic / metal and cork is strong enough but I've had a few models come off when the cork itself gave out (usually there are bits of it left on the model's feet and two pits in the base).

    Pinning helps but it can be annoying to pin every model in an army to their base. It isn't a huge problem but it's worth thinking about.

  3. I have ran into the same problem as Simon. I have used the cork on my Greater Daemons and I absolutely had to pin them down. It isn't that big of a pain though and it really makes them sturdy.

    On the smaller units where I have used cork I haven't had to pin any of my guys yet. I usually let them fall off once before I pin them. I have had worse luck with models sticking to resin bases than I have with cork.

  4. How fragile it is would be my biggest concern but that seems easily remedied.

  5. For pinning models to bases, the best method is to use an L-shaped pin from underneath. mark your base so you can line up the hole you drilled in the model, than drill all the way through. Insert the pin from the bottom, and glue it in place. then glue the model to the pin and the base like usual. A pin that's set decently deep into a model's foot/leg ain't coming out because of the way the L pin spreads out the load and anchors the model. It's the only way I pin models to bases. If you're going to make the effort, you might as well go all the way.

  6. Nice tip. I may give this a try soon.

  7. Great feedback on this one guys!

    Simon, were you doing a good wash of PVA as well? I would think this would give you a good surface to bite to when gluing a model down to the basing. Mind you, I haven't actually used this method on one of my own models yet, but in the near future, I fully intend to. My thought would be that plastic models would be fine without the pin, but metal models would be a must pin situation.

    Big D, I can easily see pinning a Greater Deamon to these as a must. Hell, I'd probably pin a greater demon to ANY type of advanced/scenic basing!

    AoM, that's a great tip! It makes too much sense NOT to do it that way in all honesty.

    Do you guys have any photo examples of your cork basing work? Links would be great!

  8. Good article! Been looking into this as a beginning miniature wargamer (since january, started with ultras) and still hadn't found a clear article on cork basing until this one.

    In case you are gonna be pinning the models, mind making a little article of that while you're at it? Still unsure of what kind of pins to use (was thinking hacking up paperclips) or what other tools.
    Could use some pointers on that. (mainly for a friend who started daemons which has alot of metal models)

  9. I hadn't been putting the watered down PVA on the cork, although I can't imagine why since I do it to the sand on all of my bases.

    This is my standard method:

    These guys aren't actually standing on the cork, I just used it as decoration on the base:

    I did pin this squad down but only because I didn't think they could support themselves:

  10. That's great! For sure going to try it!

  11. infuse your cork with thin superglue and it will be much less fragile.