Saturday, July 6, 2013

Wargaming Resin Bases

Like many gamers my creative streak only runs so far, so since getting in to Warmachine I've been paying a lot of attention to the various companies producing resin bases, with the aim of overcoming some of my own modelling deficiences by drafting in someone elses skills to help give my miniatures a little more "pop" on the tabletop.

Resin bases come in two varieties (for the "rolled shoulder" Privateer Press style that is) - full bases, and inserts. A full base is exactly what is says on the box, you replace your existing plastic PP base with a sculpted resin version. Inserts on the othe rhand are small circles that you glue on to your base before attaching the figure. In both cases you are going to be pinning the figure to the base, rather than using the "slotta-tab".

I've looked at a lot companies online, and bought a few samples along the way. Rather than looking at the manufacturers initially, here are some of the things that I considered whilst assessing the offerings on screen.

1. Quality of the range. We are buying their bases because they have the skills (or time) that we do not have, so they must have a nice enough looking product that it is worth buying.
2. Number of ranges. If you find a company that you like, it is nice if they make more than one range of bases so you can stick with them.
3. Variety of the bases inside the range. A unit including UA can be 12 figures, so having 4 types of 30mm base in the range means a lot of repetition. In a perfect world there would be 3+, 6+ and 8+ base designs (50mm, 40mm and 30mm bases respectively) as this reduces the repetition inside a unit and across heavy Warjacks of Warbeasts (where 2 different designs will become very apparent).
4. Do they make a 120mm base? Chances are you are going to want a Collossal or Gargantuan (or Battle Engine) in your force at some point, nice to have it look the same.
5. Price. This one needs no explaination
6. Layout of the bases. Your figures will generally be standing in the middle of the base so big raised surfaces (such as logs) where you want to stick your figure can be a pain.

Links to manufacturers (not a complete list, just the companies I have been looking at) that make PP style rolled shoulder bases (or inserts).
Back 2 Base-ix
Fenris Games
Kerr and King
Iron Halo
Micro Art Studio

So far I have bought bases from all of these companies with the exception of Micro Art and Tabletop-Art. In the case of Micro Art it is because they do not have something suitable for what I am looking for, and the same more or less goes for Tabletop-Art (although I am interested in having a look at their trench bases for my Khador).

Back 2 Base-ix: I've bought bases from their Slate (for my Rasputina gang), Forest (Kara's Cygnar), Dirt (earmarked for my Cygnar) and Dungeon Stone. I really like their Forest bases, although some of the bases are a challenge to mount the figures if you do not pose them with a specific base in mind. They do have some really nice sculpted detail are are good value for money. I am a little dissapointed that one of the bases (the left one in the picture below) appears to be a 40mm or 30mm base with a little extra added. If you look carefully you can see the extra putty that has been added to the detail starting at "1 o'clock" and going round to "9 o'clock" and it does not quite match the original design.
Back 2 Base-ix Forest bases (50mm)
Fenris Games: I only came across these guys very recently and picked up their Rubble City (planning on using these for my Trolls) and Woodland Path (Circle) bases. They are very competitively priced and have the best quantity of variants in each size that I have seen. They look easy enough to pose figures (have not tried yet) and have enough detail that they should paint up well. Quality of the sculpting is not as good as B2B but still significantly better than I can achieve. They are also the only people (out of the ones I have bought samples from) to make 120mm bases.
Fenris Games: Rubble City bases (50mm)
Fenris Games: Woodland Path bases (50mm)
Kerr and King: I've bought their Flames Of War bases in the past and thought that there were some cool design elements in them so I gave their 28mm bases a shot. They had some of the nice elements that I expected (the sharks fin in the water is a good touch) but were not all I hoped for. They range was also quite small which would lead to a lot of duplication if you have more than a couple of 50mm based models.
Kerr and King: Forest bases (left) and Dockside bases (right) (all 50mm)
I don't have images of my Iron Halo bases as I have only bought square bases from them (for a Warhammer army). Rachel's stuff is nice though, although her painting skills far (far far far) outweigh mine so no surprises that they look good on her website. Plus it is nice to deal with another kiwi. My preference is for full resin bases rather than inserts which is the main reason I have not picked any up.

Going through this process I have managed to (hopefully) nail down my basing style for my Trolls and Circle, my Cygnar were already sorted of course, leaving Khador and Rhulic. I am keen to check out the Tabletop-Art trench range for my Khador but their lack of variation in the 50mm size is a problem for me. So far I am lacking inspiration for my Dwarves, but am contemplating the Back 2 Base-ix Slate bases with a very different colour scheme compared with the dark greys for Rasputina. Of course another option that is open to me is to try my hand at making my own and casting them, but that is another story - assuming I am crazy enough to go down that route!

If you have not looked at the resin bases on the market, or are looking for some non-PP style bases have a look at this article on Dakka Dakka for some more links to manufacturers.

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