Wargaming Tradecraft: Pinning Heavy / Large Models to Bases (and Mountain King WIP)

Pinning Heavy / Large Models to Bases (and Mountain King WIP)

"Overkill is my style...
and I think big." *
Today I'm going to look at a couple ways to attach models to their bases that'll be more secure than just gluing them down. On larger scale models or those that are heavy, you really want to make sure they're firmly attached to their base, won't rock around, snap if they're jostled or apply too much pressure to the terrain around their feet. You'll also get to see more photos of how the Mountain King project came together.

I've discussed simple and advanced pinning before, which is the act of drilling holes in the joints of larger models so that when you glue it together, you can stick metal rods in and strengthen the connection.

Don't feel bad if you don't get this sci-fi reference. It's super obscure and Canadian. Although, yes, that's the Human Centipede guy.

Sizing things Up

The first thing I like to do when working with large models is get a feel for where they'll sit on the base.

The easiest way to do this while working away is to paint a border around anything that'll end up on the base itself. This way, you've always got a reference as you work and move the model around.

Pinning to a Base

First attempts at pinning the Mountain King.
As I discussed in simple pinning, paint where you want to pin the feet and press the model to the base to create guides for drilling.

Drill the holes.

Stick the pins in but don't glue them yet.

With the pins in the feet, press the model against the base and make sure everything lines up. If not, drill the holes larger or make new holes to correct.

Now, you could cut the pins short, which would offer a little strength, but you'd only get a few millimeters of support.

What I suggest is to bend the pins into an " L ". (If the base is like this the 120mm Privateer Press one, you may have to cut out some of the supports underneath.)

The easiest way to bend the pins is to bend them before gluing anything, then you can push them through the holes from below and glue them to the bottom of the base. The important thing is that they're bent well enough that the base still presses against the table and isn't propped up by the pins.

Pinning a Legion of Everblight beast.

When Pins aren't Enough

Here's where the overkill comes in. I was worried that pins wouldn't be strong enough. I also wanted an easy way to mount / remove him to / from the base as I was sculpting and painting all the hard to reach spots. So, I went with a bolt / nut system which ended up working fantastically. This is how:
I drilled through his ankle
  1. Drill a hole large and long enough for the bolt. (what screws in)
    * Be careful not to drill too far. Larger holes like this will be more noticeable and need more work to fix if you drill all the way through the foot.
  2. Drill a slightly larger hole on top of it, just deep enough for the nut. (What the bolt screws into.)
  3. Carve the larger hole into a hexagon so the nut makes a perfect fit.
  4. Glue the nut in.
    * The metal may be too smooth to rely on it alone.
    * Be careful not to get glue in the threads of the nut.
  5. Fill any loose space around the nut with green stuff.
Now you can bolt your model to their base and take it off as many times as you need to throughout a large project. When you're finally ready to commit, you can still use glue to solidify everything.

Worth noting, I ran into one problem, which was that that resin of the foot was too weak to handle the pressure of screwing the bolt in. I had those holes fit really well around it too, but as I started screwing it all together, the bolt started turning and chewing through the resin. That's why I filled around it with green stuff, which removed all play.


The other thing to make sure of is that the head of the bolt is thinner than the underside of the base. Meaning if the base is sitting on the table, the bolt isn't causing it to wobble.

I was just using bolts/nuts I had on hand, so I had to carve the base to be a little thinner to make the head of the bolt fit. Just make sure you don't carve all the way through.

Nuts and bolts are available from hardware, automotive and some electronic stores.

I had one person ask about using screws instead of nuts and bolts. Totally viable option if you're going to screw it in once and leave it alone. If you want to remove the screws to take the model off its base, then screw it back in, you will eventually strip the hole and the screw won't fit anymore. You'll either need a thicker / longer screw or to screw it in somewhere else. Each of these options risks damage to a model you've been working on for a while.


This was probably excessive, since I had an idea that by the end he'd be ankle-deep in some form of water effect, which would do a good job of holding him in place. However, not wanting to take any chances, I'm glad I devised a way to make sure he is not going ANYWHERE.

Since there wasn't much weight to the log / his fist, I just pinned those as normal.




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