Collecting Forces for use with Vietnam Crossfire - Making Bases for Crossfire Figures

Collecting Forces for Crossfire - Figure Bases
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The bases were cut in 1 " squares (the Medic, 1 " square) from good quality picture mounting card. There were nine stands in total: Platoon HQ, 3 x Rifle Squads (each of two fire teams), 1 x HMG and 1 x Medic.

Card Base

Plain and Painted Base with ID Label

To each base I attached a unit identification label in the bottom right-hand corner. This was printed out on a laser printer and contains the unit ID in the format Company/Platoon/Squad, e.g. A/1/2 - Company A, 1st Platoon, 2nd Squad. Since there are two fire teams in each squad there will be two stands having the same label I do not differentiate between fire teams of the same squad. The HMG was marked as A/1/4 (HMG) since it is, in effect, the fourth squad of the platoon. The medic is marked as A/1/Medic.

The appropriate figures were then glued to each base using a contact adhesive such as Evostik. Once this was dry I painted the whole base dark green (GW Snot Green).

A coat of PVA wood glue was then applied to the base (but NOT to the bases of the figures) and the base was then dipped in a mix of coarse sand and grit (the type of material which is used to line the bottom of a bird cage). When removed from this mixture the excess was then shaken off and the base was left to dry overnight.

Base with sand applied Base with sand applied
Base with Sand Applied

The sand covered base was then heavily dry-brushed with a dark brown (GW Bestial Brown) taking care not to get any of the paint on the unit ID label. I then applied a lighter dry-brushed coat of light brown (GW Snakebite Leather) followed by several successively lighter dry-brushings of a light brown and white mix (GW Skull White). The top highlight, applied very lightly, is almost pure white.

Basecoat applied to sand First highlight applied to sand
Basecoat First Highlight

I wanted 'rocks' on a number of the bases and for this I used good quality aquatic gravel which is not too coarse. Applying neat PVA to the areas that I wanted to cover in rocks, I then selectively placed the rocks in place using a pair of tweezers so as to get a good gradation of rock sizes. This was then left to dry.

Final highlight applied Rocks and reeds added to base
Final Highlight with Rocks and Reeds Applied to Base

To simulate reeds and undergrowth I use cuttings from a broom head made from coconut fibres. These are easy to find in any hardware store. To a number of bases I applied some 'clumps' of reeds cut quite short and glued in place using a watered down PVA solution (this will dry transparent). Again, this was left to dry. One problem here is that the 'reeds' tend to topple over until the glue starts to go off and I had to keep adjusting the clumps I had placed by using tweezers.

Rocks basecoated Reeds basecoated
Rocks and Reeds Base Coated

The rocks were then painted black (GW Chaos Black) and when this was dry I made a mix of dark grey (mixing GW Chaos Black and Spacewolf Grey). Successive highlights of lighter grey were then dry-brushed on top of this (I also used GW Elf Grey which is very light).

The reeds were painted a base green (GW Goblin Green) and then highlighted with direct applications of lighter greens (GW Snot Green, Scorpion Green and Putrid Green).

Rocks painted Reeds painted
Rocks and Reeds Fully Painted

Finally, I covered the majority of the base (including the figure stands) with a watered mixture of PVA glue and, whilst this was still wet, placed the base in a container full of electrostatic grass. Having given the container a good shake so as to fully cover the glued area, I removed the base and left it to dry. The electrostatic grass tends to 'stand' up more as the glue dries and shrinks.

Electrostatic grass applied Finished base
Finished base with Electrostatic Grass

Once the bases were finished, I applied a light coat of spray matt varnish (GW Varnish). This takes the shiny gloss off of the electrostatic grass, reduces the sharpness of the highlights and generally unifies the whole model.

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Basing Tip from Barrie Lovell

All figures are from my own personal collection, painted and photographed by Mike R 2000


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