I've only backed a couple of Kickstarters in my life so far. This isn't because I'm against the concept - far from it! Rather, I have so much hobby stuff already that it takes something a bit out of the ordinary for me to become really enthusiastic about committing to something that probably won't arrive for the best part of a year.
Last October, I did indeed see a proposed project that grabbed my attention. This was Basius II, from Wargames Bakery. I paid up, held my breath and waited. Just before I went away for my summer holiday this July, I received my 2 pads.
Mine is by no means the only blog article on Basius pads, but here you will find my own initial reactions. For other opinions, a quick, somewhat arbitrary search reveals these other reviews:
- The Figure Fanatic
- Tactical Suicide
- De Bellis Futuris (original Basius I pads, not II)
The Basius II Pads
So, what are Basius pads? They're inverse relief push moulds for making bases. You prepare a base by putting some form of putty on a firm backing, push it into the mould, pull it off again and let the putty harden. Sounds simple, right?
Each pad is a resin rectangle just under 7" (18cm) square. They come in a number of different themes (19 in total, such as Forest, Victoriana, Plaguelands...)
|Basius II pads: Urban and Dungeon (the "clean" sides).|
and they are double sided. It seems that every pad has one side that is relatively clean & tidy, whilst the other side is much more cluttered. This gives a huge range of options for the model-maker; the number of unique bases which can be cast is effectively infinite.
|Basius II pads: Urban and Dungeon (the "busy" sides).|
Experiments in Basing
1. Milliput, used immediately
So, I dived straight in without giving it much thought. My first attempt was to use a layer of Milliput on a steel washer. I wet the moulds slightly (with water) and pressed the bases in.
|Milliput bases, pressed immediately. Note that part of the bottom, right base stuck to the mould and had to be repaired with Green Stuff when it had hardened|
Interlude. Release Agent
At this point, I wondered if the sticking putty was due to my use of water on the moulds. Instead, I ordered some release agent and waited for this to arrive. Release agents such as this are readily available from online suppliers; they're widely used when moulding pottery and many other things.
|Big bottle of mould release agent.|
A liquid release agent is very simple, I believe. It's a solvent (such as white spirits/turpentine) with paraffin wax dissolved in it. You paint the release agent onto the mould, the solvent then evaporates and a thin coat of paraffin wax is left on the mould surface. The casting material won't stick to the paraffin wax, or at least that's the theory!
2. Green Stuff, used immediatelyFor my second attempt at basing, I used most of my very small supply of Green Stuff. Once more, I pressed the moulds immediately and even though I had used the new release agent, I still had difficulties separating the new base from the pad.
|Green Stuff bases, pressed immediately. Note the mark on the edge of the left hand base where I used a tool to separate it from the mould.|
The detail on these is even softer than on the Milliput bases and the bases were hard to remove. Again, this method is not recommended! At least it didn't leave putty all over the mould.
3. Green Stuff, left to cureWhilst contemplating my lack of success in the first attempts, I actually went and found some instructions online. These suggested leaving the putty to cure for quite a while before attempting to press it into the mould. The timing of this is really a matter of judgement; the aim is for the material to have lost all stickiness, but still be somewhat malleable.
|Green Stuff base, left to cure. It's a pity that I didn't have enough putty to make the entire base!|
Several hours later, I returned from the computer and realised that there was a little bit of already-mixed Green Stuff left over from my earlier attempt. I thought it worth an experiment, so I slapped it onto a 25mm washer and pressed it (again, using the commercial release agent). This worked pretty well, though there wasn't enough material to make a complete base. OK, now we're getting there!
4. Milliput, left to cureI was now out of Green Stuff, so I decided to try Milliput again. As well as having some to hand, this is a much cheaper putty; if it worked then it would be great!
|Milliput bases, left to cure for ~2 hours before pressing|
After leaving the Milliput to harden for quite a long time, I prepared the moulds with release agent and went to press the new bases. This worked much better than the first attempt; the putty came away from the mould more easily (and therefore with less damage to the moulding) and the detail was reasonably crisp. It's still not perfect, though: there wasn't quite enough putty on some of the bases to reach the very deepest parts of the mould.
I think I'm getting the hang of this. Basius pads (or indeed, any press moulding) takes a bit of experimentation and practice to find the best combination of materials and technique. It's not quite as easy as it might seem!
So far, I've only tried quite small (25mm) bases and I've only used parts of the pads with relatively little depth of relief. I suspect that changing either of these parameters will make the task more difficult.
However, despite the apparent negativity of that last sentence, I'm actually pretty excited about having these pads. Yes, they're quite expensive and yes, they'll take some getting used to before I can produce perfect results. But I'm up for it; the creativity that such terrain pads could unleash is considerable and I'm sure that the technical hurdles aren't really that great. For someone like me who builds a lot of models, these could be very useful!
Hours of endless (even if a little frustrating) fun and you've probably ended up with some unique bases.ReplyDelete
I've just ordered a whole lot more Green Stuff, so I should soon be able to make more bases than I can possibly need :-) !Delete
Thanks, HW. They're a neat idea; I just wish I could have justified buying a few more...Delete
I've also had a go with one of my Basius pads. I bought a supply of Greenstuff in advance and use liquid Vaseline as a release agent. I found that the Vaseline works very well and leaving the Greenstuff 10-15 minutes to cure is sufficient. As the mention the big one to watch is ensuring there is enough Greenstuff on the base for deep recesses. Another thing to mention is actually attaching the figure. I cut the metal base away to leave just the feet and pushed these into the putty while it was still soft. This created two perfect shaped holes that the figure could be glued into when the Greenstuff was fully cured. It may be necessary to pin some figures, especially large ones. Pleased I got mine (imperial and Victoriana) and considering getting the dungeon one as well...ReplyDelete
Thanks, Lee - it's always good to hear how other people have managed. I'm wondering now if the way to deal with deep recesses is to push the putty into the mould *first*, then to press the base backing (washer, MDF, whatever) onto that. Hmm...Delete
It is a very interesting idea. If I only used elaborately textured bases I am sure I would be doing the experiments with you. I wish you well and hope to see some excellent bases in the future.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Clint. The danger is, of course, that I experiment so much that I end up with far too many bases!Delete
Brill posting C6. I thought yours was by far the most informative of the lot and they certainly look like something you have to become quite experienced with before you reap the rewards of your investment. As Clint says, I'm looking forward to seeing some stellar bases in the future as you continue to experiment and improve.ReplyDelete
Wow, thanks! Ok, it looks as if I'm going to have to practice more, but also to finish off some figures on these bases. Actually, my last 2 figures (http://colgar6.blogspot.com/2015/09/for-first-time-in-forever.html) were fixed to my very first, experimental Basius bases :-) .Delete
What an excellent idea, I can see why you backed it. I'm sure your costs will be recouped sooner rather than later given the price of some resin bases out there. Good luck in your experiments, looking forward to seeing the results soon.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Bob. I'm not really doing this as an economy to avoid buying resin bases, though. Rather, it appeals to the craft/artistic side of me.Delete
I was fascinated by these when I saw them, but didn't back it (probably about the only thing I haven't backed lately - I am so weak!) You certainly seem to be getting the hang of it though, such a great idea.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Michael. It's one of those rare products that seems so obviously useful when you see it - but not anything you though you needed before then, isn't it?Delete
Thanks for the review. They look really good - wish I'd spotted the KS, now.ReplyDelete
I'm sure that these pads will be on general sale at some point!Delete
Good work on the bases. Try and error is a very tiring process, and nobody can be sure satisfaction will be the end result.ReplyDelete
It is good to see that you went through the pain and get a result you like.
I am all for clear bases whenever I can now, it is not easier but I don't have to work on the base anymore.
Thanks, Cedric. I think I'm getting better, but we'll only know for sure when I've got some more Green Stuff to try :-) .Delete
Great post Colgar. The trial and error you went through will save other hobbyists much heartache. By the way, tow long did you leave the putty to cure (i.e. both the green stuff and milliput)? Any idea what the average temperature and humidity was during the curing process? Silly questions I know ^_^ as who would check the humidity when hobbying but hey you never know. :)ReplyDelete
Well, I don't know that I've got the recipe perfect yet, but if this helps anyone else then thats a good thing.Delete
How long did I leave the putty to dry? I'm not sure, but it was quite a long time. Roughly speaking, I thought of the time it would take to harden completely (different for Milliput or Green Stuff) and waited for half of that time. I suspect I could have made the mouldings much sooner, though - as soon as the putty was no longer sticky when touched.
Temperature and humidity? Perhaps somewhere between 17 and 22 degrees Centigrade, with "average" humidity (i.e. neither bone-dry desert nor tropical monsoon)? But I'm not sure any of that really matters anyway; the "sticky to touch" test is probably more useful....