Removing the Old Base - Building the Base - Priming the Base - Painting the Base - Snow / Flock - Pinning the Miniature - Cleaning Up the Base - Clear Coat #1 - Touch Up the Miniature - Attach the Miniature - Clear Coat #2

Rebasing a Miniature

I have miniatures with bases that I just plain hate. I worked on making better looking bases and decided to go back to my old miniatures and replace their bases with new ones. As I started to get a system down I thought I would make a guide showing how I am doing it incase it would be helpful to anyone else. Plus if you skip past the information on how to remove the miniature from the base, this doubles as a basing guide too.
I like the winter look, so this guide will show how to make new bases that have some snow on them. You can just as easily skip past the snow part and add grass flock instead.
Note on the photos: Due to technical issues (i.e. I didnít know how to work the camera correctly), a lot of the pictures did not turn out. You will see different miniatures along the stages of this guide, sorry.

1 Removing the Old Base

  • Cutters
  • File
This is something you want to take your time with, as rushing here can cause excess damage to your miniature. A warning about removing the base from your miniature, this will most likely cause some damage to the paint around the miniature's feet that you will need to touch up later.
Fight the urge to grab the miniature in one hand and grab the base in the other and try to wiggle the base off, this will bend the feet/legs which is something we want to avoid. I start by cutting away at the base with the cutters. We want to clear enough away so we can cut away one of the edges of the groove running down the middle of the base. I find that if you remove one of the edges you can easily pull the plastic away from the tab of the miniature. When you are cutting away and removing the base, make sure to have something under the miniature like a cloth to catch the miniature if it pops out of the base.
After you have removed the old base you will need to remove the tab on the miniature since the new base will not have a slot for the tab. I use my cutters to cut the tab away from the feet. Do not try to cut the tab in half, i.e. between the two feet, this will displace the metal which will result in your feet/legs bending.
After I cut the tab away from the feet I use a file to clean up the bottom of the feet, this makes drilling the hole for the pin easier some times.

2 Building the Base

  • ACE Ready Mix Concrete - This stuff rocks, adds great texture to the base and all you have to do is scoop it out of the container and put it on the base.
  • Popsicle Stick - I use it to spread the concrete on the new base.
  • Corn Meal (coarse polenta style, NOT cornmeal flour) and Cracked Bulgarwheat - I like using a combination of the two as the Corn Meal is finer then the Cracked Bulgarwheat. Cornmeal and Bulgarwheat can be found in the bulk bins of some grocery stores and almost all heath food stores. You wonít need much, just a few ounces will last a good long while. In the pictures below, the Cornmeal is the small yellow stuff and the Bulgarwheat is the brown larger chunks.
  • Masking Tape - You can cover up the groove in the small and medium bases so you donít use as much cement. I use the 1" masking tape as it works well with both the small and medium bases.
  • Container of Water - For dipping the miniatureís feet into.
  • Marker - For numbering the bases.
  • A Wet Paper Towel - To wet our finger.
  • A Dry Paper Towel - To remove cement from our finger.
Now we need to get the base ready. Usually I take a knife and clean up the spur that is usually left on the edge of the base. Once the edge of the base is smooth I take a piece of masking tape and cover up the slot in the base. This saves me some cement, it also makes the base easier to deal with because without the tape, cement will ooze out the bottom.
If you are working with multiple miniature at once, I usually do, you should number the bottom of your bases so you will be able to match up each base with the correct miniature. You should also make a spot where you can place the miniatures and keep track of which base they go with. I use a piece of paper numbered 1-10.
We now enter a "Time" game, since the cement will set in roughly 10 minutes. You need to have all your supplies ready before you begin.
Now that the base is ready for the cement I grab the Popsicle stick and spread on the cement. Try to avoid getting the cement on the edge of the base, but don't try too hard because it is going to happen and we are prepared for it. Even out the cement, don't try too hard, it will get shifted around when we add the corn meal.
Now hold the base in one hand and run you index finger of the other hand across your wet paper towel. Once your finger is damp, run your finger around the edge of the base to remove any cement that got on the edge. This will take many attempts to get it all clean, I go about 1/8 around the base at a time. This generally builds up enough cement on my finger that I need to wipe if off with the dry paper towel before continuing. After I wipe the cement off my finger, I get it wet with the wet paper towel and continue this until I have removed all the cement from the edge of the base.
This is when I add the Corn Meal and Cracked Bulgarwheat. If the feet are spread apart, most are, I look at the bottom of the base to see where the groove in the base is. We do not want the feet of the miniature to fall over the groove, as there is no plastic to drill into and the miniature will not be securely attached if we did. You want to avoid getting the Corn Meal and Cracked Bulgarwheat where the miniatures feet will be. I try to lay a strip down the middle of the base, following the groove. I use more Corn Meal then the Cracked Bulgarwheat. Once you have put the Corn Meal and Cracked Bulgarwheat down, press them in slightly with your finger, this will help prevent them from falling off later.
Now you need to let the base sit for at least 10 minutes, if you do not let it set up you will have problems when you press the miniature into the cement. So after the 10 minutes has passed, if you are working on multiple bases it's pretty easy to get all the bases ready then move on to this step. Take your miniature and just barely dip it into your water, you just want some water on the bottom of its feet. Then with the base on your table press the miniature straight down into the cement. Then you may need to hold the base with one hand and pull the miniature straight up with the other. If you waited long enough there should be very little, if any, cement on the bottom of the miniature. Go ahead and clean off the feet with your Wet Paper Towel to get any cement off of it. Now make note of the number of the base, and place the miniature on the paper next to the corresponding number.
Now you need to let the cement completely dry before you prime it. If it is a nice sunny day out I put my bases outside to dry. I will test the cement every hour or so to see if it has completely dried, but usually won't even consider priming them until at least 4 hours have passed. If I make the base in the evening, I let them dry overnight.

3 Priming the Base

  • Bondo Easy Finish Black Primer - What a find this was, $2.99 at my hardware store and the stuff works great. Priming the bases in black saves time.
Not too much to this step, I prime the base using my Bondo Black Primer. It can take a few coats to make sure that you get all the little nooks in the cement. You want to get it completely black so we can be lazy and avoid having to paint it black later. I let the base dry for at least 15 minutes outside, especially since the Bondo Primer is quite smelly.

4 Painting the Base

  • Dark and light brown paint
  • Paint brush
This just takes a couple quick dry brushings. Some people use old crappy brushes to dry brush with, I too used to do this, but I think you get better results when you use a new brush that is just for dry brushing. I use a flat brush with a tapered point, I find this works well for me. Since it's a new brush with all the bristles present and not all bent this way and that way, I get better application of paint.
Start with a dark brown. I have old school citadel paints, these are so old they are from when they didn't even have labels saying what color paint is in them. These were common in the early 90's. That said, give it a quick dry brush coat. If you are not familiar with dry brushing, it is pretty simple. Get a little paint on your brush and make 2" strokes across a piece of paper. Do this until the brush is dry and does not put any paint on the paper. Now run the brush across the top of the base, you will see a light coating of paint that highlights the highpoints on the base. Repeat this until you get the desired amount of paint on the base.
Next dry brush on some light brown paint. If you are using the same brush you have 2 options here. Either start using the new paint with out cleaning the brush, I'm lazy and do this, or after you clean the brush make sure it is really dry. I suggest waiting at least 15 minutes, because if there is any water in the brush, it going to cause problems with the paint running on the base. This is why I don't clean my brush between the 2 colors.
Remember, if your base looks horrible, grab some black ink and ink over the top of the base. Let it dry and try again.

5 Snow / Flock

  • Water
  • Baking Soda
  • White Glue
  • Toothpick
  • Brush for cleaning off the base
  • Blister pack or some other container you can destroy.
Now we are going to add some snow to our base, or you can add some grass flock if you prefer but I will be talking about snow here. I was surprised how easy making snow actually was, the hardest part was learning how to not make too much. To make the snow you'll want to use a plastic container that you don't mind destroying. I use blister packs and hey if you just bought new bases you should have at least 1 blister pack lying around.
The key I found to not making too much, is start with the white glue first and then add water to thin it out. If you start with water then you have to keep adding glue until itís thick enough, which can lead to making too much snow. You want to add just enough water to the glue to thin it out so it is about half as thick as straight white glue. Once it is the right consistency, I start adding baking soda until it becomes a nice paste. If you use a toothpick to mix the paste up, when you lift the toothpick the paste should stick. If you bake, think of it like beating egg whites, if you can get a peak with the paste, you're ready.
Now using the same toothpick, apply it to the base where you want the snow. Making sure not to place any where the feet will be. Donít spread it flat, leave it in blobby mounds to give the snow some dimension. Then once you have the paste down, add some baking soda on top of the paste you just applied. Don't worry about cleaning off the excess baking soda just yet. Let the base dry for 10-15 minutes and then use a brush (I have a brush that I only use for this), and start brushing off some of the excess baking soda. Donít try to remove soda on the paste now, just soda that's on the rest of the base.
Then I let the base dry over night and then I remove all remaining baking soda that will brush off.

6 Pinning the Miniature

  • 3/64 Brass Pipe - I like the 3/64 size, works well with all my infantry miniatures, and it holds the Jacks too.
  • Pin Vise with 3/64 Drill Bit - You have to make the hole for the brass pipe somehow.
  • Dental Pick - I use a dental pick to clean up the hole I put in the new base for the pin, you could use a toothpick and knife just as well.
  • Marker - For marking where to cut the pipe.
  • Cutter
  • Super glue
First look at the miniature's feet/legs and look for a good spot where you want the pin to go. Usually I look for the foot/leg with the most metal I can drill into. Then with the spot in mind where you want the pin to go, place the miniature on the base and eyeball where the hole should be in the base. I find it's pretty close to the middle of the foot print. Then I use my pin vise to drill a hole in the base. Donít worry the cement doesn't cause any problems.
I use a dental pick, but a tooth pick works too, to clean up the hole I just drilled. Then I place the miniature in the foot prints and hold the base and miniature together in one hand and turn it over so I can see the hole that I drilled. Now drill through the hole into the bottom of the miniature. This will ensure that the hole in the base and the hole in the miniature line up.
You only need to get the hole started in the miniature, you donít have to drill the whole thing. Once the hole is stared, I remove the miniature from the base and finish drilling the hole in the miniature.
At this point insert the 3/64" brass pipe into the miniature to make sure that it is deep enough for the pipe to be supported well. Then place the miniature back on the base. Grab a marker and mark on the pipe where you need to trim it (usually just where the pipe emerges from the bottom of the base).
Take everything apart and cut the pipe where you marked it. Once the pipe is the correct length, go ahead and put a little super glue on it and glue it to the miniature.

7 Cleaning Up the Base

  • Black Ink / Black Paint
  • Paint Brush
At this point we will need to touch up the edge of the base because we probably got some paint on the edge when we were dry brushing. I love to use black ink instead of black paint, coats well and does not leave a build up of paint. You could use black paint, but if you have black ink, give it a shot. Just give the edge a quick touch up and let it dry. Again at least 15 minutes here, otherwise your clear coat can get "Hazy" if you put it on while the base is still drying.

8 Clear Coat #1

  • Cheap 12oz can of clear coat like Krylon Matte Finish
I like to apply the first Clear Coat without the miniature on the base. For the first Clear Coat I use my cheaper Clear Coat, Krylon or Blare. I save the Testors Dull Coat for the second coat since its 3oz and costs the same as the other 12oz clear coats. I let it dry outside for, drum roll please, another 15 minutes.

9 Touch Up the Miniature

  • Paint
  • Paint Brush
When you removed the old base, you probably took a little paint off around the edges of the miniatures feet. Now that the miniature is pinned, you can use your Hemostats, or vise grip to pick up the miniature by the pin, go ahead at touch up the spots where you lost some paint and can see bare metal. I find that just painting on the bare metal for these tiny spots works out just fine.

10 Attach the Miniature

  • Super Glue
We can finally glue the miniature to the base. I put a little superglue on the bottom of the feet. After I attach the miniature to the base I put a little glue on the bottom of the pin under the base. Let the glue dry completely, if you use too much glue on the bottom you can get a residue on the edge of the base from the fumes of the glue. If this happens to you, just touch it up with the black ink again.

11 Clear Coat #2

  • Testors 1260 Dull Cote
Now I use the good stuff, the Testors 1260 Dull Cote, I give it a coating aimed mostly at the base and let it dry. We are done.