How do you paint models before sticking them to unit base

How would you do it? Especially if you have a lot to get through. You can’t really stick them to the unit base first, because it’s awkward to hold and get your brush to access all the details. And then you’ve either done the base first (in which case painting the attached models risks messing the base up, or you’ve painted the models first and then it’s a pain to do the basing around them). But otherwise you have no base to hold on to while painting. Pinning the feet and using that to attach them to cork or something is feasible for larger models, but those with smaller contact points or brittle material can’t be drilled into. I don’t want to individually base all my models, but it seems like the only way to resolve the painting issue.

Would be grateful if anyone has any ideas/solutions


I stick the feet to a bit of clay and something for a handle into the clay, ive usually a bit of wood or some spru laying around for that.

If you mean the heads or something of a mini, i try to do my best just to handle it as gently as possible while i hold it between fingers. I can touch up what i mess up for the big coatings.

I put a spot of superglue on the bottom of each miniatures feet then stick them to the bases provided with them.

To multibase I simply cut them away with a sharp knife when I’ve painted them and stick them onto the unit base.

Never had an issue with breakage.


I PVA glue mine to popcicle sticks, two or three per stick.
then I batch paint them one “stick” at a time.

the base depends on how nice I want to make the army look. on most projects I drill and pin one foot on each model and drill into the base and stick them with glue onto the finished base. I have a small electric drill with 1mm drill bits and 0.9mm steel wire I use for it.
on other projects where I wanted to use less time I left the bases unpainted, then glued the models on (no pin necessarliy, since the contact to the mdf is so much better when it is unpainted) but then the work of getting thinned out glue and sand in between the models after they have been put on is quite a lot of work, and then painting the sand between the models is nerve wracking, since I want to avoid getting paint on my then finished models.

so I must say I prefer the first way. makes for better looking bases too.


Welcome to the forum by the way :grin:


The exact approach can vary between the miniature range and what you unit base will be. If you share what you are working on, folks might be able to give you range-specific tips.

For minis that don’t have stands, say, Mantic’s Lower Abyssals, you can do the popsicle stick approach to help paint them, or stick them to a base temporarily for easier painting angles and for holding, as suggested above by others. I am a bit of a barbarian, and just grab a foot or arm or weapon and paint the rest and slowly work my way through each color for the unit. However you tackle painting them, you just do the minis and base separately, as I’ve got going here in this WIP, and connect the minis later foot-to-base with super glue.

For minis that do have stands, like these Gripping Beast Late Roman Infantry, nowadays I paint the mini, and then paint the stand beneath. I then attach them to the base and start working my way out from the middle, adding whatever basing stuff I want, which is usually some kind of paste these days. If the poses are dynamic or the weapons long enough to mess with paintbrush angles, I’ll actually wait for the paste to dry, paint it, and then add the next batch of minis, adding like, 4 at a time expanding form the center. This is a lengthy process since you are waiting on things to dry between each batch.

With more “lively” multibased units and stands, like something with elevation, I will keep 1/3 of the unit with stands, and clip the rest, like with these Frostgrave Demons. These are WIPs, but I’ll paint all the minis up, adding some paste to the ones with stands and painting that with a base color (black, in this case). I’ll then glue the minis with stands to the base, and build the multibase around them. Having just a few minis with stands, even glued down, I’ll be able to paint the stuff between their feet as I paint the base, and then I’ll add the other 2/3 of the unit to the multibase, just gluing feet to the final base, like I would for minis without stands.


This is what i do too.

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I cut the model from any integral base when building them, then dab of superglue onto temporary base while painting. Easy to cut off once painted

Build/paint the scenic base (excluding final flock), superglue the models on (pinning cavalry at times), add grass.


Thank you for the replies and photos and inspiration. I have a cunning plan…


OK, the cunning plan was as follows: take the dab of superglue/lolly stick idea and try and make it a bit more ergonomic for my ageing hands. A bit of enthusiastic if amateur designing and printing later…

No idea how well it will work mind


Looks neat!
I predict two annoyances: it might be hard to get the brush in between them to paint the backs of the models (then again you have spaced them out quite well so it’s probably doable). And the recess in the circles will make them harder to clip/cut off again without breaking parts of the feet. (with a flat surface you can get the small clippers/blade completely flush to the surface).

Two good points! Yes, the spacer between the discs is there to allow for brush access, but they might still be a little too close together- am about to take it out for a test drive. I didn’t want to space them out too much as that might become awkward if they extend too far from the holder, but there’s certainly room for adjustment.

As for the recesses…errr… not sure why I did that. Still, it can always be changed

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I lightly super glue or pin down to corks (specifically from liquor bottles, as they have a plastic or wood top, which becomes the bottom) or to old GW slotta bases I have roughly a thousand of doing nothing. Paint, seal, pop off and glue to finished regiment base.

Hi there and welcome @Talrothen . It can depend on the miniatures. For instance, with the new Mantic Goblins, the models on the sprue are nicely lined up with their base bits in a line, so i can prime and do a start on the details while they are still attached to the sprue, then cut the base with a portion of the sprue beneath and build up the weapons etc while still attached togeher similar to the method that @FredOslow suggests, only cutting them free of the sprues unbilical chord for the final touches. I’ve even done these final touches after putting the unit onto the base, working on the basis of what you can see and get to with a brush, gets the final touches.

Other miniatures have been done with blue tac to hold them to a paint pot or egg cup base for better grip, as i have a dodgy left hand with tremors so i will drop it if it is too fiddly. (not might, certainly will)