There are a lot of great basing compounds out there. Here is my cheap and easy recipe to a unique base that will last for decades.
Spackle is your friend. Look for the stuff at your local DYI center and find one that claims to be flexible without shrinkage.
Add a 1:1 proportion of your favorite ballast. You can use the professional modeling stuff or anything that you can find around the house. I do not recommend using beach sand as it is a bit too fine, and anything over 1/8th inch will prove very rocky and a challenge to mount a model on.
Add 1:4 of PVA glue or terrain glue. This stuff is available at your local FYI store or any hobby store. It’s important to get a consistency that is similar to cookie dough. You want it to stick on your mixing utensil without dripping off.
Spread out on your base and allow 24 hours to dry. You may also want to superglue a washer or two to the base before covering with your basing slop. This will add additional weight and prevent your model from tipping.
Now the fun part. Base coating with any color and either working up complementary colors or contrasting colors. In this case I wanted to base a daemon, so in order to create a soil that seems afflicted by warp energies I decided to go with this color scheme. If you manage to spread the coating in a ripple motif you’ll be able to obtain some fantastic effects with minimal brush strokes. Be sure to give the base coat a bit of water to allow easy saturation of the base.
Dark pink base coat, some red ink wash, and a bit or light pink dry brush. Aside for waiting on the coats to dry, total brush time was about 2 minutes. The faster you go the better it looks.
Adding a bit of bright yellow for contrast makes for a finished base ready for your model.
You can take this type of finished project to the next level by adding some technical colors from your favorite paint line.
Have fun and remember that there is no wrong way to paint. As long as you keep experimenting you’ll not only get better at the hobby, but you’ll also stumble across new ways of creating eye-catching effects.