Home Forums Terrain and Scenery Basing my first soldiers

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    Avatar photoStug

    Hi. I have made some tests and based my first 6mm russian soldiers. I have used balsa wood for the base. For my infantry, I am using 1,6 mm thick and 2,5 cm by 2,5 cm base.

    At first, I was concerned with warping but then I decided to paint the upper and lower surface with black Vallejo primer paint. To be sure every square was not warping, I put a 1-2-3 block on top for a few minutes.

    Once dried, I mixed one part water and one part PVA glue and mix it well. Then, I took an eyedrop, filled it with the glue mix and dropped a few drops on each square.

    Then, I took dropped some clay on each square. I had to be sure every surface of the square was covered and added a little bit more clay again. Then, I used my eyedrop again and dropped a few drops of the glue mix.

    After a few hours of drying, I then drybrushed with a black paint. Once dried, I drybrushed with Vallejo Iraqui sand paint. One it’s done, I can carve the clay to make it possible to glue soldiers. One the soldiers are glued, I then use little bits of Woodland Scenics fine and coarse turf and glued them in place.

    That’s it. It looks way better than in the photos.

    Avatar photoTony S

    That looks like some proper, chewed -up-by-heavy-munitions-and-armour terrain!  I’m not sure if it is feasible, but might it not be better to glue your figures down before the clay goes on?  Although I guess that boils down to which is easier – to carve holes for the figures to go in, or to push clay around the figures?

    Your texturing of the clay looks very well done.  Looks much, much better than my first basing attempts, which used sawdust taken from my Dad’s workshop, and painted with the garish bright green that was Games Workshop de rigeur of that era.

    Avatar photoDeleted User

    They look great. I’m amazed you got that effect from simply drybrushing black and Iraqi sand. I’ll have to try that.

    Avatar photoMartinR

    The bases have come up very well, but just to echo Tony, you may find it easier to glue the figures down before applying the clay.

    Balsa wood doesn’t generally warp, but it can be very absorbant, so sealing it is a good idea.

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

    Avatar photoOotKust


    Firstly balsa doesn’t warp unless wetted beyond figures would accept. You do not need to prime it except for decorative purposes.
    Yes- glue down the figures in planned placements, and a day later you can ‘fill’ to the desired level with your clay- although I and many use wall plaster filler which is pliable and shapeable freely. That will take another day, or less if placed in direct sunlight.
    You can also precolour the filler to suit your terrain substrate- sands, mud, trenches, earth or grassed.
    Using filler also allows you to ‘shape in’ potential man made features like a minefield fence, foxhole edges etc.


    Avatar photoMike

    Yeah if you glue the figures first then it will be easier to cover the cast integral bases and hide that with your basing mixture.

    Good job though.

    Avatar photoMartinR

    For 6mm figures in open order I often glue them to the bases before I even prime them, then paint them in situ, and finish the bases afterwards.

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

    Avatar photoRod Robertson


    Great work and very good looking bases. Keep up the great work. You only have millions of more Soviet infantry to paint and base! Looking forward to seeing them on a battlefield. You’ll need crewed anti-tank guns, artillery and transport vehicles too; not to mention tanks, oh, so many tanks! Rodina Mat!

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Roberston.


    Avatar photoPaint it Pink

    Very nice, but I have to ask why Balsa wood bases? Only because it perplexes me. It was probably what you had to hand. I don’t know.

    One is good, more is better

    Avatar photoTony S

    Very nice, but I have to ask why Balsa wood bases? Only because it perplexes me. It was probably what you had to hand. I don’t know.

    Can’t speak for Stug obviously, but I started with padding board (the brown cardboard found at the back of notepads) and it curled horribly.  Then for many years I used balsa wood, which was a lot better.  Perfect?  No, but not parabolic like my cardboard. I also tried styrene, but they tended to be too smooth, and side down hill slopes.

    But it was a happy day when I discovered laser cut plywood bases.  Cheaper, perfectly square, saved a ton of time and completely unwarpable.  Warbases is my go-to for those needs.

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