The Waving Flag: Rebasing Thoughts

Thursday 7 January 2021

Rebasing Thoughts

One of my mini-projects for 2021 is to refresh, and re-flag, the command bases for my War of the Roses retinue & levy bowmen.  This involves a total of six bases and lots of the "new" livery flags I produced back in 2018 like this one:

The plan was to remove the figures from the old bases, replace the standard bearers, add a few new command figures, add new flags and do as little re-painting as I can get away with.

Surprisingly, this plan is still on track but the amount of work involved has been more than I'd bargained for.

My War of the Roses army was the first army I completed some 25-30 years ago.  It is based on metal bases; as are all my ancient and medieval armies.  The figures are superglued to the bare metal and the ground texture is provided by two thin layers of PVA and sand.

This approach makes them extremely robust and easy to store in tool boxes lined with magnetic vinyl.  Sadly, it also means the figures are very difficult to rebase.  This is something of an under statement; I hate rebasing and rarely attempt it.  The best way I've come up with is as follows:

  • File a groove next to one figure with a small triangular diamond file.
  • Add a small amount of liquid super glue remover* using an old brush.
  • Work on another base or wait 5 minutes.
  • File away the now slushy base mix with the diamond file.
  • Reapply a small amount of the glue remover.
  • Repeat until the joint between the metal base and the figure is exposed.
  • Scrape the joint with a scalpel and add more glue remover.
  • Work on another base or wait 5 minutes.
  • Gently lever the figure off by forcing a scalpel blade into the joint.
  • Start again with the next figure on the base

This process is time consuming and a little onerous.  Filing the sand & PVA requires real effort.

The hardest part is keeping your hands clean.  Don't be tempted to slap the glue remover everywhere as the base will become a soggy mess that's hard to handle without your hands becoming really sticky.  Working on one figure at a time is slower but the rest of the figures, and the base, stay dry and your hands stay clean.

  • Soak the base in some water; just enough to reach the sand no more.
  • Wait 15 minutes.
  • Scrape away the softened sand exposing  the joint between the base and the figure.
  • Scrape along the joint with a scalpel and add some glue remover to the joint.
  • Repeat for all figures on the base.
  • Work on another base or wait 5 minutes.
  • Gently lever the figures off by forcing a scalpel blade into the joint.

The use of glue remover made it easier to remove any sand on the figure base.  Sadly this also removed some paint on a few figures.  In the end I decided to scrape away most of the paint from the ankle down.  This ensures there will no stray bits of static grass around when I begin to repair the paint work.  Re-painting the bottom of the legs and the shoes, or boots, doesn't take long.

I'm resisting the temptation to repaint more than is strictly necessary and I have tried to limit myself just to repairs.  However, I have decided to repaint the faces in my current style to match the newly painted standard bearers and command figures.  This is basically a switch from a black to a red brown base layer.

I have six command bases to do; one retinue and one levy for all three commanders I've chosen for my army.  Progress has been good and two bases are almost done.  All the other figures are off the old bases.  I'll post some photos as soon as all six are done.

The super glue remover I have is from Locktite.  I've had my 10 ml bottle of liquid "Detach Glue Remover" for more years than I care to remember.  After checking online it seems this version of the product is no longer available.  It looks like it's been reformulated as a gel.

For the above method you need a liquid product as, thanks to capillary action, this will easily penetrate the joint between the figure base and the element base.  A gel product won't be anywhere near be as effective.

Thankfully, there are a number of alternative products available online; just be sure look for liquid formulation and not a gel.

Project Posts

  1. 07 Jan 2021 - Rebasing Thoughts
  2. 21 Jan 2021 - 15 mm Wars of the Roses Archer Command
  3. 21 Feb 2021 - Mission Creep
  4. 08 Mar 2021 - Rebasing 1 of 4 (Essex)
  5. 17 Mar 2021 - Rebasing 2 of 4 (Feudal Castings)
  6. 21 Mar 2021 - Rebasing 3 of 4 (Donnington "New Era")
  7. 24 Mar 2021 - Rebasing 4 of 4 (Feudal Castings)
  8. 28 Mar 2021 - Side by side comparisons


Bill said...

Before all that, I would try putting the based figures in the freezer for a few hours, then gently twisting the base with two pair of pliers. The cold should weaken the glue bond, and a little twist should cause the figures to come loose without damaging the base.

Vexillia said...

I'd heard about this technique. I will try it on a scrap base or two and see how I get on.

Valleyboyinnz said...

Sounds like a real pain but hopefully the end result will make it worthwhile

Greg Kelleher said...

To remove the sand and PVA mixture just soak the bases in water for an hour or so and then you should be able to remove the goop quite easily. Using this method reactivates the PVA which allows easy removal. Cheers.

Vexillia said...

Thanks. I'll try this too. Should make access to the superglued joint easier.

Vexillia said...

Tried your suggestion. Worked a charm. Thanks.

Vexillia said...

Updated: 21:15, Mon 18 January, 2021 - revised method to remove sand and PVA as sugegsted by Greg Kelleher. Much quicker and cleaner.

Greg Kelleher said...

I'm happy that you found the technique useful. And thanks for the acknowledgement. Cheers.

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