When I talk about basing, I'm talking about adding texture to the miniature's base to simulate ground. For most of the models I paint, I use a mix of sand and fine gravel to add some texture to the base.
There are a lot of different kinds of modeling sand and gravel available, and you can certainly use these to make a decent mix for texturing your bases. My particular mix came from Home Depot.
I was there with a friend getting some supplies to make one of my terrain boards. I was planning on getting a bag of medium grade construction sand. This is rougher than the sand you get at hobby shops but a lot less expensive. I was able to buy a 50-pound bag of sand for less than $5. My friend noticed that there were plenty of split bags that had leaked gravel and sand on the floor in the materials department. He asked one of the employees if we could get a bag of the spilled materials. We ended up leaving with about twenty-five pounds of mixed sand and gravel for free! I took it home, sifted out the larger stones with some 1/4" wire mesh and put the rest of the mix in plastic containers.
I'm trying to get the Fanticide models on the table as quickly as possible, so I waited until all of them were assembled to do the basing. I like to texture the bases before I prime the models, because the primer helps to seal the sand on the base.
To texture the bases, I mixed white glue and water (about one part glue to two parts water) in an old paint can cap and poured some sand into a small plastic container. That way I could have the glue and sand handy on the paint table without taking too much space.
|Basing supplies at the ready|
The Fanticide models all have metal bases on the figures. These are glued to the plastic bases, and this creates a bit of a bump near the models' feet. This isn't a big deal on most of the figures. I just painted glue on the plastic base, covering the edges and top of the metal base on the figure. The surface tension of the glue helps seal around the metal base on most of them so the sand will cover smoothly.
|Brownies with the glue on their base|
If you feel like it, you can seal the top of the texturing with a bit of thinned glue mixture. In this case, I decided to skip that step and let the primer seal the sand in place.
|Brownies with the base textured|
In some cases, like the Brownies here, a model may have a thicker metal base that isn't concealed well by one layer of sand. In those cases, you can either build up around the metal base with a bit of putty or use a second layer of sand. For the Brownies, I just decided to use a second layer of sand.
|Some of the bases didn't cover well|
If you are doing more than one layer of sand, let the first layer dry. Then spread another layer of glue in the spots where you need more sand and dip into the sand again. Simple!
|A second layer covers better|
Sometimes you will find that you've gotten a bit of sand onto a model where it doesn't belong. You can see a bit of sand stuck on the Brownie in the middle of the base in the picture below.
|Sand in uncomfortable places|
If you catch it before the glue dries, you can use a wet brush to clean the sand off the model. If the glue has already dried, you can pick it off with the tip of a razor knife. This is one of the reasons I like to do the texturing before I paint. I don't have to worry about chipping the paint if I need to clean up some sand.
When I am working on a large project, I like to do a lot of bases at once. It saves a lot of time mixing glue and waiting for things to dry. By the time you finish the last figures, the first ones are dry.
|Textured and ready to prime|
With everything textured, I gathered my priming materials and headed outside. For this batch, I took a mostly-finished can of Armory Black Primer, a new can of Games Workshop Black Primer, a can of Design Master Colortool Flat White spray, and a can of Colortool October Brown spray.
I use a spray handle when I'm priming with canned sprays, which is especially helpful if you are working on a large batch of figures. The spray handle clips to the top of a spray paint can. That way you have a larger handle and a trigger to activate the can. For someone that is prone to hand cramps, this is a godsend!
|A spray handle makes it easier to spray|
When I was priming, it was too dark for pictures, so I'll have to do another post later talking about how I prime with some pics.
To do a batch this big, I had several sheets of corrugated cardboard with eight to ten models laid out on each and worked down the line. I would spray one sheet of figures and set them aside to dry while I did the rest. By the time I finished each stage on all the sheets, the first sheet was fairly dry and ready for the next step.
I primed the Unicorn with the white spray and set it aside. Because it was the only model I was doing with white, I wanted to get it done and out of the way.
The rest of the models I primed with the black primer, using the Armory first and switching to the Games Workshop when the Armory can was empty. I made sure to prime all of the models standing, then tipped them on their sides and primed them from the bottom. Then I flipped them over and primed the other side from the bottom.
Priming in black is a bit of a departure from my normal method. Normally I prime white and ink or stain the models to get some shading. For this patch, though, I wanted to use a spray to do the base coat and the black primer helps to shade the brown, saving me a couple steps later.
For the base coat, I stood up all the models except the unicorn and sprayed them from the top and sides with the Colortool October Brown spray. I didn't spray them from the underside, because that way the black primer provides a bit of shading for the brown.
With all of the priming and base coating finished, I let the models sit for a few hours. Letting the models rest after spraying with canned spray paint ensures that the gasses from the spray dissipate and the paint has had time to set before you start painting.
|The Hole Beast and Fae primed and base coated|
|A couple of bare patches here and there|
Altogether, texturing the bases on these models and priming them took me a couple hours. That puts the total time on the Fanticide models at about fourteen hours so far.
Next up, I'll take a look at painting the Hole Beast and some of the Fae.