Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Thoughts on basing.

When first returning to the hobby I simply glued my little 1/72nd scale figures to pennies, this gave them some weight and stopped them toppling over at the slightest knock of the table. At that time I was simply painting for pleasure with no real thoughts about actually wargaming with them. The pennies were then given a coat of PVA (wood glue) and then sprinkled with a mixture of various green flocks. They looked good to me.

It was later when I actually really started to consider wargaming with miniatures. I think seeing so many battles on You Tube and photographs in various blogs of these tiny warriors, beautifully painted, strutting their stuff across wonderfully decorated tables, that I was being converted to this wonderful hobby. I reassessed my collection of 1/72nd figures, I would need to base them properly, just as I had seen others do.

Then as I got deeper into the hobby, and started reading various forum posts etc. the question of basing for a particular set of rules, or even worse, having to re-base to a new set, started alarm bells ringing. Maybe it was just too complicated and not standardised enough for me.

However, I still wanted to play a wargame with minis and as 'Battle Cry' the American Civil War game had just been re-released I took the plunge and ordered a copy. It had a board that fitted comfortably on the kitchen table, minis, which I soon painted, and tiles for terrain as well as a scenario book for lots of the battles. I loved it! yes it was basic, a cardboard base in hexes with tiles to match that needed to be arranged for each battle.

But seeing those figures moving across the board was marvelous and, for me, really captured the feel of a battle. I was so impressed I ordered another game with minis from the same designer, this time it was 'Samurai Battles' again a cardboard hex mat with terrain tiles, but this time with Feudal Japanese troops. Again I thoroughly enjoyed, both painting up the minis and playing the scenarios. I was becoming hooked without realising it.

Around this time I was given use of the spare bedroom in our house, my wife stating the fact that it was full of my junk, I might as well take it over. So a failed model railway layout, it had been built in haste with little planning, and as such things go, did not achieve what I had wanted, had the track lifted and I now had access to an eight feet by three feet table.

I had already taken the plunge on purchasing 'For King & Country' English Civil War box set that contained a copy of the Pike & Shotte rule book by Warlord Games and for Christmas that year received an English Civil War Starter Army box. Plenty enough figures for two reasonable sized armies, but again the question of basing came up. There were a number of plastic bases included, but I was loathe to actually glue my figures to them, fearing that I was tying myself to a particular rule set by basing in this way. I still remembered all the horror stories of having to re-base figures, quoted by various wargamers on forums.

I once again decided on using coins of the realm so all my tiny figures were singly based as before. I had acquired a number of plastic bases produced by Zvezda for their 'Age of Battles' 1/72nd scale box sets. I covered them in card and flocked them. They were ideal for holding the 28mm scale figures, a regiment of foot occupying three of the bases for a frontage of about twelve inches. Sure they weren't great for going up and down hill, the figures sliding off, but for all other uses they were just perfect and made moving units far easier and quicker.

Maybe I have gone on long enough so should reward you with a few photographs.

28mm War of the Roses plastic archers from Perry. With these guys I did actually use the plastic bases that came with them, however I based them in a particular way to allow their use in various rule sets. They can be formed up as a single unit or be classed as singly based for such as Lion Rampant.

It is easier to see in this shot how the figures are based, one group each of four, three and two, with finally three on single bases. This makes figure removal for casualties, if called for in the rules, a simple task but still allows for the unit to remain as a formed up group if not.

These crossbowmen are based in exactly the same way, but this time on two of those bases I mentioned earlier.

This gives a unit frontage of about eight inches and will be perfect for the 'Sword and Spear' rules, which stipulates all units must have the same frontage, depth doesn't matter.

Two bases of spear men, they fit on the bases comfortably and I could add more if required.

Same with the Bill men.

The mounted troops too still occupy the same frontage with their six figures.

The foot knights too conform to this unit frontage.

However, I can bulk up a unit if required, on this occasion there are five figures to a base as opposed to three, giving a ten man unit, again this would look much better in 'Sword and Spear'

Finally, having bought the Sam Mustafa rules 'Blucher' and the cards, I thought about my old 1/72nd scale troops, the boys who started this all off. Was it possible to use them?

Four Line Infantry on their pennies, standing on a card from the One Hundred Days box set.

The cards have protective plastic covers and so in theory a blob of Blu Tack could hold the figures in place to allow them to climb hills! Maybe the penny idea wasn't so bad after all.

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