Basing figures


This is not a rant, quite…but I often see painted figures that have a decent wargaming standard paint job, and a green painted base.. Or a half hearted attempt at flocking. The shoddy base lets the figure down as visually, the base is as big as the figure usually and catches the eye. I’ve even seen this on a few very well painted figures above wargaming standard, where the painter then lets the side down with a half arsed basing job. Not only that, a poorly based figure visually jars with a proper gaming table and continues to stick out like a sore thumb. It’s like having a vast pink inflatable Mr Blobby tacked to a Grade 1 listed Elizabeathan mansion.

Even a simple quick basing scheme can bring a model to life, indeed Byakhee Jim whose armies fall into this category (he buys them off e-bay so this is no reflection on his painting skills) was amazed at a recent Glue Sniffin’ session when we helped him do a simple base job on some trolls that it made a real difference.

A systematic approach to basing also helps key an army together. Jim does have a nice set of Skaven with a snowy theme to their bases which makes it hang together well.
Here’s what I do:

Use the right tools !

Use appropriate bases, from left to right: MDF cavalry bases (Foundry); round metal bases for 15mm figs (15mm.co.uk); and round plastic bases from Renedra for 28mm RCW/BoB/AVBCW stuff. Use appropriate glue, in my case I use a general purpose glue, as it has some ‘flex’ to it unlike Stupid glue or polystyrene cement. I either use model filler, or more lately flexible polyfilla type putties. The model filler can sometimes separate out and the liquid solvent can melt or warp plastic bases. hence my move to polyfilla.

Some games systems esp Napoleonics advocate multiple figures on large bases, none of the techniques I use wouldn’t be appropriate for multiple basing, except for one: I glue my figures straight on to their bases after I have undercoated them. If you base more than one figure on a base, then don’t do that. I use general purpose adhesive. If the base is quite thick then you need to build up the putty round the figure’s base edge so that it blends in with the rest of the base and there isn’t a ‘step’.

The figure on the left, is ok as it is – many Musketeer and Mutton Chop figures don’t need any putty added. The middle figure has some putty on its base to hid the metal base. The Great War Miniatures cavalry model will definitely need putty added.

Paint the base. Don’t skimp, paint it all, including the edges.Its one of the reasons I got the big pots of base paint done up. I also paint the undersides of my bases black. This helps me put names/labels/markings on the underside so I can keep specific squads, groups or units together easily. The figure on the right, is R1 – LMG, Regular (army squad) 1 – Light Machine Gunner).

Add the flock. I do not add sand/gravel and then paint/highlight as that seems a bit of a waste of time for armies, when you can achieve pretty much the same affect with a simple mix of flocks. As commented earlier, I mix my flocks depending on base type, but for most of my figures I use a mix of mid-dark brown with light brown and sand:

And on the base:

I use undiluted PVA/wood glue to stick it on:

I again buy big tubs of the stuff from DIY stores – they last a year or so and if you have a large army and or scenery to do then they are a very cost effective way of getting enough of it. If you only intend to do half a dozen figures, well GW and other model shop stuff will suffice.

I then wait until it has thoroughly dried, before dabbing on some more glue and adding static grass. Again, I have different shades of static grass depending on what affect I want to achieve:

Here you go, a squad of AVBCW LDV:

And that gets you to a decent wargaming standard base !
Even with multiple figures on a base:

You can adapt this to add in logs, boulders, skullz and all sorts easily enough. I’ll add some examples of simple things I have done in another post, maybe tomorrow as I have got carried away with this post. 🙂

Hope this helps. Any hints and tips then add a comment.

One Response to Basing figures

  1. cnatraining says:

    Heya! I’m at work browsing your website from my new iphone 3gs! Just want to write I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your articles! Keep up the fantastic work!

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