This is the final part of my WS&S article on basing. The previous parts are here and here. Enjoy! Please also look out for my new article coming out in WS&S next week; it combines collecting, basing and the lyrics of Johnny Cash!
I find that double-depth elements can be very time consuming to base, because it is very hard to get the brush or palette knife into the narrow space between the two ranks of figures. Moreover, sometimes paint or gunk finds its way onto the finished figures, which then need retouching. Yet, as the number of miniatures I own increases, I find that I want to base more and more miniatures this way, because they are quicker to deploy from storage and move around on the table.
Above are some of the splendid Foundry/Black Tree German figures that my friend Nick Speller painted for me. I've done very little to the miniatures, aside from varnishing them, and painting the bases of the miniatures to match the eventual colour of the earth that will surround them. I've arranged them on six 60 x 30mm magnetic bases of my own manufacture.
In the above close-up, you can see that I like to position some of the figures so that they straddle both bases; this helps to create a “crowd” look, and has practical value at a later stage. Using a variable number of miniatures on bases, as above, also helps to give a more naturalistic appearance to the finished units.
Next, place the two bases next to each other on a magnetic surface (in this case a 60mm square steel plate), and cover each with your basing compound; then add a little extra gunk along the top of the seam to disguise it. It will then appear something like the above; the magnetic sheets hold the bases in place whilst the gunk dries to the consistency of concrete.
Once the gunk has fully dried, the two bases can be snapped apart, as above, leaving an irregular line along the break. The figure protruding from the rear base will ensure that the join between the bases, when re-attached, will be a strong one. I then paint the bases of the two half-elements, separately, which is much easier than trying to reach to the middle of the larger base. Once fully painted and flocked, the two pieces can carefully be re-joined together, along the edge, with superglue.
Here's the (almost) finished base, after re-assembly. One can just make out the line of the crack between the two halves, but it is pretty effectively disguised, being very much harder to spot than a straight line would be, and will vanish entirely once a few more tufts or some static grass has been applied.
In conclusion... basing is all too often an afterthought, first considered after the minis have just been painted. A good basing scheme really sets an army off, and this is best achieved by planning the look for the entire army at the outset and using consistent methods and materials across all its units, as it is mustered. I always reckon that figures look twice as good as previously, after they have been based, so am always prepared to invest plenty of time to get it right!
I do hope you enjoyed these pieces! If you have any questions, please email me at the address above, or leave a comment, and I’ll come back to you.