Friday, August 19, 2011

Pre Slotta Basing

Ok - I was planning to do this at some point anyway - and Glassboy asked. So this week is all about how I am basing these pre-slotta miniatures. (Besides I have been distracted by a couple of side projects this week including a Hasslefree geisha for the Wamp competition).

The answer is - the most ridiculously complicated way possible.

When I first painted these minis 30 years ago - I painted the bases a middle grey and called it good.

The they got glued onto plastic slotta bases, I filled the edges with milliput, covered with flock and a sprinkling of rough sand or cat litter, and I painted the plastic edges dark brown. I still have several armies based this way that look quite handsome.

Then came Adepticon paint judging which gave extra points for base effort and my goblins sprouted handmade pumpkins, and my empire army painted flagstones.

At the outset of this project I decided to base them all with greenstuff cobblestones. The first 20 or so FA figs had their bases filed as flat as they would go and I sculpted each base with a thin layer of greenstuff cobblestones and left some gaps which I filled with sand. However I did not relish the prospect of sculpting at least 52 and probably hundreds more greenstuff bases. And there was often a mounding effect. So the following system has evolved over the course of the year:

I made sculpted green stuff cobbles on a variety of plain bases:

Then made molds using a two part silicone rubber - I used "smooth on" brand

And cast bases using a two part resin (also "smooth on" they came as a kit). Note that when you use this method your castings are slightly smaller than the original. Also there is quite a lot of wasted resin - if you are me - and that the resin bases often need a good sanding on the bottom.

If the model is suitable, and not particularly rare, I'll remove the metal base and pin it to the cast resin base. But this does not work for figures with thin feet, dragging tails etc. So for most figures I leave the original metal base (or most of it) and use a Dremel to rout out an indentation for the metal base to sit inside the resin base.

Then I use green stuff and sand to repair the cobble look. OK it is just has time consuming as when I started but it looks better and there are no mounds.

My bases are painted with dark brown, the cobble stones get two coats of P3 hammerfall khaki, and the sand is dry-brushed with earth brown. Then they get a generous coating of Citadel devlan mud wash, after which I pick out some highlights and hit them with figure flat.

All of the bases also get some additional treatment - static grass, rocks, twigs, leaves etc. to reflect the creatures habitat.

The idea is that the cobblestones and consistent colors bring them all together as a set

He is a progress shot of the whole project to date. The upper shelf are completed. Overall I've probably spent nearly as much time basing as I have painting - but at least the bases are nearly all done.


  1. What a great run through ...thank you Caius.
    Excellent work ...and worth all the effort.

    Now you have given us a peek at the rest though ....I really want to see more!

    Particularly close shots of the tiger...carrion crawler...scorpion and aardvark(?)
    Hurry Hurry!! lol

  2. [11.jpg]

    ... and totally worth it. It worked, it ties a diverse army together thematically. Casting bases WAS a bit nuts, lazier people would have maybe made a texture stamp of the stones or something to save time.

    I like your interest in old minis... I started painting way back in the late 80's when slottas were still pretty new, and I usually painted Ral Partha and other non-slotta figures back then anyway. Learning to glue sand to the lead base was a big step for me.

    (found this blog via your interesting paint-by-numbers post on WAMP, btw...)

    - No Such Agency

  3. Thanks for that. And it was fascinating, and now I feel shamed into putting more effort into my bases :-)


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