Sunday, March 22, 2015

Basing the Troops and Options?!?

Basing has always been an issue for me. Especially when if comes to regular infantry. For one, I like to have diversity with the mounting system I use so I can always try out various other rules systems with little hassle (a plus these days with so many options out there today). Another very important element regarding basing for me is how the models look and feel on their little base. I like a chunky base with some weight to it. I also prefer my units to be large, taking advantage of the mass effect 15mm can provide. So, when sitting down and looking over my options regarding various rule systems I want to explore, as well as taking into account the above mentioned preferences, I have come down to a couple options:
  1. mount six models in two ranks on a 30mm x 25mm base, or
  2. mount six or eight models in two ranks on a 40mm x 30mm base, or
  3. mount four (or six) models in two ranks on a 25mm square (or 30mm square) base.
I have considered mounting models four models to a base in two ranks. This option looks too small for me; for another; I don't like columns of troops in two files only - just doesn't look right, even for a march column. Three files is a must! Note that option one above really isn't an option or me, as I feel 30mm depth on two-figure ranked foot should always be a min. of 30mm. 25mm depth is too narrow for me.

A March column!
24 models on four separate stands. Stand is 30mm square. Three files on each stand looks perfect!

After reading up on basing in the Black Powder rules I was quite surprised. It seems that more important than the number of figures, or the amount of space each model takes up, is the overall "foot print" of a unit as a whole - I like this! In 15mm scale, a 24 figure "average" unit will take up a frontage of 120mm. Using 30mm wide bases this equates to exactly four stands! If I chose to use 40mm wide stands that would work as well- although only three stands which is somewhat awkward when representing things like square or attack column formations. Black Powder allows for all manner of basing schemes really, fitting my purpose just right. This would in fact allow me to have my figures based in all manner of ways if I chose, yet still be able to play with these rules with little if any change.

30mm Square stands: Each stand has 6 models arranged in three files, two ranks.

Looking at the Battles for Empire II rules however, there are some restrictions that must be adhered to. Top of the list is the fact that all units are four bases in size - the number of figures does not matter however. So in a way, I have to pay attention to how I go about mounting my little soldiers so I don't end up needing an absolute ton of models for one unit! Lets face it, four bases of six to eight figures is quite large indeed. However, this does not bother me as much as the amount of table space such a unit may take up on the table-top. I need to be able to take advantage of the fact that smaller figures allow you to have units with a smaller "foot-print" than say a unit of 28mm models.

30mm Square stands:
This mounting system will allow me use the figures with different rules systems with relative ease.

30mm square stands:
Each stand has a nice feel to it. Somewhat cramped, but I could always place four or five models on a few bases for variety.

40 x 30mm stands:
120mm frontage for 18 models. Note the "split-tray" to allow me to represent attack columns and squares better - no odd stand to deal with.

40 x 30mm stands:
With only six models per stand, lots of space on each base but retaining the look and feel of a unit.

40 x 30mm stands:
A little less dense a look to it - only 18 models instead of 24.

40 x 30mm stands:
24 models on three stands (eight models per stand). Standard 120mm unit frontage (same as for four 30mm square stands). Just as dense as the six models on a 30mm square stand.

40 x 30mm stands:
One stand is a "split-tray", turning three stands into four.

Again, the look and feel are most important to me when it comes to mounting my models, not to mention the option of using these little soldiers with multiple sets of rules as I desire.

After much debate it seems I am starting to lean towards the 30mm square stands for my basing. This allows me to field my standard size units as four stands of six models; a nice look. It also allows me to keep that even number of stands so I do not have to deal with an "odd" stand sticking out when forming things like squares and  attack columns. Following on with the Black Powder rules, this means my "average" sized units are 4 stands, "small" two stands, "tiny" one, and "large" are six stands (36 models)! Using the Battles for Empire II rules units will also be four stands strong and occupy the same ground frontage as in Black Powder. Of course this is kind of big for those rules, so I may simply set unit sizes at 3 for those rules. Also, the rules don't make use of attack columns, so that is not an issue.

Anyway, I just thought I would throw my random thoughts regarding basing miniatures out there. If anyone has any comments about this feel free to do so.


  1. Since I use "The Sword and the Flame" rules for Colonial (i.e., individual basing), I don't "have a dog in this fight" so to speak.

    That being said, I do very much prefer "square" bases in other periods. One advantage is that both column and line have the exact same dimensions. So if I played your preferred rule sets, I would opt for the 30mm square basing (or maybe 35mm square if I felt my figures looked too cramped).

    -- Jeff

  2. Nice. Good point Jeff. I am leaning heavy toward the 30mm square actually. The 10mm frontage per model is pretty standard for 15mm scale gaming (at least from my experience in ancients gaming). It's an interesting topic really; also a "personal" thing with wargamers really.

    Thanks for the comment.