Bases and Pins : getting your figure to stand up .

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Thread: Bases and Pins : getting your figure to stand up .

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Bases and Pins : getting your figure to stand up .

    Base Pins : Getting your figure to stand properly.

    This is a sort of tutorial , but since I hope it's of interest to everyone with a figure, I've put it here in the main Area.

    I’ve seen enough of other people’s collections online to realise that many of them look pretty terrible, because they can’t get the figure to stand naturally on a shelf.

    Using a stand , such as the Hot Toys version , may be useful , but seems completely to me unnatural , like a kind of 1/6th Zimmer frame : entirely spoils the effect .
    You can spend hours trying to balance a figure to make it look natural , only to have it shelf-dive the moment you turn your back, causing breakages and distress all round.

    The weight and balance of a 1/6th figure are all wrong . Having no muscles to hold it up , it gets worse the more it’s loaded with : it needs a little help to make it balance and look better.

    There are two usual solutions :~

    EITHER the “fixed-to-a-scenic base style” , used by most European custom builders , which is permanent .
    The figure becomes in effect a large model soldier .
    Fine if you like that , but these are supposed to be action figures , reposeable at will.

    OR the “ dollies all piled on a shelf “ style that seems to be common in the UK and US. This is frankly not much better than a collection of Barbies or teddy bears , and does your figures no favours at all , leaning back against the wall in drunken heaps…...

    There is a Middle Way…..

    What I’m suggesting here is a simple and unobtrusive solution to all these problems: I’m amazed that more people don’t do it.
    All my figures are given simple fibreboard bases , to which they are pinned with lengths of removeable brass rod.

    You will need :

    Brass rod from your hobby shop. I generally use 3/32” as the smallest size which is strong enough .
    The advantage brass rod has over other wire is that it’s very stiff , and smooth : easy to slide in and out without distortion .
    A 3/32” drill.
    A pair of snips, big pliers or a hacksaw to cut the rod with.
    Some blocks of fibreboard , known as MDF here , to make the bases : 12mm or ½” thick is a good thickness , easy to get at any Home Improvement store.

    Mine are cut to around 5” x 4”, which is just big enough to do the job , and means that the figures , once based , stand neatly in my cabinets in close order without jostling each other.
    I paint the bases satin black using acrylic , but you can add scenic dressing if you want. Whatever you prefer.

    Procedure :

    Cut the bases , or get them cut for you at the DIY shop.
    Sand the edges to remove the fluffy edges.
    Paint : use a big brush ( 1” ) , and give it several coats if you want a good finish.

    Set your figure up on the base , and consider exactly where you want the feet : mark the base under the instep.
    Drill two holes in the base, right through .

    Now take your figure , and drill through the boot soles up into the foot , just in front of the heel : don’t go too far , or you will go right through the foot, or up into the ankle joint .
    { If you have a figure with floppy ankles that need stiffening , that requires some more precise and considered surgery. You can drill right through the ankle and up into the leg, and insert a much longer rod . Certainly works with DML legs, but it might cause problems with ball-and –socket ankles }.

    You might prefer to drill further back into the heel , where the foot is deeper : whatever works .

    Push the rod into the foot as far as it will go , then cut leaving about 10mm protruding.

    Now set him up on the base . Easy.
    If you need to move the feet , just drill some alternative holes .

    The only disdvantage is that your treasured figure now has a little hole in the soles of his boots …….

    Does this matter ? How often do you display them with their soles showing ?

    And the pins are very easy to remove or replace if you want to take him off and repose him.
    And if you want to pose him in the garden , you can cut a much longer pin to ram into the ground to hold him up for that photoshoot.

    After eight years of collecting , I have yet to find a disadvantage with this system … apart from the mess you will make if your drill through the boot and into a pair of socks !
    So ditch the socks, or if they are visible and thus essential, cut a small hole in the sock sole and glue the edge to stop it fraying before putting them on.

    If you figure has good joints , it will stay put in more or less any pose. If it’s heavily loaded and has weak joints , I can’t guarantee that in time it won’t sag , but at least it won’t shelf-dive any more. And the pins are generally stiff enough to support the figure in all sorts of different poses.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    N.T., Hong Kong

    Re: Bases and Pins : getting your figure to stand up .

    Thank you Tony! It's great to see another of your tutorials here.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Hong Kong

    Re: Bases and Pins : getting your figure to stand up .

    Nice tutorial! Thanks for sharing!

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  6. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Re: Bases and Pins : getting your figure to stand up .

    Thanks Tony. I might give this a go. I already do this with a lot of my Wargame miniatures when I put them on resin/scenic bases. It never occured to me to try this on my 1:6 figures.

  7. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008

    Re: Bases and Pins : getting your figure to stand up .

    That's a good way to fix the problem but I don't like drilling holes in the expensive boots of my figures.

    The way I got around it is in every base I make I place a thin piece of steel sheeting recessed into the base and covered over then I place a thin but very strong rare earth magnet into the bottom of each boot under the foot. The figure snaps onto the base quickly and securely with no chance of it falling over. Its great for posing also!.

    Light travels faster then sound.That's why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.My Trade List

  8. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Re: Bases and Pins : getting your figure to stand up .

    very useful, thanks Tony

  9. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2006

    Re: Bases and Pins : getting your figure to stand up .

    Thanks for the tutorial, But I'm with Steve on this one. I perfer my magnets. No drilling holes and they work great.


  10. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Ridgecrest, California, USA

    Re: Bases and Pins : getting your figure to stand up .

    Great tutorial Tony, always an issue with dioramas I find, getting the blighters to stand up and stay up. This sort of method is ideal.

  11. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Biloxi, MS

    Re: Bases and Pins : getting your figure to stand up .

    Tony, I have used this method with 1/32 scale but never 1/6. Awesome Idea and I must say your figures are just awesome! Thanks for the lesson!
    LtCol John Owens USMC (ret)

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Bases and Pins : getting your figure to stand up .