Casting bases for my little traitors…

Apologies if this seems a little long winded today.  Being rather visual I prefer to avoid long winded texts in what is fundamentally a blog about pictures of the miniatures I paint.  Sometimes its just unavoidable, as in this case.

It is a wee bit of my technical process for making bases to measure, feel free to just look at the pictures though, I don’t mind.

😉

Convoy!

Convoy!

Epic 40,000 is played with lots of fun tiny models.  Traditionally in epic it seems to me that models were often unpainted as many of my contemporary players used the tanks unbased.  This is not any problem for the rules as it is generally obvious when something is in range or not.  I am from the “base the damn model!” school of thought – the best painters are I hazard to think.

It is better to protect that nice paint job you spent hours on with a sturdy base.  Basing makes painting much easier as I won’t paw my paint job with my trotters accidentally.  Basing is an opportunity to bring uniformity to your forces, or to designate one part of it from another, e.g. square base – infantry, round base – vehicle.

I had some years previously based my imperial guard Epic tanks using Warmaster bases.  This proved to be kind of not quite what I should have done with them.  What I should have done was used a round convex shape.  Round just works better for more shapes of model than rectangular.  The convex shape means the vehicle model can be placed driving up or down the slope and lurching from one side or the other.  This allows a formation of them to get away from the cookie cutter look of lots of tankmodels on planar bases.

For this project I grabbed a suitable shape to begin with.  The most apt thing I could find to hand was an old flying base which I had previously based with sand and spayed black for some abandoned project.  The epic tanks looked good on it and that was enough for me to make a mould.

Master model (with the bit of a pen that was super glued to it) and silicon moulds.

Master model (with the bit of a pen that was super glued to it) and silicon moulds

I used the two part silicon stuff that hardens from a putty to set in like 10 mins or less.  It takes a bit of trial and error to get it right with this stuff but I like it because I can mould using hot led which is quite dangerous on a few levels but is very 80’s and rock and roll in my twisted mind.   This stuff is soft and easily damaged by carelessness but quite robust vs. lead. It can take a lot of castings (I have gone as high as about 20 but one could certainly do more).  However I found it important to let the mould cool down a little after about 4 castings or the lead takes too long to cool in the mould.

Siligum

Siligum – comes in larger packs as well

I am not really a fan of resin as it’s not particularly dangerous enough to be exciting but more importantly I can’t bend the $%^! out of a resin casting should I wish to repose a casting a bit.

The base is cast using a high quality lead based alloy

The base is cast using a high quality lead based alloy

A lovely texture base, exactly what I wanted.

Tiny Rhino

Tiny Rhino

Tiny Land Raider

Tiny Land Raider

I promised you some Rhinos...

I promised you some Rhinos…

So now I am off to paint the buggers!

Next issue – Assault and Tactical detatchments!

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8 Responses to “Casting bases for my little traitors…”

  1. Thats a nice, looking mould. The retired industrial protoyping modelmaker in me approves of its layout and general tidiness. I have said it before, but I must take a look at your casting paraphenalia one of these days, for nostalgia sake if nothing else 🙂

    A set of matching discs with irregular surfaces could likely be achieved in a less labour intensive and less expensive fashion, but if you are enjoying the process then thats fair enough too. Where are you getting the lead? Is it pure lead? It doesnt look like it. Is it Prince August casting metal?

    The Prince August factory is about an hour from my place and worth a trip sometime if you are around.

    Are those smaller flying bases are 25mm or 30mm diameter?

    • A nice advantage of lead for this is that I get nice heavy models instead of “gone with the wind” plastic. I will probably end up making a lot of them in the long run for epic tanks of which I have legions.

      The size is just over 30mm diameter which works well for all but the biggest epic tanks.

      I do indeed use our own Prince August for my casting needs. This is the MODEL METAL variety which is good product indeed. It works out about €1 per base in lead costs making it relatively expensive, but this is a large piece equivalent to casting a 28mm model I estimate.

      The best part of this process is that I get to control the final base design very tightly – if I was doing them as individual builds they would vary slightly more in appearance and become tedious to mass produce. Now when I want to base up 10 more tanks, I know I just need half an hour and 2 bars of gold pressed latinum and I am sorted.

      When I read your reply it occurred to me that as my entry into the hobby was from a Prince August fantasy starter set, I cast a miniature before I ever painted one!

      The goblin on the left is the fist figure I cast and subsequently painted. In retrospect the goblins were quite charming in that range – lots of dodgy looking fantasy minis from this company though. I may cast up some as best I can and paint them to a high standard for a laugh on this blog.

      http://shop.princeaugust.ie/moulds-by-scale/25mm-scale-moulds/25mm-scale-3x-goblins-moulds/

      • I had the same goblin mould back in the mid-eighties along with some warg riders, elves and a catapult of some sort 🙂 I also used to melt down some of my grandfathers lead fishing weights to stretch out the material. I learned lessons on crisp detail retention (or the lack of really) when casting via lumps of that. Smearing stinky enamels on those figures was the first bit of miniature painting that I engaged in.

        Prince August supplied a pamphlet or wargaming rules with a colour cover back then. I had read RPG rulesets prior to that, but it was the first wargaming rule set that I ever read. I never played it. I dread to think how it might look/play now.

        You and I should have a spin over to the factory some time that you are visiting. Prince August have always given me discounts on purchases made in person at the factory shop, which is quite a nice place to visit in its own right. You might be able to stock up on supplies.

      • hehehe yeah I remember the pain of substandard casting detail from inferior quality, nothing teaches like an object lesson. The enamels were a bitch to use and I didn’t discover acrylics till several years later with GW products.

        That goblin wolf rider model was pretty cool if a little on the titchy side by today’s gargantuan wolves but that was before the scale creep when miniatures were generally 25mm. I have a painted catapult and cannon from their range on my shelves. I might post a picture of them soon. I even have a unit of prince august zombies which I used for WHFB back in the day.

        I would love to do a visit to the factory. Good opportunity to stock up on Modelmetal!

  2. Lead is certainly old school – I like the idea of using convex bases to introduce some variety in an easy way. Thanks for sharing

  3. Is this how you made the eagle warrior mould/cast?
    I’m impressed, aside from the same prince august moulds everyone had (loved the catapult myself) my experience of mouldmaking only goes as far as making fishing weights with stolemn lead, potatoes and a match.

    • Yep, I made that guy using the Siligum method, something I am still refining but as I go on I am moving towards a sort of apple press design built out of lego. I am pretty adept using RTV silicon now also but I think the Siligum press method is my favourite approach for a number of reasons. I have the Prince August Catapult mould if you need another copy. 😉

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