Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Base metal

A couple of weeks ago I received a model I had ordered on eBay, a GHQ Nashorn, nicely painted. It came in an old metal cigarette case, along with a couple of free 3mm tanks. All three had magnets mounted underneath, which held them to the case. It occurred to me that this was an idea I could use, given that I already mount all my 6mm troops and vehicles on 1" square steel bases. If I put a magnet under a tank, then I can put it onto a base for games where I want that, but I can also remove it for games in which unbased vehicles are preferred. 
I tried this out on some GHQ Pz IVH which I had painted but not based, and some magnets I had lying around - I think from Flames of War days. I used Das air-drying putty to fill in the cavity under the tank, and then embedded a magnet in it, at ground level as it were. As it turned out the Das isn't all that sticky once dried - most if the carcasses dropped out of the tanks, and most of the magnets popped out of their holes when I offered them to a steel base. However that was not a big problem - I glued the magnets back in with superglue, and the carcasses into the hulls with Uhu or similar. The first picture here show how it works.
I then modelled some bases in my normal way - green Basetex to give some shape and texture, a bit of Flat Earth paint and then a variety of flocks and other bits. The difference was that instead of gluing a model I simply left a fairly flat area in the centre. The tanks then sit nicely on the bases - the magnets hold them securely, but come off easily enough when needed. The next few pictures show the effect - I later did the same with some Chieftains which can be seen in the last two pics, with and without bases.
This opens up several other possibilities. I can use the same bases for different tanks, so I do not need to have a base for every vehicle, just enough for the biggest battle I am likely to fight. And I can use different bases for the same model - so a Tiger could have a desert sand base to fight in Tunisia, and then switch to a temperate base for Italy, or even a snow scene in Russia. All in all, I think a successful experiment.
The magnets, by the way, turn out to be very cheap, only about 12p each for the size I used, and there is a huge range and choice.


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