Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Trebuchet - Part 2 of 2

In this post I will concentrate on the base. I'll go into a bit more detail with this for reasons that will soon become obvious.

Normally I would simply fix the crew to the base as I have done with previous artillery pieces. However because of the Cry Havoc/Siege's unique causality recording system I thought it would be nice not to fix the crew but allow them to be interchanged to show them in at least two of the their states (healthy/wounded or stunned/dead).

Therefore as I was making the main base from cut-off pieces of 4mm MDF I needed to figure out a system that would let me change the figures around. 
After a great deal of pondering and false starts resulted in this cheap and cheerful alternative to buying a special slotted/sabot base for the artillery crew. Using the method described below will give the look a diorama style base but will also allow the practical removal of the figures as required with the Cry Havoc/Siege's rule system. A bonus is that the base will stay relatively thin. 

If you're going to have a go at this method of basing then I would strongly recommend allowing plenty of space to position your model AND figures when you're planning your layout and dimensions of the base, especially if you intend to sand down and/or bevel the edges. I made this fundamental error and had to start all over again after discovering that I couldn't even fit a single figure onto the base properly - d'oh!

I used a few lengths of plastic sprue, ideally the same thickness as the base used for the figures. This ensures that the base of the figure will sit flush with the raised surface of the main base. As plastic sprue is rarely square in section use a sharp blade or shade down one edge so that it forms a ninety degree to the large base. Then bevel the outside edge.

The beveled edge doesn’t have to precise as this will be covered in flock and grass but a shallow angle will help in creating a better final visual result. Remember that its real purpose is to ensure that the figure base blends in with the raised main base as closely as possible.

Try to use an original edge to form the inner side of the pit for the figure if possible, as this will be guaranteed straight and also will be visible when the figure is removed during play. 

Place these plastic strips around a base you tend to use for your figures. When you are happy with the length and position of the strips, drop a small amount of poly cement onto the joints. I wouldn’t recommend using superglue as there is a very strong possibility of sticking the entire assembly, together along with the figure base itself, to your work surface. Using a poly cement at least allows you a few minutes to safely remove the figure and reposition the strips if necessary. I am, naturally, speaking from experience.

When fully dry you can then remove the sharp corners and blend the edges together with sandpaper or a blade. This is now ready to be fixed to the main base. 

Ensuring that the eventual position of the figure won't interfere with the main model, fix the plastic locating square the main base. Try to ensure no glue spreads over into the ‘pit’ as this with be visible when complete.

When texturing the figure engineer's base I used larger stones and bushes to break up the straight lines of the base.

This technique now seems that obvious and simple I’d be surprised I haven't seen it before (actually I probably have and have just convinced myself that it's my idea). I was thinking about calling this method ‘Matt’s Patented Hollow Base Locating Technique’ - catchy title, I know.

The model was painted with a combination of Citadel and Vajello paints.

I've since added a few more tufts to try and break up the outline of the holes.

The 'stone' balls are made from a hard foam-like material, given to me by John from the Pensnett Model Makers Society, I whittled (you can't beat a good whittle) each of the balls into a crude circular shape and left them to look like rough hewn stone. 


  1. Just brilliant! Great 'how to' and I love the whittled stone balls - stunning Sir.

  2. Great work - sometimes scratch built is the way to go!


  3. Wonderful work with some wit, sometimes I must give a go to something like this - maybe when my medieval army grows a little bigger.

  4. Excellent explanation and clear photos. This method of basing your warmachine would also work well with Warhammer Fantasy. In fantasy the crew are essentially 'wound markers' so as each crew disappears the machine near destruction. I also think the base materials you chose are great for blending. Well done - my mighty castle will soon be ready to offer a challenge!!

  5. Thanks for the comments, as always.

    @Ade, I'm currently making a target for this machine which you may recognise from the original game. I'm also planning to make a few more pieces - siege tower and battering ram anyone?