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basic basing


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#1
Vorenus

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Noob question here.  I have a bunch of bases that need actual basing materials on them.  I also have a bag of GW sand.  What kind of glue should I use for that?  Is regular old Elmer's glue good enough to glue sand to a base?


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#2
Gederas

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Yeah. Regular old Elmer's glue. Or Super glue if you want to make 100% sure it's staying there :lol:



#3
Vorenus

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Thank you, that's very helpful.  Follow-up question:  I believe you can actually paint the GW sand.  Is this something you should do after it is glued to the base?  Or before?  If before you glue it, how do you even do that?  Thanks.


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"More corpses."  --Avitus, DAWN OF WAR II


#4
Lord Raven 19

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I use superglue to get a very nice effect. Paint sand on base but the best way is apply before priming

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#5
Vorenus

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Thank you, that is very helpful.


"I was told there would be cake.  The cake is a lie."  --Sten, DRAGON AGE: ORIGINS

"More corpses."  --Avitus, DAWN OF WAR II


#6
Jolemai

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PVA (available in any craft store) is fine for sand too. Up to you if you want to cover the rims or not. If you don't, then you can paint these any colour you want.

Sand will peel off if it's not painted. Personally, I'd recommend watering your paints down like normal (or base before you use a spray undercoat going forward).

Depending on the sand, you may need to wash it first (i.e. beach sand)

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#7
Ciler

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Once sand is glued to the base, you can also paint over some watered down PVA glue to hold it in place before painting. The glue is white but dries transparent.
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#8
Bubba Pearson

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@Vorenus: I know you've probably been swamped by replies by now, but thought I'd throw out a few suggestions JIC.  For pointers on how to base your minis, go to youtube and search "basing wargaming miniatures" or something similar, and you'll find lots of helpful videos with each step covered in detail.  When you're ready to start doing bases yourself, you'll find that most of the junk you need is pretty basic -- dirt (sand), rocks, flock (colored foam or sawdust), etc.  Almost all of that can be gotten from right outside your home, even if you live in a city.  Collect some dirt from outside (the fine grit along curbs often is primarily sand and small stones).  Take your container into the bathroom and just let water from the faucet run into and out of it until the runoff is clear, then drain off the water and lay everything out on paper towels to dry.  Find, borrow, or buy a few sieves with different sized holes -- pieces of screen from a hardware store, strainers from the kitchen, that screen that keeps fat from splattering out of a fry pan, that sort of thing -- and work the soil/sand/rocks through each, one at a time (from smallest to largest hole size), collecting the resulting sorted items into small containers.  You'll collect all the gravel, small stones, tiny stones, coarse sand and fine sand you need.  It might seem like a lot of work, but it couldn't be any cheaper.  Grind up tiny bits of dried twigs, pieces of cork, and foam bits from the seats of old ruined chairs and sofas with a cheap coffee or spice grinder you use just for your hobby (less than $10 online).  Do several different batches to make your own fine, medium and coarse flocking, then color it with some acrylic paint and water.  Spread it out like the sand and rocks to dry, and you're in business.   If you're gonna buy sand, get it from a discount hardware chain or a department store, and if your have to buy your own flock, get the biggest container you can afford.  It'll cost less and last a long time.  Generally, although it sounds kind of stupid, anything you need for your hobby that isn't a miniature should be bought at just about anyplace OTHER than a hobby shop.  For what you paid for that tiny box of sand from GW (although it'll finish a zillion bases), you could have bought one or more -kilos- of sand at a discount hardware or department store.  Ask some of your friends that also do minis to pitch in, then buy and split up the costs and the contents of one of those big bags of sand and everybody comes out ahead.  You'll find the prices for the tiny rocks and stones used for basing are even worse -- from dedicated hobby shops, you'll pay quite a bit for the tiniest amount.  If you have to purchase your rocks (slate, river-washed, etc.) and such for basing, get 'em from an online flower, aquarium, hardware or craft store instead of a hobby shop.  Shop around for the best prices, then buy as much as you can afford and split the costs and the contents.   Almost always, the rule of thumb is the more you buy, the cheaper it'll be, and you can usually find someone else interested in saving money if you don't have room for big bags or containers.

 

In the real world (offline), just about every hobby or craft shop has to charge an arm and a leg for everything, because of how much it costs to house and run the store (rent, insurance, salaries, etc.).  On top of that, in general, you'll find the smaller the store, the bigger the prices (for the same reasons).  Conversely, the bigger the place, generally the cheaper everything will be.  Instead of the dedicated hobby shop, try the big craft superstore, and instead of the dedicated craft store, go for the even bigger general department or hardware superstore.  For the best prices of all, stay out of the physical stores altogether and shop around the internet using your favorite search engine.  Prices are lower because the overhead for the physical 'shop' is so much less.  Still, the same general principles will apply online: a dedicated hobby store will charge more (usually, much more) for the sand, tiny rocks, PVA and super glue, tools, and other things you need for your hobby than would a large craft store chain or a big department store (in the US, good examples would be Michaels, Lowes, Walmart and of course Amazon).  Naturally, Amazon has just about everything, but even there the same principles need to be carefully observed: get your basing materials and tools (snippers, x-acto & blades, tiny pliers, etc.) not from the dedicated hobby sellers, but from the hardware or craft sellers (when searching, search ALL departments, not just toy or hobby -- the hardware and craft areas always are cheaper.  Again, bucking the obvious and going against the specialization of departments, you'll almost always find the products being quite a bit cheaper, when you go for the larger quantities from the more generalized the departments. 

 

After you've been in the hobby for awhile, you'll find yourself accumulating some paints.  For anywhere from approximately $30 up, you can get a MDF paint shelf unit (like those from Vallejo and others) to keep them organized and handy.  Generally, you put it together yourself, but the end result is quite sturdy, and even a small one should hold around 30 to 40 paints, all in one handy-dandy little unit that will fit on your work table.  However, here too it pays to buck the trend: instead of getting something from the local, or even online, hobby shop that you put together yourself, for about half the cost, you should be able to find something like a fingernail polish organizer (!) to hold and provide easy access to all your paints.  Better yet, usually you will be able to store way more in about the same amount of space, as the MDF products often are designed for a specific size only.  For about that same $30+, you could instead get a sturdy, already assembled 'fingernail polish storage unit,' and it will made of clear acrylic (at Amazon or other online shops) that should hold 50 or more paints, up to and including as many as 100.  I have several of these (as well as MDF center and end units I bought from an online hobby shop, made by Vallejo of course, that now don't get much use), but the nail-polish holders are cheaper and store far more paints in the same amount of space (and I don't have to put it together myself).  Not only that, but any one of the nail polish units will store paints from everybody: the large 2 ounce craft paints, plus the large and small bottles of vallejo, army painter, GW, etc.  My favorite is a large acrylic fingernail polish storage unit (about 2' x 3' x 2" thick, and it came with pre-drilled holes and screws included) mounted on the wall right beside my work desk.  The paints, washes, inks, bottles of glue and stuff are all within easy reach -- and just the one could store up to 120 bottles of the Vallejo and Army Painter sized bottles.  As already mentioned, there's no need to buy a specific storage unit for each brand of paint -- all your paints from everyone fit securely on any of the shelves, each of which is just shy of 2 inches (5 centimeters) wide, and the number of bottles it holds still is huge. 

 

One easy way to save on the paint itself: go for paint sets instead of individual bottles.  For example, the 8 and 16 bottle sets from Vallejo offer far better prices than the price for each if purchased separately, and they often go on sale (like around holidays and the end of the year), making the price per bottle even lower.  A set of 16 Vallejo paints selling for $45-$55 right now on Amazon was on sale during mid-to-late December of last year for around $30 to $40 a set.  I bought as many as I could afford.  Also, get your spray primer from someone like Rustoleum (I get Rustoleum flat white, gray and black from Amazon, and it works great on everything -- resin, metal and plastic minis and models).  For an Amazon Prime member, the Rustoleum goes for around 5 to 8 bucks a can, which is a lot better than the nearly 20 greenbacks primer from someone like Army Painter can set you back.  If you're nervous, just double-check the label or description to see what the primer covers effectively (plastic and metal at least), and first try it out on some sprue or offcuts.  If it doesn't affect those, it will be fine for the completed models.  Another easy way to save: Instead of using your good (and expensive) miniature paints for your bases, buy good quality larger, cheaper bottles of acrylic craft paints, such as those from Apple Barrel and Folk Art.  They are available in 2, 4, 8, 16 ounce and larger sizes, and like most things, the more you buy, the cheaper it is per unit (ounces, in this case).  I've found the 4-8 ounce bottles online going for just about the same price as the 2 ounce bottles from craft shops and department stores.  You only need a few, but get whatever colors you want and need (Amazon offers two 'sets' of Apple Barrel 2 ounce bottles, 16 colors in all, for far lower than they cost if bought separately).  For most base and terrain projects, just black, white and brown can be mixed to produce the many different shades of each (white, grays, tans, browns, dark browns, etc.) usually found out of doors, and you can use these for everything other than your miniatures (bases, dioramas, gaming tables, mountains/rocky areas, tree models, walls, ruins, rough buildings, etc.).  When shopping for paint, try to go with products intended for generalized use, instead of the specialized products targeted at us niche hobbyists, and you usually can save quite a bit:  after all, metal and plastic minis just need paints that work on metal and plastic.  The paints don't have to be designed exclusively for use on miniatures.  Even the flat paints and primers available at some dollar stores are great for any terrain projects, and primer is primer.  Even if testing works out, if you're still too chicken to trust these cheapest products on your minis, use 'em on your bases and terrain and you'll still save ca$h.

 

Just keep in mind this idea of bucking the trend towards specialization, and you'll nearly always save money.  Sometimes, quite a bit.  Also, do it yourself whenever possible, and the only thing you spend is your time (the most valuable thing of all, but that dough-ray-me is mighty hard to come by as well).  Instead of pre-flocked bushes from someone like Woodland Scenics ($$), get the same dried Sea Foam they started with, but get yours from a big online flower shop or department store and flock it yourself.  You can make your own flock or ground cover from bits of sofa or chair cushions, dried and waste wood, and hunks of cork (buy a cheap coffee or spice grinder for under $10), then use your craft paints to make it whatever shade of green or brown color you want.  Go dig up some gnarly roots, cut off some weedy branches, save the stems from the roses you gave your favorite lady (or fellow), get some sand, tiny stones and small gravel from up against the curb where folks park their cars, grab a couple of handfuls of tiny rocks from your yard: wash 'em and dry 'em, put 'em in a cup or bowl or jar or plastic tub with a lid, and use 'em for your basing and terrain pieces and It won't cost you a single penny.  Buy the 8oz container of Elmer's glue-all (or any good PVA) instead of those tiny containers.  Better yet, get a 16 ounce bottle, or a quart, or a gallon -- the larger the amount of PVA, the cheaper.  Get a couple of friends together, buy a whole gallon, one or more packages of 2, 4-16 ounce applicator bottles, grab (or make) a funnel, then equally split the cost and the glue.  For each person, it should end up costing about the same as just one of those teensy-tiny containers of PVA from a hobby shop.  Do the same thing with huge bags of sand and shale or decorative/aquarium stones and ballast.  Get your cyanoacrylate (super) glues and your tools (snippers, files, sandpaper, saws, small pliers, tweezers, hobby knives and blades (X-acto), etc.) from a hardware chain superstore instead of the local hobby shop, or even better, some online superstore.  I'm sure you get the idea. 

 

Always try to think of an alternative supplier for the goodies you need.  Once you've located a cheaper price, still shop around and compare for the very best price you can find.  Even though the specialized products for basing often cost no more than a couple of bucks each (less than $10, let's say), that's still about the cost of a very nice miniature, and I'd rather have more minis (and tools, terrain and other hobby goods and equipment).  Every dollar spent buying a teensy-tiny amount of something from a specialized niche store is another dollar that isn't available for the things you have to buy from those specialized niche places, like the miniatures themselves.  The cost of those minis already is bad enough, and getting worse all the time, so save where you can.  Paying 100 (or 1000+) times more for something like dirt, sand or PVA glue just means less of 'em, and miniatures are what the hobby is all about.  I've been wargaming and modeling now for years, and unfortunately, learned most of these things the hard way.  So, I thought I'd pass along a few hints and tips for saving money, so you can get more of what you really want: the miniatures.  I hope they help you out.  Enjoy your hobbying!


Edited by Bubba Pearson, 03 March 2019 - 01:49 AM.

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#9
Wassa

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You can buy a huge bag of sand for about £3 from a DIY store. They're usually stored outside so you will probably have to leave it in the shed/garage/oven for it to dry out and be usable but it is much more cost effective than buying it from a model shop.

 

I use PVA glue on the base and then dunk it in the sand. Leave it for 10 minutes then shake it off and blow off the excess. Then apply watered down pva on top to seal it in. Once it's covered in paint it's not going anywhere!


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#10
Bubba Pearson

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You can buy a huge bag of sand for about £3 from a DIY store. They're usually stored outside so you will probably have to leave it in the shed/garage/oven for it to dry out and be usable but it is much more cost effective than buying it from a model shop.

 

I use PVA glue on the base and then dunk it in the sand. Leave it for 10 minutes then shake it off and blow off the excess. Then apply watered down pva on top to seal it in. Once it's covered in paint it's not going anywhere!

Absolutely.  And if you don't think you have need of 22 kilos/50 pounds of sand (it's about the same cost in the US at ~$4 for 50 pounds), it can be had from some pound/dollar stores in just about one pound quantities for the usual $1.00, which still is a major savings over the small GW container, or tiny bags of sand and grit offered by GF9, WWS, and other scenic supply shops.  The Dollar Tree has it available in a 1.1lb bag of all-white 'sand,' which still is an absolutely huge amount, and I think Walmart has decorative sand at about the same price, although one might have to buy it in bags of 2 to 5 pounds, IIRC.  Of course, It's also available online -- Amazon has it for right around a couple of bucks per bag (search for "decorative sand" and sort the results by Low to High Price to easily find the best prices).  Also, these types of  'craft' or 'decorative' sand are pre-washed, totally dry, have no dust or foreign materials included, and usually are finely polished stone.  They also can be found in slightly different sizes, and I use a mixture of these different sand grain sizes to coat my bases for more texture, always a good thing for representing natural ground cover (no sand is going to truly represent actual 'earth,' as the individual grains of sand are far too big, but I still think the extra texture 'looks' more realistic on the finished product(s)).

 

You also can buy slate stones on Amazon too, pre-sorted into convenient sizes (1/8 to 1/4 inch, 1/4 to 1/2 inch, 1/2 to 1 inch and so on, up to several inches (the thickness of each 'stone' will vary from flat to about the general size noted for each bag)).  These sell for roughly $10.00 pound, and one bag might last a hobbyist the rest of their natural hobbying days.  Years ago, when the price was even lower (about seven to eight bucks a pound),  I bought 3 different sizes: the smallest two, as well the 1 to 1 and 1/2 inch sizes, and I certainly have enough slate for many complete companies of space marines that need basing in the far future.  

 

Another item I like to buy in bulk is white glue.  On Amazon, interestingly enough, the gallon (64 ounce) size of Elmer's Glue-All costs more per ounce than the pint size, which sells for around $2.50 per 8 ounce bottle.  It's been that way for awhile, so some time back, a couple of friends and I bought a good number of the 8oz size bottles for an inexpensive, long-lasting supply, along with some 1 to 2 oz clear plastic applicator bottles (to keep some handy on the hobby desk at all times).  I keep the larger 8oz bottles in the 2 x 3 foot x 2 inch shelved 'nail polish station' (also available at Amazon) mounted on the wall within arms reach of my seat, which also holds nearly all of my Vallejo/Army Painter/GW/other paints, my big 2oz bottles of Folk Art and Apple Barrel acrylic craft paints, all my washes, my various types of glue, and whatever fits, basically.  Any PVA white glue will do the job of course, but another product I usually have on hand is "Aleene's Original Tacky Glue," which I buy for just under $2.00 per 8oz bottle (also from Amazon, at $5.65 per 3-pack).  This is some wonderful stuff, although it works about the same as any other white glue.  It differs in that it's thicker than ordinary white glue, it's very tacky, and unlike Elmer's, the strength of the bond after the glue has cured is almost unbelievable.  Elmer's is great for wood and paper particularly (so is the Aleene's), but when I use the Aleene's for gluing terrain and scenery to bases or terrain pieces, attaching styrofoam, CVA and other types of foam boards to themselves (or almost anything else to the foam), that stuff is stuck together for keeps.  Only destruction will separate two pieces of foam (and other things) from each other after Aleene's has cured completely.  I removed the cap from a bottle long ago for some now-forgotten reason, but spilled some of the glue onto the threads.  I just put the cap back on without really cleaning it up, and used it normally for months.  Recently, I again tried to remove the cap to get the last little dregs out of the nearly empty bottle, but I simply couldn't, using just my hands -- I actually broke off the the neck of the plastic spout trying to get the cap undone, so finally I had to resort to a large pair of pliers to get the thing off (which still was quite a job).  Strong stuff.  When still wet, the Aleene's is water soluble and water cleanup, just like any other white glue, but once dry, it's pretty much down for keeps (dried Aleene's won't come out of fabric either, so you'll absolutely want to avoid getting it on your clothes when working too).  I love it.  :-)

 

Other easy ways to save money on hobby supplies include: I use paper clips (and bits of old guitar/mandolin strings) for my strongest pinning jobs, as well as boxes of toothpicks and wooden matches with the business end snipped off for others, such as holding foam boards to foam boards while the glue cures, building small wooden fences, adding trim to terrain buildings (wooden matches are a lot cheaper than balsa or bass wood), etc.  I buy cork in several different thicknesses from home supply stores, in boxes of 12" x 12" tiles, or as rolled sheets.  I buy inexpensive but good quality sets of paint brushes (flats and rounds) to use exclusively for drybrushing, working with glue, and other odd jobs, which keeps my good brushes going longer (I also use brush 'soap' on my good brushes to keep them in shape).  Speaking of paint brushes, I'll purchase a few cheapo paint brushes with 2 or 3 inch bristles, then cut the bristles off as needed to make small clumps of tall grasses to glue on bases and terrain (those tiny packets of tall 'grass' from Woodland Scenics are much more costly).  I buy static grass and flocking in larger quantities to make them less expensive overall.  For example, Woodland Scenics now has large, paper wrapped, eco-friendly packages of scenic supplies at real savings, which is another great thing that can be bought by and shared with other hobbyists (splitting the cost and the goodies).  A bag of one to several hundred tiny 2 or 3mm stainless steel ball-bearings is inexpensive, and they work great as agitators in even the tiniest bottles of paint.  



#11
Bubba Pearson

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You can buy a huge bag of sand for about £3 from a DIY store. They're usually stored outside so you will probably have to leave it in the shed/garage/oven for it to dry out and be usable but it is much more cost effective than buying it from a model shop.

 

I use PVA glue on the base and then dunk it in the sand. Leave it for 10 minutes then shake it off and blow off the excess. Then apply watered down pva on top to seal it in. Once it's covered in paint it's not going 

 

Absolutely.  And if you don't think you have need of 22 kilos/50 pounds of sand (it's about the same cost in the US at ~$4 for 50 pounds), it can be had from some pound/dollar stores in just about one pound quantities [SNIP]

 

I just found a couple of other great substitutes for sand to use for bases, and while it isn't free, it's the next thing to it.  After our coffee this morning, I asked my wife to let me check out the little single cup sized container that goes into our fancy machine to produce practically instant coffee that tastes nothing like instant coffee.  I opened it up and had an epiphany: those dried grounds would be perfect for basing!  It won't be tossed in the garbage, I'll be getting another use out of something for which I already paid, and I won't have to spend anything to buy sand, no matter how inexpensive.  Another possible benefit would be that it doesn't necessarily need painting (maybe just a drybrush after application), although I usually always paint my own bases after adding the 'earth' materials.  I spread the contents of the container (already surprisingly dry, right after use) out on a magazine to dry, and tomorrow (and many days thereafter) the dry grounds will go into my container of mixed 'earth' materials for basing and terrain.  I estimate the leftover grounds from that single-sized container alone could provide enough material to cover around 20 25-30mm bases, so that will add up quick.  Regular coffee grounds from a 'normal' coffee machine or percolator should be just as useful, and now that I think about it, tea would be exceptionally useful too, both before and/or after brewing.  The contents of a tea bag (or loose tea) could be used not only to add texture to the 'earth' on bases, but as a substitute for fine, medium and coarse flock and leaves and things too, right out of the bag (or maybe chopped up or ground a little more -- I have a cheap coffee/spice grinder I use just for modeling that would be perfect for the job).  I think I've noticed boxes of cheap tea at the dollar stores, so it would be cost-effective to buy for use as a basing material even if the tea were never brewed.  If I think of more substitutes, I'll post to this thread again with updates.  I quite like saving money on this sort of thing -- the less money spent on modeling supplies, the more money available for miniatures, and that's always a good thing.


Edited by Bubba Pearson, 10 March 2019 - 01:44 AM.





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