Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Basing Evolution

Originally the finishing of bases for 40k minis was simple. Glue some sand on and paint green. The purpose of adding sand and painting was primarily to hide the connection between the mini and it's base, particularly for the metal models. Check out old White Dwarfs and see that some sand with goblin green and a yellow dry brush over was the standard way of finishing off the base, and allowing it to blend into the typically green playing surface. With the introduction of plastic minis things changed. The location of the mini on the base could change, no need for metal pins to fix the heavier model in place. It became easier to add bits to the base and glue the models feet on them to create greater dynamism of the models, fluff and game headology. Still many well painted minis out there don't even have that finish to their base. A bit of paint perhaps or not even painted at all. For simple basing now that 40k has gone all dark and gloomy browns or greys are commonly used. Really little change from before.

For fluff this lascannon steel legion team are squatting in the mud in the ash wastes of Armageddon. The charge pack is perched above the mud on a stone. The mud effect is made by painting liquid green stuff in a patch in the centre of the coarse sanded base

More intricate basing could be used to link models who are part of a team and add some dynamism to the base. Here the drug stim crazed missile launcher team are in the process of reloading the launcher while nearby a lasrifle has been embedded in the grass by its bayonet and a spare missile is stuck nose down into the ground. They seem to know what they are up to so perhaps the dice gods will give them a better than 50:50 chance of hitting their target.

Here another missile team squats behind some battle field wreckage. While cover for cover saves cannot be incorporated on a base perhaps the suggestion of a cover hugging squad might increase the chance of favourable save rolls? Or persuade an opponent to try for another target, forgetting that cover cannot be incorporated on to bases. For another bit of headology adding height to a minis base to make it appear more imposing or threatening might just draw fire or attention or otherwise disrupt an opponents thought processes to their disadvantage. Obviously think about how the verticaly enhanced character is to be deployed or all that attention might take them out the game early. Does basing influence players? It probably does subliminally. Is this another aspect of the metagame or is it a legal way of getting a slight advantage?


Mordian7th said...

I know my basing has evolved over the years and the models definitely look better for it. When I was first starting out back in the RT era my painting was poor and the bases were just painted green. Later I started just slathering the base with glue and adding flocking which was a step in the right direction. Later I went with gravel (important to have a mix of various granularities), then got into using static grass and more recently scattered leaves and whatnot, as well as the occasional use of resincast bases. It's surprising how much of a difference spending time on the bases helps the model itself look better!

Fantastic article that really got me thinking about the evolution over the years - keep up the great work!

Artificer said...

Mordian7th - could not agree more about spending time on the mini's base. Thanks for the kind words as well

Knight of Infinite Resignation said...

I'm careful to use low profile bases which don't add to a minis height. 40k rules are silly (TLOS) in that the actual model is looked at to see if it is in cover, rather than a generic size category which is in or out of cover according to generic categories of cover.

Your tall model is in even more danger now in 6th, if joined to a squad, if his cover safe is different he can be sniped out.

Artificer said...

Knights - true a tall model could be individually targeted but that can be part of a game plan. Your opponent is going to shoot at something after all, why not help them make the choice of target. To take your point of LOS an army with all mini's kneeling or lying flat would give you the reduced visibility advantage but the bases could still worked on.