How to Create a Frozen Hoth Base

Click through to find out how to make a slick Hoth base using pebbles, baking soda, and glue!

With the recent release of both E-Webs and the Rebel Laser Cannon, there’s never been a better time to base out your minis a la Hoth in Empire Strikes Back.

I’ve already looked at one similar base in my Icy Ilum article where I used crackle paint to make a frozen lake effect. There have been plenty of really great crackle paint bases in the Facebook group already, too!

But for the more authentic Hoth look – snow drifts and all – I wanted to try out something different.

41ZwrpDnPKL.jpgHere’s what you’ll need:

  • Earth texture
  • Pebbles or small rocks
  • Snow effect, including:

1) Create the Foundation

As always, let’s start by using some earth texture to put a foundation on our base. I prefer Vallejo’s brown earth, but use whatever you like best. We don’t need to prime the base first because we’re going to prime after the rocks are in place.

While the texture is drying, add a scattering of pebbles, gravel, and small rocks. Hoth is a mountainous, craggy locale in the movie so we’ll want some height and variance to go beneath the snow. I used one larger rock (almost comically on this base, less so on an E-Web or Laser Cannon base) that I’ll have sticking out of the snow. I put a bit of super glue on the bottom of the big one just to help it stay in place, but shaking off the loose gravel was enough to keep the remaining bits in place.

Let everything dry overnight, then prime it all black. We want these rocks to be dark and uniform before we start detailing and adding snow.


2) Paint the Rocks

I’m going to use Vallejo’s German Grey (which is a dark, dark grey) to generously cover all the rocks we just primed black. I want them dark, but I still want detail.

Once that’s dry, I’ll use a Neutral Grey (just a lighter tint) to drybrush on some highlights. This keeps the rocks dark (contrasting them with the white snow here in a minute) but also gives them some much-needed definition.

Don’t worry about the smaller rocks too much, they’re probably going to get covered soon anyway.


3) Add the Snow

I love Citadel’s Valhallan Blizzard effect, but have also heard good things about Gale Force Nine’s product, both linked above. Apply generously on top of the gravel, leaving some exposed around the edges. Pile it around the bigger rock if you added one, but don’t totally cover it.

For added realism, use a toothpick or coffee stirrer to add some footprints – perhaps leading to your E-Web or Laser Cannon.

And for those of you trying to save a buck, let’s look at with the homemade method.

Mix 1 part baking soda to 1 part glue. You want a toothpaste-like texture. Then, add in just a bit of white paint and mix it all up. The reason we add the white paint is that baking soda can yellow over time, and this simple addition should prevent any future (read: several years down the line – not, like, tomorrow) issues. Apply generously as described above.


I had to paint a bit of grey back around the edges of the snow where I sloppily applied it against the rock, but I think the effect still works just fine (and the error is much less noticeable in person).

Obviously if you’re using trooper units with a small base you’ll want a small rock to match (i.e.: definitely smaller than what I used in the photos), but the E-Web and Laser Cannon units can afford a bit more size and creativity with their bases.

Et voila, once again a complete, thematic base for your minis.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and as always if you make your own version of this, send me your pictures or post them in the comments!

Happy basing, Commanders.


1 comment on “How to Create a Frozen Hoth Base

  1. Nice, easy to follow tutorial.
    I’ll be taking a stab at this with the Valhallan blizzard, and top that and the rocks with some Krycell snow powder by a small company called Precision Ice and Snow, which the scale modelling community apparantly swears by.
    They also have a wash that is supposed to do a pretty good job at mimicking light snow build-up on the models themselves.


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