When I started my Chaos Space Marines army I did snow basing simple. I used the Games Workshop snow flock glued right to the base. It worked, wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t most convincing snow either.
I kept doing it that way until I saw the snow basing that Khorne Inquisitor did on Chariot of Khorne he was working on. His snow basing looked real and blew away just gluing snow flock onto a base.
He shared with me how he created the snow and now I’m sharing it. You can also find a great tutorial on doing this at From the Warp. That tutorial is far more in depth, explaining different techniques, where I will only explain the one that I used.
I add some glue into a small plastic cup to start. You will need far less glue than you think. A little goes a long way here. Ideally you’ll have enough to do all the basing you need in one batch, for the sake of consistency in base appearance, but not so much you waste it.
Next up you add some snow flock. I start off by adding less than I know I’ll need and mix it up. This way I can gauge the consistency and add little bit little until I’m where I want to be.
The consistency I’m aiming for it is thick and sticky. It shouldn’t flow around the cup and should be like a thick paste.
This part, the consistency, ultimately varies depending on the result you want. That tutorial I mentioned over at From the Warp covers this part really well. I like my snow to have some texture to it instead of a soft fresh fallen snow look. If you want smoother snow then you can add less flock or even add in a drop or two of water to thin out the mixture more.
Once I have the consistency I’m after, I use one of my sculpting tools to spoon it out of the cup and onto the base. If you’ve gone for a thicker consistency, like I have, then the snow will just sit on the base.
After I have the snow placed in the areas I want it, I then take an old brush and get it damp with water. I stick the brush into my water cup, wipe it off really quick – but not so much to remove all the water, and use that to smooth out the snow I’ve placed.
The snow, once placed, will be a bit rigid, and there will be points and peaks to the snow from the snow flock. I use the damp brush to smooth all of that out. I also make sure I get around the edges of the snow where it meets the base. The thicker snow won’t just adhere to the base, it’s too thick with flock, so by running the damp brush around the edges of the snow I loosen up the glue some and create a seal to the base. If you do a smoother snow that’s not so thick then you won’t need to edge it like this.
You will want to do this part of the process pretty quickly as the snow mixture can dry out on you if you take too long. I usually put the snow on the base, quickly smooth it out and edge it and then move on to the next model.
Once they all have the snow on the base then I come back and fine tune things.
Note: When using the damp brush for this step make sure you’re using clean water. If you use dirty paint water then that color will bleed out into the snow.
I also use the brush to help create more texture to the snow and to shape it. The thinner snow mixture cannot really be molded, which is why I like working with a thicker consistency. The thicker snow will hold shape pretty well so you can push it around to create the look you’re after.
Just play around with the snow and you’ll find you can do some pretty cool stuff. This thicker method also works really well being placed on top of things where you want snow to overhang. When Khorne Inquisitor did his Chariot, he had a sign post he created and put snow on top of the sign, overhanging it on the sides, and it looked awesome.
Once you’re happy with it just wait for it to dry. The thicker consistency dries rather quickly, a handful of hours really. I usually give it a solid 6-8 hours to dry before I seal everything, especially if it’s big snow piles where the inside could still be wet.
Note: If I’m working on larger bases then I will do this process twice. I will layer up the snow to the desired height instead of trying to get it in one shot.
Once dried you’ll notice the snow loses its wet look, more so once sealed. If you want snow that has more of a shine to it then instead of using a matte glue for the mixture you could use something with a satin or gloss finish to it. I know Mod Podge makes a gloss version of their glue.
Here’s some shots of the basing fully dry and also sealed with a matte sealer. Also a few shots of other models of mine done with this basing method.
That’s all there is to it. I recommend experimenting with the process the first time and just basing empty bases. It will take a few times to get the mixture right for what you’re after, but once you have the process figured out it only takes a minute to mix up and apply. It only took me maybe five minutes to do this start to finish and that includes taking pictures along the way.