A Good Solid Base

I tend to base all my figures on circular bases, which can range from the standard 25mm ‘slottabase’ which is mainly used for metal figures, to the humble 2 pence piece, which happens to be approximately 25mm in diameter, gives heft to re-based Heroclix figures and is cheaper that a similar sized metal washer.

However, there is further medium that I have used, as its properties do lend it to basing specific types of figures – rubber tap washers:

The above pack of three set me back the grand total of 75p. Whilst the packaging does state that the washers are 3/4″, they are actually 25mm in diameter and 5mm thick. This means that they are the same diameter and height as a standard 25mm ‘slottabase’, but have a lot more heft due to the material they are made from.

So far, so good, but why use them when both 2 pence pieces and plastic slottabases are more economical to buy? Well, because they are made from rubber, it is quite easy to make holes in them without having to find the smallest drill bit in your toolbox – a simple bradawl will suffice. So, should you have one of the earlier Heroclix flying sculpts, where a small peg was molded onto their foot and then attached to those awful flying stands, all you need do is make a hole in your washer, then simple insert your figure into the base. Your lightweight plastic figure now has a substantial base attached, without having to resort to molding putty around the peg and hoping it won’t pull free.

But, more importantly for me, should you happen to be sculpting a trio of Chibi adventurers who currently have about 15mm of wire extending from the soles of their feet, once the sculpting has reached the point where you are considering basing them, you can remove them from their corks, force the wire into the rubber washers and then snip off any wire that extends below the bottom. You now have three figures on hefty rubber bases, which is necessary for Chibi figures, as their heads are so freakin’ large…

But before you can actually do that, you need to prepare the washers, as otherwise any figure you are attempting to rebase will look like they’re standing on a tyre.

Obviously, you can cover the top of the washer with the basing medium of your choice, but this may get damaged when making the hole (or holes) to insert your figure. So, ideally you need a material that is thick enough to cover the top of the washer and the central hole, but thin enough that it can be pierced without deforming. And if that material also happens to be textured in some fashion, then you’ve saved yourself a bit of work later. Something like this:

So, what we have here is a piece of coarse sandpaper and a sample of textured wallpaper, both of which I am going to use.

I’m using coarse sandpaper, but any grade will do, depending upon how ‘rough’ you want your base to be. I’ve previously used this to make an asphalt base, as once you have your first base coat on, the sandpaper loses its ability to ‘sand’, but still retains its texture. A single base coat and a darker wash and you’re pretty much done.

The textured wallpaper has a kind of canvass-y look to it, so I’m intending on using this as bamboo matting.

First order of the day is to glue the washers to your topping. The best glue for this, due to the materials involved, is PVA, although it does take a while to set. Once the glue is set, cut as close to the end of the washer as you can, so you get your circular base ‘topper’. There will probably be a slight overhand, but this can be tidied up with a file – however, remember to draw the file down, otherwise you risk pulling your topping off. They will end up looking like this;

And to give a better view of the textured tops:

Other than adding the figures and painting, these are ready to go.


Now, for something a little different. In a couple of his recent posts on his blog Fantorical, Simon aka Blaxkleric has been showing some ‘work in progresses’ for some Irregular Miniatures 6mm ‘Imperial Fleet’ miniatures, which are heavily influenced by the Federation starships of Star Trek. I always liked the design of the Federation starships, so had a quick browse through their range and noted that the prices were pretty reasonable. However, as the Gaming Fund is currently a bit low, purchase of starships would have to wait. Besides, I didn’t have any rules to play starship combat with anyway…

But, like a strawberry pip caught between my teeth, it wouldn’t go away. So, hastily scribbled notes were made, crossed out and rewritten. Then my bits box was raided, along with a few more esoteric places, things were glued to other things and the end results were;

1 – A very rough first draft of a hex-based starship combat game in the vein of Star Trek (i.e. big Capital ships, rather than one-man fighters, shifting of power between shields, engines and weapons systems and lots of screaming of “The engines cannae’ take it, Captain!” in a Scottish accent), and;

2 – This:

Using a GW plastic heavy Lascannon, a GW plastic shield, part of a plastic coffee stirrer and a massive button, I now have the first of my fleet, a Scorpion Class Cruiser. And it cost me nothing.

Once I have constructed another ‘enemy’ ship, out will come my black HeroScape hexes (“Asphalt? Asphalt?  I think you’ll find that’s actually Deep Space, my good man…”) and the first play-test of the rules that will be called…Final Frontier.

That’s all for this week. I’ve set myself a deadline of the end of September to complete all my Oriental Fantasy stuff, the Way of the Crow rules and my Chibi figures, but there’s also a high possibility that a couple of starships may show up, and possibly a batrep/play-test of Final Frontier. We shall see…

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21 thoughts on “A Good Solid Base

  1. Very interesting, and utterly relevant for me at the moment too. With what will any day now amount to near as damn it 500 new project minis to assemble and base, what to sit these diminutive guys on, has suddenly become quite a big issue for me.

    Currently, go to the kitchen cupboard in the morning… and look for a packet of cereal in this house, and you are likely to find the back cut out of the Cornflakes packet! I tend to draw round (using a 20mm plastic GW slotta base for a template), then cut out the cardboard roundels to make my 28mm bases. If you look at my last Zulu batrep at our blog you will see lots of Zulus and British Redcoats: these are all sitting on cut up Muesli and Weetabix boxes. But I pricked my ears up at your ideas…. yet I question the prices a bit. I can a get about 40 bases out of one packet of cereal (takes about 15 minutes to cut that many out neatly), and costs me nothing; and by the time you have glued the mini to the base, added on the flock and stones, and varnished everything, it’s all very solid and sturdy. Hmmmmm, I have wondered about washers for a long time now, but the overall price has always put me off from making it happen.

    If I only had a few minis to do, then maybe…. because I`m sure they look really nice. But 500 becomes a cost issue.

    {{should you happen to be sculpting a trio of Chibi adventurers…. is necessary for Chibi figures, as their heads are so freakin’ large…}}

    HAHhahaahahaaaa, love it. Looking forward to seeing these guys come together on the hobby surgical table.

    LOVE the space ships, want more: more, more.

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    • Hi Steve. Welcome to the blog! Yes, washers, either rubber or plastic, are quite expensive if you’re basing that many figures, which is why I only tend to use them for the odd figure.
      I tend to use 2 pence pieces for the majority of my figures, which are already circular, but 500 2ps is still a tenner. Depends on whether cost or convenience is more important.

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  2. I used to use cardboard for all my bases, as it was readily available out of the bins at work (still is actually), but now I tend to use 2p’s and metal washers of various sizes when I need something bigger. Never thought of rubber washers, I’d be worried about the flex in the material myself, but I can see the advantages.

    Nice starship, I’ve cobbled some together myself in the past, I always thought the plastic spacemarine backpacks would make good small dropships or runabouts, and two chaos backpacks glued and filled back to back make interesting “X” wing types. Not really Klingon though.

    Cheers Roger.

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    • Thanks Roger. As the washers are 5mm thick, whilst there’s some flexibility, it’s not enough to worry about.
      And I may have some space marine backpacks knocking about, which I hadn’t considered for this project, so might did those out.

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  3. Coins is a good idea yes, I use 1 cent coins for all my 10mm fantasy guys (about 1000 of them): but we use the Euro here you see, and there simply isn’t a small denomination coin the right size for 28mm minis. Getting the bank to get me in a ton of 2p pieces, I fear, would be like trying to sell an umbrella in the Sahara.

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    • Sorry Steve. Because I replied to your initial comment on my ‘phone, I failed to recognise it was you, hence the random ‘welcome’ comment.
      However, to make up for this, I think I’ve solved your basing problem. How much would you pay for 100 22mm circular brown plastic ‘bases’? How about £3.58 including postage? Go on eBay and search for ‘tiddly winks’. I’m a feckin’ genius! Guiness’ all round!

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    • Thanks Michael. The majority of my figures are actually based based on standard 25mm circular slottabases, which I bought in bulk online. Rubber washers I only tend to use as laid out in the post, as they’re quite expensive individually. And they are actually the same thickness as slottabases – they just look thicker because they’re not tapered.

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  4. Many thanks for the shout out Jez, and I’m delighted my not “Star Trek” article inspired you. That’s a very impressive space craft you’ve constructed there, so, like Bryan, I’m looking forward to seeing it painted up. I’ve promised some of my spare ships to Roger if I have any after my project. But if I find I’ve more than few I’ll pop some in the post to you too.

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    • I always try to give credit (or blame) where it’s due, Simon. And the Carrion Crow shipyard has managed to manufacture two additions to the ‘fleet’, both slightly bigger. I may have to relegate my first ship to a Frigate, as my rules currently only have 4 sizes – corvette, frigate, cruiser and dreadnought. Just need a corvette of similar design now. The other three have also just received their undercoat and first topcoat. I went gloss white – as my die cast Enterprise from my youth was painted this way. So, thank you for the offer, but there’s no need at present. Paint your spares up as Mirror Universe ships… 😉

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      • That’s a tip top idea Jez. You may have cost Roger a load of models though!!!

        My god he’s done it again!!!! you are a total bounder Jez, you really are!!

        (Ha ha, actually this sounds like a top idea, so don’t worry about saving any ships for my Simon, if you can use them, do, I fully understand.)

        Cheers Roger.

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  5. Pingback: ‘S’ is for… | Carrion Crow's Buffet

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