Basing and Musing

Welcome back boring text fans, where once again I make another movement tray for the square base game I play ever 5 or 6 years.  This is the first of two movement trays I will be making this week.  This one was to be the simplest, but even simple projects can go wrong if you’re not careful or it is late at night…

Close to correct size
Close to correct size

For this week’s Mighty Empires campaign I have to use mercenaries, this means after slaving to get a 1500 point Nurgle Daemon army on the table I must change it.  This wasn’t the end of the world, but it did mean I’d be devoting a lot more time to painting Warhammer Fantasy Battle stuff than I had planned this week.  I decided to make the new movement tray for the Plaguebearers out of sheet styrene as it is nice to work with, but I liked the sides of the balsa tray I made, so it was to have a balsa wood rim.  That’s right a hybrid.

Use a metal square for cutting
Use a metal square for cutting

This time I got out five 25mm square bases and even wrote the measurements down on my painting table.  Due to army list changes and a slight under performance of my army last week, this week’s army features a unit of 30 Plaguebearers, still with the two magic banners, but no longer in Horde formation.  I decided I wanted more depth and less frontage.  This meant the interior size of the movement tray was to be 12.5  cm by 15 cm.  I allowed for a tiny bit of extra space and 4mm for the three edges.  I even wrote the dimension right on the tray after I was done scoring the edges.

Just like last time I put balsa wood along the front.  I measured twice and cut once.  Then I put balsa wood along the width, cut two matching lengths and started gluing and clamping the sides to the sheet styrene.  When it was all clamped I got out my five bases and quickly realized that after trimming the side to the correct width I’d left the movement tray facing the wrong way, what I had made was a 15 cm by 12.5 cm movement tray or 6 models wide and 5 rows deep.  This was a bit embarrassing but a good lesson.  I removed the clamps from one side, rotated the tray, measured another piece of balsa wood, glued and clamped it.

Right Size movement tray
Right Size movement tray

I got out the five plastic bases and it was a good fit.  Six models wide was a tight fit, and wasn’t what I wanted, I think for the Plaguebearers to win combats they need to grind down the opposition.  With only one attack base and not particularly great WS or Str what won combats for them last week were the two standardbearers, the magic banner(s), and early on the +3 rank bonus was nice.  Later on they still won, but it was lucky, keeping a rank bonus or two later into the game would have helped them I think.  In this formation they have 10 wounds to give before they lose a rank bonus, same as when there was 40 of them and the extra points saved will hopefully allow the rest of the army to be more effective.

Measure balsa wood sides
Measure balsa wood sides

My mercenaries for the week consist of a Level 2 Night Goblin Shaman who I’ve dubbed Ickybob and in the great tradition of naming Ork regiments, his unit is Ickybob’s Boyz.  This week that will be 50 Night Goblin Archers, but in the display case there are 55, 54 including Ickybob.  There is a strict 25% max/min, or at least that is my understanding of mandatory mercenaries week, so I have exactly 375 points of Night Goblins in my 1500 point army.  50 Archers, 5 ranks of ten right? Well since I plan to magnetize the goblins and their movement trays, I don’t want to make two trays per unit.  Ickybob’s Boyz will rank up 11 wide and still five rows deep.  I’m really looking forward to seeing if the Level 2 sorcerer makes a difference, the best I can do magic wise at 1500 points and still have Harold of Nurgle leading the Neatherworldly Mathematicians is a Level 2 and a Level 1 which is what I’ll try this week.  I may go with a single Level 2 the week after it depends on if I win my game and if I make any gold in the campaign, plus of course my ability to complete miniature paint jobs.

Wrong Way
Wrong Way
The correct movement tray
The correct movement tray

Well that is more than enough for tonight and today.  Hopefully tomorrow starts better as I really do need to find a job.

Slaneesh Demons wait to be primed
Slaneesh Demons wait to be primed
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Precision Engineering

My re-based Beasts of Nurgle
My re-based Beasts of Nurgle

So my trip to the doctor didn’t happen.  I was tired, I laid down for a bit, I didn’t get up for quite a while.  I’ll bike to the doctor tomorrow, I just need to get a prescription refilled.  While I was slacking off, glue was drying.  My UHU warped my DIY ‘monster’ bases some, but I think that will gradually go away.  Not only did I put UHU underneath the sand in an attempt to fix the warping I put watered down white glue on top of it.  That sand isn’t going anywhere.

When the glue was dry I reached into my bit box and got some 28mm metal skulls made by Black Cat Bases.  You can get 100 of these for some special price.  Like anything they need a little cleaning, which is a bit awkward working on such a tiny metal piece.  After some filing I tried gluing them to the bases.  I used UHU again, though if my super glue hadn’t dried out… I’ve never tried using UHU to glue metal to plastic and sand, but I have used it to glue a variety of stuff in my trench making project along with Wellbond.  The glue really needs more time to dry, but I gave it the tip upside down test just now and with the exception of a little cat liter it passed.

Bases decorated with bits
Bases decorated with bits

So besides skulls and cat liter I raided the Citadel plastic zombie sprues for some guts and a stray arm.  I then found half an old plastic shield and I glued that to Sluggie’s base.  With the Beasts of Nurgle drying it was time to make the Plaguebearers movement tray.

I used the same piece of balsa wood I used to make the ‘monster’ bases, but I used a different exacto knife.  You need the best exacto knife you have to make precision cuts of the wood. I think my grandfather gave me this one, it has a hard plastic handle with a metal attachment.  I also got out my metal square, though I used the wooden ruler for measuring.  After measuring twice I repeatedly drew the exacto knife over the pencil line, using the square as a guide.  It didn’t go perfectly but it went better with this knife.  You don’t have to cut the wood in one pass, ten passes even might not cut through the wood.  When you’re mostly through you can try breaking it, then with a tiny bit of sanding you’re good to go.

Plaguebearers in movement tray test
Plaguebearers in movement tray test

I got out another piece of balsa I bought for my trenches, this one is about 4mm by 4mm thick.  One side seems wider than the other so I used the larger measurement.  After allowing for the wood lip to overlay the movement tray base, I got out my plaguebearers for a test fit.  I thought I was going to have to glue another piece to the back, but it fits pretty good with only a tiny bit of acceptable overhang.  In a perfect world I’d put a lip on the back, but that was too nice a fit already to mess with.

I cut the ends and got out a whole bunch of little orange clamps I got at Home Depot years ago.  These really saved the day or made the project.  I retired the UHU and used the Wellbond and made sure to use my finger to completely cover the edge pieces.  Then I wiped away excess glue on the side, then finally placed it on the base and clamped it down.  I repeated this two more times with the sides.  Again any slight overhang I just plan to sand off.

Why hobbists need clamps
Why hobbists need clamps

I took some pictures, then I got out the ruler and too another picture.  It appears to have 25 cm of interior space.  I’m not sure if the Plaguebearer bases are supposed to be one inch or 25mm, I believe because the game originated in England, 25mm is the official measurement, but even then there might be a mm of space.  With 25cm of interior width my Neatherworldly Mathematicians should ride comfortably in their new movement tray.

It’s gotten hot again, possibly good for drying the glue.  Later tonight or tomorrow I will sand as necessary and paint black the bases and movement trays, likely using the Delta Ceramcoat.  Then I’ll do some drybrushing…  I was going to glue sand to the edges of the movement tray but now I’m undecided…  I probably will. That means more drying time but I have until noon on Sunday the 25th to complete this stuff for the Warhammer 8th Edition Mighty Empires campaign at Strategies.

25 cm wide custom movement tray
25 cm wide custom movement tray