Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Bountiful Basing Buffoonery from Blanche and Buddle...

Okay, about time for another blog post I feel (okay, overdue I'll admit).

When John gave me notes on his painting for my last post he also talked a little about basing. I decided his thoughts would be more appropriate for their own post though I'm also going to touch a little on my own basing technique...

First up, basing thoughts from Mr Blanchitsu himself. Fundamentally John sees his figures as gaming pieces, despite the level of work, and thus he doesn't like to go overboard on his bases. He doesn't like them too elaborate or too high and refers to it as a frame for the mini and also remarking that he dislikes the big guilded frames often found surrounding paintings in galleries. He finds them disrespectful to the artist. Frames should not be noticed, they are not in competition with the artist just as the base should not be in competition with the figure. Consider the figure moving through a grim futuristic landscape, not stuck to 10 tons of wreckage every step.

As well as regular sand, John also uses Bicarbonate of Soda as basing material which is a lot finer. Looking at his figures it gives just enough texture to pick up the paintbrush strokes without building things up too much. The different grades of sand work nicely to break up the groundwork. Though at pains to not go too nuts over his bases I'm sure John doesn't want them to be dull. A little interest on the base goes a long way... be it a skull or some discarded remnant of tech.

I rather like painting bases on my own figures though I have a slightly unusual take on things. Painting the base is my first step in painting rather than the usual last one. I find if I paint the base last it can become a bit of an afterthought and so I like to 'set the scene' right at the start. The only real part I don't do is add static grass (or tufts) as I like to varnish figures and it's easier to add this stuff afterwards. But whether an army figure or a grand Golden Demon entry, base is almost always first.

Now, I really need to get basing on my latest painting project, I'm well behind schedule...


  1. Another interesting post. The bicarbonate idea is useful, I was considering it only for snow. If miniatures are fundamentally gaming pieces , it makes sense to not overshadow the sculpt as the focal point. On the other hand if like me you don't game that often or use minis as art pieces in there own right . Then base then becomes an extension of the whole and should be treated as such.

  2. If we are to talk about 'frames' in relation to figures (or not), I can't help thinking this figure doesn't quite work. Regardless of whether the base is gilded or plain, the miniature will always create a composition within that boundary. It's something I've been thinking about a lot recently (though the fact that my recent work has featured 10 tons of wreckage within the composition is beside the point!).

    Really enjoying these posts though, and above all, they're making me want to paint!

  3. its a personal thing - very individual - the way we do things should always be to individual taste - we do what we each want and so it always should be - i think maybe im pretty much a traditionalist - i still love toy soldiers and in a way i do not want to move to far away from that point but i do not analyse it but if i did i would say that im trying to achieve a dynamic sketch - a moment in all time of potential action - i cannot do the pristine smooth beautifully mounted, it would take to long and frustrate me no end failing - some of neils stuff seems to move into the diorama or narrative grouping which is storey tellling - andrews work is stunning - i could never do that but im enjoying being elemental as migs says .....

  4. actually neil transcends dioramas - he creates environments ....

  5. Vive la différence! :)

    And another blog bookmarked. Opus Maius: wow!

  6. yup another stimulating blog - do you have one andrew - thought i would buy your running lady this morning when i saw it was resin but alas sold out .... im pretty much finished with metal .........

  7. Cheers guys ;-)

    @John yep story telling is ma thang..

    @Andrew Ditto, beautiful sculpts mate.

  8. @John: Sorry you missed the resin girls, it was a fleeting appearance I'm afraid!. I really like resin as a material but there doesn't seem to be much spare capacity amongst resin casters so metal is the only viable option at the moment for full-scale production. I do have a blog:
    It's a bit quiet since I scaled back the commission work but I might broaden what I post to include a bit of hobby stuff; I'm desperate to paint again!

    @Neil: Cheers!