Bases FAQ

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2mm MDF bases

Storing Magnetic based figures

Texturing bases

Using magnetic sheet

Using Flex-metal sheets

Mag/Flex sheets & Hard Plastics

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Flex & Mag sheets page

Standard (2mm MDF) Range of bases

All our Standard bases are cut from 2mm MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard) backed with magnetic rubber sheet. Together they give a base about 2.8mm thick and they make a rigid base for your figures that is thick enough so the base can be handled without touching the figures without being too obtrusive.

Base dimensions are guaranteed accurate to within 0.5mm for bases up to 100mm and within 1mm above that. If you are supplied with bases outside those tolerances then we will replace them.

Most figures can be attached with PVA but some people prefer to use a stronger adhesive for larger figures. The advantage of PVA is that figures can be removed without too much trouble if repair, replacement or re-basing proves necessary.

40mm frontage bases 60mm frontage bases

Any type of paint, flocking or texturing material will adhere to MDF and it even be sanded or cut with a good knife if you need to.

The strength of the magnet is more than adequate to support the figures that will fit on the base provided the magnet makes good contact with a steel sheet or similar material. Lacquered steel, as used in toolboxes, works fine and will keep your bases figures safe in transport.

Do bear in mind, however, that the magnetic grip can be broken by sudden impacts so it is advisable to handle your carrying cases carefully and avoid dropping them if possible.

Two shots of a 40x15mm base fixed vertically on my filing cabinet. The base mounts a 4 man command group of Essex 15mm figures including a heavy standard. It isn't held on with glue !!!

Bases are shipped in pairs, magnetic sides together, and it is strongly recommended that you store them this way or attached to a steel sheet. Magnets retain their 'pull' much better if stored in this way. Keeping the magnetic side clean also makes for a better grip.


Storing magnetic based figures

The whole point of having a magnetic base is so that they can be stored and transported in greater safety. Ideally I recommend a steel cabinet but any of the flexible metal sheets (e.g. Flex O'Metal or Ferrosheet) will work well enough. I don't find that steel paper works that well.

My personal preference is to handle my figures by their bases. If handling a base of figures by the figures the magnetic grip can be strong enough to need a fair amount of force to separate it from a storage tray. To avoid this I put a strip of thin paper (about 1/3 the width of the base) under the bases and a pull on that releases the magnet so that it can be picked up without damage.


Texturing Bases

Although these bases are not very absorbent they can still be warped if a heavy layer of texturing material is spread over the surface and left to dry. The shrinkage of texturing gels, fillers and pastes varies considerably but they all shrink when drying to some extent and this tends to make the base curl up at the edges. there are a number of ways of avoiding (or at least, reducing) this problem.

  • Put the bases to be textured on a piece of thin scrap paper over a steel sheet before attaching the figures or starting texturing and leave the lot to dry thoroughly before removing from the sheet. This has always worked for me.

  • Don't use paint that is very thin as the base coat - keep that as 'dry' as possible, particularly on the cut edges (which will absorb water). Once the base is sealed with a waterproof base coat it is OK to add wet washes, just not as the first coat.

  • Don't handle bases while they are wet.

  • Apply texture and modelling in patches and in thin layers. Avoid covering the whole base at once if possible but, if you have to, then make sure that the layer is thin and will dry fairly quickly.

  • Always leave each layer to dry thoroughly before applying the next one.

Using magnetic sheets

If you are using magnetic sheet to line storage or transport boxes for figures based on metal bases then follow the hints for Flex-metal given below.

Making your own magnetic bases

If possible you should make the bases before adding figures to them, it is quite a bit more difficult to add the magnetic bottom later.
The adhesive on the sheet is not only strong but also grips on contact - this makes it impossible to reposition it if placed incorrectly. For this reason I advise pressing the bases onto the magnetic sheet and trimming around their edges with a sharp craft knife.
If you are making card bases then I advise cutting a piece of card and scoring it along the cuts for bases before mounting on the magnetic sheet. Press the card onto the sheet and then use a cloth to smooth the magnetic sheet side firmly and remove any air bubbles. Leave for a few hours for the adhesive to maximise grip and then cut the score marks to separate the bases.

Magnetising already based figures

Make sure the bottom of the base is clean, flat and dust free first. The best way I have found is to press the base onto the magnetic sheet and cut around it afterwards. Trying to cut the sheet to base-sized bits and adhere them accurately is too prone to error and misalignment - trying to remove a misaligned magnetic bottom can damage a base. It may seem a bit wasteful to do it this way but I still recommend it.

Using Flex-metal sheets

Using Flex to line storage or transport cases is pretty easy but a few hints will help to make it trouble free.

  • Always clean the surface before covering with Flex

  • Remember that the adhesive grips instantly, it may come away from metal and some plastics to allow re-positioning but mostly it doesn't

  • Check the sheet fits the area to be covered and cut BEFORE assembly

  • Peel back a bit of the white covering at one end and position the sheet before pressing down the adhesive end - then roll back the white paper, smoothing the Flex into place a bit at a time


Magnetic & Flex-metal sheets and hard Plastics

Flex-metal sheet adhesive does not stick well to most hard plastics.
It often appears to have stuck but loses its grip over time and you may not notice that it has happened. There isn't really a satisfactory solution because the problem lies with the plastic - very few adhesives will stick to this type of plastic.

I advise testing out a small piece before committing to lining a set of plastic containers.