A friend told me that it's faces, bases and flags that define the quality of the completed job. So I've decided to look at some small and simple ways to improve my basing. The usual static grass is already in use, along with the tufts you get from the likes of MiniNatur and Army Painter. I saw some of these little leaves on the bases of miniatures on CMON that I liked the look of. So I did a Google search and discovered that they are actually a natural product. Birch tree seed scales to be precise.
Now, Silver Birch trees have to be (arguably) the easiest type of tree in the UK to identify due to their silvery grey bark. Here's one at the end of my street.
Now the scales we are looking for come from the catkins produced by the tree. But I've left it too late in the year and they've all fallen from the tree. Not to be deterred I searched around the tree and found a lot of rusty coloured mush. On closer inspection this contained the bits I was looking for. I took a handful home and dried it out in the oven on a low heat for about 15 minutes on a baking tray. Having picked out the items of dubious origin, this is what I'm left with.
Here's a unit of my Roses Billmen, with fallen leaves scattered strategically around the base. I think it looks acceptable - I might paint the leaves a dark red to pick them out, but I'll need to procrastinate on this a bit.