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Monday, May 7, 2012
Modeling: Regimental Bases (and Poll Results)
On my desk I've got the Red Guard skeletons. I'm working up a tutorial on their conversion and painting, but it will be a few weeks before that's finished. In the meantime, I want to talk about regimental basing.
In my first units, all the models were based individually. In those days, my friends and I were playing fairly small games, so a unit of 20 single skeletons wasn't much of an issue. As my army grew, I found myself with units of 40 zombies or 30 skeletons and setup was suddenly taking forever. I learned about regimental basing and began implementing it in my newer undead units.
When I started my Skaven army, I took it a step further, deciding not to have any more individual elements than I actually needed. My first unit of 30 Clanrats has just 17 components.
I prefer to keep the front rank as single models, to facilitate placement of characters and shifting (or removal) of the unit champion. Likewise, the back rank has a few single models for casualty removal. Every other model in the unit is on a regimental base.
There are GW-made regimental bases which accommodate four models:
For ranks that are 6 models wide, I built some two-man regimental bases.
Making the 2-man strips is simple enough. Use some thin styrene card (mine is about 1mm thick) and super glue the bases onto it, butted up against each other. Be sure to get the glue completely around the perimeter of each base so the card won't flap open on the bottom. (This is also a good use for any off-cuts of card left over from terrain projects.)
You can use this technique to make longer strips. For that I would recommend using a straight edge to ensure the rows are perfectly straight.
Once the glue dries use a hobby knife to trim the edges off. Unless you're making a really long strip, you probably don't need a metal ruler; you can use the bases as a guide. Just don't press so hard that you accidentally cut into the base (or worse, yourself). A few light passes and you'll be able to snap the card off along the score line.
Now here's the trick for making the strips look like a professionally-made product: Use the edge of your knife to scrape the edge of the card so it's perfectly flush with the base. You may need to scrape into the base itself a bit. The technique is the same as scraping away mold lines. Fine grain, flat sanding sticks may also help. In the end you should have a smooth edge where, once painted, the card is indistinguishable from the base.
I find that these 4-man, 2-man, and single bases are all I need. If I want to go to a horde formation, I use two of the 4-man strips and one 2-man strip. In the back rank, I leave two or four single models, which come off first as casualties, and are then used to "make change" when I start pulling out the longer strips.
These regimental strips make setting up a breeze, and they also take up less real estate in my miniature cases. As you can see here, one strip of four takes up less space than 3 single models.
That's a GW case above. My custom cut trays are a little more efficient, and I've even gone as far as placing the models base-to-base to take up even less space.
My first attempt at regimental basing was inspired by images in the 2001 Vampire Counts book. I used 40mm bases to make scenic bases for these skeleton spearmen. While looking really nice, they turned out to be problematic. Due to their size, they need to be transported in a different tray from the rest of the unit. And since they overlap two ranks, I end up needing to do a lot of model shuffling when casualties occur. I'll stick to the strips from now on.
You may have noticed the Vargheists on my table. I picked up a box of those the other day. There aren't any extra bits in the box; just the parts to make the models, but there are extra heads and, of course, the spare parts from whichever version you don't build.
I must say, I'm a little put out by the inconsistent anatomy from model to model. Each figure has a different wing structure, none of them are correct "bat anatomy" and that's gonna bug me to no end. Might be a while before I get to these, and figure out how to modify their wings. (Do I really want to resculpt the wings on six of these...?)
So the results are in. There were 82 votes in total, which is a pretty good turnout. I had mentioned how votes were vanishing, and at the close of the poll there were only 64 votes appearing. Later in the week, the number jumped to 82, which put Black Templars ahead of Vampire Counts. (If anyone knows why the poll is so jumpy, drop me a comment.) It's a good thing this wasn't for a contest with a prize or people would be (rightfully) calling shenanigans!
The Final Standings:
14 Black Templars
12 Vampire Counts
1 LOTR (write-in vote)
I hope to eventually cover all of my armies and projects, but this list gives me a solid idea of what to prioritize when posting. Thanks to everyone for participating! Looks like terrain has the overwhelming support, so I better get building...