Thursday, 15 January 2009

Basing your figures

OK this is probably the bit that most people rush with a sort of “Just get it done” mentality, but that is a mistake, the bases are really important and can make or break how good the figures look.

The first thing I look at is the basic position of each figure on the base; you can really vary the look and feel of each battalion simply by mixing up the position of the figures on the base. For instance I tend to bunch up the voltigeurs more than I would the other companies. Spend a bit of time and plan out which figures are going on which base and in what position. If I can see a particular figure that has come out particularly well I’d try and put this in a prominent place. I use Evostick, or a flexible glue to stick the figures to the base, then leave this over night to harden.

Ok onto the materials, there are loads of different things you can use and for me the type of figure I am painting determines what sort of base I’m going to try and create. Fantasy figures can obviously have nearly any base style you like, but in this case for Napoleonic figures I like to use items of a more realistic nature.

So I’m going to use the following; fine sand, budgie grit, broken brick, string and twigs! You need to use the twisted string or twine as eventually you are going to unravel this. From these I’m going to make tufts of grass and large rocks then a general base.

Cut the string into sections longer than you need around 3cm. Then stick these to the base again using Evostick. Then add a couple of bits of brick and possibly a small twig. You can add these sorts of things to the base around 30 minutes after you have added the figures and let them all rest over night. Vary what you add to each stand but add one or two bits in different positions.

Ok when they have dried properly you will be able to make the string look more like grass, you untwist the threads and tease it apart a bit and it should now look like long grass. Then you need to decide how long you want the grass to be and mow it a bit with some scissors.

Right that’s all the larger bits and pieces added; now we need to get the rest of the base covered. For this I use a mixture of fine sand and budgie grit [or rougher sand!]. Paint the rest of the base with PVA glue, some people water this down, which probably makes it easier to add to the base but I don’t bother; I want the sand to STAY stuck. Once you have the base covered in PVA glue dip the base in your sand/grit mix and shake it about a bit to get a nice covering. Then shake of the excess and you should now have the base texture completed. You may need to touch this up a bit by adding more glue and more sand and but basically that’s it. You now need to leave this to dry properly or you will just remove the sand.


Neil B said...

They are looking good Julian and i can't wait to see if you have any tips on painting the 'grass' without messing up the trousers!! oh and i particularly like the placemat :o)

Bob the builder is it???

Robert said...

I've been working on my bases for my 28mm French, and haven't yet considered using "grass" the way you describe it. I may very well give it a go!

Thanks for an interesting series of posts on painting. I've been enjoying them thoroughly.

Truegrit said...

Hi Robert thanks for the comments.

I have just been looking over your blog and know what you mean about having to clean up and get the paints out every time you want to use them... its a right pain - lol

I have to say that the grass idea is not mine, I'm just using an idea that a friend told me about. But I do think it looks great and once you get used to doing it, it really is quite easy and effective.

Truegrit said...

Yeah this is the fun bit Neil, where you find out that all your hard work of painting the legs was a waste of time... In fact Im pretty sure that is you based the figures before you painted them you could just leave parts of the legs black and they wouldn't really show!!

If you spend just a few minutes to think about the placment it helps to break up the uniformatity of the stands and makes them look a bit different. Well worth it.

Adding the colour isn't that hard, you add the base green and brown and then I use dry brushing to finish, its simple... and I'll be uploading that either tonight or tomorrow.