Sunday, 9 May 2010

Bizarre Basing

One consequence of my starting work on my fifth infantry regiment is that I have to rethink my method for basing the figures. It is apparent that my armies are reaching a size where moving individual figures becomes too lengthy a process to be practical: fighting a battle with hundreds of men on each side cannot be done in the few hours that will generally be available.

Infantry Company on Single Bases?

Moving to a system where I can pick up and move multiple figures is now a necessity. I know trays are used successfully in many big battalions battles. This, to me, is a pragmatic solution that sacrifices too much of the 'look' that I want. The trays have to be relatively robust if they are to hold the weight of an entire big battalion,  and so they add to the already considerable bulk of the bases of the figures and are very noticeable.

But I don't like the look of multi-figure bases either. It is possible to create terrain on them that is, in itself, a work of art, but to my jaundiced eye it never really works out. The problem here is that the bases do not merge tidily into the terrain that they cover. For example, it always appears that a battalion marching along a road is dragging turf and other foliage along with it. The problem becomes worse when the terrain is contoured, as the base cannot sit comfortably on a rounded surface.

I'd like to preserve the look of Charge! formations as much as I can. So I have decided to try using a base that has gaps between the figures on its exterior edges. If the connecting material can be made stiff enough to support the weight of the figures and yet remain sufficiently slight; it might appear to the observer, if he does not look too closely, as if the figures are still individuals.  My infantry battalions are organised into four companies each of twelve rank and file. My plan is to rebase these on eight bases each of six men. This will allow the battalion to be deployed in all the formations I use ( I use three man wide columns of march rather than four man wide).  And so, on the photo at the top of the page, the six figures on the right are all mounted on the same base.  I hope this was not immediately apparent.
I won't be leaving any figures on individual bases for casualty removal: whether I use casualty markers of some form or else rely on record keeping is still undecided.  Officers, standard bearers, and musicians will be left on separate bases so that I will still get the look of Charge! battalions where the mass of the battalion is surrounded and decorated by such folk.


Prince Lupus said...

I've just purchased some steel bases, 6cm by 4cm on which I can put eight figures with magentic paper underneath.

I base my figures individually 1.5cm wide by 2cm so won't see the base. Also the figure bases, steel base and table will all be painted the same colour. Using steel means the base is strong but thin.

Der Alte Fritz said...

Ive fought over fifty battles in BAR using single bases figures on movement trays and find that it provides the maximum degree of flexibility.

Just put each company on a tray rather than the whole battalion as you indicated in your post. Try the trays in company sized trays first and see how you like it before trying alternatives.

Bluebear Jeff said...

Your solution seems reasonable (as does that of Prince Lupus).

-- Jeff

Fitz-Badger said...

I did not realize the 6 figures on the right were based together until you pointed it out.
I use very thing rare earth magnets, but I still end up with somewhat thick movement trays. But I like to be able to remove individual casualties, no record keeping and no casualty markes (which are usually more glaring to me than the movement tray. To each their own, of course! :) )

tidders said...

I base my figures in threes on cardboard bases painted to match the gaming table. For each unit I have one 3-base split into one of two figures and a single - these allow casualty removal.

Basing is really down to personal preference; experiment a bit till you get something you like

-- Allan

abdul666 said...

In my experience (WRG Ancients 6th with some inputs from 7th), having all figures permanently glued to 'company' bases and recording the casualties leads to the fastest game. Casualty (and 'reaction') markers litter and spoil the battlefield, while ticking a 'scaled'line on squared paper for each unit takes no time at all.
'Company' bases (e.g. 8 such, each with 6 infantrymen in two ranks, for a 48-fig 'regiment') allow to change formation from column to line quite 'realistically'.