Friday, March 25, 2011

Hobby - Basing My Army, Part 1

I don't know about you, but I hate basing models. I really do. Some guys seem to be able to flock and base models perfectly for very little effort, displaying their dudemens on amazing snow-covered bases or some other bases that make the whole army look a cut above the rest. it's always disappointing to see a wonderfully crafted and painted army sitting on white-primed bases. they just look so... unfinished.

I have attempted flocking my bases in the past, but I have never been happy with the results. even following some great tutorials online, my guys don't end up looking anything like those awesome bases that our local guys show up with. granted, the "local group" I'm talking about here is the BOLS crew... But that's beside the point.

The point is, while going through the trouble of making a new Harlequin army, I decided that this time I wanted an army that looked great from head to toe. that along with all of the converting, green-stuffing, and fluff writing I was going to do, I needed to actually have some good bases to finish out my hobby project army. It isn't going to be hyper-competitive, so it darn well better be good-looking while getting destroyed by a bare-plastic IG gunline...

with that in mind, I decided to go a new route with my bases this time. Read on for more

Do your bases look like this?

I have tried several methods for my bases in the past. when I first started this hobby I just left them all bare. that looked bad, but I didn't know any better. my local club at the time had one or two good painters, and at the time I was so far below their league I didn't have any hope of making models look like that. everyone else tended to have bare bases or badly flocked models. many of our guys were new and didn't have half their stuff painted.

then I moved to Austin. people down here do things a little differently. these guys are really really into their hobby. my un-based models just weren't going to cut it. in fact the painting scores at the local tournaments required based models to get a chunk of the very large hobby point pie. So I went in and painted up my bases. I basically just painted them all green or brown which got the painted bases points, but still looked bad.

Well, my painting was getting better, and I was no longer embarrased to put down my models opposite guys like goatboy, splug, and darkwynn. sure theirs looked a hell of a lot better than mine, but at least I didn't feel the need to appologize for my crappy models. so it was time I upped my basing abilities to match. I tried flocking with some old model railroad terrain grass that my brother had laying around (never could get him into warhammer, but he had a model train set in the garage). I put this flock on my Ork bases. it didn't look great, but it was a lot better than bare brown bases. problem was I play a very horde-style ork list, and I apparently don't have the patience required to flock 120+ bases. at some point I also tried painting on designs (like painting a green base with a brown path on it). that was by far the worst idea I have ever had. oh well, live and learn.
My first attempt at basing Harlequins for my Eldar army
So with all of that in mind, I decided I was going to find a way to make good bases that were easy enough to do with my poor basing skills. I started looking around online, looking at all of the options out there for basing a model. there's a lot of neat stuff that people have done, from hand-painting sidewalk-like textures on their bases to multiple levels of flocking/static grass to printing a page of brick-pattern designs and cutting them into circles to glue on top of their bases.

In the end I decided that instead of flocking or painting my bases, the best way to get a unique effect would be to completely replace the bases. I had seen one or two armies using resin bases and I thought that would be a great way to get a great-looking army without dealing with gluing on a bunch of flock. after checking out a few companies I settled on Dark Art Miniatures

They have a huge variety of bases. everything from desert terrain to snowy drifts to lava. The lava is what really caught my eye. some of the other styles just didn't look that cool to me, and a lot of the variations between bases were small enough that they didn't look varied enough for my taste. but after seeing the lava bases, not only did I choose those bases for my project, I also had an inspiration for a display board and objective markers. Having never used resin, never made a display board, and having never made custom objectives I might have been in over my head. nevertheless, I ordered up a batch of lava bases.

When my bases came in the mail, I almost couldn't be happier. unfortunately, the shipment was missing about 4 of the infantry bases I ordered, but one email exchange later and the guys over at dark arts miniatures sent me the missing items. I layed out the bases and got them primed. one of the things I love about the lava bases is the variety. they have some bases with a lot of rocks, some with mostly lava, and everythign in between, including some nice soft lava flows.

The best parts, however, were the larger bases. other companies I looked at had some cool resin, but they only came in the small infantry size. that's great if you play all-infantry, but what if you have a few bigger models that need bases? not having a good resin base for them kills the entire look you're going for with resin. the bases I got, however, also had a number of terminator-sized bases (for my bikes and objectives) and large bases (for my wraithlord and venom).

You can see the bases in the picture above, fully painted. I am lucky to have a wife who is very supportive of my hobby, and in addition loves to paint. she saw how much stuff I was working on for the trip to Adepticon and offered to paint all of the bases for me! she did an amazing job. I think that my bases have gotten as many compliments as the rest of my army while I have been playing it here at my local store.

Soon I will post a second half to this article, which will deal with the actual process of using the resin bases. the process can be a bit difficult and I don't want to let this article run on too long. I have a few models left to base before Adepticon next weekend, and I plan on using them to create a step-by-step demo for using resin bases for your models.

Have you used resin bases in any of your armies? if so, what companies did you use? what method do you prefer for basing your models? or are you one of those guys who is quite happy with bare bases as long as the guys on top are painted up nicely?

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