The main points to consider are:
• Use of figure
• Pose of figure
• Size of figure
Use: If the figure is to be used primarily for display then consider one of the myriad of resin bases on the market which go from 50p upwards. These need washing with warm detergent water and undercoating with spray, preferably before painting.
If for wargaming, then the rules usually dictate the size and number of figures but you need not let that limit the options. E.g. For less trained troops, why not mess up the ranks a little, or use different figure manufacturers? Some could be at different heights even.
The figure will be sculpted in a certain way so I find it increases the impact if the figure is oriented on the base towards a certain edge. This emphasises the dynamics.
E.g. If the figure is turned to face a certain direction then place the figure as if it is just turning towards that edge. The viewer will make the connection and the figure will almost move in their mind. Well, I think so. If the figure is running, then give the figure space to run into. Remember you can always mount the figure above base level by adding green stuff or milliput. This way you can also tilt the figure to further enhance the intent
The base need only be as big as the ground it needs to stand on. I find most 28mm figures fit onto a 20mm x 20mm base easily and it doesn’t matter if it overlaps the edges too much. Bases do not need to be regular shapes either
Once the figure is based, I use a mixture to add texture, unless a resin base is used, in which case it needs to be painted. Add a dollup of PVA to a small pot e.g. a blister pack case and pour on some suitable texturing material such as sand or cork pieces and then some dark base colour paint.
The actual type and size of texture will be affected by scale, theatre and personal taste. So for smaller scales, use fine sand of various grades. It doesn’t matter about the colour of the bits because they get coated with paint. The texture you are after is a thick paste covering the particles which is spreadable into gaps but which will not run off the base but thick enough to stay in piles. Difficult to describe but you find your own way with it after time.
Next allow to dry thoroughly. You are left with a rough surface which you drybrush with progressively lighter shades of paint.
Then almost immediately you can apply static grass or vegetation. The best way to apply static grass is using a pin to place tiny blobs of PVA where you want the tufts, then sprinkle the static grass and tap off excess. As the PVA dries it shrinks and pulls the fibres together in a nice tuft shape.
Go and play;