To base or not to base?

I am pondering a little problem at the moment. It has been quite some time since I ventured into painting any fantasy war machines, but I am now working towards finishing an old project of mine (more about that at a later stage), which involves a goblin stone thrower. For this I roughly two years ago got my hands on the lovely Skull Crusher, sculpted by the one and only Kev Adams and released in 1986 as part of the Machineries of Destruction series. Cool stuff.

The Skull Crusher box cover

Now, as suggested by the title of this post, my problem is if I should base stone thrower or not. I’m really in doubt here as both solutions have benefits and drawbacks. To base it would allow me to do all sorts of fun things with the model as a whole and turn the thing into a little mini diorama, just like Mr. Adams did when he painted the Skull Crusher himself for the box cover.

The Skull Crusher as painted by Kev Adams. Lopvely, lovely Work in his classic style. Photo by Steve Casey.

However, these bases can be slightly clumsy in actual gaming situations and somewhat limit the integration of the model on the table. For instance, the classic problem of wanting to put the stone thrower on a hill, but the base is too big for the hill, while the model as such alone would fit nicely. You know the problems. And then there of course also is the crew – should they be integrated into the base or not?

So many decisions to make.

If you have any advice, let me know, I would be glad to hear it, while I slowly start prepping the model.



10 thoughts on “To base or not to base?

    • This is not a bad idea. I have never magnetised any of my minis but this could be a good solution. Thanks.

  1. I’m a fan of basing as it protects the model and helps avoid handling the fig and potentially chipping the paint. The occasional terrain geometry mismatch is a cost….but does it happen that much? With a larger base it will happen more. I’d suggest to a minimum sized base for the catapult and base the crew seperate. You could do a larger scenic sabot base to fit everything into if you want to go hog wild on an ‘interesting’ base, but can pop stuff out for the flexibility during play (remove crew casualties, etc).

    • Hi Daveb, You are very right. A small base for the catapult with seperate bases for the crew is probably the best solution. It will allow me to do some fun stuff with the base while keeping it functional on the gaming table. This is what I will do.

      Thanks and cheers

  2. I think you can make a scenic base by cutting the smallest pleasing shape in mdf that matches the footprint without looking too clumsy like a giant rectangle.

    • Thanks for the suggestion, mr. Asslessman. You are right. It would probably be fairly easy to put the catapult on a small mdf plate with just enough space to give the base some scenic flavor. This I will do.

  3. I tend to go with a smallish base for the machine and individually based crew members as well, to strike a balance between stability and flexibility. Sometimes there is a crew member that is an integral part of the machine, like pulling a lever, that won’t really work stood to the side, in which case I would add that onto the base of the machine. I tend to keep my bases simple as well and not model scenery on, so small bases suit me well.

    • I think we are on the same base (!) here Subedai. When looking specifically at the Skull Crusher the question then is if it two of the gobbos are pulling levers or just waving their hands in the air. Their hands are placed like they are pulling something, but Kev Adams, who should know how to interpret the model, placed one of them away from the machine in his painted version, making the goblin look like he is shadow boxing or something (which of course might be the whole point.)

  4. Personally, I’d go with just a big scenic base and possibly a template for the occasional problematic game situation. The modelling possibilities of a bigger base are simply too good to miss! 🙂 Daveb has a point, though, if your main concern is gaming.

    • Thanks for the input Carlo. Large bases do look very cool indeed, but I think I will stick with a more handy and smaller solution for this one. Cheers, Martin.

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