Wargaming Tradecraft: Clear Bases


Clear Bases

I wanted to showcase some miniatures for Gloomhaven that I painted as a commission. The goal was to replicate the character art and I'm pretty happy with how everything turned out.

I'd like to also touch on clear bases. It's not something you see very often and if I'm honest, NOT something you SHOULD see very often. I suppose that's a weird way to start out a tutorial - "Look how cool this is, but don't do it." It's because clear bases impact recommendations I usually make when it comes to how you build your miniatures.

For one, which I'll talk about more below, is that I usually recommend your miniature's feet interact with their base.

The other is the composition of the figure. A miniature isn't just the mini, the base is part of it. I recommend either something the compliments the figure and makes a nice looking scene, something that contrasts the mini by making the miniature stand out in comparison, or something that's muted and simple like a photo backdrop which pushes the miniature to the foreground.

The risk of a clear base is that you don't have control over what's below it. For wargaming, this is pretty random and could be any ugly tabletop. In tile-based games like Gloomhaven and all sorts of other stuff out these days, it can create a pretty cool aesthetic. In the final photo, it looks like the group is standing together in a stone-floored setting.

Removing Bases

The Gloomhaven miniatures came attached to their bases as part of the mold, so I had to carefully remove them from the feet. Thiiiiiis was interesting. Normally, I wouldn't worry too much about being exact with this kind of thing because I always recommend that your miniature interact with it's base, like having feet dig in to earth. For example, flock a base after gluing the feet on, so the grass sticks up around their feet.

But not only is that not an option if the base is clear, but the cut has to be PRECISE.

For these miniatures, I:

  1. Start with larger side cutters to remove the bulk of the bases.
  2. Then, I used a jewelers saw to cut the smaller pieces from the feet.
  3. Finally, I used a hobby knife to clean up the precise bits.

Clear Bases

So yeah, here are the clear bases, basically just transparent plastic pucks.

You'll need to use super glue to glue the miniatures to the base. One downside is that super glue will sometimes frost clear plastic it's near, as you can see below.

You can clean this off using Q-Tips or paper towels and water or alcohol.

* Note, incase you try what I did. At first, I painted the underside of the mini with black gesso so that if you DID look at it from below, it wouldn't be bare plastic. THIS didn't glue so well. I had to scrape the gesso off and glue plastic to plastic.

Final Photo

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