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"Decorate bases as motivation for painting?" Topic

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746 hits since 9 Jul 2021
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Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP09 Jul 2021 1:38 p.m. PST

I find that just decorating the bases of my unpainted mini's will make them appear to be closer to being finished and ready for my game table. It is patently false, but it has a great psychological effect on me, even though I know it is a mind-game I am playing on myself!

Your basing technique is unimportant, period! Please refrain from discussing your preferred method of base decorating techniques -- not what this poll is about.

Do you decorate your bases as a motivation for painting, to make them appear as if they are closer to being table-ready?

F) No, I do not, I decorate the bases as one of the (F)inal steps before they are table ready.

O) No (O)pinion.

N) (N)ot a figure painter.

M) I decorate the bases as the (M)ood strikes me, at any point in the painting process.

Y) (Y)es, I do decorate the bases, first, as it inspires me to finish painting them later.

T) Yes – o(T)her, I decorate the bases first, but it has nothing to do with motivation to paint.

I find that decorating the bases with my preferred techniques has enough of a visual impact that it tricks my mind into feeling as though the mini's are much further along in the painting process. This makes them less intimidating to pick up to paint. I look at them in the painting queue, and I think, "Well, their bases are done, I just need to paint the figures, and they will be done!"

How about you? Cheers!

T Corret Supporting Member of TMP09 Jul 2021 1:42 p.m. PST

Pva glue and a single application of potpourri of ground cover and flocking at the end.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian09 Jul 2021 1:44 p.m. PST

Decorating the bases 'early' only means I'll spill paint on them. frown

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP09 Jul 2021 1:47 p.m. PST

Bill, I would call that motivation to paint more carefully… LOL!

I actually paint on The Dip, after I finish painting them, with the bases already decorated… It really does not alter the base decorations enough to worry about -- it creates a bit of a shadow-effect around the figure's feet, at most. I am good with that. Cheers!

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP09 Jul 2021 1:49 p.m. PST

I am with Editor Bill on this – I do a fair bit of decorating on my command bases especially, but after the brushwork is done!

As an example, all the stuff on the base of this Aussie gunner was done AFTER the figure was finished

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP09 Jul 2021 1:52 p.m. PST

F, if I decorate at all.


GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Jul 2021 2:25 p.m. PST

With a very few exceptions I paint before basing. The few times I base before painting is individual 28mm figures and I do usually texture the base beforehand too. Not sure that I'd refer to it as 'decorating' though.

My motivation to paint goes from 0 to 10 or anywhere in between on a daily basis. The state of the base has nothing to do with it but my state of mind might have.

Gear Pilot09 Jul 2021 2:25 p.m. PST

F – What Bill said.

rustymusket Supporting Member of TMP09 Jul 2021 2:46 p.m. PST

F – what T Corret and Bill said.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP09 Jul 2021 2:55 p.m. PST

T, I suppose--depending on what's meant by "decorating." (I never pin a medal on my bases, nor do I paint them in bright colors. I do "grass" or "terrain" them.)

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Jul 2021 3:53 p.m. PST

Z – I don't decorate bases. Flat black.

No offense to people who do. I actually appreciate the artistry on them. I just like the look of flat black better.

myxemail09 Jul 2021 4:10 p.m. PST

F. I do the base painting (edges) and apply any dirt, flock or other scenery stuff last.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP09 Jul 2021 4:39 p.m. PST


Timbo W09 Jul 2021 5:42 p.m. PST

F nearly always, its extra tricky to paint them if you've already stuck a bunch of figs onto a multi base

Chimpy Supporting Member of TMP09 Jul 2021 5:43 p.m. PST

F if they are based in multiples. I try to be ultra careful not to spill anything on paint job.
T if they are based singly – don't want to risk spilling glue and sand etc on the figure after it has been painted.

khanscom09 Jul 2021 5:59 p.m. PST


Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP09 Jul 2021 6:01 p.m. PST

Usually F, but sometimes inspired to M

greenknight4 Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Jul 2021 6:37 p.m. PST

I don't think this would work for me, though I do find painting the shoes or whatever and the base color goes a long way in helping me feel the figure is coming along.

Personal logo Bashytubits Supporting Member of TMP09 Jul 2021 7:59 p.m. PST

I decorate all my bases, just a little care and effort and it makes such a difference on how the figures look. Takes ordinary and makes it fancy.

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP09 Jul 2021 11:51 p.m. PST

F) No, I do not, I decorate the bases as one of the (F)inal steps before they are table ready.

I don't even know how you would flock a base before you place the figures on the base. I am usually doing big 15mm battalions/regiments I don't need to fancy it up. Once I get the figures on the base I paint the base a base color which varies according to the local environment (deserts, Western Europe etc.). Then I run the base thru my special blend of ground cover.

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP10 Jul 2021 2:18 a.m. PST


45thdiv Supporting Member of TMP10 Jul 2021 2:57 a.m. PST

At the end. I batch paint and as others have said, I'd spill paint on the bases.

pzivh43 Supporting Member of TMP10 Jul 2021 4:18 a.m. PST


Martin Rapier10 Jul 2021 9:29 a.m. PST

I'm not sure I even understand the OP. My stuff gets stuck to strips of card to paint it, basing comes later. With close order troops it is kind of hard to base them first.

Fat Wally10 Jul 2021 10:02 a.m. PST


Dagwood10 Jul 2021 11:33 a.m. PST


Multi-figure bases

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP10 Jul 2021 2:08 p.m. PST

Martin Rapier, I mount my mini's to their bases after I prime them, decorate the bases, then I paint the mini's. I paint simple blocks of color, followed by The Dip/Magic Wash. I batch paint. I'm an Army Painter, applying the paint as quickly as possible, assembly-line style: stroke-stroke-stroke, carriage return, repeat until finished. Cheers!

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP10 Jul 2021 2:11 p.m. PST

Martin Rapier – I think that's still an "F" for bases as the final step. Or, depending on the timing you could go:

S) I decorate bases (S)eparately from the models.

SA) I decorate bases (S)eparately but (A)fter from the models.

SB) I decorate bases (S)eparately but (B)efore from the models.

SI) I decorate bases (S)eparately (I)ndependently (maybe before, during, or after) from the models.

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP10 Jul 2021 7:56 p.m. PST

F – It would never occur to me to work on bases first, and as a gamer more than a painter, I do not do too much with bases anyway.

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP11 Jul 2021 3:28 p.m. PST

I think the OP should have been specific as to skirmish level, one base/one figure or more than one figure per base.

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP11 Jul 2021 6:36 p.m. PST

Old Contemptible, I play mass war games, in which I have figures mounted 1-3 figures per base. The only reason I mount figures one to a base, is to make change, as casualties require figures to be removed. Each figure counts, but units can be made of any number of figures, 4-100+ figures. Different rules use different basing conventions. Skirmish rules are not the only rules which use only one figure per base… In the 2e BattleSystem rules I use, different fantasy creatures use different sized bases, as well. Basing is a bit complex, depending upon your chosen rules. My poll is intended to be basic, and generic, without getting into too much detail. Cheers!

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP11 Jul 2021 7:47 p.m. PST

Soooooo, what's your point?

CeruLucifus11 Jul 2021 8:50 p.m. PST

M – at any point when the mood strikes me.

Usually I do the base last.

Sometimes though, I may be doing bases on a batch of finished figures and have extra glue mixture and grab some others that aren't finished yet and do their bases too.

To answer the question, no, basing partly finished figures doesn't motivate me to finish them. In fact sometimes I stop painting them and put them in with finished figures.

miniMo12 Jul 2021 6:35 a.m. PST

F — decorating bases is the reward for having painted the miniatuers.

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP12 Jul 2021 7:36 a.m. PST

F- for Bill's reason!

Personal logo Grelber Supporting Member of TMP12 Jul 2021 10:54 a.m. PST

F, though sometimes I'll give the bases a coat of paint earlier in the process, if I squirted too much out of the bottle. One bunch is mounted on the larger plastic bases, and I paint the edges black and decorate the top. I usually paint the black earlier in the process. Perhaps a bit like etotheipi's position, I think the black edges to the bases looks elegant.


Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP12 Jul 2021 5:46 p.m. PST

I do like the elegance of flat black.

I consider the base of the figure to be it's "shadow". The oscura, but also the shadow of the represented unit's shadow across the slice of time being represented by the position.

My main reason is that I will typically have at least four types of ground on a layout, usually more. So my Viking might be standing on the deck of a longship, the wading level water, the pebbly beach, the dirt road (and dirt village common= same/same), out in the underbrush, and maybe some open grassy grazing area in a raid scenario. That's a lot of Vikings, and I haven't even covered 1/4 of the legit, historical ground types -white sand, yellow sand, red clay, volcanic rock, volcanic ash, lava flows, grey/black/white/veined rock, tall grass, mud (various), whitewater, ice, powder/packed snow, stone tile, paving stones, gravel roads, cart tracks, goat paths, tree trunks, sod/wood roofs, etc. … man them Viks got around, huh?


Personal logo John the Greater Supporting Member of TMP13 Jul 2021 6:23 a.m. PST


Bill's reason never occurred to me, but it is as good as any.

Baranovich18 Jul 2021 10:02 a.m. PST

No, I always finish my bases at after the model is fully painted. Sand and stone texturing, painting, and then finally static grass and tufts AFTER the model has been varnished so that no grass ends up sticking to the model's surface.

But on a related note, I DO build terrain for games that will be used with the models I'm painting. Most times when I'm going to start playing a new game I actually make most or all of the terrain for the game before I actually paint any models.

Seeing all of the scenery on the table painted and ready to be used is a huge motivator to get the models painted!

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP19 Jul 2021 1:34 p.m. PST

I base most of mine on flat metal. When I flock it, I want the base to disappear. My goal is to have the figures look like they are walking on the game board.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP19 Jul 2021 3:19 p.m. PST

Decorating the bases 'early' only means I'll spill paint on them.

OMG. Pass me the smelling salts, Miranda! The Editor and I actually agree on something!

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