Hopefully you all prep your figures: remove mold lines and venting tails, fill in any bubbles of missing material, tidy up any unusual molding flaws, and hopefully you all clean your figures prior to priming: a good scrub with a toothbrush or something similar under running water, using dish soap (fairy liquid) or some other suitable cleaner/degreaser/surfactant - but what happens after the painting begins? After all the work of cleaning and stripping and tidying, do you then go and get your figures - your work-in-progress - dirty again?
One thing I've had a lot of people ask about when they see work-in-progress pictures of mine is, "What's it sitting on?"
The short answer would be that the figure is stuck with two-sided masking tape to a 20oz. pop bottle cap. I generally find that this setup is sufficient for most figures, even metal ones. Orcus here, by Grenadier Miniatures circa 198-, is not just any metal but a good ol' solid hunk of sculpted lead - despite the weight, the tape has held him up just fine.
The reason I stick my figures to something, and a bottle cap with two-sided heavy duty masking tape suits me fine 'cause I'm cheap 'n' easy like that, is that now I've started painting and put in all the previous prep work and cleaning, I don't want to get him dirty again by handling him and getting fingerprints, grease, and food crumbs all over him since that will interfere with paint adhering properly. I also have found that corners and sharp edges that "mysteriously" used to lose paint back when I held figures directly when working on them no longer have that problem. Whatever you use, whether it be an old paint pot with a dab of CA glue or a cork with a pinned-in base stuck through, I'd highly recommend mounting your figure to something to hold onto while painting.
Oh, and other advantages: you can always stick your figures to something "chunky," like an old film canister or prescription bottle, if holding onto a tiny base causes hand strain; likewise, I've found that having a figure stuck to something a little more mobile that I can hold onto directly allows me the freedom to paint from just about any angle, even upside down (assuming your figure's mounted well on the base); I've also noticed reduced eye strain in mounting my figures to something while working on them - by being able to hold it up to eye height while painting, it's much easier to get better illumination of the work surface and to see tiny details.
Anyone have any other things that they have found useful in holding or mounting a figure while painting? I'm curious about things to use for extra-large models such as tanks and monsters, although I'm thinking when I start on the Rhino for my squad of Khorne Berzerkers, a length of hardboard and some UHU Tac putty might just do the trick!
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