Last night I began a commission that takes me into a miniatures line I’ve been interested in trying my hand at, and that is Aliens vs Predator by Prodos games. A friend and regular customer of mine got his set in and was so thrilled with the miniature quality, he described these minis as the best he had ever seen, and was anxious to get them painted and on the table.
So last night we met at our FLGS and in between catching up with some friends playing Saga, and picking up my new Union player for Guild Ball Harry the Hat, my friend handed me 6 small boxes of minis and I headed home to inspect them. I ended up doing this on my live feed, inspecting the minis and talking with my buddy Jake and our viewers.
The minis were assembled by the client, and most were attached to their round plastic bases. Normally I don’t prefer to have commissions pre-assembled, the main issue being that typically folks who assemble their models with the intent to play them immediately can rush the assembly process, typically skipping things like pinning and basing, which can cause more work and hassle for the commission painter, especially if he/she has to retroactively pin a joint that fell off during the painting process, or the model breaks trying to remove it from the slotted plastic base in order to base the miniature. These issues are much more prevalent in metal miniatures, but with AvP the miinatures are resin without tabs/slots, so this was a much more fortunate situation.
In the case of AvP, I ended up removing them from their bases by getting a firm grip on a model’s foot and wiggling gently, which freed up most of them. For the stronger bonds I wedged my hobby knife between the foot and the base and wiggled the knife until the model popped loose.
Once all the models were loose I began mixing putty for basing. Historically I was using green stuff or Milliput, but a friend of mine recently advised Apoxie Sculpt, which you can buy on Amazon at a great price if you buy a large amount (4lbs for $32 significantly better value than most 2 part epoxy putty that is used).
With Apoxie sculpt spread across the bases, I ended up using “Steel Plate Random” base stamp from Happy Seppuku. This is my go-to pattern for industrial/sci-fi miniatures, but Happy Seppuku has a ton of great ones such as Catwalk grating or Hex tile floor. I have 5 different stamps to encompass a variety of genres, and Happy Seppuku makes so many great ones I definitely need to pick up more. They’re so cheap at $5 a pop and $32 on 4lbs of putty can net you hundreds of bases for pennies or less per piece.
As the bases were stamped and starting to harden at an hour in, that’s the perfect time to set your minis in place. Although I do keep some pre-stamped bases, making the bases fresh when you use them is more ideal. At an hour or so in, the Apoxie sculpt is no longer sticky, and its starting to harden, but it’s still compressible. I use this opportunity (specifically for plastics and resin) to attach the model to the base. I apply a tiny amount of Super Hot T glue to each foot and apply moderate pressure joining the mini to the stamped base, just enough to slightly compress the apoxie sculpt. This ensures optimum contact between the model and the stamping, (so your model doesn’t look like it’s floating on the odd toe or ball of its foot), and the putty will fully harden in contact with the mini, which can only strengthen your bond. For pre-stamped, fully hardend bases and any time I’m using metal, I still recommend pinning, but this should work out just fine.
So after all is said and done, I ended up basing close to 40 miniatures- every piece of this commission save the 2 very large Alien Crushers which did not come with bases. Next up- divide and conquer: I plan on dividing up the commission into batches to paint, starting with the largest grouping: the Aliens.
Thanks for reading!