I made this tutorial for the ProCustomizers.com website
[/shameless plug] but I figured that maybe somebody here might be able to use this too...
For one of my projects for the upcoming charity auction, I decided to make a small diorama of a derelict AT-AT Walker that has become an Ewok home. I decided to make a base that has some dirt area, where the AT-AT Walker will be standing, and then a small hill with some grass in the back.
Here is the steps I took to make the dirt. I'll add something else for the rest when it gets completed.
Step 1: I have the base with the raised area that will become grass later on, and have painted the base area with a brown.
Step 2: I take a small bucket and make a mixture of Elmer's glue and water. I don't have any kind of ratio, I just pour a batch of glue and then add water till it looks kinda... milky.
Step 3: I add a liberal amount of kitty litter. Again, I don't have any kind of ratio or anything, just add a few handfuls of litter. Make sure it's the non-clumping kind, as it will... clump when you add liquid to it.
Step 4: I mix in some brown paint. The reasoning behind this is that it will simply save a step later on down the line. You don't need to add any paint, but then you will need to paint the entire mixture once you apply it to the base.
Step 5: Start adding the mixture to the base. I spread it out fairly thin, but not too evenly. It's supposed to be natural dirt, and will have small valleys and hill areas to it.
Step 6: Continue covering the base until no more of the original brown base area is showing. I mix up small amounts in the bucket, and apply several different batches to the base. The glue will dry somewhat quickly, since it's really just Elmer's glue. And if it dries while it's in the bucket, you're pretty much screwed unless you want to have some big clumpy rocks, lol.
(It can also be used to make fake Tacos if you work in the restaurant business, LOL. Now I want tacos :drool
You can go back over the top of the dirt with more of the same color, or a highlight color if you'd like. I will most likely add some more dirt around the feet of the AT-AT Walker once I add it to the base, but for right now, this is it.
I hope you can use this idea to make some dirt for some custom bases for your figures