Tuesday, September 22, 2009

More free basing ...

Last March, Ron Saikowski published a basing article about using free basing material you can find just about anywhere. While I was always using ordinary sand, I now keep my eyes open for anything else that may work. Nothing I've found so far is very different from what Ron used in that article. Some of the best stuff I'd found so far was very rocky sand from a local river beach; great for rubble-strewn city terrain.

A few weeks ago, I was doing a little home improvement in the way of painting a ceiling. I had started late and left a thin layer of paint to dry overnight in the disposable roller tray. In the process of cleaning this up the next day, I noticed the paint had cracked and some had separated from the tray. Disposable trays are very thin plastic and the paint, being less flexible, didn't stick very well. I saw some potential in this, separated as much as I could, and broke it into manageable pieces for later use.

The beauty of this stuff is, you can leave it in big chunks for large terrain pieces, or break it up even further for basing your smaller pieces. Another bonus is that its latex paint. You don't really even need to prime it, and if you do, it won't melt like foam. A disadvantage is you can only make it so thick, so it won't readily work if you're looking for thick-walled rubble.

My first test was on a mortar team. I needed to break it up a bit into smaller pieces, but it breaks apart very easily into random shapes. I just grabbed the biggest piece and broke off small chunks till I ran out, then grabbed the next biggest piece until I had a decent pile. Gluing it to the base required applying it in layers, so involves a little more time than plain sand/gravel, but came out looking fairly decent. I added a topping of sand to the pile and remaining open area, then primed, and finished. In the top picture, you can see the final product, minus the team itself (currently WIP).

This has made me pick up a bad habit though. I painted a wall in that same room the other day, and purposely left some extra paint in the tray in order to have more "rubble" for the next project.


  1. Hmmm, very coo idea and one I might borrow...

    My only concern is the dried paint strong enough not to break through general use? I'm guessing the primer and a layer of varnish might be enough to secure it?

    Thanks anyway for the idea!

  2. I've known people to mix up their own "plaster" and add the color paint they want to it beforehand so that when it dries and the break it into manageable chunks... it's already painted. The added bonus is that if it chips off the base, it's already painted and you don't have to worry about touching it up.