Monday, October 3, 2011

Hardwood Bases

While basing a Colette Du Bois crew, I found my fingers rich with splinters, and a newfound respect for the compass.

Filling the interior of each beveled base proved to be more challenging than originally anticipated.  I first used double-sided foam mounting tape to hold a series of balsa wood strips to a cutting surface.  Then, I measured the diameter of the flat part of each base, and drew matching circles on the wood with a compass.  I made sure to label not only each board, but also the base that each board was going to be basing.  After carving the balsa along the line, I popped the bits of wood out and made a few extra cuts to represent connecting floor-runners.  I glued these bits down, and sanded the edges of the wood with a small file.

Lastly, I drilled holes for the nails, and glued pin-heads in place.  Please excuse the horrid resolution on the next pic, but I was trying to really show the detail of the nails:

Basing this crew was scaring me, and I am very glad to have finished the surfaces.  I wanted each of my Malifaux crews to be presented on unique custom bases that I had created myself, and the idea of sculpting putty into boards was giving me fits.  I think that with a little ink and paint, these will do just fine.

The only question that remains, is just how polished the wood should be.  I think that a worn-wood stage would be appropriate for Malifaux, but then the only hardwood stages I have ever seen have been maintained with a high gloss.  Maybe I should do a little research...


  1. What did you use to cut the balsa wood? On a related note, would you use this technique to, say, cover a DE Raider's deck with planking? Obviously I'd have to adjust the outlining method, but other than that?

  2. I used a fresh blade in an exacto knife to cut the wood. It really wasn't that hard to do, which was a relief. As for a raider deck, I am not sure how you would make a template, but if you have a plan, it could look great. I wouldn't want to make wood plank decks for a TON of raiders, but it shouldn't be too bad for one or two.

  3. Dan, I can't help but think that if you were going to do this for a number of bases, you'd want to go down and have a steel "cookie cutter" with a sharp edge made for it in the sizes you want. Most machine shops or even autobody shops would be a good place to go looking for that sort of thing, or rather, looking for someone who could quickly make one for not much money.

  4. Jake: I think you are on to something. Some kind of routing tool could really work wonders. Fortunately, I only had to make about a dozen of these, in three different sizes, so I was ok doing the manual labor. If I was basing a 40k army, then I would certainly consider your idea. Or, just make molds of the originals and cast duplicates.