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Scenic Bases

Discussion in 'News' started by wes-o-matic, Jul 31, 2021.

  1. wes-o-matic

    wes-o-matic feeelthy casual

    Dec 22, 2019
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    Dear CB, I'm a designer professionally and I've spent a truly unreasonable amount of time thinking about basing solutions, official bases, LoF bases, third-party bases, tournament trays and other accessories, how basing fits into the hobby, and what makes bases suck or not.

    I can't tell if I'm excited or apprehensive about the possibility of official scenic bases. I'm hoping that if I throw some feedback out here, it might be seen. Because I have a truly absurd number of models assembled and ready to base, and right now I've narrowed my options down to custom bases made on a 3d printer, or the new scenic bases if they're good. Please make them good.

    Angled Sides
    Angled sides on bases look nice, but in Infinity there's the quirk that the base is the bottom of the Silhouette, so the only part of the base that really matches the Silhouette is the footprint where it touches the table. Warsenal and other laser-cut base makers provide bases with vertical sides. These look fine, and the base itself actually does a good job of providing precise LoF for prone models. The main drawback to multi-layered bases like Warsenal's comes from the irregular look they get if you don't line the base layers up perfectly during assembly, which won't be an issue for fully cast bases.

    Please consider bases with vertical sides so they 1:1 represent the SIL of a prone model.

    LOF Markings
    The protruding LOF markings on current CB bases make sense, but they mess up the contours of the base from a SIL standpoint and they also interfere with the sometimes close fits of tournament tray inlays that are designed to fit 25, 40, and 55 mm bases snugly to keep models steady on the tray.

    Pre-molded arc markings also interact oddly with the bars on the feet of most models. If players really want to use the current CB LOF bases, they have to trim off the foot bars or accept that the model can only really have one of two orientations on the base because the cross-shaped slot braces on the underside are either parallel or perpendicular to the centerline of the base. LOTS of official CB minis are made such that the slot really ought to be at a shallow diagonal instead of straight forward or sideways.

    For scenic bases, molded-on LOF marks come with another problem: They keep players from choosing which side of the base is the "front" and depending on the shape of the scenic base and the pose of the model, you might end up with a model where the ideal pose on the terrain means the LOF marks are pointing backwards at a weird angle.

    On the other hand, bases with no arc markings require players to mark them manually, which is imprecise and may involve making a custom jig to get consistent marks. It also results in players who just don't mark their bases with LOF indicators. There are third-party solutions to this, like Warsenal's LOF discs or Customeeple's LOS markers. They're fine but not always ideal for every model in your army, especially the little arc markers.

    Micro Art Studio's arc bases are a good in-between solution. They provide neatly aligned grooves and players can either paint inside the groove with a bright contrasting color, or paint between two of the grooves that are on opposite sides of the base if they prefer a band of color. This plays nicely with slot issues, and also with situations where there's a "right" position for a model on a scenic base, and you need to pick a front arc that respects the position of the model on the scenery.

    I did a little paper, TinkerCad, and Blender prototyping on this myself, and I think that 12 grooves around the base circumference is probably the "right" number. It's easy to think about because it matches the face of a clock, with four quadrants each made of three segments. It also gives you enough control over the angle in 30 degree increments without making things too complicated or nitpicky to tolerate.

    Underside and Magnets
    Bases usually come in two types: open underside (almost every plastic miniature base out there) or flat underside (cast resin or laser-cut acrylic/mdf). Flat underside bases are probably not on the table for CB, but there are still a couple of considerations for open-bottom bases.

    The current LOF bases have a lot of junk underneath to accommodate the cross-shaped slot supports. For people like me who use tab pinning, that means that often I have to drill through the top of the base and some part of that cross structure in order to put the model on the base.

    The other problem is the magnet socket. It has two issues:
    1. In every version of the CB bases, the socket is off-center. This means that the weight of the model is probably not evenly supported by the magnet, which may be an issue for players using metal trays to hold models—if you tilt the tray, the models don't just spin in place, they can slew around and hit each other as their weight shifts. The off-center socket also means any magnetizable third-party markers or tokens have to have a magnet that aligns with that off-center spot exactly, and any such magnetizable marker can't spin around the center of the base unless it's made of metal itself and the CB base magnet can just stick to it anywhere.
    2. There's only one socket even on larger bases, and it's not scaled up for bigger models. Heavier models need more support, either through a larger magnet or more small magnets. Some players address this by freely gluing magnets in various spots across the open area under the base. This is especially true for larger metal models—the single magnet socket for a TAG really doesn't accomplish that much compared to what it does for S2 troopers.
    Just as a UX thing, the size of magnet that you need to buy for the socket is not clearly explained anywhere obvious, like the CB store page or the packaging for the bases. I literally ordered multiple sizes to test-fit them before deciding that the best fit is 5mm diameter x 1.5mm thickness.

    I would propose that at least one magnet socket should be centered, and any slot supports can overlap it. Any secondary magnet sockets (for larger base sizes, to provide options for people using the slot tabs intact, etc.) should be sited in other open areas, symmetrically if possible. If the design intent is for a single central socket and nothing else, maybe consider increasing magnet diameter to 10mm for bases 40mm and up.

    With a centered magnet socket, anyone who is clipping off or trimming the foot tab (or basing models that don't use a tab at all, like a TAG, REM, or the male Raptor sculpt) will have a central socket. Anyone who isn't trimming those tabs will lack a snug support for the center of the tab, but that shouldn't affect join strength between the model and the base, and they can use an off-center magnet socket if one is molded on somewhere.

    Combining a centered magnet socket, a single tab slot support (like the old no-LOF bases), and a ring of lines to guide painting LOF marks should make for a fairly universal base design that suits the vast majority of users.

    For anyone wondering what the magnet socket + supports combination would look like if both were centered or overlapped:

  2. QueensGambit

    QueensGambit Chickenbot herder

    Jan 31, 2019
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    All I would add to this is that flat underside bases are so much more versatile. No worrying about what size magnets to get, the positioning of the sockets, or whether there are enough of them. Just drill whatever size holes you want in whatever number you want in whatever positions you want to accommodate your preferred magnetization schema.

    As someone who bikes to the FLGS over potholes, there's no way I would ever use open underside bases - they just don't have enough magnet sockets to hold my minis in place.
  3. wes-o-matic

    wes-o-matic feeelthy casual

    Dec 22, 2019
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    Have you looked at the Cobalt Keep line of bases? They’re a little thicker than standard CB bases and don’t come in 55mm, but they use much larger magnets in a centered position so they have a lot of holding power compared to a single magnet in CB’s official bases. The standard 25mm base in their line uses a 10mm x 2mm magnet in a centered socket and it’s verra stronk, relatively speaking.
  4. McKaptain

    McKaptain Well-Known Member

    Oct 21, 2018
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    The LoF bases create the added step of filing off then LoF markings.
    chromedog, zapp, Abrilete and 3 others like this.
  5. Errhile

    Errhile A traveller on the Silk Road

    Nov 25, 2017
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    While I use MAS reisin bases with magnet holes drilled in them (typicall 4 3x2mm magnets for a standard S2 model), I have on occassion used standard plastic bases. Either for models where a reisin scenic base didn't made sense (eg. Fat Yuan Yuan landing), or when doing minis for someone else.

    In short, fixing magnets with greenstuff and superglue does the job. It ain't perfect, but works.
    Important things here:
    1. Don't use solely superglue to gule magnets inside of a plastic base. It loses strength quick enough to be irritiating. Curiously enough, the same almost never happens in my reisin bases...
    2. Don't use a single magnet on a miniature, but a couple. Probably a little more than strictly necessary: if one fall off, the rest will keep the model safe till you can spare a minute to fix it.
    QueensGambit likes this.
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