A really good display base is planned and refined. It needs to become a beautiful resting place for the figure you want to showcase.
To create a really good display base (in special for big figures) the first step should be the brainstorming. Create as many different scenes where your piece will be placed. Draw every imaginative thought you have, while keeping in mind that the model will have to stand on it without falling.
Here is an example of some of the ideas I had to build a base for my Cryx Kraken that I want to take to the Privateer Press Painting Competition at Gencon.
Its is a good idea to use a drawing notebook for all the ideas you come up with. If you can also make notes of the paper. You can add possible materials to create your vision or techniques that could help you define what you have in your mind
After you create many potential ideas for the base, select the one that you like the most. The image you chose needs to be develop in more details to have a better understanding how it would work with your miniature.
Here is an example of the base I refined:
You may find that you like the design you had in your head or that is not really what you thought. If its not what you wanted go back to brainstorming ideas, or select another of the designs you have improve on it when making a better picture of it.
If you find that you can not imagine more ideas, go to the web and navegate through google looking for ideas.
When you have a clear concept of what you want, start building the base. Look for materials that may help in your original model and include them
Here is a base before painting where you can see what the pieces are. You can find items to add to your creation everywhere. I had an old printer that was being thrown away. I smashed the device into pieces. The cogs, spring, etcetera were perfect for breaking of the monotony of a flat surface, while staying within the scale of the model
Now that the base is created all you need is to paint it, and glue you painted model on it. You can see here how the previous base interacts with the Cryx Wraith Engine. I even added a little of the glow on the base to make it part of the model. If you want to see more of my models you can go to:
What other methods do you use to make display bases? How do you decide the base an where do you get the inspiration?