Thanks to px40k and Oni I was made aware of this great product: Black Lava texture paint from Vallejo.
Black Lava is essentially a premade mix of black paint and fine stone particles. It comes in a 200 ml jar with a price tag of aprox. 9 Euro. You can use the product for texturing model bases or terrain features. The contents are plenty because you need just a few brush tips to cover a standard 20/25 mm base.
To add Black Lava to a base simply take a brush that can stand some rough use (I used a Army Painter Monster Brush with synthetic bristles), dip it into the jar and add a heavy coat to the base. Don't use it too sparingly, otherwise you might not apply enough particles and the top of the base might show through. Because of the black colour it's sometimes hard to see whether you coated the whole base (which is made of black plastic), so make sure you did. Rinse the brush thoroughly afterwards.
This is what the texture looks like up close. The paint dries satin matte and with 30 to 45 minutes for an usual coat. The finished texture is very hard and can take heavy drybrushing, so no worries of grains of sand crumbling off. You can even stick some bigger stones or pieces of slate into the paste if it is applied thick enough.
Here is a comparison, on the Skaven clanrat left I used Vallejo Black Lava, the base of the Eldar Guardian right was traditionally covered in sand (I used "Tabletop Sand" from Ziterdes). The result is a very fine, irregular texture you can even control with the tip of your brush.
All in all, I highly recommend using the product. It makes basing a little bit easier and quicker and works well on terrain, too! Vallejo offer a wide range of different texture paints, they added some brown ones recently.
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