Thursday, June 28, 2012

Back to base-ics

Greeting Lead Pilers. After an exhausting week I decided to treat myself to a little free form hobby time. Lately what with sculpting commissions and Bederken back end stuff during working hours, an hour on Skulldred per day and blocking color or rebasing my leadpile I was getting a little burnt out.
I realized I had not had a chance for creativity or exploration for a while. I dont do factory robot well. Time to recharge a bit!
With last weeks John Blanche mini bonanza fresh in mind, I kicked off my minijazz jam doing a few totally whacky conversions by raiding the broken lead pile and slicing up a fair few reaper doubles/triples laying about. Real realm of chaos stupidity- but I loved it! I want to paint them in his style and perhaps do some banners before I post so you get maximum impact!

I also experimented with basing using washers to give an even more old school feel. Coins in australia have grooves around the outside making them a little unsightly without a damn good filing, so I went with fender washers (we call them mudguard washers downunder).
I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed washer basing, and love the low profile looks. Placed side by side, the 30mm lipped slottas on magnet stickers look terribly huge and clunky, especially when placed on terrain.
That puts me in a bit of a quandary. Do I rebase?

Well, I decided the best thing to do was base up a warband or two that I had not based yet to give myself a feeling of progression. Rebasing a twice-rebased model is a bit like being stuck in a hobby limbo. This way I could play around with the style and have two new warbands to play skulldred with.

Having read everything google coughed up on the subject of washer basing I found a few techniques I prefer and modified them using my choice of materials.

Daves kooky experiments and resulting tips:

First, I found paint adhered better if I attacked the edges with a sanding block first. I suspect oil and the nickel coating.

Second, I tried pre priming the washers with several coats of car body black gloss enamel spray can gave a tougher finish than acrylic. It would not be good for priming minis, so I did this before basing.

Third, stretching thin black insulation tape across the bottom of the base before gluing stuff on top with superglue worked well- if you leave it on it protects the underside and table surfaces from scratching, looks neat when you flip the model on its side and does not alter the profile or magnetics.

Fourth, adding baking soda to my scatter gives finer texture, acts like a filler and helps cement the model in. Makes the model seem more in scale than my previous grit! Thanks to Mr Blanche for that top tip!

Fifth, 5 minute cure epoxy is brilliant for filling washer holes and blending figures into base. I use shelleys knead it but procreate stick putty is also great. Wear gloves! No overnight cure and waaaay cheaper than kneadatite- plus you can build up raised rocks, trees stumps, ruins and it carves easily. No good for fine sculpting, but its my new best friend for blocking stuff in!

Six, 30mm fender washers occupy the same space as a 30mm lipped base, but you can fit a bigger range of figures on them- for example, Bob Olley's Fireteam crusaders with long stances fit perfectly, reaper trolls that would usually need 40mm bases often fit.

Seven. Take a magnet to the hardware store to check the washers. I had a mixed batch and a few needed more iron in their diet.

Eight. There is no tip number eight.

Nine. Good pliers are a must for slotta tags. Craft store ones bend too much to exert pressure to crush the tab, but my 'good' pliers let me crush the tab and bend it til it forms the a flat base to attach the model!

Tip eleventy. Washer basing forces you to varnish your models well!

Pics next time! Anyone else got washer tricks and tips?


  1. Like you I've found paint doesn't stick to washers and I avoid them for that reason. Also I like to magnetize and prefer to have the magnet on the base rather than stick the washer to the magnetized surface. I think you should consider laser ply bases from Fenris. They are perfect in every way and Ian cuts them for me to spec. I have literally over a dozen different ellipse sizes to choose from when I go to base something. I can embed magnets in them easily too. Several tips if you have to go with washers is to put the smooth end facing downwards, fill the center gap with concrete patch as a second to last step and then glue a disc cut from a nice colored craft paper to the bottom as you would felt--does the same thing and then you can sign/catalog the fig on the bottom. I do this as a matter of course. Am working on a basing post that will have more thoughts. Cheers!

  2. Cheers for that Spookster- I came up with something very similar- black electrical tape and superglue/baking soda. Thinking of doing a youtube video - would love some people to do some video responses with their techniques.
    Discs of sticky back paper would be faster using a hole punch.
    I also got some renedra disc bases arrive today- they are excellent!