+ inload: Epic basing +

+ 'What is this – Warhammer for ants?' +

+ Basing Epic-scale miniatures +

+ What is Epic-scale? +

+ While idly assembling some miniatures, I thought I'd put together a little tutorial for basing Epic stuff. The phrase 'Epic' or Epic-scale' in wargaming terms is probably familiar to most inloaders, but for anyone unsure, Games Workshop used to support a companion game to 40k based around larger conflicts on a slightly more abstract level than 40k. The figures were roughly a quarter of the size of their 40k-scale equivalents, meaning infantry are roughly 6mm tall. + 

+ This has caused no end of online discussion about whether the modern Adeptus Titanicus 'scale' is the same, or slightly different. That's an discussion for another – less hot and sunny – time, so here we'll stick with the practicalities and just refer to any roughly 6mm-sized figures as the numberless 'Epic-scale'. The instructions below will work for any comparably-scaled game, such as Adeptus Titanicus, 10mm: Dropzone Commander or Games Workshop's Warmaster. +

Epic Marines alongside a 40k scale one.


+ Theoretical +

+ Since their introduction in the original Epic: Space Marine game, infantry have been fielded, usually in groups of five, on specially-designed 25mm (1in) square bases with recesses to accept the built-in 'plugs' on the feet of the figure. These were later joined by 40mm x 10mm strip bases with similar recesses. 

+ Both styles of GW official bases are long out of print. They're not particularly hard or expensive to buy second-hand or find on auction sites, though this obviously makes them less reliably available. Vanguard Miniatures do a nice selection of circular and strip equivalents in plastic [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+] if you want a nice clean base to work on. +

+ Players usually flocked and painted the bases using sand or similar. Have a look at a Tactical detachment from my Ultramarines army below for an example. These were based on some 1mm ply wood that I had drilled to provide the recesses. As a result, all are grouped in the same ring of five. Not a problem in itself, but the downside of using pre-made bases is it that it can look a bit dull. +

Epic Ultramarines 

+ I wanted to show a method that allows you to add a bit more character and variety to the bases. Adding little touches like this will go a long way to adding character to your formations – and from tabletop distance, it will help to make your forces look like scale figures in combat, rather than abstract gaming tokens. +

+ Practical +

+ You won't need a lot of specialist equipment here; about the only thing you'll need is a fine texture gel or medium. I used Winsor & Newton's Galeria Sand Texture Gel, available at your local art and craft store, but there are lots of equivalents. The important bit is that it is finely textured and holds its shape. +

1_ With your figures prepared, take a 2p coin – or anything roughly 25mm (1in) in diameter, and squeeze on a blob of the texture gel in the centre. 

2_ Use your modelling tool to loosely spread it around, keeping it off the rim of the coin.

3_ Optionally, embed a small piece of gravel, or similarly-sized detail. Offcuts of sprue, small pieces of terrain etc. also work well. This'll end up looking like a piece of cover and create some variation in height. More importantly, it will create something for your figures to interact with. Use the modelling tool to draw the modelling gel up and around any natural elements (like boulders); it will help integrate them and look much more natural. Depending on the effect you want, you can leave some bits exposed, or cover the whole thing.


4_ Take a moment to consider what simple story you want the vignette to tell. This doesn't have to be involved or complex – something as simple as 'moving up quickly' or 'warily patrolling' or 'taking cover' can work. Here, I've opted for three figures huddling around the rock, providing covering fire for two who have started to redeploy.

Considering the pose, place the first figure, leaving space for the others. Push the figure firmly into the gel and use the modelling tool to work the gel over and around the tab, hiding it.

5_ Repeat with the other figures. It's usually easier to work from the centre of the base outwards, to avoid the risk of knocking them. Use a damp old brush to clean any excess gel from the figure's legs.

6_ While the gel remains wet, you can now sprinkle some fine sand over the base. I use 'play sand', as it's fine, and clean. Odd bits of grit work well at larger scales, but at Epic-scale it can be a bit jarring. Leave the gel to dry overnight to finish, ready for painting. 


+ Additional cognition +

+ As you can see, the addition of a bit of height to the base itself helps to create the impression of a more natural, believable surface than the level plains of Planet Bowling Ball. However, it's not entirely necessary. The combination of gel and sand creates a subtly varied texture in itself, as you can see below. A few small (2–3mm) static grass tufts can add a bit of height and interest to the basein the same way as the pebbles/scenery: you just need to plan it a little in advance. +

+ Note here that the Rhino and Dreadnought are also mounted on bases. I think the adding bases to tanks hugely improves things, particularly in Epic. Mostly, I try to build up gel on one side, so that the vehicle is at a slight angle, and occasionally slightly off-setting the vehicle on the base – it goes a long way to giving them  some dynamism and prevent them all looking identical. +

+ I usually mount Dreadnoughts and upgrade characters on smaller pennies – approximately 12mm (½in) across, as this prevents them looking lost. + 

Silver Stars marines and Contemptor support.

+ If you want to, of course, you can take this much further, creating a mini-diorama. The thing to bear in mind is that we'll need to hide any built-in 'tab' bases, particularly on infantry but also frequently on cavalry and artillery. Adding too much addition 'stuff' can lead to a crowded base that doesn't work so well. If you really want to get involved with more complex things, I suggest using slightly larger bases – around 32mm would work well – or altering the number of figures on the base. +

+ If you're intending to play the most recent iteration of the game, the much-loved Epic: Armageddon, it's worth nothing that the rules allow for a great deal of flexibility in basing, and in my experience the relative advantages and disadvantages of different shapes and sizes all balance out:

1.1.2 Stands
As previously noted, a unit can be a single vehicle model, or a stand made up of several very small models grouped together and glued to a small base. Stands usually represent things like infantry, where moving the individual models round on their own would be very fiddly with Epic scale models. All the models glued to a stand count as a single unit as far as the rules are concerned. The size of a stand and the number of models glued to it are left pretty much up to the player to decide within the following limitations:
• A stand may be no more than 40mm and no less than 5mm across in any direction.
• A stand must be at least 20mm across in one direction (ie, a 5mm by 5mm stand is not allowed, but a 5mm by 20mm stand would be okay).
• Stands representing infantry units must have at least three infantry models and may not have more than seven. Infantry mounted on bikes or horses must have between two and four models mounted on each base.
• Stands representing artillery must have between one and two artillery pieces and up to six crew models.

+ This can be used to good effect. While I like the look and idea of five marines on a base – it fits with their disciplined nature and their method of using five-men combat squads – the freedom to play around offers lots of potential. +

+ Eldar, for example, might look good scattered a bit more sparsely on bases – perhaps just three or four figures per base, to suggest an elite, thinly-spread Warhost. Conversely, hordes of Orks, Tyranids or Necrons would look great more densely packed – whether in loosely roaming packs or serried ranks. +

+ More 'small-c chaotic' forces like Orks or Chaos marines would look great with varying numbers of models, and the addition of odd one-off bits like stray gretchin or cultists alongside the main infantry. +

+ As a final point, these techniques can of course be used for Adeptus Titanicus models, too. In fact, I think practising exercising your brain in creating a story with infantry can help to build your skills and creativity for the larger space of a Titan base – and what better than a cohesive Epic-scale army led by a Titan or two? +

1 comment:

Chris Kemp said...

Anthammer 40K ... love it! The circular bases work really well too, and they all tie in well together.

Regards, Chris.