Monday, 13 February 2012

Blog 010 – How to base a figure without having to drill through metal.

In one of the threads on the WAMP forum recently someone asked for advice on how to surface a base with textured plasticard and I thought that it would be a good subject for a tutorial. It’s something that can prove difficult at first sight, especially with metal figures on base-tags, but really it's simplicity itself, and one of those things that can be done in batches.
In the examples below you’ll see that I’m using a zO Munchkin from the Spyglass range of figure formerly produced by Steve Buddle. [As an aside I have to say I just love these figures. They look suitably grim and mindless and are a dream to paint with crisp, neat detailing.]
Step 1
I glued the base to the smooth side of the plasticard using a little liquid-poly. If the card’s texture has a regular pattern with a definite axis (as the one I’m using has) this is where care must be made to orient it correctly so that the front of the base will be in the right direction. All of my Horror Horde are oriented in the same direction as you’ll see in the examples below.
Step 2
I cut roughly around the base to leave a jagged shape. As you can see it’s far from circular at the moment.
Step 3
Using a pair of straight-edged nail clippers (the straight ones are for toe-nails I believe) I trimmed the excess away leaving a faintly jagged edge. A flat-faced needle file took these away leaving a smooth edge. Okay – not that smooth in close-up, but this is just a quickie base for this tutorial and is certainly fine for one of the numberless legion of my Horror Horde.
For plastic or resin figures this would be the point where I would glue the mini in place, but I want to cover a simple technique for mounting metal figures as well.
Step 4
Here’s the figure that will grace this base prepared for eventual attachment. Note how the remnants of the base tag are very definitely pointed with the top edge right by the Munchkin’s foot – this gives a cleaner punch through the base as well as ensuring that as little of the tag as possible remains visible. Note also the pilot-hole in the base goes into the gap where the slot is. There is a reason that I have left a tag on only one foot while filing the other smooth, but I’ll come to that later.
Step 5
A good, firm push so that the peg on the Munchkin goes about half-way through defines the edges of the finished hole and sharp and pointed craft-knife finished the job.
Step 6
The figure seated in place, ready to be glued and painted. It’s after the figure is secure that I add rubble and other details.
A final note here about posing and gluing. The reason I left just one foot pegged is that it allows me to turn it slightly about the ankle, bringing the figure closer to the rear of the base if it is too far forward. I use a two stage gluing process with this as well to prevent flooding the textured plasticard with glue. First I put a thin smear of super-glue on the flat foot (really, the barest needed to hold it in place) then attach the figure as you can see in Step 6. Turning the mini upside down the peg in its slot is then flooded with more super-glue which, when cured, locks the figure tight (I use a shot of zip-kicker to speed this process up). This way I get a really secure attachment without any glue covering details on the base itself.

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