17 June 2013

Step by step: Cheap & easy sabot bases

As I had a very enjoyable game of Dux Britanniarum (AAR to follow) on saturday at Axebreakers mansion I asserted the urgent need for sabot bases.

Therefore I had a look at the different manufacturers of lasercut mdf bases. Some do quite usefull stuff but none really had exactly what I wanted. I need bases for 6 square and at least one round base as my Warlord and the Nobles are based on  25mm round washers while for the rank and file I used 20mm squarebases. So I decided to do them on my own.

To do your own sabot bases you'll need:
  • Footfall sound insulation (In german it's called polystyrol)
  • Plasticcard about 1mm thickness
  • Hobbyknife
  • Blade of a hobbyknife broken down to about 2cm length
  • Marker
  • Ruler
  • Fast curing PVA
  • Old brush
  • Small clamps
  • Magnetic foil
  • Scissors

Step 1:
First cut out a piece of polystyrol sized 120mm x 60mm using your hobbyknife. Afterwards you should mark the positions for the bases.

Now you use the blade to 'cut' out the slots for the square bases. Therefore you simply press the broken down blade on the foam to get a clean and straight cut. Using your hobbyknife for this job will most propably result in unclean cuts. Next you cut out the round slots with the hobbyknife. Remember to make generous cuts as you want to fit in the base later without too much fuss. Afterwards I cleaned the cuts using a quite smooth file.

Step 3:
Now use marker and ruler to mark the plasticcard the same size as your polystyrol foam. I think there's not that much that could go wrong just mind the angles to be 90°.

Step 4:
To keep it simple you just take your scissors and cut out the card.

Step 5:
Now apply the PVA to the bottom of the polystyrol using an old brush and fix both parts of the later sabot together.

Step 6:
To prevent the plasticcard from warping while the PVA cures you should fix it to a straight underground using small clamps. 

Step 7:
Once the PVA is cured you can use your hobbyknife to cut down the rims of the polystyrol on the sabot to an angle about 45°. This step is just a matter of taste as I don't really like the thickness of commercial lasercut trays.

Step 8:
Now it's time for the first test if your figures will fit in their brand new shoes.

Step 9:
If the bases of your miniatures are magnetized allready you now could use magnetic foil to care for better standing.

Step 10:
As you, in all likelihood ,want some kind of structure on the tray now it's time to glue some grit on it using the PVA again. To prevent the grit from getting rubbed of you should apply a second layer of PVA on top of the grit once the basic layer is cured.

Step 11: 
Now it's about the right time that you embellish the tray using the colours you want and maybe some static grass and flock.

Thats how this all can look like after about 10 minutes of work (not counting the drying time).
At a price about 0,20 € per tray there's nothing to gripe in my oppinion.
The ammount of time needed per tray will most likely reduce doing more trays at once.


  1. Greate looking trays !!!

    Very good tutorial, might have to try it out !

    best regards Michael

  2. What a great tutorial, I am right in saying you just paint over the magnetic strip?

    1. Yes as it looks a bit odd if a bit of the bare metal shimmers through an unclean cut slit.

  3. That's a great idea and Cheap which will indeed will make moving the figures around much easier! I already received my warbase trays or I might have tried this.

    Looking forward to our next game and reading your thoughts on our last game!!

    I started painting up my Saxon Lord in preparations for the next raid.:-)

    Oh, I wanted to say if you don't like the nickname of one of your nobles just pick a name they way they suggest if win a nickname in the book by picking a name next to the one you rolled.


  4. The movement tray looks great!!

  5. I am using your method to rebase the germanic warriors I bought recently. It´s in fact a fast, easy and cheap way. Rating: Recommendable !