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Basemaking for Beginners: Urban Road

The figure and vignette kits usually come with a base and there are many ready for use products on market to display your figures. Those products are made of metal, resin, plastic or plaster, easy to paint and very helpful on creating realistic scenes, but they can be quite expensive due to used material, not suitable for your plans or can limit you in the dimensions of the product. Therefore, you may need to make your own products. If you have some imagination and some DIY (do it yourself) skills, it is so easy and pleasurable.

As I got bored of making my figurebase plans according to the products available on market and faced some unrepairable kit damages during shipping of product, I decided to make my own bases. Though I never claimed myself as a professional , I felt satisfied for my results after a few attempts and I kept making my own bases. Here, I will try to share my knowledge and experiences with you and I believe that; Your first attempt can be better than my last one.

The best material to make your own bases is Plaster . It is easy to find, cheap, quick drying and versatile for modeling. It can be molded easily, can be cut in desired dimensions or shape, easily carved or drilled with simple tools and can be glued together. But there are also a few points to keep in mind when working with plaster;

  • Keep in mind that wet plaster can splash on your clothes. Wear your old, ordinary clothes or use an apron for any accidental dirt.

  • Cover your table or workbench with old newspapers, brown paper or an old table cloth.

  • Work in a well ventilated room, easily cleanable work surface and clean up well after you finish working with plaster.

  • Prefer simple and lower price scalpels or chisels because moisture in plaster will damage any of them.
  • About the Author

    About Engin Kayral (Graywolf)

    Born in 1962,married and having 2 sons. I started modelling about 8 years old building USS Fletcher with mom. It was a model dad brought from USA., I think in those days only a few people in Turkey had info on scale model kits. Grown as an AF officer son , I built many aircraft models in years. Som...


    Engin, I agree with Mark, excellent SBS! As I said to you earlier, I'll probably try this sooner than later A question though... I noticed you didn't use any releasing agent, like a petroleum based gel (e.g. Vasolene) on the Lego blocks. Would it be better to use something like that? If so, what would be safe to use with plasters - be it wall plaster or plaster of paris? Rudi
    DEC 14, 2006 - 06:47 PM
    Thanks a lot for comments. Rudi - I used plaster of paris .As I washed the legos with hot water , no plaster left in legos..they were good enough to use again or to put them back in son's toy box.
    DEC 14, 2006 - 06:59 PM
    Have to be honest - I saw the title and was thinking - oh 'quick feature':WRONG. Wow - you really made this a very comprehensive feature. Well done worth the read.
    DEC 14, 2006 - 08:02 PM
    Great SBS bro. Thanks for sharing. The lego idea is awesome
    DEC 14, 2006 - 08:13 PM
    Hello Engin, very nice and useful SBS !!! Best wishes my friend, Markus
    DEC 15, 2006 - 09:05 PM
    Another little gem to add to the treasure chest of ideas,well done Engin. Steve
    DEC 16, 2006 - 12:10 AM
    Cheers for the feature.
    DEC 16, 2006 - 11:25 PM
    Hi Engin, Another question from me... As you said in the SBS, plaster is fairly porous, and thus priming is very important. Firstly, what primer do you use? And doesn't the primer soak into the plaster like other paints do? Do you treat the base with any sort of PVA glue & water mixture prior to priming? Cheers Rudi
    DEC 17, 2006 - 06:59 PM
    Brother, I use a spray primer that they use before painting cars or sometimes I airbrush the surface in gray tones of enamel paints. plaster absorbs the primer as it does for the other paints but at least it makes a thin layer on plaster surface that you can apply paints easier. I think the surface looks more realistic as you use diluted paints and paint a few coats. I dont use pva glue on the surfaces that i will paint and advice you not to do that having some bad experiences best regards
    DEC 17, 2006 - 07:17 PM
    Excellent SBS Engin. Very useful my friend. Thanks .
    DEC 18, 2006 - 12:26 PM