Fellow Schild & Vriend member and TTM author BD once mentioned to me that it would be a good idea to do a basing tutorial on this here blog. There are a lot of painting tutorials out there (including some of our own), but tips on basing your well painted figures are apparently somewhat underrepresented. Hence this entry. BD, see - I do listen to you :)
Over the years, I’ve used several different ways of basing my miniatures, but lately I’ve been settling on a way I’m quite happy with. For as long as that will last, at least :).
For the bases themselves, I use standard slottabases (hey, that was the very first entry on TTM. Ah, nostalgia :) ), augmented by some rare earth magnets, though I am now eyeing Galeforce Nine bases, because they come with ‘rubber steel’ inserts to put in your movement trays or transport boxes, saving you an extra order elsewhere. I also like the GF9 bases because they are not slotted.
The disadvantage of slotted bases is of course that when you put a flat based figure (i.e. without the tab to fit in the base’s slot) on the base, you will need a way to cover up the slot in the base. The classic recipe of white glue and sand does not work here, ending up with at best a local depression in the base, and at worst a clear hole. You need something that covers the slot well - some kind of wall filler like Polyfilla is the usual solution. I used that for some time, but have now found something which I think is ideal: Pébeo sand mortar from Brico:
The Pebeo range of mortars and textured gels is meant to create interesting textures for painters and interior decorators. As miniature wargamers are the world’s foremost scroungers, we can of course use these things as well. In the case of the sand mortar, it makes an ideal basing material. It scoops easily, not being runny; it is fairly sticky so it sticks to the bases easily but not sticky enough so that you cannot easily wipe off any overspill on the figure itself; and its texture is just right to recreate a kind of rough terrain for the figure to stand on. The result when the stuff has been applied looks like this:
The mortar is dry after around 24 hours (though you can cut this short in a pinch if you don’t mind risking your brush when you paint the not completely dried mortar) after which it can be painted and drybrushed just like normal:
The base above was finished with a few patches of Woodlands Scenics, glued on with gel form super glue.
All of my recently finished figures have been based in this way, and you can see the results on my Flickr account.
It’s a fast and simple way of producing good looking bases. A future ‘improvement’ is that I will use lighter colors, more tans than browns, to paint the bases, as these look a bit dark when viewed en masse. But as most of my armies have had their bases painted with my current colors, I’ll use the new colors for new armies (Carolingians to start with).