Base Stamps

I’ve thought a lot about basing. Themed bases look great but when a theme clashes, either with an opposing army or with the terrain, the effect is somewhat spoiled. The classic flock or more contemporary classic rubble bases are fine, if a little uninspiring.

For a while I thought about clear plastic bases and even bought some. But, over time, I expect they’ll get dirty or scratched and the effect will be lost. Also, they would be difficult to attach models too without the glue being obvious. Models that are modeled standing on themed elements (looking at you every HQ choice) have the original problem of clashing with their surroundings.

Also, there is the issue of magnets. Many people use magnetized trays as storage for their miniatures. In a previous post I mentioned using Tupperware to store miniatures. Eventually, when the bases are done, I’d like to add steel washers to the bottom of each base. I could then line the inside of the Tupperware lid with magnetic tape.

So, why not choose a theme and make my own? There are some great tutorials out there and products like textured plasticard give some excellent results. I’ve thought a lot about it and I’ve decided to go with Green Stuff and base stamps.


Wargamesbakery has a range of products they call Basius. Essentially it’s a terrain stamp cast negatively. You press Green Stuff onto a base, wait an hour, then press the slightly cured Green Stuff into the stamp. This gives you the ability to create as many sculpted bases as you want. With a largeish stamp you’ll also have plenty of variety.


For my Sauroters I’ve chosen the Sanctuary base stamp. I am imagining it as a kind of Fortress Monastery theme. I’ll paint the stone in a weathered grey. I am planning to create all the bases at the same time in order to get a consistent look. A nice feature of this stamp is the stairs. This will allow me to mount the miniatures with their feet up on something more securely and still keep to my theme.

For the Genestealer Cult I am thinking of going with an underhive theme. The patriarch comes on a pretty elaborate pipe element. I’d like to do a bunch of weathering on it and then carry that theme through the rest of the bases. I think a monastery theme would compliment that pretty well.




Daiso is a chain store in Japan. One of the various 100¥ shops that are ubiquitous here. While you certainly get what you pay for, the quality is decent enough and they have everything under one roof. When I got back into the hobby I was able to get everything I needed quickly and cheaply. Perfect for someone who doesn’t want to spend a lot, or not sure if they want to yet.

So, what exactly did I get? Well, all the basics:

  • Paintbrushes
  • Glass jars
  • Hobby knife
  • Hobby pliers
  • Hobby files
  • Cutting mat
  • Hand drills
  • Super glue
  • Rattle cans of paint for priming
  • Rattle cans of varnish
  • Plastic baggies
  • Ziploc bags
  • Storage boxes

This meant that the only specialist items I needed were plastic cement and paint. As I learned a little more about painting and modelling I was able to pick up a few more useful items from the same shop:

  • Sanding sticks
  • Makeup sponges
  • Tweezers
  • Masking tape
  • Sheets of cork (for basing)
  • Sandpaper (for urban bases)

A year in I would still buy any of those things, bar a couple, again. I think it’s worth paying for a quality varnish spray, I use Tamiya. I also use Tamiya’s grey primer. It’s better quality than a general purpose rattle can, but the ordinary stuff is perfectly acceptable. The drills were fine but investing in a good quality hobby drill like the GW drill, or an electric drill is a good idea. You also need a good quality hobby knife, I use OLFA brand knives. Other than that, why pay more?

So what’s next? Well, I would like to get a razor saw and mitre box. I would like to build some terrain at some point and I am sure they would come in handy. I’d also like a razor saw for converting. At the moment I use a hobby knife and I just can’t get good straight cuts with it.

Sauroter Apothecary







  • The body of the model is from the Forgeworld Apothecary Set.
  • The right shoulder pauldron is from the Betrayal at Calth boxset.
  • The left shoulder pauldron was a custom order from a Shapeways seller.

The cast of this model was a little rough. Some of the detail was a little blurred and it was sometimes difficult to decide whether something was a mold line or the edge of an armor plate. That said, there is a lot of great detail. I particularly liked the multi-lens eye piece which has a cable running down the back of the helmet.

The model features a lot of cabling. The moulding is interesting. The pipes and cables are often in high relief.  It’s hard to explain but the cables have more depth than meets the eye. Often extending far back into the body of the miniature.It makes sense really. It would be very difficult and fragile a detail was not attached to a miniature all along it’s length. In these cases I simply painted the extra resin with Vallejo Air Cammo Black Brown to create shadow.

I decided not to use the Forgeworld shoulder pauldron. The iconography is way over the top. As with the Chplain I have decided to leave it blank. The color of the armor and the equipment make the specialization obvious without the need for Desperate Dan style wings sticking out of the side of the model’s shoulder.


The basic scheme is a warm white. Dr Faut’s Painting Clinic has a great tutorial on painting white. This model doesn’t have any grenades so I painted some of the cabling blue, the accent color for the Sarotuer paint scheme. I used different metals on the various bottles and canisters to try and provide a bit of variety.

I was particularly pleased with how the large lens on the helmet turned out. It’s a great part of the model and a bit of a focal point. I have struggled to get a result I am satisfied with in past attempts with other models. I now have a technique I like.

First I base coated the lens in Vallejo Iraqui Sand. Then applied Vallejo Dead White leaving a small ring of Iraqui Sand. I then added GW Waywatcher Green Glaze. I quickly dried my brush and used it to remove some of the glaze from the center of the lens. I glazed over the center with Vallejo Flat Yellow and then added a dot of Dead White to the top right of the lens. Finally I carefully added some GW Nuln Oil to the inside edge of the lens casing.

  • Armour ~ Vallejo xxxx ().
  • Left pauldron ~ Vallejo xxxx ()
  • Plasma Pistol~ Vallejo Black Metal (71.073). Drybrushed with  Vallejo Steel (71.065)
  • Medicae-Systems ~ Vallejo xxxx ()
  • Leather~ Vallejo xxxx (). Drybrushed with Vallejo xxxx ()
  • Narthecium ~  Vallejo xxxx  (). Washed with GW Agrax Earthshade
  • Eye ~  GW Agrax Earthshade. Vallejo xxxx  ().
  • Right knee pad ~  Vallejo xxxx  (). Highlighted with  Vallejo xxxx  ()

You’ll notice that it is not based yet. I am not planning to base anything until the whole army is finished. I want to try an achieve a  consistent look and I really haven’t decided how they’ll be based yet.

Also, the model has a kind of peg on the bottom of one foot. This is the attachment for a kind of rubble element he is standing on. I will probably remove it and have the model’s feet flush on the base but I haven’t decided yet.



Image from:

I wanted to include a Librarian in my collection as an alternative HQ. However, I’m not a big fan of parts of the GW aesthetic. I don’t really like the chapter specific iconography and I find some of the general embellishments a bit over the top. In particular, the horned skull on the Librarian pauldrons and greaves, reminds me of the Desperate Dan’s cow pies.

Initially I ordered the librarian from the Assault on Black Reach boxset. I didn’t like the non helmeted head and there was a fair amount of Dark Angels and Dandy iconography on it but I really liked the pose of the outstretched hand. So I set about ‘converting’ it.

With my first attempt I manages to cut off the fingers while taking it off the sprue. So, I ordered another. I practiced taking off the iconography on the first model. I very quickly realized I was not going to be able to do it so I decided not to worry about it. Then I discovered the Magister Sevrin Loth miniature from Forgeworld. I really like the Mark IV power armor, so I ordered one from ebay.

I ordered it from an ebay seller. I was really impressed with how quickly it turned up and the packaging was really excellent. I would definately recommend them.

The miniature I ordered only included the body, not the arms or weapons. That suited me fine because they were chapter specific. I also intended to add the arm from the Black Reach Librarian. However, I made a real mess of it. In the end I went with a standard Mark VII arm with pointing hand and a spare chainsword arm from a Forgeworld Apothecary. The post looks a bit ‘come at me bro’ but it’s fine. I imagine Librarians to be a bit unstable anyway.

In terms of fluff Librarians are supposed to have a power weapon. On one hand I like the idea of a hazard striped chainsword. On the other, I would like a power sword or perhaps a lightning claw. The problem is, that the weapon hand is the right hand and melee weapons usually come attached to a right hand. It wouldn’t be too hard to covert something, so I’m going to think about it for a while.

Another reason for including a Librarian is that I really enjoy painting blue. I’d like to go for a lighter blue than with my Ultramarines. Blue should also provide a bit of variety in amongst all of the Sauroters green. I might go for red helmet lenses on all of my HQ models, except the Techmarine, just to provide a bit of visual continuity.

Bolt pistols

Image: Victoria Miniatures

In a previous post I mentioned WYSIWYG. For me, it’s a very satisfying part of modelling. Coincidentally, I hear it’s important for tournament play although that’s not something that particularly interests me. Tactical marines, in addition to bolters and combat knives, are armed with bolt pistols.

As with knives, the Tactical Box Set doesn’t contain enough bolt pistols to equip an entire squad. With my Ultramarines I ordered a bunch from an ebay seller. Again, this is expensive and supplies are limited. Also, although I like the sculpt, the GW bolt pistols are too large. Comically so when compared to bolters. Where do they put all their ammo?

For my Sauroters I want to include three Tactical Squads and a Devastator Squad. That’s a lot of bolt pistols. I have a few pistols left over from my Ultramarines and the three new tacticals box sets I’ll need to buy will provide a few more. However, not enough. I am not sure if I can find more loose pistols and not sure I want to pay for them piecemeal if I can.

Plan B is to use GW bolt pistols on the Devastators and buy after-market pieces for the Tacticals. Devastators can be equipped with either pistols or bolters (I think). I think pistols get two shots in the assualt phase. So, for crunch reasons, I think it makes sense to equip troops who may be assaulted with pistols. At range, they’ll be using heavy weapons, making bolters a bit superfluous. The sargeant however will be equipped with a bolter for the same reason, to shoot at range.

From a fluff point of view I think it makes sense for the Devastators to have a larger guage (GW) pistol as it’s their only defense at short range. And for Tacticals to have a smaller guage pistol to compliment their primary weapon-the bolter.

I have found an after market pistol from Victoria Miniatures. You can see the product here. I like that it is unholstered. It looks a bit more accesible that way. Plus, I have always imagined that power armor uses space-magnets® to mount equipment. The clip looks smaller than on a GW bolt pistol, which makes sense in terms of carrying ammunition.



For me, a really satisfying part of modelling is what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG). Something that has always bothered me a little bit about the Space Marine models is the lack of webbing. They appear to have no spare ammunition. So, I usually add pouches to each marine armed with a bolter.

There is an excellent blog called Leave No Model Unconverted. I won’t say I’m not tempted to try and make all the marines true-scale, but I just don’t think I’d ever finish a wholearmy. Or even one marine. I particularly like the way he mounted the combat blades behind the shoulder. Check out the blog here.

Each tactical marine is meant to have a combat blade. Unfortunately, the Tactical Squad box set only includes a couple. For my first attempt at Space Marines, I ordered a bunch from a seller on ebay. That was Ok, but supplies are limited and it’s not cheap.

Some Hoplites were armed with a short sword called a Kopis. There was another shorter heavier sword, called a Xiphos that was used by the Macedonians. The kopis had a very distinctive handle and a leaf shaped blade similar to the Nepali Kukri. I’ve always admired the kukri’s shape. Sadly, the way I intend to mount it, the blade won’t be very visible but the handle will.

In an earlier post, I ordered some custom shoulder pouldrons from A quick search led to a set of kopis, that are just what I am looking for. Again, custom 3D printing is not cheap but it fits the theme so well, I can’t help myself. Plus, ebay isn’t going to be much cheaper and the box sets simply don’t include enough knives.

The kopis were designed by a seller on the Shapeways platform called dynath. The Shapeways site is a matketplace for sellers of 3D printed objects. I contacted the seller to see if (s)he could do something on the price. To order 50, plus shipping, is really expensive given what they are. Sadly, there has been no reply.*

Plan B is to order 10 and use them with one squad of veterans as a badge of rank. This will be included in the fluff (if it ever gets written). Lemonade from lemons I suppose. This hobby is expensive, this project all the more so, but I am trying not to completely take the piss.

You can find the store here

*Update: I did receive a reply from dynath a couple of months later. Unfortunately much of the cost is due to manufacturing and set by Shapeways. Any discount s(he) could give wouldn’t reduce the price much just shortchange the creator