Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Perfect Base

In a previous post I showed a picture of a 30mm base I was working on. Well, I finished it, and it didn't even take too long (not compared to the custom bases I was building from breadboard and plasticard anyway!), and it's a hell of a lot better than all my previous bases. It's indistinguishable from a normal 30mm base (with the recess filled in), it's faster and easier to make, and it's much more scratch resistant. I think the real breakthroughs were the improved components I got my hands on, slightly thicker 30mm base that's just deep enough for everything, and me getting a little better at soldering.

Since this was an early prototype I didn't want to spend too long on the miniature on top, so I grabbed a Haloclix Cortana mini that I had lying around. Not only would there be no virtually assembly or painting involved, it would give me an opportunity to try and fit all the components - including the LEDs - in the base for a real "worst case scenario".

And it turns out it was a worst case, for one main reason. Cortana pretty much had to be right in the centre of the base, which meant that the LEDs had to sit right in the centre inside, which meant the battery had to be pushed out to the edge, where it just didn't quite sit right. As a result it's a bit fiddly to get the battery to actually work, and it can slip just enough to cut the power while handling the mini. But I think I might be able to fix that in future bases, and it won't always need to be pushed that far out anyway. So overall this base was a great success!

While I'm very happy with how the base worked out, there is a small problem with the overall miniature. Light from the base just doesn't reach her head, and it's only really her feet that light up. In the light it doesn't look that bad, like she's a hologram and there's just a little extra light "leaking" from the projector in the base, but in the dark it doesn't work very well, and my paint job just makes it worse.

The base model looked very un-detailed, so I wanted to use a wash to bring out the detail and depth a little. I also thought I could probably do a better job of the "data lines". I tried to strip the paint off, but Dettol didn't seem to have any effect, so I settled for just a wash on top.

I primed it with Purity Seal, then carefully painted on a 1:1 mix of Asurmen Blue wash with Lahmian Medium, making sure it didn't pool too much. I then added pure Asurmen Blue directly into a few areas where I thought it still needed more contrast, like the face. I then varnished it with Purity Seal.

While this did help a bit with the detail, it darkened the figure a lot more than I expected. It looks more detailed but less transparent in light, and I think it just has even less light reaching the upper parts of the model in the dark.

Overall though everything worked out quite well, and it didn't take much time at all. In fact I mostly finished this model over a month ago, but for some reason I wanted to finish Daedalus before finished her and posting pictures. After all, he was assembled and working almost a year ago, I figured he deserved to be finished first. Besides, if I didn't finish him before finishing her, I probably would have been too busy making models with the new bases to ever get around to finishing him.

Just for fun I decided to take some pictures of them together, and those photos came out really well:

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