Thursday 14 February 2008

The mundane and just a little bit of the sublime

While in York I visited several museums, had some splendid teas at Betty's and attended three evensongs and the Ash Wednesday mass at the cathedral. So with a full range of intellectual,corporeal, and spiritual inspiration I gave full consideration to the question of basing.

I was rather keen on fitting the whole battalion on to a single base. The major drawback would have been the weight involved and the strain inevitably placed on fragile ankles as my banana fingured opponents attempted to lift the whole base by grabbing the end figure. I wandered about making the base thick enough to provide a good grip but this would still not be fool proof, and would probably have involved cutting up planks of wood.

So I have reached that most English of solutions a pragmatic compromise. I shall base 8 figures in two ranks on a 60mm frontage. Two bases will be a 16 man battalion. An identical sized base will hold three cavalry and be a single squadron. Thus the normal formation of a pair of squadrons will be the same frontage as a battalion. A brigade of infantry will have about 8 bases so if I should decide on a Fire and Fury type rule set the systems will fit the basing. If not the worst that can happen is that I have more flexibility in formation than I actually require.

I am still considering the thickness and material for the bases. Some years ago I remember an article in Wargames Illustrated(?) which had a Napoleonic collection of 15mm on black laquer edged bases with name plates for each unit. Very tempting and again keeps nasty fingers away from the figures.

I must just add, that this was the first time I had been inside the Minster after dark. It is so tall that the roof is invisible and the smoke from the candles and incense drifts away into an infinity of pllars and carving. The sheer beauty of the building is remarkably moving.


marinergrim said...

John I remember that article. The gentleman in question was recreating every unit for the battle of Waterloo using 15mm figures on wood plinths as you say. He'd chosen three or four figures to represent the battalion.

I have similar qualms over basing as you. I started using model ply at about 1mm thick but found too many people using figures to lift them causing damage as you quite rightly point out. Now I'm on to 4mm MDf but still have similar problems. I've noticed a growing trend amongst gamers to use ever thicker bases - probably for the same reason.

Bluebear Jeff said...

I use thick bases for another reason (although handling is definitely a consideration).

I used to have nice thin bases . . . and when taking them to someone's house, they'd often slide over each other and the sharp edges would "chop up" my figures (often chipping paint).

With nice thick bases, this doesn't happen.

-- Jeff

Jubilo said...

Dear Sarge ,
I also have been rumminating on basing the entire battalion on one base. The visual aspect is pleasing . One could direct that the bases be moved ( pushed ) with moving sticks /rods/ swagger sticks as I have seen done by military men using figures for wargames simulations , and not picked up by hand. Might require some discipline , however !
The matter of forming column would also be a problem . Is column necessary ?
Lastly since I believe British Army /American army fired by platoons , would it not be more historical if not practical to base them by platoons ? The thought process continues...
Very enjoyable blog by the way .
cordially ,
David Corbett