Monday, July 18, 2016

Roman Cavalry plus how I base my figures

Building a Roman Army in 1/72nd scale for DBA has been a long term project. Strange how a different set of rules has given this project some impetus.

My plan had been to convert Airfix US Cavalry and I'd made a small step in this direction.  It was going to take time...

Then I saw these and I thought, why not.

The twelve figures were perfect for Impetus.

I had fun painting them.

They look okay...

But I'm not totally happy with them.  Looking at the full sized photos shows a number of imperfections in the basic figure that I don't find with 15mm metal figures these days.  So it goes.

How I Base My Figures

While doing these a friend asked me about my basing technique.  These guys provided a useful work-in-progress.  The following photos were taken with either my iPad or iPhone, whatever I had to hand, and are not the best I'm afraid.

This is the big secret to my success: polyfilla.  I hand cut plasticard bases, rough them up with sandpaper and secure figure using PVA glue.

After letting them dry (a day is good) I then apply the plaster.

This is the tool I use.

Mostly works fine, but sometimes I also use a toothpick to get into tight places.  Again, set aside to dry and generally I leave it for a day, even though the plaster dries much quicker than that.

Then a coat of Tamiya Flat Earth, my standard colour for bases.  Note the to do list, that's just for immediate projects that I wrote for myself before going on holiday.  It's there to keep the wet edges of my modelling surface.

I dry brushed a mix of white and earth coloured paint that I had ready to hand on my wet pallette.  I generally don't do that step with 15mm figures unless there is a lot of base showing.

Flocked using my own blend of three or more different commercial flocks, secured with a 50:50 mix of water and PVA glue.

After another day to allow the flocking to fully dry they get a spray of matt varnish.

This photo is odd, but I rather like it.

I then waited a week before spraying with Plasti-Dip (which I've started using on my soft plastic figures).  Then left it a day before taking the final photos.  It doesn't pay to rush these things.

I'm still a few bases of Bd and Ps short for my Roman DBA army - give it time, give it time.


  1. Well done that man! Great work on the shields.

    1. Thanks. At time I finished these a guy at my club had just done shields on his Pagan Rus using transfers and his looked fantastic. But using transfers on these Hat guys would be a waste.

  2. Good method for basing. The plastidip is something I've not heard of. I usually brush on varnish and then flock. If you want to add grit you can also just use regular sand.

    1. Thanks Sean. I've tried sand, but with mixed results. I've found it tends to clump and the sand I was using was all of the same consistency (to my eye) and I was hoping grit would be a bit more varied in particle size. The quest for the perfect basing medium is never ending :-)