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Basing With FlexSteel


Miniature Base Bottoms, Circular, 50mm, Flexible Steel (50)
Product #
GMB325FS-50
Manufacturer
Suggested Retail Price
$9.75 USD


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19 June 2020page first published

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©1994-2020 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian writes:

One of the saddest things I ever saw at a gaming convention was a collection of beautifully painted models, tossed carelessly by their owner into a cardboard box. I couldn't comprehend why someone would go to the trouble to paint such lovely models, then not properly care for them.

Four Deadwood Golems

So here above are four Deadwood Golems from the old MageKnight game, which I repainted and based a few years ago. These are vinyl figures, I believe, pretty much bulletproof over the years, but now with age they are becoming brittle. So I want to store them in storage boxes so they won't slip around.

LITKO box

And here's a box. The golems are on 50mm round bases, so I've ordered some 50mm round FlexSteel bases from LITKO.

LITKO box contents

I've been talking about FlexSteel forever on TMP, it seems, but I don't think I've ever shown you how it works. As you can see, the box is well packed with shipping peanuts.

FlexSteel 50mm round bases

I ordered a pack of 50 bases, as it's always good to have some spares on hand for future needs. I ordered round bases, but you can get them in almost any shape or size, either as a standard order or a custom order through their online Basemaker.

Golem and FlexSteel bases

As you can see, the FlexSteel is a rubber-like material. It is attracted to magnets just like steel. I understand it is better than using magnet sheet, because then you are putting magnet on magnet and you have to worry about polarity. The FlexSteel is self-adhesive, you just peel the backing paper off… which works 99% of the time, but in rare cases you can accidentally peel off the self-adhesive layer instead! (The base is a rubber disk bonded to a clear plastic adhesive layer, and in rare situations they can become unbonded.)

And at this point, I hit a potential roadblock. While the LITKO bases are precisely 50mm in diameter, it turns out the bases are slightly oversize – about 51mm in diameter. This means the FlexSteel bases won't reach the rims of the plastic bases.

Golem with filled and painted base

Fortunately, I am somewhat prepared for this problem. I have previously filled the plastic bases with plaster, let it thoroughly dry, file it to make sure it is flat, and painted the plastic black to help give it a surface to stick to. (FlexSteel won't adhere to unpainted plaster.)

This is not a perfect solution, and I am open to suggestions for a better filler to use. The FlexSteel will adhere to the painted surface, but after use it may tear away (along with bits of the plaster). However, it can always be superglued back into place again.

The opposite case is also possible. You might find the FlexSteel is slightly too large for your base. Even a small gap is annoying, because there is adhesive there, and your base might stick to other bases or pick up dust and junk. However, spraying with a dull matte spray (which you are going to seal your figure with anyway, right?) will annul the adhesive. In the case of a larger gap, sliding a sharp hobby knife around the base should slice away the extraneous FlexSteel material.

Golem with FlexSteel

So here is the golem with the FlexSteel peeled off and stuck on the bottom.

Writing on FlexSteel

However, before sticking the FlexSteel in place, you might want to label your figure. It's easier to write on the FlexSteel before you stick it in place. Pens and markers with white, silver or gold ink might write on the rubbery surface. You'll probably want fine-point pens or markers. As you can see above, the Gelly Roll pen writes consistently well, while the Signo Uni-Ball struggles.

Golems in storage

And here, finally, are the FlexSteeled golems in a storage box lined with magnetic sheet. When I filled the bases with plaster, one of the bases didn't end up flat – it rocks back and forth, but it won't slide around. The other golems are flat and safe for storage and travel now.