Greetings once again! Boy, it’s been a while since I’ve crawled out to share something with you all, hasn’t it? Well, I blame those sneaky Kazak spies infiltrating my bunker and stealing all my whiskey. They’re jealous, you know, with only bland, flavorless vodka to drink…
Anyway, I’m here with a bit of something new! Today I’ll be doing a product review of the base stamps from Happy Seppuku! These little widgets are a handy way to create that fancy, sculpted base look for a fraction of the price of cast resin. So let’s dive in!
Happy Seppuku offers a wide variety of base stamps, although most of them are more geared towards fantasy and steampunk for games like Warmachine and Malifaux. That said, there are a couple that are pretty good for Infinity. The basic idea is that you take a stock base, smoosh some green stuff (or other 2 part epoxy putty) over the top, and stamp it down onto the base to create a nifty little textured base. Pretty clever idea, right?
My girlfriend and I ordered two stamps. The 3” x 3” stamps are only $5 USD, with a flat shipping rate (at least in the US, I don’t know if they ship interational) of $3 USD. Delivery was super fast, although to be fair, I only live about a three hour drive from where the company is based, so I would hope it’d be pretty swift! The stamps themselves are made of the same rubber compound used in making car tires. The casting of the stamp is a little sloppy around the edges, but in the actual stamp part itself (where it actually counts) the quality is pretty solid. (Edit: I was recently informed by Happy Seppuku themselves that they've found the issue with the casting on the edges, and are retooling their stamp molds to fix the problem! Quality control done right.)
Happy Seppuku offers a series of video tutorials on how to use the bases, which is really nice. It took a little experimentation to get the process down, and I still don’t have it perfect yet. Basically, for a 25 mm base, it takes about a half inch sized ball of green stuff smoothed over the top of the base. The harder you press down on the stamp, the deeper the detail, but the harder it is to get the base off smoothly. One of my fellow gamers (who actually turned me on to them in the first place) said she uses a beeswax based lip balm smeared on the stamp to help loosen it up and keep it from sticking. I have yet to try that, but hers came out looking much nicer than mine, so I’m inclined to take her advice! Regardless, it’ll take a few tries before you get the hang of it, but once you’ve got the process down, you can knock them out pretty quickly. You could even do 5 or 6 bases at once, if you really wanted to be super efficient about it. You’ll want to make sure you cut the holes in the base where your model will attach before you stamp it.
Now to put your model in. If you’ve got your model’s feet pinned, that’s great. Otherwise, you can just use the tab that it came attached to (if it’s a long tab between both feet, just trim it down until it’s just under each foot.) While the green stuff is still malleable, press the model’s pins/tabs into the holes your cut prior to stamping. Now you have a perfectly molded place to glue your model in, nice and secure! Be sure not to press down too hard, or your model’s feet will go into the molded texture, which will look wonky if it’s on something like the catwalk grating shown above. Then leave the base to cure (most 2 part epoxy putties want at least 12 hours to cure, so I would recommend overnight.)
Once the base has cured, you’re ready to paint. Since mine was a metal grating, I opted for a super simple paint job. A coat of black paint, making sure I got all the recesses covered, followed by a heavy drybrush of a dull silver and a thick wash of a dirty black ink. Looks pretty good!
You can see where I messed up a little bit with the slots where the model’s feet go. It didn’t turn out to be a huge deal, as the minor imperfections are hidden underneath the feet. Overall, though, a perfectly serviceable base. Now all that’s left is to glue the model into the base! Incidentally, I highly recommend that you paint the model before you glue it down, otherwise you’ll end up slopping paint all over your freshly painted base.
And there you have it! One fully painted model and base. The more you use the stamps, the better you’ll get at making them come off the stamp crisp and clean. Personally, I’m a clumsy oaf who barely knows which end of a paintbrush to hold, so the fact that it’s imperfect is no deterrent to me. That said, I’ve seen people who have done fantastic work with these stamps and made it look like a professional resin cast base.
Overall, I’m very satisfied with these stamps. You get out of them what you put in; if you’re willing to take your time and practice, you can get some very, very nice bases, but even if you don’t, you can still get something that looks decent and is more durable than static grass and sand. Personally, I think they’re easier to work with than resin, because sometimes it’s a real pain to pin a model that only has half a millimeter of contact on one foot to drill into, but your mileage may vary. One thing I can say for sure, though, is that they’re a damn sight cheaper to use than resin! Most resin bases come out to anywhere from $1-2 per base, and it’s a constant investment each time you buy new models. After the initial cost of the stamp, this method only requires a small amount of green stuff each time you add a new model. Green stuff is about $10 a pack, give or take brand and local pricing, and you can probably get 20 or 30 bases out of it, depending on the size of the bases. I can definitely recommend this product, and I think that anyone who picks up one or two of these stamps, with a little practice and patience, will be very happy with the result.
Sgt. Rock, over and out!