August 11, 2010

Bases for the Lads

I've got enough models painted up to start playing around with the basing. These are destined for an as yet unnamed variant of March of Eagles by Barry Hilton (the quick play rules that come with Victrix Napoleonic models or available form their website here). These rules call for basing characters (officers, ensigns, musicians, and sergeants) separately, but the rank and file troops can be based any way desired. My preference these days is for multi-model stands to make mini dioramas. Now all I need to do is decide on the base sizes.

My initial inclination is to place models on the smallest base that will accommodate, in this case 45x50mm. The pros of this size base are that I think the models look really good packed tightly together and these will have the smallest footprint on the table, leaving room for more units. As a drawback, there isn't much room for embellishment on the base...

Creeping up to a 25mm/model frontage for a 50x50mm base gives a little more room to work with without substantially increasing the amount of table space the unit will take up. Additionally, at least for the Rebs, there is room to mix in the occasional five model stand. I've seen units based this way for Fire and Fury, four models per stand for Union and three to five models per stand for Confederate, and the effect the contrast created was really nice (the second pic below illustrates this on a very tiny scale).

Finally (at least for the moment) I could go six models per stand on a 60x60mm base. The extra depth again adds more room to add details on the base and will actually be better if I decide to use any charging models with bayonets lowered. These units would actually have the smallest width at 20mm frontage/model, but this stand is heavy. The rules also focus on Combat Groups of four models for shooting and melee so it is fractionally tougher to figure out how many groups you have at a glance.

Ok, I've got plenty of time before I need to worry about making a choice but if any of you have thoughts on the matter, I'd love to hear them!


  1. Nice work!The mud stains are really working for you.


  2. 40mm do look nice. For my 40mm ACW units I base 3 figures on a command stand - which is 2 inches by 1 1/2 inches and I keep the troopers mounted individually. That allows all movement by command stands and line figures are moved in support of the command (an idea taken from Brother against Brother). While the mixing of basing sounds unusual, it works visually.

  3. I like the 2" square stands (i.e., 50mm x 50mm) for a couple of reasons. Yes, they do allow 3-5 figures per stand; they also turn to flank easily and/or allow turning a stand in the line to indicate disorder.

    And, as a bonus, the same stand size allows for two mounted figures (which I think looks good) . . . so you would only have to have one base size.

    But they aren't my troops so however you choose to base them is up to you.

    -- Jeff

  4. As Jeff says, the 50 x 50 stands with 4 figs (3 cmd) works well and is more flexible. Mixing 'em up a tad won't hurt none either! Yeehah! Luvin' yer Rebs - great scruffy campaign look you've achieved!

    You can really get great detail and expression on the 40mm figures - I find them easier to paint than 28mm too.


  5. They all look good! Square basing is a good idea I have used myself but does not work for artillery unless you make bigger bases for foot and horse. ACW is not my era but I have drilled to a Victorian based drill manual - standing with your arm outstretched to the side with the tip of your fingers touching your neighbour's shoulder was open order, the width of you upper arm (elbow touching the top of his upper arm/shoulder) close order. Therefore, for base widths for my close order era marching infantry, my rule of thumb is not to exceed half the nominal height of the figure (so 20mm width should be the max for a 40mm figure) because a 3 feet frontage for a 6 foot tall man is more than enough when drill books prescribe far less. Bottom line is I think you should go with your own inclination - your record on your other work speaks for itself. If you want to embellish the odd base, perhaps you could try using 3 figures. Look forward to your final decision - whatever it is I'm sure it will be good.

  6. I personally like the mixture of 3,4,and 5 per stand. It keeps things from looking too uniform and more natural.
    (Although I have to admit that my ACW are almost all 4 per stand, but seeing your examples is really getting me to think about throwing in some 3 and 5 figurs stands!)
    Can't wait to see these finished.

  7. finally got back to painting mine Clarence. Done 40 now. I am experimenting with two types of basing (including all the examples you have illustrated above).. hereon classed as the first type. 2nd type is an open order firing line much as I done for my Napoleonic Russian Jaeger. 60mm wide.. 50 or 60mm deep, figures very close together but slightly offset in a zigzag pattern to make a very thin close order line of men shooting and loading. I like the look!