Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Easy sci-fi basing with Instant Mold

For the next couple of 15 mm figures I'm doing, I wanted nice, high-tech "spacey" looking bases that would complement the minis' genre. The trouble is, the found objects I was going to make them out of are composed of soft, non-paintable plastic - ever try to paint those green vinyl army men?  (Also, sometimes an original object may be valuable or unique and one doesn't want to use it up to make bases.)

Enter my Instant Mold, and here I'm going to show you how I easily made multiple great-looking bases from a single textured original. Not rocket science, for sure, but since my basing posts here seem to get a good response, I thought I'd show you how I did it.

The object I'm using is an "embedding cassette" used to prepare tissues for microscopy.  Looks sort of cool and tech-y... but it's an unsuitable material.  Here, I've trimmed it down and stuck it to a tape backing.

Pressing the Instant Mold firmly onto the original produced a nice impression.

I usually base 15 mm figures on a Canadian penny, so this, covered with green stuff, is the substrate here.

The putty-covered coin is pressed onto the mold.  I tried to ensure that the putty layer wasn't too thick, and was of even thickness to produce a ~ flat "floor" for the mini to stand on.

Ta da!  Looks pretty good!  Once the putty was set, I peeled the mold off and carefully cut away the excess putty with an X-acto knife.  By varying the location on the mold where I pressed the putty, I made multiple  slightly different bases with the same general appearance.  And of course, green stuff is always guaranteed to be workable and takes paint well.

I can easily imagine a single dollar-store toy or random thing you found by the side of the road generating many bases using this method, and with a little ingenuity different textures could probably be combined on one base. I should also try it with rocks and other natural materials to see what kind of surfaces I can produce.


  1. Fantastic idea, really, and easily extrapolated to other scales.

    Embedding cassette, eh? Reminds me of this one article I read... what was that called again? Oh, yeah. "Robbing Science to Pay Art" ;-)

  2. I love this idea. I'll have to give it a try. Mike Howell referred your blog to me on my blog. I'm definitely following you if you have great tips like this.


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