EXERT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)

"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."

-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Grand Old Duke Ross, He had 1,000 toy men

He stuck them on some bases
 then he pulled them off again....

There is a lot to be said for standardizing nonessential physical elements of one's wargaming, things like basing. It makes it easier to store spares and easier to share terrain.  Part of my armies are committed to 60mm square bases for compatibility. Last November,  I started re basing my Atlantica forces onto 60mm bases with the intention of being able to use 1 stand as a unit as I did when using Volley & Bayonet and the original Morschauser Meets MacDuff. With nice thick bases, which I was originally loathe to adopt but now like, you can easily add unit id  and even stats to the back.

I was very happy with the results but by the end of the year they were on different bases again.  It seems that I did not blog this change or explain it but the issue was purely to do with the grid size, figure size, my table size and the look of linear musket era battles. I was also very unsure about the change so kept the 60mm bases and did not flock the new ones.



The issue had not been the bases per se, it had been how they interacted with the grid.  One stand did not fill a 4" grid so that a battle line looked like scattered groups. A smaller grid would not hold 40mm sized terrain or things like an artillery piece. A 5" grid worked ok with 2 stand units, or 2 units per grid, but I could not fit enough squares on my table to give any depth to the scenarios without resorting to half-squares. So I removed the bases, tucking them away pending a final decision, and did a deployment onto temporary 2" bases cut from Orange crates.

After a few outings and even more times when I declined to use the rebased armies, along with more games using 1 stand=1 unit, I've decided to take these armies off the grid and off the cramped, too small bases (as in fragile bayonets sticking out too far small) and pick up where I left in November but without the grid.

I was going to squeeze 8 figures onto each base like I did last fall but since many of the units are now organized into multiples of 6 and not all poses fit easily into a 15mm frontage, I'm going to stick with 6 figure infantry bases. Each base will be treated as a "wargame unit" but will often represent  a "wing" of a battalion in theory. In practice a mounted officer and 2 to 6 stands will form a brigade for game purposes.

 This brings me back to where I wanted to be apart from the grid but I've found that a painted movement stick and 1 stand units give me most of the benefits of the grid anyway.  All my 40mm armies will now end up on 6cm bases except for the NQSYW Charge! units which will remain as singles. Those NQSYW units cross assigned to the Acadian project have already been provided with materials for magnetic sabots. I'm not even going to think about the advantages of converting 40 1/72nd ACW regiments on 120 bases into 60 regiments on 60 bases.

29 comments:

  1. Ross Mac,

    Basing ... the perennial wargamer's dilemma!

    I made the decision to base my 25mm/28mm Napoleonic figures on 50mm wide bases. I have 3 infantry and 2 cavalry to a base, and 2 bases to a unit. Artillery has a single base for the gun crew and I plan to have a separate base for each cannon.

    The pairs of unit bases fit into my Hexon II hexes - almost - and allow me to deploy them in Line, Column, and (for infantry) Square.

    I am very pleased with the way they are working, and I am looking to use a similar system for my proposed Colonial wargames set-up.

    All the best,

    Bob

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    1. Bob, your basing is basically the same as the one I adopted last December but with 4 bases to an infantry unit. It worked except that it was a bit tight for the 40mm figures and it meant I needed to paint roughly another 200 - 300 figures to fill my planned OB. I have been planning the extra figures for almost a decade and its now clear that it won't happen! Too many other things I want to do now.

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    2. Ross Mac,

      I didn't make it clear that the base sizes I use are as follows:

      Cavalry: 50mm x 50mm

      Infantry: 50mm x 25mm

      Artillery crew: 50mm x 25mm

      Artillery guns: 50mm x 50mm

      Once the COW weekend is over I hope to begin play-testing the latest version of my Simple Napoleonic wargame rules.

      By the way, as they currently stand my Napoleonic armies are:
      Dutch-Belgians: 2 Cavalry units, 3 Infantry units
      Brunswick: 3 Infantry units
      Hannover: 4 Infantry units
      Prussian: 3 Cavalry units, 13 Infantry units, 5 Artillery units
      Britain: 4 Cavalry units, 10 Infantry units (plus 2 small Rifle units), 5 Artillery units
      France: 10 Cavalry units, 20.5 Infantry units, 12 Artillery units

      I have yet to add the figures from Stuart Asquith's collection and approximately 150 figures that Tim Gow found for me on the 'bring-and-buy' stand at TRIPLES. These - plus some spares that I have - should enable me to expand my collection by about 50%, giving me a quite sizeable set-up that will allow me to set up a campaign (or several) in the future.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    3. Bob, yes that's what I understood and are the same size that I mounted my 40mm infantry and cavalry on. You may imagine why they seemed rather crowded to me.

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  2. Ross,

    What thickness are your "new" bases?

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    1. I cut them from scraps of salvaged 1/4" wall paneling. (hardboard or hdf are similar I believe). My first bases of this size were from Rennaisance Inc iir, cut swuare and bevelled but they aren't available and a house reno left me with the very similar paneling....... At first I wasn't sure about the thickness but especially with 1 stand units and toy soldiers, they look like "gsme pieces" . The opposite of what I wanted 20 years ago but.......

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  3. Ah rebasing, the great curse of wargaming, Tony

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  4. Now this is where I suspect I am out of kilter with most gamers?

    I actually don't mind rebasing. Particularly if it means figures which have been unloved/unused for many years get to have their turn on the table again.

    Steve

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    1. I find I rather enjoy it in some ways. A chance to handle and renew old figures and freshen a game. But then I don't do any laborious multistep artistic terraforming so its a quick process.

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  5. I am having to start my collections from scratch after a break of many years. Morschauser type sizes inspire me for some reason (more like a game) but then One Hour Wargame comes along and has me stressing further. My 54mm WW2 are on 3" bases and look fine as a single units, but OHW recommends 4" to 6". I finally realized that I wargame alone so who cares :-). The 3" bases hold three men, and my table is a postage sized 3' square. The result is...unique.

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    1. I agree about the "game" look. The opposite of what I wanted 20 years ago but something I like now. It was playing Volley & Bayonet with 54mm ACW on 3"bases that got me hooked on that look.

      When I played OHW with my 16thC lads a few months ago, I doubled the number of units figuring 2x6cm bases would be 5" so right on for the scenarios. Instead of doubling the units on 1 list, I rolled twice on the list. Worked for me once I swapped the rules to suit my tastes.

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    2. Yes. I can see how that would work with my WW2 set up (Airfix with Classic Toy Soldier Tanks and Britains Die Cast Cannon). The idea of rolling twice is a good idea. That would actually provide a much more flexible game. I did think of tripling the number of bases and having 5 hit points per base and then having the dice results divided by three. At this point I needed to slap myself with a sensible stick.

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    3. Wish I had one of those sticks......

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  6. Replies
    1. Kinch!! So you are saying that MINE IS the superior intellect?

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  7. The unit above looks good.

    Best Regards,

    Stokes

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    1. Thanks, Um, that's 4 units and they'll look better with bases flocked but I think you get the idea of what they'll look like in action.

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  8. Rebasing troops and then reading them back again. It's lie
    Ke déjà but all over again.
    Current units look good.
    Peter

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    Replies
    1. Its must be the Jacobite thing "will ye no come back again..."

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  9. Sounds like my current situation with my fictional Newhaven. Every few days a new set up...

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  10. Bases and what size is best? Interesting that I just received an old book from the UK - Terrence Wise 'Introduction to Battle Games' - it is particularly interesting and noteworthy because all of the Armies depicted in the various pictures from Ancients to WW2 have Airfix figures - all singular figures without any multiple bases in sight...I think the book was published in 1963...I like the book as it depicts a time in Gaming that was in it's earliest guise...I've yet to confront the Multiple Figure base this time around as my Vietnam (1966) and Falklands (1982) Figures are all singular figures each having a cast base...my thinking on Multiple bases will come to definite conclusions when I start my WW1 Project- later on in the year. Cheers Ross. Regards. KEV.

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    1. Yes, I had a copy of that in the 70's and it was already old fashioned.

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  11. This was a puzzling part of why I decided to go with ALL MAGNETIC basing systems.

    I watched three other gamer friends with different attitudes on the subject. I came out with these observations:

    #1. Never re-base. Also, never take part in any game that requires me to re-base; either I play with what I have and make do or forget it.

    #2. Re-base happily. Use up time and resources to re-base units as needed, along the way come up with great little vignettes using minis I have already painted, or adding in 1's & 2's the new specialty characters to 'fill out' the needs for this particular tabletop action. Time consuming, yes; and rewarding in keeping alive a large collection that may not get onto the tabletop otherwise.

    #3 Re-base & complain. This was the 'default setting' for all three actually and at times they did grouse about the re-basing issue. It was the awareness of this potential problem that led me to study the most common "Base Sizes" in as many different game systems as I could before starting on making my own large armies.

    The first version was glued on magnets to wooden bases; this was more of a compromise solution and I did not get big (or strong) enough magnets the first time out.

    The version now is sheet steel bases (sizes given below) with neodymium magnets covered by green grass paper. There has been a good flexibility in this system as the magnet pattern can be changed.

    Base sizes:

    2"x1.5" = mostly foot troops, in Nappy's batts this is the standard size for systems like Napoleon's Battles, Shako, Le Feu Sacre etc. I have also 'turned' the base 90-degrees and been able to use the same bases for foot troops in ECW & 7YW game systems.

    2"x2" = cavalry, for just about everything. Sometimes I have to 'rule' that two bases are actually 'stuck together', for Napoleon's Battles. In Age of Reason this is not the issue. I have also used the 2x2's for infantry in larger game battles where a base is a brigade or a division. Or in smaller actions of ECW where the 2x2 becomes a pike 1/2 unit or full unit, depending on the system. The 2x2 base is also great for Division or other Command stands.

    3"x3" = Artillery. Originally this was all that the base was going to be used for, then I found that they were great as the Army Command stand, then later once I discovered Fast Play Grand Armee, ALL UNITS are brigades and they are all on 3x3s.

    6"x1" = skirmishers; to date that is all they have been used for

    By combining two of the2"x1.5" stands I come up with a 1.5"x3" stand that I have used as artillery in FPGA.

    Ross, you have played opposite myself at Jeff's table and seen the casualty system in action, even seeing that the system is forgiving in a calamity situation where a tower of minis tipped over in transport and the net damage was a separated rider from a horse.

    Now with my collection growing into ECW I am finding that I can store many more minis that are 'inactive' tighter together in my storage drawers and still have room for deployment trays, use of the drawers to have troops organized for tabletop action quickly and I have only come close to max-out of my bases in one battle.

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    1. I generally won't rebase to fit a particular set of rules but then I rarely use my figures with published rules these dsys though I'll happily play anything. Most of my rebasing has to do with aesthetics and a desire for a different look although recently I went through a phase of trying to see how tightly I could compress figures to fit more onto a small table. It was a failed experiment patly because I wasn't happy with the look but also because I realized (a bit of shock) that I no longer want to paint a bunch more figures. Hence a retreat to the previous system which needs fewer figures. I actually enjoy the rebading process though like refurbishing old figures its a chance to spend time with old freinds and leave them looking fresher.

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  12. I do like rebasing, not often, but I like rebasing : a new army takes shape without spending too much time...

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  13. Very interesting post Ross and similar to myself I am in the midst of rethinking basing for ease of play and aesthetic value as well, particularly with artillery. I like to use Elite Miniatures for my 1805 -07 Napoleonic collection and they are reasonably large pieces. I am about to experiment basing them two pieces and eight crew plus super-numeries and other paraphernalia on a double width plus 10mm base to see how it works.

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