Thursday, April 13, 2017

New Basing Ideas

If you've viewed this blog before, you know that I make my own bases for sailing ships.  I use a wooden base, make a water surface out of Sculpey clay, and then bake it as per the instructions.  I've never been too happy with this method, because the Sculpey contracts as it sets and this causes the wooden base to sometimes warp.  However, it was the best way I could think of to make each base look individual, which is something the Langton resin bases just didn't do to my satisfaction.  I think, though, that I might have found a better way of making bases.

While in Charlottesville VA, I went into a hobby shop named Rail Tales (  If you're ever in the area, I highly recommend dropping by, as they do more than just model railroading.  In fact, one of the owners (I think it's Nathan) used to be a naval wargamer!  While telling him about my problems with bases, he suggested that I go with Evergreen sheet styrene for the base instead.  .060 styrene is 1.5mm thick, so there will be no difference in height with my older bases.  Since I didn't want to bake styrene in the oven, he suggested the Vallejo water effects paste instead.  I tried some experiments with these this week, and I think I like the results.
This is the stuff I'm talking about.

The styrene sheets I bought are black, so I started by cutting out an appropriate size base, and then painting it in the blue I normally use.  Then, I put down a layer of the water effects, and let it dry.

So far, not very impressive (and not quite dry yet).
Since it dries clear, it doesn't really look like very much.  I then paint a few of the ridges in a gray color and then drybrush over them with the blue again.

Looking a little better.

 After the hull is glued in place, I build up the water paste around it and let that dry.  I then paint the wake with light blue and white, then hit the entire base with Vallejo gloss varnish.  The pictures below show how the new bases look with my Russian 50 gun heavy frigate.

Now that's more like it!
I think this might be the way forward for the sailing ships.  I will try and get out the mat to see how well this new base blends in with it.  I promise to add those pictures here when I do.

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