++Because it would be rude not to, I must encourage you to check out the Alacrity Raffle if you have not done so yet.++
Sorted? Donated? Good show. Quite right. Now back to the program.
I am not entirely convinced that anything in today’s post genuinely constitutes a tip, and I am reasonably less confident that “top” is a meaningful adjective, but that is what it’s called; so that’s what it’s called.
What follows is a brief summary of my approach to larger, potentially more decorative bases.
In all but the rarest cases, I use this cork material and white glue as the fundamental element. The cork is meant to be used as drinks coasters or perhaps hot pads for countertops. I found a bunch of these at a home supplies store a million years ago for a reasonable price, and I have been slowly chipping away at that stash since.
I score the plastic as well as the cork. The cork is usually a bit tricky as the gouges tend to “heal.” The goal isn’t really to scrape deep valleys, but to open small opportunities in which the glue will find purchase. With regard to shaping, the cork crumbles quite readily and I deliberately resist the urge to control this too much; I prefer the random, rocky appearance natural to cork itself.
While the glue is wet, I place the model in question and test an assortment of arrangements and poses. There is quite a lot to consider at this point: the look of the earth/cork, the relation of the model to the balance of said earth, the relation of the model to the base as a whole. I keep some more cork on hand to flesh out or fill in as necessary. Thankfully, the white glue gives me absolute ages to think this through. Moreover, I slather said glue quite generously. This may be overkill and/or unnecessary but perhaps through superstition alone, I like to have these solidly in place.
Once dry, I glue on the grit exactly as I outline in this post.
Note: there are times when I attach the model at this point, but as a rule (one which I break more often than I want to admit, and certainly more often than is good for me) it is best to leave the model separate until the very end. This allows me the chance to paint the entire base, to reach those odds corners, and to evenly approach the base as an individual element. On more important models, this is a worthwhile step.
When painted, I drill a hole in the foot (or hoof, or whatever) of the model and put in –but don’t glue- a little pinning stub. This is not the pin that I will actually use –which would otherwise be too long to accomplish this step meaningfully. I dab a tiny dollop of paint on the stub and re-pose the model as I had initially. The dollop will tell me where to drill on the base so that it lines up with the hole in the model. To be candid, this part is as much art as science, and I tend to rush it slightly.
I then drill through the base clear through the bottom plastic. This helps ensure that a jolt to the model won't accidentally pop model and cork off together; it also tends to lower, slightly, the balance of the model so that it doesn't get too top heavy.
The final step, flocking, is both random and not. random. That's illogical. I know. While generally working toward a random effect, when applying flock I am always certain to cover any sins first –points where the paint looks a bit sloppy, where the cork looks too obviously corkish, or where some point of the model doesn’t quite line up properly, etc. There was an unsightly gap under this fellow's right foot, for example, that appeared when I accidentally bent the pin slightly while pushing it into the base. No worries. Flock will cover that mistake. Once these concerns have been addressed, I may attach a bit more here and there to keep the deliberate-random balance. Again, part art, part science.
There you go. As we round out February, and as I emerge from our recent joyous fog, it's time to start thinking about (or rather "working on") those tables for AdeptiCon. It's been slow going these last two months but, with about 30 days and counting left, it's time to hit the ground once more at a sprinter's pace. And so we shall.
On that note, donate! any monies left over from the Alacrity Raffle will go directly to the creation of AdpetiCon Killzone glory.