Ice Tray Casting and Honeycomb Bases for Tyranids . . . .

Hive Bases for Tyranids (and other resin casting goodness!)

Greetings fellow wargamers!  Caleb with White Metal Games here with another fun tip/tutorial for you!

Those of you that follow my blog will know that I am a long time Tyranid aficionado.  I love me some bugs.  And whether you love or hate the new Nid codex, we can all agree that the Tyranids are a dynamic, evocative race that are as fun to paint as they are to play!  I’ve seen every sort of Nid color scheme from bumble bee orange/black to bio luminescent jellyfish nids, and everything in between.

However, what Tyranid army would be complete with custom bases?!  There are some amazing resin bases out there on the market, from Dragonforge to Secret Weapon, to name just a few off the top of my head.  But resin bases get pricey fast, especially when you are basing an entire army!

This is not to say resin bases aren’t worth every penny.  The time they save you and the way they make your army stand out on the table cannot be matched.  That being said, guys like me don’t love a project unless we’re doing it ourselves, so this article is for the folks out there, like me that like to do their own casting.

I don’t know if you’ve consider it or not, but there are some amazing silicone ice cube trays out there that work great as casting molds for a variety of basing purposes, terrain, etc.   A few years ago I started experimenting with precast silicone ice trays and other mold like devices.

For this tutorial, we are using a set of silicone ice trays and a set of plastic ice trays I got at the supermarket.

You can find the hexagon ice trays here and the portal ice tray here!

As with most two part resins, you mix equal parts of either agent.  I use measuring cups that I buy from the dollar store.  It’s cheap and you can reuse them for hundreds of castings before they are finally so gross it’s just easier to buy a new set.

This article is not intended how to teach you how to cast.  If you want to learn all that, there are tons of youtube videos and tutorials, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Hirst Arts.  I can honestly say I learned 95% of everything I know about casting and mold making today by exploring his exhaustive site for days and days and days.  A wealth of knowledge at your door.

After mixing the agents, and spraying a little mold release in the trays for good measure, I fill the ice trays with the compound resin.  Some of the hex cells I fill to different levels, some barely at all.  This will give me a variety of heights for my mounted models, and allow me some fun posting options.

I use the resin that sets in five minutes.  If you have a vibrating table or the equivalent so much the better.  If not, well, just rattle the table a bit after you fill the molds and you should be fine.  These aren’t complex molds and they breath very well.

Once done, pop out your results.  You can see here in just minutes I’ve cast up a wide variety of sizes, heights, etc.  These trays have a very high yield.

This white tray below is a Portal cube tray.  I’m thinking of using some of these as either objectives, or terrain, or maybe both.  You could easily cover up the heart logo with a Space Marine Icon from a drop pod or the like with minimal effort.

Here you can see I’ve arranged a few of the hex bases around both a 60mm base and a 120mm base for the larger Tyranid organisms.  I recommend NOT gluing them into place until you have experimented with how your models look onto top of the resin castings.

Some models, like the Tyrannofex or Exocrine, while quite larger, and not very poss-able.  As such these hex blades won’t be ideal for every model out there in the current range, and bi-peds such as the Hive Tyrant, Carnifex, or the like will be ideally suited for these bases.

We’ll be working on a new studio army over the next few months and we’ll be testing out a few of these hex style resin bases on our own studio Nids.

YES, YES, I know, you’d like to see these bases look with some actual tyranids modelled on them, right?

Fine, here you go!

We’re thinking about using the Portal Ice cube tray to create some stacks of techno-crates.  I could also seeing casting up a bunch and building some sort of strange pyramid or shrine with them.

If you found this tutorial useful, be sure to check out more of our work on our homepage, or at the very least, like us on facebook!   We also have a new podcast called Warcouncil where we share other cool hobby tips!  And you can see more tips through our Youtube channel!  

Caleb, White Metal Games