Black Basing, Now in Video!


Ever since I posted about Black Basing a year and a half ago, I’ve wanted to follow it up with a better, improved version. And since I’m making the foray into video, it seemed the perfect subject to tackle, as it’s a bit challenging to convey the marble coat with just words and pictures.

So…enjoy! And give it a shot for yourself!

28 Comments Add yours

  1. Howard Kilburn says:

    Bloody superb….one of the best techniques videos I,ve ever seen…..wivout all the crap!!!!
    Brilliant, keep em’ coming Doogs!!!! and ignore those who don,t like yr language…..yr real!!!!
    My New Years resolution…….f##k the idiots… my profession…..we either fly or sit on our a##es and do paperwork……I, m a flyer and a modeller……it ain, t never goin to change.

  2. Really good…but needs more F’ing daschunds. I’m coming back to the hobby just this year by starting with an old ERTL snow speeder…a good test bed. Naturally its crap with raised panel lines and lots of gaps…but a good challenge just the same. Between you and Gary Wickam at I have been inspired to really learn and develop my skills. I have Revell’s F15e Strike Eagle and F18e Super Hornet in my little stash…good deals with the 50% off Michael’s coupons. I’m black basing the speeder and was wishing I had a video of this technique…and..voila! Thanks also for that post on Future.

  3. mchapoton says:

    “JUST DO IT!!!” Love it. I’ve been trying this out on your recommendation on a few builds, but this video that shows how you put together your “small painting” is really helpful. I just got an H&S Infinity (.2mm) for that exact purpose. One question, do you cut the Mr. Surfacer 1500 with anything (self leveling thinner?) or lay it on straight from the jar?

    Thanks Doogs, keep the video techniques coming… and more Shia!!

    1. Doogs says:

      Yes! I thin it with Gunze Leveling Thinner – it’s too thick to shoot through most airbrushes as it comes.

  4. Joel says:

    Doog, I was more then impressed with your Black Basing video.
    I’ve been using a modified black basing with pretty good results. I start with Mig Ammo gray primer, Then I add a tight random effect with various shades of dark gray all the way to Nato black. But my patterns weren’t as tight as yours, so I’m going to concentrate on that on my current build. I also need to thin out my color coats a tad more.

  5. Sebastian Lim says:

    I’ve tried your Black Basing Technique, it is easy and controllable than Pre-Shading. Now I’m more adapted to Black Basing and work from dark to light colour.

  6. Scooter says:

    I have never understood pre-shading, or post shading for that matter, on every thing. I can “buy” the technique for some particular cases of extreme weathering, but not every stinking model.
    So here you are saying use black instead of gray, paint squiggles until the cows come home, then after “hours” of tedious squiggling cover the whole thing with a top coat of some color! Madness!

    p.s. Can’t wait to try it out on my next project……….Hummmm…wonder if I used Prussian Blue as a base, or Raw Senna, Or………………OH; sorry just musing ;0)
    Thanks For the Thought Provoking postings

  7. Gus says:

    Hi Doogs, thanks for the great video. Just a quick question – what pressure do you spray at when you do the marbling? I think I may have been spraying a bit fiercely when I tried this the first time.

  8. Rusty shackleford says:

    That’s not black basing it’s the black and white technique. You’re an idiot and your eyes are derpy. I strongly dislike everything i’ve ever seen about you. Seriously, i hate you. Like when i read anything you write or see your stupid face i feel actual hatred. I’m not sure but I feel like you’re doing that on purpose, and that makes me hate you more.

    You are a cancer. A derpy eyed, smug cancer who should never say anything. Ever.

    1. Doogs says:

      Thanks for your support!

    2. Doogs says:

      Also, black and white technique involves black AND white, and bakes in the shading before a very thin color coat. They are extremely different in intent and practice, but hate can blind us to the obvious.

      1. Rusty shackleford says:

        Black and white and grayscale are interchangeable terms in the professional art world. Using gray on black is the same idea as white on black as the result is a variation in grayscale tones. So this is the grayscale technique, still not black basing. Black basing has to do with covering everything with black carefully so that when you more lightly paint your base color later dark areas remain darker right where detail/parts interact. This creates the illusion of what’s known as a contact shadow. An area where light cannot reach.

        Seriously, if you’re going to be the most aggressive asshole you possibly can, maybe you should know what you’re talking about.

      2. Doogs says:

        You do realize that gray is only being used because the F-104’s camoflage is, well, GRAY? Right? Your description of black basing actually gets at what I’m doing here, with the exception that I’m also playing with local opacity. Works the gray, works with green, red, yellow, brown, blue etc.

    3. Jim's Models says:

      Say, Rusty…or Adam, why are you even commenting on the antichrist’s blog? You mad?

  9. Wouter says:


    Tried this technique a few times now and it works great (I use valejo black primer and shoot with tamiya paint)

    Right now on my bench I have a 1/48 boatrol beaufighter nightfighter vesion… With it being black this will be difficult to implement.

    I was thinking of doing black primer => metaliser (so I can also do the hairspray trick) => NATO black (instead of the tamoya prescribed semigloss)

    Do you have any advice or thoughts (on this specific or paining nightfighters in general)?



    1. Doogs says:

      Tamiya prescribed semi-gloss for the Beaufighter? Weird. I remember back when I was doing my Mossie NF that it went with a smoother semi-gloss in large part due to lessons learned with the rougher black used on the Beaus.

      The only danger you need to keep in mind with NATO Black is that Tamiya’s mix is apparently more green – but in general I think NATO, Tire, Rubber etc varieties of black are a good option for varying things up. I’ll be doing something similar with my F-117, one day.

      1. wouter says:

        yes i noticed this when i dit the first part of the marble layer .. will probably find some mix of semi-gloss black and nato black for the blending layer (maybe do some experiments on a paint-mule first thou)

      2. wouter says:

        I finished the beaufighter and took some pictures
        the camera does crush the tonal variation a little

        (dont worry not looking for a “attaboy” ;), looking to grow )

  10. Im curious about your thoughts on using this technique on smaller scales. I have been considering using this on 1/100 or 1/144 scale Gundam models, but do you think this only works at the larger sizes?

    1. Doogs says:

      I think it can definitely work in smaller scales – I’m using it on a 1/72 X-Wing without problem. Definitely worth experimenting with at the very least.

  11. tobyknight10 says:

    I’ll be trying it on my 1/35 PT boat which has a very weathered light blue hull. Should be interesting to see how it turns out. I may mix the Mr Surfacer 1200 with the 1500 to get a dark grey, as I think the black will be too dark for the light blue colour.

  12. Ed says:

    I have enjoyed your article and video. I have a quick question not sure if it has been covered. For a dark aircraft would it work to use a lighter base instead of black base? What are your thoughts on this? I am working on a Corsair and it seems that the black may not show through the dark blue .

    Thanks and keep up the good work!

    1. Doogs says:

      For a dark aircraft, I certainly wouldn’t recommend a lighter base. Now, depending on the aircraft and the colors involved, a case could be made for incorporating some lighter tones into a multicolored marble coat. For example putting some tan-green or even gray-blue under a dark green could yield some interesting tonal variations.

      For Corsairs…it depends on the scheme. For tricolor Corsairs, there are plenty of references showing that the dark sea blue faded quite badly in certain conditions and here various lighter blues and even grays could be used to build up variation. For late-war and Korean-era Corsairs, though, the Glossy Sea Blue was a pretty durable paint and didn’t exhibit much tendency to fade. As it wore, it just tended to go from gloss to a flatter finish. As such, there’s just not much surface variation to be had, and the subtlety of the black under the blue should be plenty. If you want to take it a bit further, I’d consider going back over a worn coat with some fresh, gloss paint in areas to represent paint touchups and corrosion control.


    1. Doogs says:

      All the VF-31 low-viz I’ve seen in photos have very dark tail markings? Not super familiar with the squadron though.

      1. thanks doooogs! Love your colorful perspective on things. alot like mine. you make modeling fun! BB

  14. please check out Eagle strike 48141 Tomcats part VI. I tried to paste a pic but it wont let me. Thanks Matt! Great stuff! Let me know what u think. Thanks again , Big Bill

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.