Monday, 22 July 2019

Fun with de-basing

I believe that only three things are certain, in life: Death, taxes and the need to re-base miniatures.

I base well over 1000 minis a year, mostly onto the very large bases I designed and use with "To the Strongest!" and "For King and Parliament." Perhaps half of these need to be stripped off old bases, first, usually the 2mm MDF bases that we have learned to love over the last decade.* Following a discussion on TMP, I thought it might be useful to describe how I do this, because I have had a lot of practice!

The steps are:

1. Find a tray with a flat bottom, a jug of water and, ideally, a stack of pennies.
2. Place the bases in the tray on a couple of pennies each (this allows water to get under the bases, and speeds the process). See pic above.
3. Carefully pour water into the tray, to bring the level of the water level with the top of the bases. If a little water goes onto the top of the bases, that's all for the good. However, should the minis be in water up to their knees (or hooves), you risk damaging their paint. See below; the water is just wetting the top of the base, but not enough to frighten the horses.

4. Leave the bases in the water for 24 hours or rather longer, especially if the bases are 3mm thick. The longer, the better results. The bases will gradually absorb water and get  thicker and thicker. Top the water level up, if necessary. A nice by-product of the process is that, after the first hour or so,  the thrifty baser can often salvage any tufts. Just remove them with a pair of tweezers (below), leave them to dry and re-use, later, with a little PVA. 

5. Give some of the minis a gentle tug, and see if they will pull off the base. If they were originally glued with wood glue, they will, most likely, come away very easily.

If, on the other hand, they were glued with superglue or UHU, you'll need to "crumble" the MDF base away (see below), and carefully trim away the remaining MDF and glue from under the individual bases with a sharp craft knife.

And there you have it; it's easier (and safer) than hacking away at dry MDF with a scalpel.

*... although theologists talk of an especially hot corner of hell, that is reserved for those who superglue minis to pennies, or, worse still, plywood.


Andrew Brentna said...

Yup, minus the pennies (skinflint!), that is how I do it!

Noss Calavera said...

This is what i do as well.

Drew Jarman said...

I just use non-sterile surgical scalpels and slide the blade under the edge of the figures and prise them off. Once they are off I usually clean off the old basing material from the castings if its particularly nasty and rebase from a standing start as if they were new figures.

3rd95th said...

The pennies are a wizard wheeze!

caveadsum1471 said...

I am destined for a particular corner of hell then as I super glue my figures to pennies! However in my defense the super glue is not particularly super being the four for £1 pack from the pound shop,on MDF bases I use PVA and rebasing is much easier!
Best Iain

Bill Hupp said...

I have a similar method. The pennies I'll have to try. I sometimes scratch off some of the paint around the base of the mniatures to speed the process. My only caveat is to watch them closely, because figures may fall into the 'drink' if the glue/base completely gives way.

Carlo said...

Excellent and very comforting to see that we mass "re-basers" are all typically scathing on araldite and superglue users!

Chasseur said...

Me too minus the pennies! :)

David said...

Use boiling water, it softens UHU in a few minutes and figures peel away easily.

Rob Young said...

My own basing system doesn't employ glue at all! I use ready-to-use filler. As it's designed to stick to walls and things, I've always assumed it would work equally well sticking figures to bases - it does.

My system is to colour the filler pot with paint - originally, the idea was that any chips wouldn't be white - then the filler is smeared over the base. I then push the figures into the filler and carefully(ish) smooth the filler over the base of the figure (the base of the figure I have tried to paint same colour as the filler!)

Originally I had intended to then add detail to thebase as the coloured filler was purely to stop chipslooking white. However, with too many figures to base, I finally just started leaving them as is.

BigRedBat said...

Boiling water; that's an interesting tip! I'll try that. Cautiously. :-)

I use wood glue on pennies and when gluing minis to plastic. One wouldn't think it would work, but it does!

Der Alte Fritz said...

Thanks for the tip. I will give it a try. I use the freezing method for super glue debasing and found that it works for everything except metal to MDF bases, darn it. Now you give me new hope that I can debond metal to wood.