In general I get my bases from Litko and use the 1.6mm plywood bases and the heavy duty magnetic base bottoms.* Also of note is that while my rectangular bases are purchased in inches, my circular bases seem to be a mix of inches and mm. Not sure what happened there, but the difference between 1 inch and 25mm is negligible. I also 3D print my bases when I need unusual sizes or I am basing 25mm skirmish type figures or those that come from Games Workshop. The main reason for the printing of the bases is to give me a solid foot to stick on the heavy duty magnetic base bottom, a problem I foresee when I get around to doing this with my Napoleonic armies, which are based (as purchased) on some strange plastic bases that may require some surgery. (or worse a rebase)

I use PVA glue throughout the basing process, probably because I have rebased some of the figures multiple times in their lives and though I do hope to never again using PVA does facilitate this if the need arises. I also often buy painted miniatures through Hinds in the UK, or off eBay, and if others have done the same it makes the process of integrating these preloved figures into my own collection all the easier.

Basing is all about waiting, each step in the process is either punctuated by a long or a short wait. So having something to distract you during this time is vital to maintaining progress. The only thing that really changes is the colours I use and that depends on the period, or maybe the theatre, if a periods conflicts happened across a wide area.

Basing steps (left to right) 1. PVA glue to base, long wait. 2. PVA brown sand, long wait. 3. Base colour applied to cover sand and base edges, long wait 4. Army Painter Anti-Shine Matt Varnish (if needed), long wait. 5. Any colour updates for figures if needed (eg. hats and pants for the Union), short wait. 6. Dry-brush Highlight colour, short wait. 7. PVA randomly applied, sprinkle on flock, long wait. 8. (not pictured) Attach magnetic base, no wait.

ACW: Base: raw umber over brown art sand. Highlight: dry-brush naples yellow. Gun Bar standard flock mix.

Napoleonic’s & Ancient Greeks: Base: yellow ochre over plain sand. Highlight: dry-brush white. Woodlands Scenics light green anti-static grass. (for Peninsular forces)

Dwarves: Base: matt black over art sand. Highlight: dry-brush citadel ulthuan grey. Tajima gold grass tufts.

I do wonder about standardising these colours, since while I do feel the basing should in someway represent the theatre, I don’t really intend to have a Peninsular British force and a 100 days British force just to have “theatre appropriate” bases. Likewise my planned Australians for Malaya could also double for the Fall of Crete, but the base colour would be different. I wonder how others have handled this? Is it just ignored? Maybe bases could be tailored in someway using small movement trays, which might work for WWII and skirmish level games, but probably not for the more Rank and File style periods.

Also I have to give Mark a shoutout, as it was a comment from him that kind of inspired this post as a “how to” record the way I did something, in case I ever return to add to a project. Obviously I am hoping this method is a little better than the scraps of paper I had been utilising.

* this is kinda a new addition to me, I never had to move my armies anywhere in the past so never needed a way to secure them while in transit, so while I am not sure if I needed it, I opted for “heavy duty” as an added level of security.

8 thoughts on “Basing

  1. Interesting and thanks for sharing. My issue with this order is I end up having to touch up the figures as I end up painting the base coat.highlights a little on them. So I tend to put the figs on basing material and then sand/putty around the . Then I base coat those before painting the fig. Then I do your remaining steps

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I sometimes find that too, just before I put on any anti-static grass I need to do a little touch up to boots and such. I try to be careful but I think it’s inevitable that my clumsy hands are just that…even more so with a paint brush in my hand.

      For my 28mm figures, especially single figures I often glue and sand the base before base coating too.

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  2. On standardizing basing color, I generally tend to lay a foundation of greenish for for temperate climates (say, battlefields in North America and Europe) and brownish foundations for arid climates (Near East, North Africa, etc.). Generally, my ancients tend toward brown and Horse & Musket tends toward green. Of course, exceptions abound since my 15mm WWII have a brown base!

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    1. I have not done a green base in a long time, tending to put the dirt down and then the grass, but I can see the appeal for particularly verdant theatres, or as something for me to try when I do my Fall of Singapore project.

      I think like you my periods tend to be based in a similar pattern but also based on theatre. So troops for North America are brown, Spain/Greece are a lighter brown, and Fantasy stuff is currently a black/grey, for a destroyed world. Dark Ages will be ??? who knows, probably similar to North America.


  3. Enjoyed this Anthony! 🙂 I use Vallejo white pumice as a base texture material and prime it and the figure all together, but it’s easier for me as I only ever base single figures (apart from the occasional weapons teams). I tend to add magnetic rubber right at the start so it can be trimmed to shape and tidied up before any figures are added. Sadly, I use the same base colour and grass on everything, but don’t really think it a problem!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. John that was my idea (once), to just use one base colour, but that horse has bolted. I tend to by the bases and magnets all ready pre-cut, it’s probably not the cheapest option, but I don’t have to worry about the extra step, and as I said the inclusion of the magnets is a new step for me, but I can definitely see the appeal.

      Liked by 1 person

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