Saturday, February 18, 2012

Basing - the Zed way

In the past days, I recognized that I'm a figure painter. Why do I say that when it's obvious? Well - because I've again discovered that I'm only a figure painter man, not a base builder. Get me away with all that putty, green flocks etc. - bah!

Unfortunately (for me), I cannot longer resist doing that awful work. For a long time, I have painted one single figure after the other, raley putting something on a centbase or a small vignette. Now, I had to make up my mind what to do with all those single figures. Why is that? Because of next FIGZ!
The next FIGZ show for 1/72 figures will take place in Arnhem (the Netherlands) on the 3rd of June (note it down folks, it's worth a visit!) and I'm planning to take an exhibition table this time. Putting lots of single unbased figures doesn't make sense - I don't want to stay there all day long, erecting fallen figures and explaining to which unit they belonged over and over and over again. So there has to be a base solution, wether I like that sort of work or not.

I decided to go with wooden stripes of 3mm height and various length according to the number of pictures I had for that unit (for some, I had only pictures of fusiliers and officers, for some I had a full table including even sappers, musicians, etc.) - standard length for a standard display of infantry (fusilier, grenadier, voltigeur, officer and drummer=5 figures) is 9cm, for two cavalrymen 7.5cm. Cavalry gets a width of 36mm while infantry can be placed on a 28mm width.
I went to the stores and bought the equipment...

For a day, I only sawed small bases of wood. Hurray. What a stupid thing to do.
Next was to put the figures onto the belonging bases. I fixed them with wood glue - simple as that. For displaying the specifications of the unit, I decided to make little paper labels that should be glued to the base - on top of the front, so that everybody could read it without bowing down.

The original wood colour looks to bright for my taste, so I have washed it twice - first with GW GryphonSepia, then with GW DevlanMud.

Next step was attaching the label (and in this case: noticing that the figures were in wrong position...), then bringing some filler mass onto the base in order to level up to the figure bases (two times, because when the watery part of the mass dries, it shrinks a little bit). A layer of earthy brown colour onto it and on to the next step:
I put some wood glue onto the complete base and threw fine birdcage sand over it. The sand fills the gaps and gives the whole thing some more structure. With a smooth brush, I paint a strongly thinned, lighter shade of brown over it - the sand soaks the liquid through the small channels between the sand grains, so it's done very quickly. Now I drybrushed the whole thing with a sandy yellow and a olive green tone, again with a very soft brush because a hard one woult remove to many sand grains.
Finally, I again put some drops of wood glue here and there and applied some artificial grass material.

Voila! There is a presentable little base.

So far, so good. The only bad thing about it is that for some units, I haven't painted all possible figures yet. So I made a small 'under construction' sign and attached it as a placeholder, not making up any putty or base material which would make application of the missing figures more complex. You can see those 'under construction' bases on the lower part of this picture:

Right. That was my desk three or four days ago. You can see that I have to make 19 of these bases - plus some additionals for units I still haven't got out of my cabinet yet. *sigh* This will keep me busy for quite a while. On the other hand, I'll be ready for the show when I've done that, but I really don't enjoy this work very much.

P.S.: the question has been asked before - yes, that's a dinosaur in the background. My older son has tried to paint it (I guess I'll refurbish it one day, I have something special in mind with that figure). It's a Corythosaur and it's really in 1/72 scale. :-D


  1. Hey Sascha!
    I think that's a good idea (quite simple, no?)to do a good presentation of your work.
    It could be annoying in fact, but it's necessary for the use you'll need.
    A 1/72 Corythosaur !!!... my god, I hope that my son will never see that!! (but if you have a link for buying some dinosaurs.... could be interesting for me! thanks )

    No matter for the "Legion departementale": those frenchies are all crazy!
    (maybe I can do a search in french?)

  2. Well - Pascal (judgefredd) gave me a nice source which brought some light into this dark matter. Nevertheless, further information is always appreciated!

    The Corythosaurus is a model made by the sculptor David Krentz. I bought it on, another source could be
    They are made out of resin, but with little flash. Expensive, but worth the money.

  3. I think the effort of basing your figures is well worth it; they look great!

    On another topic, I remember not long ago you were asking for HaT 8095 drummers? I've got quite a few that I'm not planning on using. Send me a message on Benno's forum with your postal address and I'll send them to you.

  4. I just recently found your blog - excellent stuff, your project to paint every single Napoleonic French uniform is equally admirable and insane. What you've done so far looks absolutely terrific, I hope when you're finished they will be taken around the wargames/modelling shows of all Europe.

    Basing also v. good!

  5. @Rosbif: Thanks for the support!

    @MrBallista: Thank you very much! I must confess that sometimes I also consider this project being a bit insane... suits me well, I'm afraid. ^^
    The first chance to see the output of my 'first year' in this project will be at FIGZ in Arnhem (Netherlands) at 3rd of June. ;-)

  6. Huge undertaking Zed but as stated above, it's worth the effort. Everything is looking great!

  7. What can I say.... I am proud of you!