Though I closed out my last post on the subject with speculations about where to acquire suitable bases to rebase minis to, I kept searching for suitable options, as anyone who was following my twitter feed knows. In great detail.
I looked for blank, unstruck quarters, on the theory that they might be cheaper and less illegal to deface than completed quarters. But no, they don't seem to sell those, which makes sense. (In related news: Google thinks it's smarter than me, but it isn't. If I wanted to search for blankets or coin banks I wouldn't have searched for planchets and coin blanks.)
I considered high-end radiochemistry equipment, but they only seem to sell those in lots of a thousand.
I tried to find slugs punched out from junction boxes, which one produces as waste in massive quantities when one wires or rewires one's house's electricity, but nobody seems to sell (or even give away) the slugs. Though they do sell "Slug-Buster Knockout Punch Unit"s, which may replace "Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator" as the best porn name ever.
I looked for washers, then I looked for holeless washers, and it turns out no, there's not really any such thing.
Then I suddenly realized I had a tin full of old arcade coins from LASERTRON (which I always intend to bring with me to spend when I go to LASERTRON, but always forget). Not being legal tender, I can only assume these coins are fair game for defacement. I compared them to Medium bases, and they are almost exactly the proper size. I counted them, and I had 42 of them, just barely more than enough for the minis I wanted to rebase (I had 41 minis, of which I ruled out the green army girl for not having any conceivable D&D use, the pillar-like object for being too difficult to separate from its base, and the lion rampant for being too clearly Large rather than Medium). I would have preferred to stack two coins on top of one another to achieve closer to the right height, but the heft of the bases wound up being satisfying enough. All in all: perfect bases.
I was pleased with how easily all the Mage Knight and Heroclix minis popped off their bases, with hardly any prying necessary; they were only glued on. The Dreamblade minis needed a sharp knife, though, because they were molded right to their bases. If I were to do this again, I would probably mostly get Mage Knight minis. They're a little more generic than the Dreamblade minis, but they're su much easier to, uh, debase.
So there I was, with a bunch of baseless minis, and exactly the right number of coins of exactly the right size. I needed two more things: glue and paint.
The internet recommended superglue. I had somehow gone my whole life without realizing how mighty superglue is. Superglue, much like friendship, is magic. Holy crap is superglue aptly named. So that's that question answered.
I seem to have misplaced my craft paints, so we searched for a little while and eventually turned up some black Volvo touch-up paint. My parents recently arranged to bring a silver Volvo into our lives, replacing the last in a long string of several black Volvos, so we figured we would be unlikely to need it. Plus, your traditional Volvo is likely to be made of metal, so maybe this paint will stick properly to the metal coins. The main problem was perhaps that the brush was really too big for such delicate work, but we may not even have any more suitable brushes.
In retrospect, I should have tried painting the coins before gluing the figures on, though the way I did it had some features to recommend it.
For one thing, the Internet recommended gluing, then painting. I didn't know why until my dad mentioned that glue can act as a solvent on paint, so I could well have wound up having to just repaint around the feet (the most delicate and difficult to paint area) anyway.
For another, it's very difficult to paint coins. This way I had something to hold on to (the mini itself) as I painted the bases.
Plus, superglue fumes leave little white residues, which I was only too happy to paint over (though in retrospect perhaps I should have tried washing it off first).
The main problem, of course, as you can see in the pictures, is that sometimes the minis got black paint on their shoes. They look like they're trudging through black mud. Oh well.
So, the procedure, gleaned from common sense and various places on the internet, was very simple:
- Squeeze some superglue out into a puddle on the disposable sheet you're working on
- Touch the feet of the mini to the puddle of superglue
- Affix the mini to the coin (some of them didn't stand up on their own; you only need to hold these for a few seconds before the superglue takes properly)
- By the time you've glued all the minis, the superglue on the first few is well and truly dry. Squeeze a little paint into a puddle, hold the minis by their bodies, and paint the bases, trying not to get too much on their wee little shoes. Paint the edges of the bases, too, it looks better.
(Actually, there was one additional step before any of the others: glue the sword arm back onto one of the pirate wenches who lost it (In the above picture: second row, center and center-right. I can't recall which is the one who lost her arm). I briefly considered gluing it back in a different position, possibly brandishing it as a weapon rather than leaning on it, to distinguish the two minis if nothing else. But it just looked too weird; it's too obvious she's resting her hand on the hilt, not gripping it.)
I used very close to 100% of the remaining paint. (If there was any left, my procedures for eking the very last of the paint out would have rendered it dry anyway.)
I had four coins left over, so I just painted them black and left them mini-less. Maybe I'll use them for swarms, or else as miscellaneous markers.
Yes, the bell golem has a different colored base than the others. It's less evident in the photograph, but in person, the coin is almost exactly the same colour as that particular mini. I liked that effect, so I opted to leave its base unpainted.