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Author Topic: Basing figures  (Read 2002 times)

Mike Tanner

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Basing figures
« on: November 20, 2016, 04:46:28 PM »
Hello gentlemen,

This post is intended to help me base my figures effectively with the benefit your vast knowledge.

Below are two photographs of the Peter Pig professional infantry which I intend basing individually on 2 cent coins (I hope my future battles are limited to company sized engagements).

I apologise for the quality of the photographs but they were taken in the evening without the benefit of natural light.





Below is the quality of finish I aspire to achieve on my figures. Although I find the paint job on these soldiers to be above average I think the bases let this fellows work down. Do you agree? How could it have been done better?


http://minimetalmayhem.blogspot.de/2013/08/peter-pig-ak47-professionals.html

Another basic question: What type of glue should be used when bonding metal to metal?

Colonel Kilgore

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Re: Basing figures
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2016, 08:31:33 PM »
Firstly, I didn't know the blog in question, but the figures themselves look great: I'd be very happy if I could achieve that look.

However, I do agree with your comments on the basing. Firstly, I feel that the edge of the bases are important. I aim to get a clean single colour all around the vertical edge. It doesn't look as though as much care has been given to this as to the figures themselves.

It's hard to see from the pictures but it looks as though the common "mistake" of not fully hiding the figure's own base has been avoided, though.

I'd say that the colour of the bases themselves is a bit weird. They look like a kind of grey with a lighter dry brush plus some splodges of green. The whole thing doesn't look that realistic.

I'd be inclined to go for some air-drying modelling clay (e.g. DAS) / modelling putty (Milliput) / tiling grout to mostly make up the level to that of the figures' own bases. And then use some PVA sprinkled with fine sand, or else one of the basing gels. One or two colours of dry brush can really make the thing come to life nicely.

Having said that, I've been experimenting with a new technique (at least to me) on some terrain. I'm using a roughly 50:50 mix of household paint and PVA, with a little water to help thin it a little. I apply this to the base and then sprinkle on (dry) sand - carefully and gradually. The PVA mix will swell with the sand, and you can stop when you get to the right level. A big advantage of this is that the body of the basing mixture is painted, so you needn't worry about chips later or trying to work paint into crevices where it doesn't want to go. It also saves you one coat of paint, so you're straight into your first dry brush. This gives a nice hard and tough finish that should withstand most tabletop trials and tribulations.

If you want grass, I'd go for static grass (2mm or 3mm) and/or some of those newfangled tufts that just stick on.

As for gluing figures to metal bases, I've used super glue, UHU and even PVA (which is now my favourite - it's just easier to work with) - all seem to work well. If you have a good basing mix, the figures shouldn't work loose in any case.

One thing I have found (I've been using washers for singly-based figures) is that it can be important to prime the bases themselves properly, as I've had some chips in the past.. I may be going over the top, but I've recently cleaned up coins with Coca Cola, before rinsing and priming them. 







Mike Tanner

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Re: Basing figures
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2016, 04:55:03 PM »
Thank you for that very comprehensive reply, Colonel. You've covered everything I needed to know and more. What size of washers do you use for 15mm figures? Which is better in your opinion, coins or washers?

Colonel Kilgore

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Re: Basing figures
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2016, 05:16:20 PM »
Mike,

I use washers for my singly-based figures, for 2 reasons:

a) they're smaller than most coins I can readily get in the UK [I don't like the figures looking lost on the base, or the base to be too big to fit on scenery or to force the figures too far apart], and

b) they're all magnetic [I stick a magnetic sheet to the base of all my boxes that stops my troops going AWOL in transit].


I've been starting to use [new - the older ones are not magnetic] UK 2p coins (exactly 1" in diameter) for my Vietnam forces [2 figures / base] to play the forthcoming RFCM re-work of Men of Company B - now apparently being published in January.

I've been using these "M8" (i.e. the hole is 8mm across) washers:

http://www.screwfix.com/p/easyfix-flat-washers-bzp-m8-100-pack/11244

and filling the hole with DAS modelling clay (I used to use Milliput, but DAS seems to work as well, and is both cheaper and quicker to use). I'm guessing you may find an equivalent size where you are?


Mike Tanner

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Re: Basing figures
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2016, 07:13:39 PM »
The European 2 cent coins are magnetic and smaller than British pennies, therefore, I will probably stick with them for now. Although having said that, I will pay a visit to a few hardware stores and checkout their selection of washers before committing myself. I want to get this done right the first time around.

Good idea with the magnetic sheets. Space is always at a premium and storing ones figures safely and efficiently is a priority. I was thinking about using the magnetic sheeting combined with low cost plain white cardboard pizza boxes to store my infantry. It's a little downmarket but it will do the job . How do others here store there figures? I expect tanks and helicopters are a little more problematic to store?

Colonel Kilgore

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Re: Basing figures
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2016, 09:05:25 AM »
Mike,

Those Euro-cents sound perfect, as well as cheaper than the washers!

I use the 4l and 9l "Really Useful Boxes". These are the same size in plan [a tad larger than A4 size internally], and stack nicely. As well as quite high [I have a few stacks about 5 feet high that remain pretty stable...].

I used to use cardboard boxes but they can get crushed. For the price (c. 4 in the UK if you shop around), and given the cost of the figures inside and the magnetic sheeting itself, I've found them a sturdy, worthy and dust-proof investment to protect my existing investments!

Leman

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Re: Basing figures
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2016, 06:58:00 PM »
I too have started to use Really Useful boxes.

Leslie BT

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Re: Basing figures
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2016, 07:33:53 PM »
The easiest material for basing is black Unibond ready mixed wall tile grout. I used to use brown but it is hard to find.  It has texture, sticks like s... to a blanket.
After you have applied it to your base sprinkle on a little bird sand from the pet shop and spray with water with a little washing up liquid added.
Set aside to dry for 24 hour and paint.

Mike Tanner

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Re: Basing figures
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2016, 04:29:25 PM »
What size gravel/scenic brand names do you guys use on your bases? The sand I ordered seems a little too fine to achieve the type of effect seen in the picture below. In fact I might even prefer a coarser look.



Leslie BT

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Re: Basing figures
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2016, 07:09:39 PM »
Mike just go to the Pet shop and buy sand for your budgie cage, it will also have a little bit of oyster shell in it as well.

Colonel Kilgore

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Re: Basing figures
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2016, 12:05:40 PM »
Mike just go to the Pet shop and buy sand for your budgie cage, it will also have a little bit of oyster shell in it as well.

Another vote for budgie grit. I bought two grades - a finer one for basing figures / some terrain while the coarser one is better for stonier landscapes.

Leslie BT

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Budgy sand
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2016, 05:46:29 PM »
Well done Mike, its wonder-full stuff, dry and with a nice mix of granule sizes.

Apply the black tile adhesive, whilst it is still wet, with a tea spoon, gently sprinkle on the sand mix.  If you want to add other scenic materials, stones, small logs etc, apply them with a little tile cement on the under side before the sand.  Then with the sprayer gently spray on the water/washing up liquid mixture and set aside for 24 hours to dry.

NTM

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Re: Basing figures
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2016, 06:33:31 PM »
I use coloured railway ballast and talus from Woodland Scenics saves a lot of messing around and I like the finished result



The ballast is available is several grades and colours I use medium dark brown but can't remember the size of the talus.

Leman

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Re: Basing figures
« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2016, 11:28:26 AM »
I use Vallejo pumice basing material. Before use I stir in the colour I would have first painted previously, in my case yellow ochre. I find this reduces the time and effort for basing with very little extra cost.


Colonel Kilgore

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Re: Basing figures
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2016, 12:58:14 PM »
Leman - that's a good tip - nice effect too!