Thursday, September 29, 2011

Base - How low can you go?

I've been looking for some cost-effective basing solutions for my Epic: Armageddon models. In addition to the possibility of basing my vehicles (which I'm still not sure if I'm going to do,) I need base solutions for some of my troops. My Imperial Guard and Space Marines will be mounted on the standard Games Workshop strip bases, but I need to figure out what I'm going to do with my Orks and Chaos Space Marines. I don't have enough of the strip bases as part of my Ork and all of my Chaos purchases were second hand and came without bases. In addition Games Workshop's pricing for their strip bases is pretty high ($4.50 plus shipping and tax for 16 bases.)

As a result, I've been looking at some options - here's what I've come up with:

Games Workshop bases

Thickness: 2.17mm
Size: 10mm x 40mm
Pros: Perfect for Epic infantry
Cons: Expensive ($.28 per base); only comes in infantry size

Self-made bases

One of the first options I tried was to create my own bases from plastic card. I measured out and cut strips based on the size of the GW bases, then punched holes in the strips with a standard 1/4" hole punch. After much cutting and hole-punching, I had some sore hands and partially finished bases. I then cut strips out of a thinner card and glued them to the bottom of the punched strips - instant (after a lot of work) bases. Epic guard fit right in the bases, and I locked them in with model cement. Unfortunately, the glue caused the thin bases to warp, and the stands didn't sit properly on the table. In retrospect, I think the plastic sheet idea is sound, but the bottom layer should have been magnetic sheet - there would have been no warping of the bases, and they would have been magnetized, to boot.

Thickness: Varies on the plastic card and method of construction you use
Size: Unlimited
Pros: Cheap (depends on what you pay for your plastic sheet); scalable for any size base
Cons: Labor intensive, prone to warping if you use the same methods as I did

Litko bases

On a recommendation from a fellow gamer, I ordered some bases from Litko. Litko will laser cut wooden bases to your specifications, which is pretty cool if you have anything that is kind of a weird size. Another neat thing is that Litko offers pre-cut magnetic or flexible steel sheeting that adheres to the miniature bases - very handy for securing your infantry in your carrying case. Litko's pricing is based on the base size, base thickness, material, and quantity of bases you order. For the Epic-sized bases I ordered, I was paying around $10-$12 for 100 bases. Shipping is a little high, so it makes sense to get together with some friends and place a larger order. The Litko bases do not come punched though, so you will either have to drill holes for the infantry models manually, or just glue the models directly to the top of the base.

Thickness: .8mm, 1.5mm, 3mm
Size: Unlimited, cut to spec
Pros: Reasonable pricing, depending on what you order (roughly $.10-$.15 per base); cut to any size; huge array of options
Cons: Labor intensive if you have to drill holes; price per base doubles if you want magnetic bottoms; high shipping


Again, on a recommendation, I went to the local Arts and Crafts store to take a look at a product called Woodsies. Woodsies are a line of wooden shapes that can be used in crafts projects - popsicle sticks, circles, squares, etc. The first store I went to, AC Moore, had a very limited selection, and I did not find what I was looking for. Michael's, on the other hand, had a larger selection and I was able to pick up a bag each of rectangles, squares, and circles. Each bag contains an assortment of 140 small, medium, and large shapes and runs $2.99 plus tax. In the circle assortment, I found 26 large (32.4mm), 65 medium (21.3mm), and 49 small - I didn't measure the small pieces, but they fall well under the rules requirement of being at least 20mm across. Again, these are obviously not punched for Epic infantry, but you could do it yourself with a drill. I know Dave and Capt. Piett on the Tactical Command forums both use medium rectangular Woodsies for their infantry - I feel the bases are a little large, but you have additional room for scenery effects.

Thickness: 1.8mm
Size: 32.4mm, 21.3mm (lg and med circle); (lg and med square); (lg and med rectangle)
Pros: Super cheap! ($.03 per base - even cheaper if you can find a use for the small pieces)
Cons: Limited in size; not punched for infantry; might be hard to find, depending on your location


As stated, I'm already using the GW strip bases for my Imperial Guard and Space Marines. If I decide to base the vehicles, I'll most likely use the Litko bases for the models, since I already bought and paid for them. As for my Chaos and Ork armies, I think I am going to seriously have to look at a combination of Woodsies and Litko round bases. The medium Woodsies are going to work great for stuff like weapons teams, Big Gunz, Sentinels, etc - things that are small and don't require a larger base. The large Woodsies should work for Rhinos, tanks, and battlewagons. I can then fill out the remaining base needs with Litko products - 25mm rounds for infantry, etc.


  1. For the self-made bases, I think there are some who already have tried different options (of using plastic or magnetic sheets). If it all depends on the size itself, then customizing or modifying a specific sheet can be a possible solution for it. Those who plan on trying these should consider the pros and cons stated here. Good thing you included ‘em for the readers to become more aware of it.

    1. Yeah, it will all come down to personal preference, of course. I hope what I've done can help someone make an informed decision - no sense in reinventing the wheel if someone's already done the work for you!