Monday, March 28, 2011

Hobby - Basing My Army, Part 2

in my first hobby article , I talked about making a decision to use resin lava bases for my Harlequin army. As I started moving my models from their plastic bases to the new resin bases, I realized it was going to be a lot more complicated than I had originally intended. You see, resin doesn't bond with plastic glue like your standard GW bases, and even superglue has a lot of trouble getting a good bond with the stuff. superglue works ok for steady models (though even the one steady model I used superglue on fell off without much force...), but for leaping harlequin models (especially the metal ones) superglue didn't even come close to being an ideal solution.

After discovering that, I made my first attempt at drilling and pinning models. I know a lot of people pin and drill every metal model they use, but I have never given it a try. If you already pin your stuff regularly, this article probably isn't for you. This is more for people like me who had never tried to pin my models and couldn't find a good guide to working with pins and resin. If that interests you, read on!

Warning: this tutorial is fairly pic-heavy...

First, get your supplies together. what I used:
* craft knife
* pliers/wire cutters
* pin vice
* paper clips
* metal file
* superglue
* greenstuff
* cup/lid full of water

For this example, I am doing a batch of 7 of my aspirants (wyches). for some of my other squads I did the whole unit at once, but for this tutorial I am only doing a small set of models. Also, before basing them, I painted both the bases and the models. you could just as easily attach them and then paint them, but I didn't want to try to paint the very detailed bases after they were attached to my models. instead, I secured each model to their factory standard base with a tiny dot of glue on a single point of contact to make for easy removal when I was ready for basing.

The first thing I did was cut out my pins. I find it easier to do things in batches, so I cut out all of my pins at once with slightly varying lengths, hoping that the different foot shapes and poses would match some of the longer/shorter pins. people use a lot of different materials, and a lot of modellers swear by copper or brass rods for pinning models. I just used paper clips, and they worked like a charm. if you don't happen to have a bunch of copper wire laying around, just grab some paper clips... you don't need very many of them. I have based 60+ infantry in the last couple weeks and only used about 3 or 4 paper clips. the length of each pin depends on how thick your bases are, and how thick the model's point of contact is going to be.

simple paper clips work just fine

Once the pins were ready, I started removing my models from their current bases. several of these were simple, since i had only glued them with a tiny bead of glue on a single point. however, some of the models weren't that simple. specifically, the models using the wych plastic legs. these required a small amount of cutting with a craft knife to remove the foot from the plastic bar that holds the model into the base. not a hard thing to do, but be careful no to snap the foot while cutting.

the other models that had some issues were the old metal harlequins. I got these second-hand already partially painted or at least primed. and they were all already glued in... if you are suing metal models, just don't glue them in while painting. if you (like me) like to have a base to hold while painting and the model keeps slipping out, just secure it with a bit of putty while painting. if they are already glued, however, you will have to cut the bases. I just used an exacto knife to slice through the thinnest part of the base, and then snapped the two halfs right off. takes a little brute force, depending on the glue, but shouldn't be too hard. you will likely need to use pliers to twist off or cut off the metal tab, and then file down any excess metal.

you can see here where the cut should be made. hopefully you don't need that base for anything else!

Once you have your models cut off of their old bases, match them to their new resin bases. plastic bases are simple because they all have the same amount of surface space and they are nice and level. resin, while adding that nice look we wanted in the first place, can provide some challenges when trying to fit your model on to the base properly. some bases are nice and flat or at least symmetrical, allowing you to place those wide-stance models like guardians. other are hard to use for anything other than a leaping or running pose. and some have cool rocks in the middle that allow for a bit of repositioning to model your guy with one leg up on a rock in a neat pose.

the next step is drilling our models and bases. I used a cheap pin vice (you can find them for 12 bucks on amazon) with a 1.2 mm bit. using a pin vice is actually a lot easier than I expected, and can even cut through a metal model with only a little pressure. line up your model on the resin base and decide where you want to glue it. drill a small hole in the foot you would like to secure. most models only need a single drilled point of contact. heavier models may need a second pin, but almost any infantry model will stay just fine with a single pinned foot. if you do use a second pin, once both holes are drilled in the model put the pins into the holes and dip them in paint. gently press the wet ends on to the resin base to mark exactly where you need to drill.

careful not to cut all the way through a thin foot...

If you aren't using two pins, just find the approximate spot the foot is going to contact and drill the matching hole. make sure you test fit the pin at this point! if the pin is too long, you will need to either recut the pin or drill a bit deeper on one side.

this is about the size you want your pins

Once the holes are drilled and the test-fitting is done, we can start securing the models. if you want, you could just add superglue and push it all together. I decided with all the play time these guys will have to endure at Adepticon and after I wanted to make them as secure as possible. in addition to the superglue, I used a tiny bit of greenstuff. you don't want to use much at all. if the piece you pull of looks a little too small to you, you probably have too much. put a dab of glue on the model's foot and a dab on the base hole. Push the pin into the hole in the model's foot. next press the tiny amount of greenstuff around the exposed end of the pin using the flat end of a knife.

this blob was still too big... and it is half the size of a wyche's sole

Press the pieces together and hold for a few seconds to get a good hold. the greenstuff helps here, it is tacky enough to keep small pieces from shifting after you let go, unless the model has too much weight sticking off of one side. cut off any excess greenstuff that seeped out, and let dry. later on you can touch up the paint so that the green isn't visible.

and there you are! a fully-based model, no flocking needed. the process doesn't take too long once everything is painted. I did these 7 in one evening before dinner (only took about 2 hours total).

Feel free to leave comments below. how do you base your models? did you find this helpful? I know it is fairly basic, but I had no idea how to do this before I started.

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