This article is intended as a sample of available flight stands primarily used in starship miniatures gameplay and display and should not be considered an exhaustive list of available basing materials.
Plastic two-piece peg and base: These bases are one of the most common bases out there, they will usually be included in most small miniatures that you purchase their advantages are that they are super quick to assemble and only require a small amount of drilling into a model with a pin vise and applying some cyanoacrylate(Superglue) or epoxy. If the fitment of the peg and base are just right, depending on their molding, they can be easily broken down to peg and base for easier, safer storage and transport. For some people these will suffice for everything they do and satisfy their needs. Chances are if you have bought ships from a miniatures company you probably have these lying around. Common modifications are adding a washer to the bottom of the base to add weight and stabilize the base for gameplay or display.
An example of where to buy these flight stands: https://studiobergstrom.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=85&search=stand Where they sell for 30 Cents per flight stand before shipping
Slotted peg and base: These bases are a variation on the peg and base stands commonly provided by miniature manufactures with the same basic steps to getting them to work and modifying them. Fitment depending on the mold is more pronounced here. You may find that you must apply some superglue to the bottom of the base where the slotted peg fits in to get it stable in the slot. To illustrate how prevalent these bases are: There was a Facebook group that was discussing cheap bases and a user offered to send two people boxes full of bases at just the cost of shipping since they had accumulated so many during their time with miniatures.
Litko: Litko flight stands are the first foray into graduating from included bases into something much higher quality. Available at http://www.litko.net/ they are some of the miniatures accessories that company sells. Litko follows the formula of choosing your bases by size and shape, you stand pegs by length and quantity. Litko offers a wide array of personalization options as well from etching bases for specific miniatures to addons like dice holders to specify number of units represented by the miniature to damage, ammunition or other attribute of the miniature. The basic assembly process is designed to be friction fit, but Litko admits that sometimes that fit may be looser than intended or tighter. Below is quoted directly from their site
“To assemble, simply force the peg into the peg cutout on the base, it is designed to friction fit, but sometimes it may fit a little loose or more tight than intended, be sure to test the connection before gluing.”
“We recommend gluing your pegs in place to ensure they don’t twist out of place. Our craftics #33 acrylic cement is perfect for all our acrylic accessories.”
My experience with assembly was that I needed to apply glue or cement to all the bases regardless of fitment to allow mounting the shapeways miniatures I was mounting to be stable. I like Litko’s amazing selection and their creativity in offering but the need to doctor their bases with cement for mounting left me wanting more.
The base cost of one litko flight stand including one base and one peg is .78 Cents, available in quantities starting at 10
Litko is based in the USA.
Corsec: Corsec Engineering offers what some people may consider the pinnacle of miniature flight stands. While the cost of these flight stands is the highest available from this list they are the best presentation of all the flight stands sampled. They are high quality versatile flight stands and while you can buy a set of parts to assemble a flight stand for each of your miniatures a common practice is to only purchase bases and rods for your active amount of miniatures for a given game and buy enough mounts for all the miniatures you would want. That way at a moment’s notice you could change to composition of the mounted fleet or group of miniatures.
Bottom line, the construction, fit and finish of the Corsec Stands are second to none.
The base cost of one Corsec flight stand is $2.49
Corsec Engineering is based in the USA
DIY Magnetic Flight Stands: I’m going to show how to create excellent flight stands at only a portion of the cost of the best commercial flight stands, from Corsec.
Here is a list of components I used:
1 foot #6-32 threaded rod from lowe’s
6in 3/16 Aluminum tube from lowe’s
36-piece bag of #6 flat washers, zinc plated from lowe’s
24-piece bag of #6-32 hex nuts from lowe’s
A package of small magnets from amazon, 35 6mm x 2mm magnets.
I also ordered 25 small hex bases from Corsec Engineering, which I will explain below.
Gather the listed components and cut the rod and tube to 1.25” and 1” respectively. After waiting for them to cool (ouch were they hot after dremiled) screw the threaded rod into the Corsec hex base slide the tube over the exposed threaded rod and then thread the nut over the final exposed portion of the threaded rod. You can use metal epoxy to permanently affix the magnet to the nut if you choose. I took some washers and cut portions of the washer to apply portions to smaller models, think fighters, and used cyanoacrylate to affix the washer portions to the model. After everything has dried and cured you can simply magnetically affix your models to your new DIY Magnetic Flight Stands.
1.08 per foot threaded rod 9.6 cents per 1.25in section
1.26 per bag of 24 #6-32 Nuts 6 cents per nut
2.58 per 6in section of 3/16” aluminum tube 16 cents per 1-inch section
1.26 per bag of 36 flat zinc washers 4 cents per washer, if you use a complete washer for each miniature; I used portions of 1 washer to mount 3 miniatures
Go to amazon and look for small magnets. I chose a package of 35 6mm x 2mm magnets at $6.96 shipped meaning each magnet cost around 20 cents
Lastly if you were to buy your own bases and pressing rivet threaded nut inserts you could make your own bases but I think that is too much work and best left to the professionals at Corsec Engineering. Standard hex base from Corsec is 75 cents plus shipping for each base.
Based on these figures you could assemble one DIY flight stand for a total of $1.31
All in all, each of the sampled flight stands have their place in miniatures.
While my DIY solution is in my mind the way to go based on my idea of a good balance between quality and price, it does not discount the excellent presentation of other flight stands such as Corsec. The Corsec flight stands are excellently finished with precise-cut edges on their rods and addition of tiny O-rings around the edges of the aluminum tube that they use on their omni rods. If you are looking for the best without any work besides installing the mounts to your minis look no further than Corsec.