Home Forums General General Base & Paint or Paint & Base?

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    Avatar photoTony S

    I’ve noticed a few gamers at the club tend to prime their figures, base their figures and then paint them.  (Not, I hasten to add, individual figures on single bases, but rather multiple castings based on a single element).  But the odd thing is that this method is only among a few players that mostly play FoW.

    Is this a local thing?  I’m thinking that as it is WW2, the castings are far enough apart to paint decently enough.  I will also editorialize a trifle, and also note that these players will often play games with just primed figures, so I presume a bit of impatience to get the toys into a battle.  And I know wargaming is a broad church, but I must say that’s anathema to me.  It’s a visual hobby, and personally I just can’t play in such a game.

    But they enjoy themselves, and usually end up painting them, and as long as they’re having fun, it’s all good.  That’s the important thing.

    Ok; sermon over.

    I always paint my figures, then base.  Unless they’re individually mounted for skirmisher actions, then I glue them on a naked base, paint and finally flock.

    However, awhile back one of the FoW boys decided to branch out, so we gave him a Swedish GNW army, painting guides and let him at it.  I was surprised that he still based, then primed and painted these close order troops already crammed on the base.

    I assumed that it was inexperience, as I would think it is damn difficult to paint figures in ranks, and he had never done that before, just open order WW2 era soldiers.

    Am I wrong?  Does anyone else do this?

    And while I’m here – how about (blackpowder) artillery pieces?  I assemble, prime, glue on to a base (no crew), paint and then flock.  But sometimes painting can be tricky underneath, and it can sometimes look like the gun is sinking into the soil.

    Any other ways anyone else bases the guns?

    Avatar photoMike

    I paint the figures, then stick them on the base, and then do the base.

    Artillery I paint both separately and then stick the artillery piece on the completed base.
    I will leave unflocked areas so the wheels stick to the base not the flock.

    Avatar photoMcKinstry

    Paint then base. I have no idea how I’d begin to do it in reverse.

    The tree of Life is self pruning.

    Avatar photoShaun Travers

    I have always pained the figures and then based.  For me it is much easier to glue one or more  figures to a stick and paint, rather than paint when already on bases.

    Avatar photoMike Headden

    Depends on the scale and the figures but normally paint then base.

    2mm/3mm/6mm more likely to base then paint. Larger scales skirmisher types are often base then paint. Individual figures are almost always base then paint.

    Artillery, base then paint the crew then paint the gun unbased and glue the gun in place. Like the other Mike I make sure the wheels and trail of the gun are attached to something solid, not just flock.


    There are 100 types of people in the world, those who understand binary and those who can work from incomplete data

    Avatar photoMartinR

    I usually paint then base, but I did quite a bit of 15mm and 20mm WW2 stuff the other way around. Based, primed and then painted in situ. It is easy enough to paint in place.

    I always base my 2mm stuff before painting, and for some odd reason I did all my 6mm ACW stuff that way too. I just couldnt be bothered to transfer several hundred figures from their temporary painting strips onto the final bases.

    If you can’t get a brush in there, you can’t see it at normal gaming distances.

    Wrt guns, I paint and base the crew, paint the gun, then stick it on the base later.



    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    Avatar photoSteve Johnson

    Base and paint and have done for as long as I can remember. When at arms length I simply don’t spot the parts that are left primed black (ie in betweens ranks, say legs down), even less so when on the table. Whilst I enjoy painting, it is very much a means to an end rather than an end in itself.

    Avatar photoAndrew Beasley

    Paint and base for me – no idea why, just assume it was the way others did it when I started…

    Easier for skirmish / single based figures than line troops but even my bigger fantasy armies (Skaven / Oaks) had the rank and file on single depth bases in a sabot carrier so it was never a real issue.

    Could a reason be I hate basing and leave it till last???

    Avatar photoGermy

    Definitely paint then base regardless of unit bases or individual figures, the only time I did bases before the miniatures was when I did my scratchbuilt robots.

    And that was because I had so many to do it was much faster to do the bases without having to paint and glue round the miniatures legs.

    Avatar photoSane Max

    Odd man out…. for most of my figures i base in grit. I apply it before I undercoat, and finish off after painting. I like to think the undercoat fixes the grit a bit better.

    So I am base-paint-base 🙂

    Avatar photoian pillay

    I do the same as Sane Max depending on how I want to base them. I’ve recently discovered Geek Gaming base ready material. So if I am using that I undercoat (white) , paint miniature(s) (speed paint), paint base (dark colour) then add basing material, before Matt varnish finish.


    Tally-Ho! Check out my blog at…..

    Avatar photoAndrew Beasley

    …before Matt varnish finish.

    Forgot that bit (blush)

    Paint – Base – Varnish


    Avatar photoPatrice

    All my figures like to move individually 😉 when they need to, even those who are trained to fight in close order; so I always base and paint.


    Avatar photoMr. Average

    It depends largely upon the scale for me, and what effect I’m trying to achieve in the end. At 3mm scale I usually base my infantry first, prime the whole assembly as a single unit, and then paint. This lets me conceal the little platforms they stand on. At 6mm scale I more often paint first, then base with pre colored talus, sand and flock to conceal the little stands. Anything larger I always paint first and then base. Vehicles I also paint first and then base regardless of scale. The only time I did otherwise, to my own woe, was with a set of 15mm scale SF3D walkers, which as a result look like their feet are sunken into the ground. Not bad, but I wish I could have done better.


    I always paint 15mm figs first (on tongue depressor assembly line with blue tack)  then remove them to sort into units and base and flock.  28mm almost always base for skirmish (on a penny or 2p coin) so they get put on the base first, even if it’s a close order unit.  That reminds me I gotta make some trays….

    Mick Hayman
    Margate and New Orleans

    Avatar photoTony S

    I thought I was the only one who used popsicle sticks and bluetack Mick!

    Thanks to everyone for sharing your idiosyncratic methods! I used to quite dislike basing as well Andrew, but I’ve found that it doesn’t annoy me as much anymore.

    Maybe because I’ve found a method that I’m happy with, or maybe because I’m getting old and mellowing.  I don’t even mind cavalry as much these days.

    Although I still detest chariots and cannons – just once I’d like to assemble those bloody things without gluing my fingers together with super glue.

    Avatar photoAndrew Beasley

    I thought I was the only one who used popsicle sticks and bluetack Mick! …

    I use tongue depressors as popsicle sticks are normally thin or small here in the U.K. and one box from eBay has lasted me years so far as I keep using the same few 🙂 They are wide enough to just about hold solid in the GW (old fat neck) painting grips – a bit of BT helps here though.

    BlueTak is a pain in summer (the little we get here) and all year round after undercoating as mine reacts to the spray and/or heat and gets very very sticky allowing some of the models to slip around a bit – changed to UHU glue as it comes off the figures easily (for about a year or two but any longer than that its a struggle to free them and yes I do have figures sat that long [blush]).

    Avatar photoSane Max

    I use sticks as well…. i glue the figures with PVA and i clean them after use and re-use them. I get a little buzz every time i do it, some of them i have had for years 🙂

    Avatar photoGermy

    Same here, reused the same sticks for years!

    Avatar photoMike Headden

    I use Copydex (aka cow gum) to glue things to sticks for painting. Good adhesion but easy to peel off.

    There are 100 types of people in the world, those who understand binary and those who can work from incomplete data

    Avatar photoOotKust

    Normal figures- down to plain fingers and brushes.
    Tried using ‘stands’ a few times but its irksome and weary when they fall over, get in way etc. So no.
    Fallback- mounted figures- as I always undercoat in enamel back first; sometimes mount twicky fancy poufs onto their horse (assuming I’ve chosen one) as the ‘handling’* then becomes a lot better and you can paint multiple colours ‘around’ the figure [ aka rider] in one go and set aside to dry.

    *reason being fingers encroach on wet paint and lift or smear features like trouser stripes/ gold lace/ sabres etc…

    Micro- yes I have in past mounted then slathered camo left and right to get some effect.

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