Sunday, February 3, 2008

All your base are belong to us

Forgive the title, but you don't get many chances to use the most popular phrase of my internet generation. Anyway, I was thinking about figure bases, the differences, and why companies chose certain bases for their figures. So, the result of that said thinking is thus: My countdown of the 12 different types of bases, from worst to best. All right, lets get straight to it then.

#12 - "No Friggin Base At All"

Starting out at number "last", here we see a specimen known as the "No Friggin Base At All". Characteristics include not being able to stand up, usually resulting in being the first casualty in most battles. It's a pain. I mean geez, just a little extra slab o' plastic is all we're asking for here. Oh well. At least the "lack of base" helps him blend into the scenery better... at least when he's not laying on his back.

#11 - Forces of Valor
I hate to do this, but here we are with Forces of Valor. Lets name the reasons why these bases are horrible. They are all the same (different paint jobs don't change that), they are too big, and they are not permanently attached to the figures. The too big thing is what really gets me. Not very good for a scene with a bunch of guys. Their bases simply get in the way of one another. Plus, they are obviously on the ground, not in a building or somewhere else that doesn't have that particular type of ground. Sorry FoV, need to rethink you bases. (quick tip: take your extra 21st Century figures, rip them off their bases, and transfer your new liberated bases to your FoV figures with a touch of super glue.)

#10 - "The Hole"
Next on our list is the tragic story of the "Hole". They had the basics of a good base. An ill-defined outline that flowed with the movement of the figure, much like Marx, but then they went and stamped a hole in it. I know, I know, they probably had their reasons, and it was different, but this time different wasn't better.

#9 - Green, Metal, Shiny... Must be Britains
Yup, it's a Britain with it's shiny green metal base. Ok, so this was cool, and we all appreciate that it has a high quality, durable base. But the boat has done sailed. Everyone else uses plastic bases. In my opinion, these simply stick out like sore thumbs when grouped with other figures. So, as consolation, please understand it was a good idea, it just didn't catch on.

#8 - Waterloo
Hey, I got an idea, lets just ignore the laws of physics when building a base. Ok, so it's not that bad. It's just, why put that extra little ridge on there at all. The base is smaller than the platform that the figure stands on. I have never understood why they did that. Good thing they are awesome figures.

#7 - "Same, Same, Same, Same... Arby's is Different."

The ever popular "standardized base". No matter what the figure is doing, he gets the same base as everyone else. Whether it's a rounded off square, or the same size oval, it's always the same. This isn't horrible... it's not enough to turn you off of a figure, it just doesn't do anything extra for the figure. It's just... a base.

#6 - The Fluctuating Oval
It's all about the figure. "The base? Well, let's just throw a bit of flat plastic underneath him. make it bigger for guys with wide stances, and smaller for guys with narrow stances; just as long as he stands up." You got to appreciate a practical take on these things. While not "artfully flowing" like marx, nor does it contain traces of terrain like 21st Century, Conte, and TSSD, it's nice, and it doesn't get in the way.

Tie for #4 - Like Liquid Plastic
Finally, we reach a base that actually adds dynamic to the figure. Marx had a way of making the base flow with the sculpt. Now that I think about it, I should have taken a picture of that Viking running foward with the sword. His base actually shows us that yes, this guy is absolutely flying. Can't go wrong with this type of base.

Tie for #4 - Gravel

I'd consider the Barzso bases a tie with the Marx bases. These are simple bases, but yet they contain trace hints of terrain. They are just rough enough to let you know "hey, this base is part of the land, building, whatever...". It doesn't flow like the Marx base, but it still disappears nicely when in a diorama.

#3 - A Base, with a figure attached

This company goes all out with their bases. This one is actually quite tame compared to others from 21st Century. You see rocks, fallen logs, sandbags, sign posts, fences, tank tracks... all sorts of cool stuff. I REALLY like these bases. The only drawback, and it's one that I can usually ignore, is that the bases actually place the figure. The German standing on a brick side walk, can't be standing in a grassy field. The American trooper that obviously has a dirt covered base with a tree limb can't be inside a building. 21st Century has proved that it is possible to design a base so well, that it can actually take something away from the figure. But other than that, it's a nice example of what bases can be.

Tied for #1 - The Perfect Base

Here we are at the pinnacle of bases. Tied for first place are Conte and TSSD. Their bases are sculpted, but not to a point where it takes away from the figures. They are just mundane enough to allow you to use the figures anywhere... forests, beaches, deserts. It's an example of not stopping at the soles of the shoes with the sculpting and design process.

So there we go, all the bases I could think of in the few minutes that I spent thinking about it. Now I'm off to go play with some Weston Cowboys that haven't seen much table time since I got them.

1 comment:

Jim said...

Enjoyed your comments on bases... I generally agreed with your list.. However, you unfortunately picture a figure with his foot on a log as Tied for 1st place. For me, any identifiable piece of scenery on a base limits that particular figure too much; you really can't use that particular guy on a tank or on a roof top etc....