Friday, November 23, 2012

How to make bases like Ron a.k.a. If at first, or second, you do not succeed...

Sometime ago I saw these awesome hand-made Zone Mortalis bases.  Wanting my Grey Knights to stand apart from my other armies.  Something different, something that makes them truly unlike my other armies.  Then I remembered those bases.  They were exactly what the army needed.

This pic has been a long time coming.  It means I'm close to assembling my Grey Knight army. /cheers

Was inspired by Ron on his FTW blog decided I would take the time to make these bases.

Boy was it an adventure /sigh.

As always, giving credit where credit is due.  This was first done on Ron's FTW blog (found right in   Immortals amongst us).  He has a great modelling/painting blog.  Please check it out.

Sent him an email mid Nov asking for permission to make this post.  Don't want to step on toes,  take all the credit.  He responded with "Excellent! Sounds like a great post."

There hasn't been a lot of activity first half of Nov because I've been keeping this under wraps.  Didn't want to let the cat out of the bag too quickly.

Expect possibly the largest pic-dump I've done so far.  I wanted to provide a step-by-step pic of my success and failures (yes, plural) attempting to replicate Ron's success.

tl;dr You'll need Plastic Cement the kind that has a brush, Elmer's glue for paper and a heavy weight to compress the three pieces together.

Figured this would be a post best done in one post not part 1-8.  Enjoy the pics.

5 Nov

Dreadnought and standard base.  3x5 note card and new blade.

Flip base upside down and cut paper to size of base.

Did it three times.  Only needed to do it twice.

Little measuring so proportions are similar across different bases.  Base top measures 23mm.  Used the slotta base groove to determine where to cut the note card.  10mm to edge of slotta.

Time for some math.  Suijin is probably worried.

That 10mm from earlier made me feel a little funny.

Dot indicates 26mm.  Should be 26.5, I'm not that retentive to break a mm in half.

Looks a little larger than it is.  Seems fine though.  Perhaps I'll measure again and do a little trimming.

Instead of measuring again and having different sizes.  Used first to cut second and third.  All copies will be a little larger.  Should be unnoticeable.

Now for regular bases.

Again used first to cut others to similar size.

3 of 42

6 Nov

These are all the note card pieces I'll need for my current Grey Knights.

One side.

Used other side of circle.

Waste not, want not.

43 of 42.  Only need 42.  Perhaps that 43rd one will be helpful.  Where is pacman?

Grey Knight bases on left.  Dreadnoughts in middle.  Re-base bases on right.  That should be fun.  /roll eyes

Took awhile to find this at Michaels.  I've been holding onto this for about two months.  Buddy Lane and I talk models almost every Friday.  He wanted to know where to buy it for Imperial Guard tank painting.  Guess he plans on using an airbrush and this as the screen to make patterns on the tanks.  Great idea, Lane!

Now for the fun.  I'm beginning to think this is going to work.

Four dots of superglue.  I'll end up doing lines then six dots.

Then flip upside down and thrown in corner to maximize the plastic canvas.  Again, waste not, want not.  If your a bit OCD like I am.  You might want to put paper under the plastic canvas.  The reason is because as we know when superglue is working it generates heat.  Quite a bit of heat that can easily discolour surfaces. I have cd cases from decades ago and a PS3 blu-ray remote that have been marked by slotta bases.  Yeah it is a cutting matt and is meant to take damage.  Still didn't want to have a bunch of weird heat burns across it.

Decided to let go of my OCD a little.

Bases glued in place.

8 Nov

It is about this time that I learned this awesome idea was completely useless.  If at first you do not succeed....  Time to learn about making bases.

Finally a use for the 100 razor blades I'll never expend.

As I started to cut into the plastic canvas several bases starts coming off.  I thought Loctite superglue was the best.  Couldn't hack that.

No political affiliation.  Just meaning I'll pulling out the big guns.

Yeah that's right.  Skissors.  Yes, scissors are serious.

Measured out a base 10x10 holes.

Measured across and cut to appropriate depth.  Eleven lines long and wide.

Scissors to cut off those ends.

When applying superglue to base I've found it best to twist the base on the plastic canvas so superglue contacts more surface.  Turns out this isn't ideal either.

Dreadnought base time.

Figured I'd let these two dry instead of doing all bases to find out how well it works.  Certainly don't want to start all over again.  Reduce the amount of stress if it doesn't work.  Really glad this idea came to me.

14 Nov

Lots of superglue all over the base.

Place base on plastic canvas upside down.

Grey Knight troops bases complete.

Next set.  Crowe, Librarian, my Inquisitor, Grey Knight Terminators and Assassings.

Bases are done.

Three components for the next part.

Close up of edible glue.

One dreadnought base mostly done.  Still needs one more component to be complete.  Will add after done panting them.

15 Nov

Ok.  If  at second you do not succeed... second failure with these bases.  Elmer's Glue pulled the superglued plastic canvas off the base.  Onto my next idea.

With cutters clipped off excess around base.

Other two dreadnought bases done.

Ripped off the plastic canvas and bent it so its flatter.

It was helpful in pre-school.  Helpful now.  Edible glue on base.  This should provide a solid hold.

Even in death brushes continue to serve.

Three dreadnought bases and ready for the big thing that should secure the hold.

Paper weight, literally.  Who said phone books aren't useful anymore.

17 Nov

This is exactly what I was expecting.  The superglue still wasn't up to the job.

Ok.  I'm fucking around anymore.  These bases have tested my patience and it has been found wanting.  These bases are being put down.  I've come too far to just give up.  Need to conquer these bases and claim my victory.  Just like the name VNV = Victory Not Vengeance and their motto, which I recently had tattooed,  "One should strive to achieve, not sit in bitter regret."  I'm going to make these bases.  Their days are numbered.

Left base is glued with plastic cement, right with superglue.  Have the feeling the cement provides a better hold.

As more and more of the plastic canvas was attempting to run free I came up with an idea.  File off the superglue bumps to provide an even surface for the canvas.  As glue instructions says: clean flat surface.

Much better.  Now a flat surface for a flat square of plastic.

The right tool for the job.  Plastic Cement with brush.

Generous coat of plastic cement on base.

Better, much better.

Elmer's Glue on plastic canvas.

With previous dead brush spread it around.

Affix note card to top of base.  So close, yet so far from being finished.

18 Nov

I feel the end coming.  Anyone else hear that laughter?

They finally look beautiful and sans hassle.

Ready to be undercoated.

Jon Kovalic's Armoury Black Primer.  It provides an excellent flat black finish.  Not a fan of the shiny black.

Decided not to fuck around.  I've had enough trouble with these bases to not take gentle measures now.  Pulled out the large drybrushing brush to make it quick and simple.  Just like the plastic cement.  Use the right tool for the job.

Drybrushed Boltgun Metal.  One more step.  Maybe two if I'm feeling generous.  I have two thoughts: "Am I done yet?" and "Damn you, Ron" (the 'damn you, Ron' is about 9/10ths joking 1/10th serious [To be serious.  Thank you, Ron, for challenging me to make bases for my Grey Knights.  This pushes my skills as a modeller.  /prost])

20 Nov

Second to last step.  Conductor, bundled wire.  Deck plates will get power cords poking out of them.

When drilling it's important to make sure the drill is at least as wide as the object filling the hole.  Pulling out the dremel again.

Ready to go.

Thought about snipping off the wire I'd need then put it in the drilled hole.  At work last week it occurred to me use the strength of the wire and fish it through the bottom.

Then put a couple of drops around the wire on the bottom of the base.  This side can be made as ugly as you want since no one is going to see it.  Push wire up a little and twist the wire around so the superglue seals between the wire and base.

Clip the excess wire under the base.

Voila!  Getting closer to being done.  May complete these by Fri 23 Nov.

Other side.

Two done.  Plenty more to do.

It also occurred to me last week how do you stop the wires in the conductor from coming out.  Superglue again.  Spread wires out and put superglue into the space between the wires.  So when the overly curious onlooker comes over and touches your models without asking he/she won't pull one of the wires out.

Almost half way there.

21 Nov

As some know.  This is exactly what I was hoping to avoid.  Not sure how it appeared.  Now that the cutting mat has lost its "superglue burn virginity" I say F it!

All bases props are done.  I have gone too far to quit here.  I can almost hear Ron smiling.  Going to go over them with a wash of Badab Black, Dark Tone (thanks, Ron).  Perhaps a couple of washes if the first doesn't appeal to me.  I'm so close to start assembly of my Grey Knights that I can taste it.  Some will notice the orientation of the deck plating compared to the lattice work.  Others will notice where the power cords are poking out of the deck.  Here's the big picture.  Say you have 10 Grey Knights and break them up into battle squads.  Then Grey Knights start intermingling with other Grey Knights how do you tell which is which with a quick glance?  Yep something obvious that can go almost unnoticed.  Remember that whole plan-encounters-enemy-action-thing?  When I battle squad my Grey Knights I will hopefully know which are with which unit and not.  Now for the deck plating with the lattice work at a 45 degree angle on far right.  Those are for characters and dreadnoughts.

23 Nov

Bottom has Delvan Mud, Army Painters Strong Tone, thank you, Ron, wash.  Top sans wash.

To create a streak/pool of focused wash use the broad side of the brush.  When doing your wash hit the props.  Blend it with the base.  You don't want anything to stand out like a sore thumb.  If you decide that's what you want that I'd suggest using contrasting colours.

When doing so make sure to plant several broad heavy taps.  Perhaps the surface is deeper/bent in more places than others.  Like everything, except human emotions, path of least resistance.  Water like many things will settle in crevices.

Crevices don't always occur in the same direction.  You have to mix it up.

Before.  Still wet.  Little fuzzy.

After.  Dry.  Quite clear.

All bases washed and ready for Grey Knights.

A different view.

Close up of Grey Knight and Crowe.

Done.  Finally!  Must have spent probably 20+ hrs on these bases.

slainte mhath


  1. Some great looking bases! Way to stick with it.

    1. Thanks, Spyrle. After figuring out how to fix the bases so they stay secure it was all down hill. Pushing wire wasn't that difficult. It felt like the bases put all the fight they had and were done.

  2. Holy Cow... they look great. I have to say that I am impressed by the sight of a whole army outfitted like this.
    Excellent work Sir!

    Ron, FTW

    1. Thanks, Ron.

      I have a joke about the bases I've told a couple of people. If people don't comment about how awesome the bases I'll shiv them. Will continue to shiv them til they say they are awesome. Then with a bloody shiv I'll show the base to someone else and point at it with the knife asking "Isn't this an awesome base?" Then look at the shiv with a twitchy eye.

      You're a great source of inspiration, Ron.


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