Monday, November 15, 2010

My Way: Basing

I contemplated tagging the theme for this week as “hobby top tips” or somesuch, but I reconsidered almost immediately –not only because I remain unconvinced that any of these tips are particularly top, but also because I’m not really advocating that you try them per se.

You see, last week I purchased a new set of paints, and I mentioned that this is a bold step for me because I’ve been tremendously habitual with my approach to my GW paints, to my recipes, to quite a lot of what I do with this hobby really. All that’s changing, of course …or rather, a lot of that is changing and, while I’m not about to pitch the baby with the bathwater, it’s come time to reconsider what exactly I’m doing that works and what needs a clean tub.

Which got me thinking about that delightful old fellow Ralph Waldon Emerson: “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds…” but that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, and would make for a silly week’s theme.

So. This week is dedicated to what I’ve been doing "my way" for better or worse, to what I intend to continue doing (if only because I find it works for me), and to what I’m rethinking –specifically in my approach to some of the more simple hobby conventions.

Basing: let’s start here. Yesterday, I mentioned that I’ve started a few Wyches. Unlike many hobbyists, I base my models before priming them and I fully intend to continue in this vein. 

I slather on a bit of glue, dip them in the sand, clean the edges with my thumb, and then let them sit for a little while.

(you’ll notice, by the way, that the lovely lady in the foreground of this photo has a new arm from the one she was sporting just yesterday, as well as in the photo at top. Well. As I went to clean the flashing, I snapped off her hand –which you can see on the table at the right edge of the photo. That's a tough start. Here’s a top tip for DE players; S3 T3. These models are fragile in more ways than one).

After the glue has set a bit, but not necessarily after it dries completely (I usually paint or prep something else in the interim), I thin out another dollop of white glue  with water until it’s roughly the consistency of skim milk (bottom right). I then use a very old brush that has been relegated exclusively for this purpose and drip -not paint-  that coat on top of the drying sand. 

I resist the urge to do anything more the dollop the watered glue onto the base. If I am more aggressive, the brush tends to push the sand around in ways that I don't actually want. The idea is simply to create a layer that sits comfortably on top of the sand. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Again, I am careful to wipe off excess from the base.

Although I’ve exaggerated a little bit here for the photos, I’m pretty generous with this step all the same. The key, in my opinion, is simply to make sure that the entire base is covered. This locks in the sand. I may lose a little bit of detail in the exchange here, but the pros distinctly outweigh the cons for my liking.

In particular, the sand will now be held both by the glue and the primer, and will be much more strongly situated on the base for when it comes time to put brush to paint to model. I can get quite rough with drybrushing or other techniques, which I haven’t found true when I’ve added the sand after the fact.
Once completely dry, these vixens are ready for the primer –which leads me to the topic of Wednesday’s post. See you then.


sonsoftaurus said...

Interesting. I've been thinking about stepping up my basing game, may try this sometime.

Gonewild40k said...

Very cool! That last layer of 50/50 water/glue is what I'm missing basing my figures. Thanks B!

The Dark Templar said...

That's quite spooky B – almost exactly how I base my models, including the watery sealer and prior to paint too!

I usually add a piece or 2 of larger slate/plastic (usually half buried) to break up the monotony of the base that can sometimes occur.

ctreleheb said...

This is my exact basing technique, with no differences at all, except I switch basing materials/medias depending on the army. I agree this is a very dependable way to lay down basing material that will not budge when dry.

Warhammer 40k said...

I have a really bad habbit of painting a miniature and then basing it.

Causes me all sorts of problems later on.

Big Jim said...

I do the same thing with my sand bases. Great minds, and all that!


Deadmeat said...

Cool was looking for a way to base my Marines as I paint them on bases first. Thank you.

Brian said...

Thank you, one and all, for your support. I wasn't expecting such tremendous feedback for this post. I'm glad it resonated with you. Thanks again.

@ Sons. While I said that I wasn't necessarily advocating you try this, ahem, I will recommend that you try this.

@ Gonewild. Thank you. I hope it works well for you.

@ Dark Templar. I can't help but feel that it's a cosmic doppleganger (sp?) thing. Good tip about the slate/plastic. Also, I was curious to hear your opinion about the dynamic poses on the Wyches. I thought that might be right up your proverbial alley.

@ ctreleheb. Interesting idea about changing actual material along with the army. hmmm. You've given me an idea. Thanks.

@ WH40K. I recommend.

@ Big Jim. Great minds, indeed.

@ Deadmeat. Happy to help.

Unknown said...

I too use this method, so it helps to keep the sand stuck firmly.

I also have a tub of fine and course sand mixed up together so I can dip the miniatures into that.

The reason being it gives a nice random texture.

Great stuff Smoove

Aurenian said...

I do my bases almost the same. I've just been using primer to hold down the sand though.

I think I'll give the extra layer of glue a try.