I’ve done a lot of posts talking about my models and painting, but I’ve never really touched upon how I base them. From Wood Elves to Rotten Belles, pretty much all of my basing is the same nowadays – a simple mix of PVA glue and sand, spray-painted black and drybrushed in a couple of different colours (brown and khaki for Wood Elves, two or three shades of grey for Malifaux).
There’s a couple of reasons for this, and why I don’t usually go for scenic bases. For starters, there’s the cost. I used to use resin bases on my old metal Malifaux models, and while they looked great it quickly ramped up the cost of each purchase. Buying a blister of Dead Doxies, for example, stopped being a small impulse purchase if I’d run out of bases, as that meant adding on another £8-9 buying another bag of bases.Keeping the bases fairly plain also helps the models to look suited to most tables – the grey blends in a bit more on most boards than, say, my old resin flagstones did.
Another point that applies more to Malifaux than other systems (but what the heck, that seems to be about all I play nowadays :D ) is the coherency. As any Malifaux player will know, there’s a lot of cross-faction hiring going on nowadays – Lucius (a Guild Master) can hire Neverborn models, while McMourning (a Resurrectionist Master) can hire Guild models. McCabe (a Ten Thunders Master) can also hire Guild, while Hoffman (a Guild Master) can hire Arcanist models. I’ve personally found that a result of this is that it’s hard to keep a coherent colour scheme. When M2E came out I started afresh, leaving behind all my metal models and replacing them all with the new plastics. My original intent was to have the Guild with a main thematic colour of blue, the Resurrectionists with a thematic colour of a deep purple-blue, and the Neverborn with a thematic colour of purple. But, since my model collection rapidly evolved to have models who could be hired into various factions, it quickly became difficult to maintain this.
The Lawyers, for example – strictly speaking they’re Guild models, but Lucius can hire them into a Neverborn crew, and McMourning can hire them in a Resurrectionist crew. The bases are now the main element linking my models together, with the same grey cobblestone look ensuring that the models are all tied together visually.
It’s a pity, since I do occasionally look at other people’s thematic bases and kind of wish I had gone down that route, but overall I’m happy with my bases. It works for me and at the end of the day I suppose that, as long as you like what you do on your models, that’s great. Besides, my wife has recently kindly picked up one of the old morgue inserts for me, so I’ve already got ideas for that…