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  • Miniature basing tip

    Posted on December 27th, 2003 Rob No comments

    Thousands of you have written me, begging the question, "How did you make such a great base for your Golden Demon winning Elf??" When I woke up from my fruit-cake fueled nap, I quicked composed myself and wrote this little article:


    Firstly, you need to prep the model carefully; this is a given whether you are making a special base or not. This particular model has a few bits and sprue lines, but is cast pretty well. The bow-arm is attached to the sprue during the casting process and must be carefully removed to avoid ruining the bow. The remaining blob of metal should be filed down flat with the rest of the slot tab if you plan o­n using the tab to atach the mini to the base.

    Here you see a nice selection of most of the tools I used to "clean up" the fig, including a nice set of emory boards (in different grits) and a Zona Razor Saw (42 TPI [teeth per inch]). O­ne tool there is my sprue cutter, but let me tell you something: using a sprue cutter o­n metal figs is bad for the cutter. Use a small set of wire snips or "dykes" instead. They will get the job done and are much cheaper than a good sharp sprue cutter. The retractable knife can be used to trim away flash and mold-lines by carefully scraping along the line. The plastic is a textured plastic, found in better hobby shops. This can get pricey (2 sheets are about $6 -$8), but used for this purpose will last a long time. This plastic can be cut to size with the retractable knife or even a good pair or scissors.For this fig to match the rest of my D&D figs, i wanted to mount it o­n a 25mm GW square base, covered in the Plastruct "polished stone" pattern (91588). Trim a piece of the textured plastic to fit the top plateau of the base, covering the slot. Its ok if the piece is a little big, but get it as close as possible for now. Clean the flash off your base, then glue the texture to the top with plastic cement or super glue. After it dries, clean it up as best you can with the knife and emory boards to get the fit right.

    Prep your mini as normal, but cut the slot-tab off with the razor saw. Be careful or you will cut her feet right off the model. Drill a small hole in the bottom of o­ne of her "heels" with a tool you should get familiar with, a "pin vise." This is a small, hand-held drill. Use a drill bit the same size as paper clip wire. This must be done straight and properly, or you will drill thru the side of her leg.

    Test fit a piece of paper clip wire. This can be bought cheaply in long, straight lengths, but paper clips are everywhere and free, like air. The hole does not need to be any deeper than 1/4 inch deep (.5 cm), shallower if need be per the model. If you are happy, glue the wire in place with super glue.

    Let this dry, then trim the wire down to LESS than the thickness of the base, about 3/16 or .3 cm. It o­nly has to go thrught the base, not your gaming table.

    Position the model o­n the base where she looks most pleasing (centered is fine). Remember that this mini has another arm to glue on, consider that before settling o­n a position. Flip the base over and see where her pin would stich through the base. If it is over the slot, repostion the fig or rotate the base. The pin must be set through the solid surface of the base to get the maximum structural effectiveness. There's some $3 words you can put o­n your next architecture exam. When you are happy, use the pin vise to drill a hole straight thru the base. Test fit the mini; if the pin is too long, you have to trim it now. When you are happy, glue the fig to the base with the pin in the hole. Make sure there is glue o­n both the pin and the bottom of her feet. Use your finger to hold the mini upright while she dries, but this shouldnt be too bad if you drilled the holes properly.

    You will have noticed (after drying) the textured plastic leaves unsightly gaps long the rim where it was trimmed. These can be filled in with green stuff (2 part modeling putty) but i prefer the white modeling putty that comes in a tube (such as Squadron). It is pre-mixed, easier to work with, and dries fairly quickly. It will give you birth defects in California, but we can all live with that, right? Smooth it in the cracks with your finger or small putty knife or even a popsicle stick.

    Sand smooth after allowing dry time.

    When you are done, glue o­n the other arm or any other bits you feel an elf might stumble over in a dungeon, such as a rat or skull. A little flock or sand could be used, but I prefer the clean look of grey and white drybrushed over a black base.That is pretty much it. I didnt turn this into a painting article, because as you can see, I cant paint. Plastistruct makes many fine textured plastics, or you can make your own brick/stone pattern with small pieces of thin styrene plastic. Take you time and use your imagination, and you will have a unique base you can be proud of.

    Zona Tools


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