The Tweak Freak Base Tweaking Blog

mike

Mike Pratt “The Tweak Freak” is in and here to help you with ALL your base tweaking questions. Mike is well known through out the hobby for his straight on and one on one help with any aspect of Miniature Football. This blog is specific to the art of base tweaking, but you can ask any question of Mike and he will point you in the right direction.

So grab your flat nosed pliers, a lighter and a fresh new base and fire away!

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Comments (18)

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  1. Lynn says:

    Hey Mike,
    I had to move you here to get the comments option to show up. Can’t wait for the first question and answer session!

  2. Mike Pratt says:

    Not a problem Lynn. I look forward to helping out as many coaches as possible enjoy the hobby.

  3. TVsCHACHI says:

    How long should you wait after tweaking to test the base? Would you recommend putting a base in the freezer after tweaking it to ‘shock’ the plastic?

    (In regards to the ‘memory’ of the plastic)

  4. Mike Pratt says:

    This is actually a question that requires breaking down the answers with some definitions. How long to wait before testing a base depends on which test or which part of a particular test you are involved with.

    Raw Test: Directly out of the package and on a well-balanced figure.

    Initial Tests: After your first attempt at tweaking for whatever it is you’re after, take a short break to let the plastic “heal” for a bit. Usually 5 to 15 minutes is sufficient.

    Secondary Tests: Once you get a base to the point that you like the results, leave them alone for THREE DAYS. It is somewhat known among tweakers as the three day rule. This allows the plastic to completely heal and possibly stiffen up.

    All subsequent tests should be for basics that involve evaluating and fine-tuning for consistency.

    No freezers are involved in any of my tweaking techniques unless we are boiling. Freezing the plastic to “shock” it serves no good purpose. In fact, it is most likely to be very detrimental to base performance and the longevity of it.

  5. TVsCHACHI says:

    Thanks!

  6. Coach k-lo says:

    thanks for reminding the Coaches about the 3 day rule!

  7. clmdesign says:

    What are the best bases to use on O-line? And how do you get the back prongs so flat?

  8. Mike Pratt says:

    Asking me which are the best bases to use for any particular position is a lot like asking me what is my favorite play. My answer is usually the same for both…. the one that just worked for me.

    In VERY general terms, directional bases tend to work out best at OL. I like Polo Green and Turquoise TTC’s and BB DDB’s. Though YMMV. Just as important as which base one selects for OL, or any position for that matter, is which figure one selects to put on top of that base. Again, everyone has their preferences and dislikes. So really “whatever works for you” is the best answer.

    I get the prongs very flat by avoiding two things. I avoid the heated pliers and I avoid rushing through the tweak process. Rushing needs no additional explanation. Heated pliers will get you flat prongs quick. But then we’re back to the rushing thing. Use thick, wide pliers and squeeze the prongs in many short sessions. Don’t try to make a piece of paper from a log in one or two ham-fisted grabs. Use hard pressure in smaller areas of the prongs, working your way up and down its length. Do it ONCE, then let them heal for 5 to 15 minutes before doing it again. Once you get them just right, apply the previously discussed “3 day rule” before moving on.

  9. Chris Stacey says:

    I don’t have a question,just a few comments about
    tweaking.First off,I’m lousy at tweaking.I guess
    I could figure it out but I don’t compete so
    there is no need.But to get to my comments.I remember a time when, (let’s call it BT- before tweaking) as a youngster all we did to “tweak”
    a base was to blow the dust off of it and brush the prongs backwards.No “flashing”.No nail clippers;Nothing really.It wasn’t even called
    tweaking by most,if any.Honestly I don’t
    remember it having a name other than the simple
    acts that were being done.Dusting the prongs off &
    brushing them backwards.Boy,this seemed to work,
    then.Wouldn’t cut it today.I’m sure there are
    a bunch of you out there that can relate to this
    “BT” story.Man,tweaking sure has come a long way since those “cavemen” days……LOL
    Just remembering the old days…..

    SEMPER FI,
    Chris Stacey
    Hampton,VA

  10. Mike Pratt says:

    It seems that was the case for most when playing the game as youngsters. I was playing with the game at about age 6 or 7. I began to play the game – to simulate football – at age 8. I pretty much did what most profess to doing back then. That being to cherry pick the best bases for the backfield and secondary. Most of my tweaking at age 8 through 10 years of age was to brush the prongs across my pant leg. sometimes I would use finger manipulation to try and reset a prong or two.

    By age 12 I was using tweezers and utility knife tools to tweak prongs. Granted, it was mostly experimental at that age, but I learned a lot. By age 13 I was using chemical alterations – 3 in 1 oil, bleach, paint stripper, paint thinner – whatever I could get my hands on. I learned to “boil” from a neighbor that was a chemical engineer. He took a set of my bases to work with him. He kept them for quite some time. When I got them back it was like Christmas and winning the lotto all in one. EUREKA! I learned a ton from just talking shop with him. – enough to know that most of the stuff I had experimented with was a waste of time. So I graduated to the more productive substances. Eventually I learned that running with bases subjected to chemical alterations at that level made it next to impossible for my opponents to compete. It became boring and predictable. From that point I began to learned the art of tweaking without the chemical crutch.

    For me, tweaking has been a part of the game for the past 36 years. It is often hard to imagine playing without that aspect. But I am not opposed to breaking open a fresh pack of bases, fielding a team and playing that way. When it comes to playing the game it is whatever gives you the most enjoyment. For me it is a cohesive team that will run to specific areas with consistency most of the time.

  11. Taylor says:

    What TTC bases are best for speed? I can get some ok yellow TTC bases, but they don’t run nearly as fast as any of my rookies.
    Thanks,
    Taylor

  12. Mike Pratt says:

    Speed, much like strength, is relative only to what it is compared. To get precise and to the point, “fast enough” is what you should strive towards. That being, fast enough to get the job done (by position fielded). It must also work well as a team member with its mates on the field. What I’m getting at is, do not get too caught up in striving to have the fastest base or bases on the planet. Strive for “proper speed” required to play a particular position effectively.

    Almost any of the modern TTC bases can be made to run fast. Though Yellow TTC’s would be towards the bottom of my wish list. Personally, I prefer Orange TTC’s for speed but am not dependent on them, per say. Meaning I do not feel as though I HAVE to have them to produce fast TTC bases.

    Lastly, the figure you put on a base can greatly increase or diminish base speed. Do not get caught up in old ways, bad habits or specific brands. Use the figure that moves the fastest and is the most consistent, whichever one that happens to be.

    Hope This Helps Some.

  13. btower06 says:

    have anybody tweaked the new black bases with the black dails yet and if so are they strong or fast?

  14. Mike Pratt says:

    I have not had the opportunity to get my hands on them yet. My plate is pretty much full and running over at the moment so it is just as well. Not enough time to devote towards a proper evaluation. Hopefully, in the near future, I can do so and offer an honest review.

  15. russell deloney says:

    itz dails whats the best way to break them in

  16. Mike Pratt says:

    For me, success with the ITZ dials has come from patient but persistent prong manipulation…. Not too hard, not too long of a session. ITZ dials are not that much different than most other dials really. The payoff for tweaking most prongs for game-ready AND lasting performance (far less quitter bases) is to not overdo it or do too much for too long during a tweak session. Why? Because each small change you affect on the prongs obviously changes its performance, for better or for worse. Too much too fast can blow right by the (good and bad)little clues that bases reveal during tweaks. I.E., you’ve missed them.

    In short, squeeze less before testing more. When the performance begins to level off, stop! Take a break and let the tweak settle in. Come back the next day or even two to three days later and pick back up where you left off. If after the second or third session you see no gains, or Heaven forbid, a performance drop off, STOP!

    Like almost everything else, different people have different ways to get to their own satisfaction level. I’m not into quick fixes that will can not stand the test of time (many years). I like my bases to have the ability to be stored for more than five years without performance decay. I only need to pull them out and maybe brush a prong or two with my finger. So please keep that in mind before following my advice. There are faster ways to break them in but chances are very high that the performance will degrade much sooner, in comparison.

    What you need to ask yourself is which way will work best for your hobby pleasure… faster in – faster out or longer term performance? NEITHER is “right” or “wrong.” Just different.

  17. Dan says:

    Hi, Have you had a chance to work on the new super proline bases yet? If so what is the best way to get strength out of them?
    Thanks, Dan

  18. Mike Pratt says:

    Hi Dan,

    Not yet but hopefully pretty soon. My personal schedule is still pretty overwhelming for me for now and the foreseeable future.

    I am very analytical, by nature, and would not want to half-arse it when it comes to the tech side of the hobby. Especially when it comes to breaking down base abilities or lack thereof. I prefer to be thorough, fair, accurate and unbiased about equipment reviews. That can only happen when one has their mind in the proper place so they can completely focus on the task at hand.

    As soon as I can commit to the above, I will make sure to share my findings with any and all who care to know.

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