Issue: 26

Quick Basing Technique
or "keeping the ground on your feet!"
by Phil Arkell

Have you ever had loads of miniatures to paint at once, perhaps for a show or for a needle match against your favourite opponent? You get all the painting done and you are left with perhaps twenty or thirty miniatures (or stands, if you play 1/300th) all with bare bases. It's the afternoon before the show/match and there isn't time to paint/wait for it to dry/add glue/add flock/wait again/paint again/drybrush/blah, blah, blah!

Well, this is a faster way of basing your models, and it works for any scale and with terrain features too.

First, take an ordinary jamjar or mug, and pour in white PVA glue to a depth of about 1 - 2 cm. Top this up with warm water and stir until all of the glue has dissolved. Take a handful of dry sand and put it onto a piece of newspaper. If you are basing 25mm figures or terrain features use the sand as it is. If you are basing models in 15mm or 1/300th, sieve the sand through a piece of aluminium car repair mesh. This will remove the larger grains which can be obtrusive in smaller scales.

With miniatures, quickly paint the base with your base colour of choice (use a water based paint) and dip it in the sand whilst the paint is still wet. The sand will stick to the wet paint, covering the base. Tap off the excess sand and dip the figure into the jamjar of glue. The glue will mix with the still wet paint, colouring the smaller grains of sand but leaving the larger ones in their natural colour. Stand the figure on some polythene to dry overnight. The polythene is to stop the figure sticking to your dining table!

I usually use Citadel Woodland Green as my base colour, as the final effect looks like rocks scattered on grassy ground. Of course, whenever my troops are "in town", I just say that they are standing on weed-infested concrete!

You can, of course, experiment with different colours and materials. I have based all of my Space Hulk miniatures using light grey paint and cement powder! This makes them look as if they are standing in the dust of centuries, so it would work for Dungeon Trudgers too.

At my slowest rate I can churn out one 25mm base a minute, which equates to about forty an hour, allowing for tea and cake breaks and to stop me from going boss-eyed!

Terrain features and building bases require a slightly different technique (because they won't fit in the jamjar!). Once you have painted the base colour on (I use green emulsion for the larger models as it's cheap) and added the sand, simply use a 1/2 inch brush to gently dab the glue onto the model's base. make sure that you have covered the whole base and set it aside to dry on some polythene.

Don't worry of the glue looks white on your bases, as it dries clear. Be careful not to utterly swamp terrain features that are based on card as this can warp if it gets too wet, although when it happened to one of my models, the card soon straightened out again once it was thoroughly dry.

This method has saved me a lot of time when preparing for shows and displays. I hope you find it useful.