Cracking new desert bases! – an Agrellan Earth tutorial


I’ve been getting a lot of questions on how to do the cracked, dry earth bases for my Moorish volunteers for SAGA. While the application of Agrellan Earth is simple, there are some mistakes that can be made. And I pretty much made all of them when painting 50 minis with this technique. By reading this guide, you won’t have to.

This is what you will need:

Acrylic Spackling Paste
Sculpting tool
Super glue
Galeforce Nine Rocky Basing Grit (or any other rock material for basing)
Warlord Games Sandy Tufts
A really sharp scalpel

Red wash (Army Painter – Red Tone)
Dark Brown wash (Army Painter – Strong Tone)
Orange Brown wash (Vallejo Model Wash – Dark Brown)
Dark Green wash ( Citadel – Athonian Camoshade)
Ivory (Vallejo – Bone White)
Dark Grey (Citadel – Eshin Grey)
Stone Grey (Citadel – Dawnstone)
Brown (Citadel – Mournfang brown)
Texture paint (Citadel – Agrellan Earth)
Drab (Vallejo – Earth)

picture 1
1. We will start from the beginning. Glue the miniature to the base. Before moving to the next step, make sure that the sanding, sculpting, drilling and other steps that involve putting high force loads on the miniature are done. This is because the spackling putty used in the next step is brittle and can easily flake off when subjected to shear and tension.

picture 32. Apply the spackling putty with an old sculpting tool. Aim for an even coverage because the texture paint used later does not fill up or cover holes and recesses well when it dries. Don’t worry if the putty gets on the miniature.

picture 4
3. Once the spackling putty is dry, use the sculpting tool again to push and scrape off dried putty from the rim of the base and from the miniature’s legs and clothing.

picture 54. Now, undercoat the miniature and start painting it. I changed minis here because I finished the other one without taking pictures. SORRY!

picture 65. Paint the base in a dark brown colour. This will show through the texture paint. I use Mournfang Brown in 2 or 3 layers. I also finish painting the entire miniature before going to the next step.

picture 76. Apply the texture paint in a thick layer with an old brush, preferably with long bristles. You only have one chance when doing this but don’t stress as the drying time is quite long. I leave it to dry over the night. If the paint gets on the miniature, you can quickly try to soak it up with a clean brush dipped in water.

picture 87. After the texture paint is dried it should form cracks. Sometimes, the white from the spackling putty shows through. In that case apply some dark brown wash to hide it.

picture 9
8. Drybrush base with an Ivory colour to increase the depth of the khaki. By careful when doing this as the texture paint can flake off.

picture 109. In this step, the aim is to increase the realism of the cracked earth by adding additional colours to it. Apply the red, green and orange-brown washes sparsely in patches on the base, push some of the color away from the flakes and into the recesses.  Apply the washes one by one in different areas, don’t mix them. You can paint the rim of the base in drab and call yourself done after this step.

picture 1111. Extra shit can be glued onto the base to make it look more fab. I add grass tufts and single basing grit to represent stones. Use them sparingly and pick a grass tuft that looks dry and sad. Lushy greens would ruin the immersion. Warlord products come with the stupid self-adhesive sand texture that needs to be cut off with a scalpel. Paint the stones in a dark grey-brown color, layer it with some ivory mixed in and highlight with pure ivory. I go for cream coloured stones as they have been out in the sun a lot.

picture 1313.  Paint the rim of the base in drab (2 or 3 layers) and the drummer is finished. Early Islamic armies sent Mubarizun (champions) accompanied with drummers ahead of the army to raise morale by challenging infidels to deadly dance-offs. Now you can too!

This is the first time I’ve done a tutorial here so hit me up with critique in the comment section below. Until next time.


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