Saturday, February 15, 2014

Quick and Easy Basing

Let's talk basing methods for a bit. A very mundane topic, I know. Lots of people swear by the trusty old pva glue and sand combo, and I used to use a variation involving watered-down wood glue and sawdust, but I've always found it to be a bit messy. My workspace is dirty enough without loose specks of sand or sawdust getting everywhere. Keeping stray glue (and therefore sawdust) off my minis was a pain (I used worn out brushes for glue application, so it was never as precise as I hoped). Basing had really become a chore. However, I eventually stumbled onto a solution, pumice gel medium.

Where have you been all my life?

This stuff is sold at art supply stores and is used to create textures or grounds for pastels. It comes in several different grades: fine, coarse, and extra coarse. I decided on coarse as a happy medium (no pun intended). It's basically gritty goop that comes in a plastic tub. Fun stuff.  You can just put a dab of the stuff on a base and use a small flat tool to smooth it out. I used a sculpting tool to spread it around. It's surprisingly controllable, but if any gets on your mini or over the edge of the base, it's easy to wipe off with just your finger (or your tool if it gets in a narrow space). It also has a fairly long drying time, so you can manipulate it or clean off any excess well before it sets.

When you first apply it, it looks fairly thick. In fact, I had anticipated it creating the effect of my minis wading through some muck. After a day of drying, it flattens out pretty well. You can also squish it down before it completely sets.

Immediately after application.
Shorty looks like he's playing in the snow.
After being left to dry for a day, it just looks like a sandy base.
Any excess wet pumice gel can just be scraped back into the tub to be used later, so you don't have to worry about it going to waste. It cleans up easily, you can just wipe your tool down with a wet paper towel (oh dear). It's fairly cheap, too. I think I paid like $8 for an 8-ounce tub, which should last me for several hundred miniatures from the looks of it. Hopefully this comes in handy for anyone who's tired of slopping glue onto their bases and dunking them in a tub of sand.

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