mount ur minis for painting
Now that your minis are prepped the next step is painting. We want to be able to hold our work ergonomically, with minimal hand strain, low cost, conducive to assembly line orderliness, and in such a way that the work is secure and safe yet still easily removed. I’ve tried all the different ways, starting with the GW method of holding the mini by the base, the refined GW approach is gluing or blue-tac-ing the mini onto a paint pot or small jar. The other method is usually gluing the mini down onto a square of cardboard, or multiple minis onto a strip of cardboard or wooden tongue depressor. 15mm minis are too small to hold by the base, you could probably do so for cavalry but still pretty fiddly. The jar or paint pot is good but not good enough for multiple minis in a assembly line style. Gluing the minis down to anything means you have to pry them loose with a knife, which is actually pretty dangerous. Wooden tongue depressors and cardboard strips are too thin, and create hand strain from pressing your thumb and finger together over longish periods of time. What we need is a custom solution.
The above picture shows what I use and the approximate dimensions, the cutting mat is in Imperial measure with 1/8″ increments. There are three basic mounts. The strip mount, this is just 1×1 nominal square stock, paint grade hardwood, so for where I live that is 3/4″x3/4″ poplar. You will find this at any home centre or lumberyard. Buy what you need and cut it into 6″ strips, sand the edges and done, ready to use. The other mounts are the large and small pillar. Those are just dowel stock of 3/4″ for the small mount and 1 1/8″ for the large mount. Really though you can make your mounts of whatever size works good for you, compared to lead, wood is fairly cheap. If you look closely on the picture you can see my large mount wasn’t big enough for the mini I was working on so I just turned it upside down and used it that way, just be careful when you set it down, it can be tippy. The bases of the pillar mounts are 1.5″x1.5″ mdf, because that is what I had available. Left-over or spare plywood bases from Litko, that you would use for your minis is probably more accessible. The pillar and the base are just attached with glue. Put a healthy dollop of white glue or carpenters glue in the middle of the base, firmly press the pillar onto the base until the glue starts to squeeze out, then don’t touch it until the glue dries. Now we have to attach the minis to the mounts.
When I first tried double sided tape I used carpet tape easily available at any home store. Carpet tape was a complete disaster, I still had to pry off the minis with a knife. I eventually discovered this:
I use both the 1/4″ and 1/2″ versions. The tape can be a nuisance to track down but well worth it and necessary for this mounting method.
Don’t forget to save the protective cover strip from the tape to recover the tape when not in use. Plus rolling the end of the tape, like in the picture above, makes it easier to find the end.
Now lets prep our sticks, I find it easiest to lay out a bunch in a row, pressed against something to prevent sliding, you can see I used the straight edge of the cutting mat in the photos above. Then stretch out a piece of tape from end to end, sticking it to the surface to prevent it from moving. Next neatly cut the tape at the end of the sticks.
Save your cutoffs, they are useful for if a mini falls off, just add some more tape to secure it to the mount.
You should now have a bunch of mounting sticks taped and ready for minis.
Add some tape to the small pillar mounts, for individual minis that get special attention, like command or test paint figs.
Add some tape to the large pillar mounts for cavalry, monsters, large heroes etc.
Above we see all my figs neatly arranged on their appropriate mount ready for priming.
Over time a groove will form that makes it hard, if not impossible to mount the minis to the mount. The minis and mount both need a smooth surface for the tape to work best. Once the groove becomes too pronounced either rotate the stick and use a new clean face, or if the stick is full, just rub the stick on some coarse sandpaper on a flat surface and it will be good as new.