I’ve made a few purchases recently to make finishing off figures a little more efficient. On my visits to Mark’s place I have noticed that he has various pre-mixed potions in bottles. This makes it easier to paint figures on an impromptu basis as mixing the washes etc takes time. After searching around online I found a shop that sells supplies for aromatherapy, candle, and soap making – there are a few of those actually if you look. I got myself some 25ml amber bottles to hold pre-mixed washes, cosmetics tubs to hold the mixture I put on the bases (when they are not all ‘grass’), and a bag of ground pumice. Derivan sells pumice in their ‘dry mediums’ range in small bottles but the stuff from the soapmaking supply shop (added to soap as an exfoliant) is a lot cheaper. I used to use model railway ballast for ‘sand’ on my bases but while it can be made to look attaractive it isn’t very robust and my older armies are looking a little ratty. Nowadays I use ballast, pumice, and other sandy stuff mixed into Derivan Impasto Medium – to save time I’ve mixed a lot up and put it into one of my newly purchased cosmetics tubs. It turns out that there is a very similar product from Pebeo that is ready mixed.
I’ve just used my pre-mixes on my Xyston Indian Elephants and I’m pretty happy with the result, although you can’t see my drybrushed sand mix under all that grass. I found this Flames of War article on desert basing inspirational, and before I base things I try to have a look online at how the area actually looks – in this case the dry tropical forests of western India.