by Eddie Grassie of Harrowgate

Even the best-painted miniature can be let down by a badly-done base. A little effort can make a big difference.


Filling materials such as masking tape, Plasticene or Clay, quick drying household filler, sand from pet shops, PVA glue, acrylic paints and ink.


This really depends on the type of figure and base being used. I find metal figures usually require more filling than plastics, which seem to fit their bases better.

Plastics - More often than not, a little of the white masking tape is enough to cover any holes in the slot base. Paint the base with base colour and allow drying.

Metals - May require more work. Cover any large holes in the slot base with masking tape, and then fill in around or between feet with plasticene or clay to disguise the slot. This is also the point to add any extra bits to the base, stones, plants or whatever. A thin coat of household filler mixed with your chosen base colour if you wish, will cover any filling work and provide a hard covering for plasticene. Paint over with the base colour, a couple of thin coats is best and allow drying.


Adding base colour to filling material or glue is a matter of personal preference: Whether you add colour or not, paint over the base with undiluted PVA glue. Dip the base into a box of sand, press down gently to ensure adhesion and leave in the sand while you prepare the next base. Just keep swapping the figures over each time, shake off any loose sand and leave to dry thoroughly.


Paint over the base with diluted base colour, the sand will still absorb a lot of fluid so you will need a fair bit of paint. Diluting it helps it flow better and get into all the nooks and crannies. Allow this coat to dry. Once it has dried, dry brush over with a lighter shade of your chosen base colour as a highlight. The more often you do this the lighter your ground colour will appear. For sci-fi figs, I find browns, blacks and greys the best colours to use.

If you use this method on figures with a solid base that has been glued on to a "Slot" type base or a home made base and the base of the figure is still obvious beneath the sand, a good tip is to put a heavier highlight, not on the ridge of the base but at the bottom where the two bases meet, highlight the rest of the base as normal. This nicely tricks the eye into not seeing.

Once all the above is dry, just go round and neaten up the edge of the base with what ever colour you use to match your table. Varnish. Dry. Get gaming.

When putting based figures onto standard bases, I blend the join with Milliput. It strengthens the join and makes the join less obvious.