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Basing with Sand and Super Glue
May 24, 2018
2:26 pm
Tony

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Welcome to another of my off-beat hobby articles.  There are many ways to base your miniatures, but this one caught my attention as I'd not encountered it before.  Credit goes to a gentleman I met at 'The Wonder of the Algoraxi' campaign weekend, whose name I have completely forgotten.

First, prepare your mini by attaching it to a base.  I always recommend using a piece of sprue as a spacer between the base and the mini itself, and for this technique, I used two pieces.  Otherwise, the process may cover up the feet/attachment points of your mini.  Once it's securely mounted, gather the following:

- Mini
- Super Glue (thin and runny, £1 shops are a good source)
- Sand/Ballast/Grit/Gravel
- Super Glue Activator (optional, but desirable)

Image Enlarger

Although I didn't take any safety precautions, I work with glue all day in a ventilated workshop, and I accept the risks.  You, on the other hand, want to wear some latex gloves and get plenty of ventilation when doing this. 

Liberally poor the sand over the mini's base, until it's piled up to the bottom their feet and reached the edge of the base.

Carefully lift the mini out of the container, try to avoid knocking any sand off.  Lay it down on a surface you don't mind trashing afterward. Once the you put the mini down, there is no need to pick it up again until you have finished.

I noticed a few patches that could be higher, so applied more sand by sprinkling it over the area. Larger rocks simply by pushing them gently into the sand. 

From a few cm's away, I dripped super glue on the sand.  It'll settle as a drop on top, before sinking into the sand.  Repeat this until all the sand is covered.  Try not to drop glue into the same place twice, it may flood out the sand over the edge of the base.

Once the glue is applied, spray the activator over the top and allow an hour to dry thoroughly.  If you don't have activator, leave for 24 hours.

If you spill any over the edge, you can quickly wipe it away with a gloved hand.  Otherwise, wait for it to dry, and use a nail board to smooth it out.  Once you're happy with it, paint it as normal!

Ethos defines us,

Esperit De Corps binds us

May 25, 2018
3:33 pm
Zeus

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I've done the same, but with PVA, you can also then shufty it about a bit to create a bit more up and down. I get my superglue from Fratton Model Shop, £3 for 20 grams and £5.50 for 50 grams. They also do it in low, medium and high viscosity. The low viscosity is excellent for filling in cracks between parts, and runs down the line really easily. I do use it for the same sort of thing you mention, and also for weighting bases, just fill them and then drip it on top. 

May 28, 2018
10:52 am
Tony

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Zeus said
I've done the same, but with PVA, you can also then shufty it about a bit to create a bit more up and down. I get my superglue from Fratton Model Shop, £3 for 20 grams and £5.50 for 50 grams. They also do it in low, medium and high viscosity. The low viscosity is excellent for filling in cracks between parts, and runs down the line really easily. I do use it for the same sort of thing you mention, and also for weighting bases, just fill them and then drip it on top.   

Have you tried dripping it onto baking soda?  It makes an excellent gap filler (it must be good, its a repair for aircraft rotor blade chips!)

Ethos defines us,

Esperit De Corps binds us

May 28, 2018
7:47 pm
Zeus

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I wouldn't have thought of that myself, will keep it in mind. 

June 22, 2018
4:04 pm
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Ben Calvert-Lee
Fareham, Hampshire

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I steer clear of large glue bottles and buy Loctite 5g in batches of 10-20 bottles. I've always found the larger bottles degrade before I use all the glue. Using this much on bases, though, I wouldn't expect the bottle to last long enough!


June 23, 2018
3:45 pm
Zeus

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Fair point. When doing a whole team, unit, a larger bottle is worthwhile, but yes, often towards the end the evaporation of fluid makes it much thicker. Liquids permeate plastic, so you can't really stop this, same with paints. I tend to by a low viscosity and mix it in, but Cyanocrylate Super Glue is well known to degrade over time, hence keeping it in the fridge is advised to resist this, but who can be bothered to do that, I know I can't. I see the sense in those smaller metal type tubes, as you never know how long a bottle has been in the shop before you purchased it. Those tubes can cost £2 each though (I'd guess buying more in bulk makes them cheaper though), but a fair point to have either depending on what the use is. 

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