Sunday 14 November 2010

Painting is Only Half the Job...

I've been working away like a mad man this weekend, modelling like there is no tomorrow in between various domestic tasks and projects. One of the major jobs completed was the basing for two Armoured Rifle Platoons and HQ for my Flames of War (Late War) US Armoured Company. I'll post some pics to back up this post when the light is better for shooting.
All that painting and basing means I had a lot of time to think, keeping the mind busy while the hands were at work. That brings me to my point: basing is just as important as painting, especially with smaller miniatres, say 15mm and under. To my mind there are a number of reasons this is the case. Here's the key ones from my perspective - feel free to add your own as comments.

Pimp It Up!
A miniature is a lot like a car. Anyone can own a plain old sedan but how many people do you know own a car with chrome mags, chop top, fully tricked block and leopard skin apolstery? Maybe that's an exaggeration but you get the point. Make an effort on the base and something ordinary becomes quite extraordinary.

Even better, effort invested in basing can compensate for average painting skills so if you're not the best painter in the world or you want your miniatures painted quickly then decent basing is the go.

Visual Drama
Every miniature's base is an opportunity to add to the drama of the model(s). A paint job says a lot about the model - who or what it is, where's its been before now and more. What it cannot do is put the model in context now. A base does that because it tells a story about where the model is at this very moment and what is happening around it. By chaning the basing style you can change the time, place, season, even the planet!

Decent Miniatures Deserve a Decent Base
You spent a lot of hard earned wonga on those models right? Hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Why would you skimp on the basing when you invest so much elsewhere? It's very easy to make an expensive, well painted model fade into the background with a dull or half finished base.

Basing is Cheap
The core materials for basing are glue, sticks, rocks, sand / plaster and paint. Most of that is either FREE or available at very little cost. All the natural stuff is right outside your door (assuming you live outside a city and even there you can hopefully find a park). The rest is mostly available in discount shops and hardware stores. As an example I use sample pots of paint for basing. One 250ml pot will last years, even at the rate I go through the stuff.

Basing is Easy
The hardest part of basing is the effort of doing it. The actual skills required are simple, easy to learn and can be executed quickly and in a production line method. Some people are a bit better at arranging figures and terrain on a base to reflect an interesting or realistic situation but anyone can space things out, balance materials vs. miniatures, etc.

Bring It All Together
Where there are dfferent units or miniatures in an army the basing is an opportunity to bring the whole force together. That leaves you room to experiment with different paint schemes between units without things looking like a mad woman's breakfast.

Ego Massage
Let's face it, one of the best parts of being a gamer is showing off that new toy to your mates. How much more impressed will they be when the base is every bit as good as the paint work? There's nothing more encouraging than compliments and every time you get one it will spur you on to even greater heights.

Vive la Difference
Unless you're lucky enough to be able to scuplt you're going to be stuck more or less with the same models everyone else has, me included. Even some conversion work or green stuff can only make your miniatures so much different from what everyone else can buy. Not so with basing. Your bases are entirely your own, bringing a uniqueness to your models. Every single base can be different in hundreds of ways from materials to composition.

And That's Enough...
I can think of a good few more reasons to base well - re-sale value, protection for the miniatures, simple enjoyment and more but that wil do for now. Hopefully if you've read this it will encourage you so make a bigger effort next time you're basing your miniatures. If you do get stuck in please leave a comment and a link so others can enjoy and get inspired. Thanks for reading!


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