Ok, so I bored you with my post showing (or not showing) how I painted my Goblin Rock Lobber. Let see if I can do a bit better on this one. I actually did shots at every stage so I have already improved.
Alright so I have already painted the lovely models and they are ready for basing.
The rest of the models in this army are based using sand/gravel and static grass so I will be doing the same with this. For sand I use a mix of my own concoction. Now I will admit it was more of an accident than intentional, but life gave me lemons and I made lemonade. I thought I was buying a bag of sand but what I picked up was "paver sand" which evidently is something completely different. Not only was it a bit damp, it was also a mix of several different sizes of pebble along with the sand. So, several siftings through my pasta strainer and viola! I had the sand I needed in addition to several pounds of larger pebbles. So for basing I mixed a bit of the sand with a small amount of the pebbles to get a great mix to use on bases. Anyways on to the important stuff.
The first step is to prepare the base. It may seem like a no-brainer, but be sure to glue the model to the base. Last thing you want is for the model to come toppling out the first time you lift it. There are a few exceptions of course. Take my model here for example. I want to be able to remove the crew to show wounds so I will not be gluing them down to the base I have done. Instead I cut slots into the custom base to put them in while playing. If you are using slotted bases you will also want to cover or fill any holes around the slot on the mini. There are many ways to do this, but most of the time I simply fill the hole with green stuff. I have also seen people use tape to cross over the hole although I have never tried it my self.
After that I paint the base. I know I will be covering it up, but a neutral color will help to hide any places were the sand either did not stick or is thin enough to show through. For this one I have used some Privateer Press paint. The coverage is not very important. You really are just looking for something other than your primer or black plastic to show through. This will also help the glue to stick.
Speaking of glue. I prefer PVA(Elmers to most) glue for basing. When it comes to thinning glue down you will probably get as many answers as people you ask. I personally try not to use glue straight from the bottle unless I really need it. Mind you there are some situations that need that bulk, but for most uses a mix of say 3/1 glue water makes it easier to work with and still hold fairly well. As you apply the glue take care not to get any on the model. I would not worry too much if you do get a bit of glue on the model. Once the sand is applied you can use a damp cotton swab to clean off the mishap before the glue dries. In some places I leave it on so it looks like the model is deep into his surroundings so to speak.
I keep my sand in a spare plastic tub with lid. After applying the glue, I dip the model into the sand. Be sure to completely cover the base, and don't be in a rush to take the model out. If the model is too large to fit in your bin, get a larger bin or do it in several parts. Something to watch out for if you have to do it this way. Cover more of the base than you intend with glue before dipping the model in the sand. If you have to apply glue up against sand that is already been applied, it will leave a ridge where the two meet.
Once the initial coating of sand has dried, it is now time to make sure everything that we glued down..stays down. Thin some more glue down. This time we want it really thin. You want the consistency of a melted milk shake. That way it will flow over the parts and cling ever so slightly, but will not leave large lumps of glue on top. Be sure to get around any larger pieces. Doing this step will form a thin skin over all the sand and any gravel and help to hold every thing down tight
Now for the real fun part. Static grass. I used to really hate working with this stuff because I just did not EVER have any luck with it. It always ended up matted down and looking like a wildebeest made a den there. One day a watched a friend of mine gluing static grass down to a base and I figured it out.
Place a small amount of glue where you want the grass to go. Be sure not to use too much, and it might help to mix it with water about 1/1 or maybe even 1/2. You don't want it too thin or the grass will not stick. Then dip the base in the container holding your static grass. Wait a second then tap off the extra. Here's the important part. Hold the model upside down and tap on the bottom of the base. Also blow across the side of the base. Don't go too crazy but you want to make sure you blow hard enough to stand up any grass near the edge of the base. This will make some of the grass stand up and help it look a bit more natural.
Here are some pics of the finished product. I hope this will be helpful for you.