Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Re-Base-Ening

The Horror.

The Horror.

Eh, not really.

Ever since I started my Napoleonic project way back when, I've struggled with how to appropriately base my units. I started by putting 4 men on a 60mm wide by 20mm deep base and then having six of these bases comprise a unit. This allowed me to do all the fancy line, column and square formations but they were a pain in the ass to move around during a game. I ended up making movement trays so that single units could be picked up more efficiently, but there were still incidents of falling troops and cursing. The rules sets I've ended up gravitating towards for the Napoleonic era are all tending towards eliminating formation changes and focusing on higher level tactics, so I know that I'd want to change my basing scheme eventually.

My original units on the left. A unit in the process of getting a new base on the right.

The solution presented it self via Simon Miller's excellent blog The Big Red Batcave. Simon has written his own set of ancients rules called To The Strongest (which, while I haven't played them yet. are a really nicely presented set of rules) and his units are based on irregular shaped laser cut MDF bases which he sells. I really liked the idea of having all the models on one base and the irregular shape of the TtS! bases really lets units "blend" into the scenery. I saw this as one step closer to achieving wargaming as "a moving diorama"- a phrase coined by my buddy Rob. Basically, its an attempt to get as much of the "gamey" elements off the board so that the visual aspect of the miniatures shines. I've really tried to embrace this idea - nothing drives me crazier than seeing a game with more laser cut tokens scattered about than actual models on the battlefield.

One of Simon's excellent bases
I managed to get three units re-based in just a day, with another one on deck. Its a relatively painless process - just a quick beveling of the base edges with my handy power sander, undercoat the bases black, crack the models off their old bases then transfer to the new one and add a little sand, some paint and scrub vegetation and they are good to go! I'm super happy with them and will begin the gradual process of re-doing some 60-odd units this way. Oh. Joy.

Three of the fifteen french infantry units I own done!
Love those organic edges!
I also added a dice frame to each unit's base. These
are used to track casualties with a micro die.

I also received some fun stuff in the mail from eBay this week. I'd found an auction for 12 metal 28mm French Carbiniers that were already "Pro-Painted" for $35US (including shipping) and it was too good a price to pass on. It also allowed me to try an experiment I'd contemplating - my Napoleonics games use a LOT of models and while I enjoy painting them, I just have so many projects going at once that I was looking for a short cut.

These are what arrived in my mailbox. All the basic
elements are there - they just need some tarting up.
In this instance, I figured I would roll the dice. For the price I came to the conclusion that these models would be a) as scam and I'd only have lost $35, b) much better painted than I expected c) trash and thrown into Pine Sol to strip the paint or d) have all the base colors blocked in an then I would just need to shade and highlight them and base them in my own method. Luckily, it turned out to be D! The models that arrived had all the basics in place and were easy to remove from their bases. A little shading and some highlighting over 2 nights after work has given 6 finished models that normally would have taken me at least a week. They aren't the best in my collection, but they are nothing to be ashamed of either. Now I just have to scrap up a decent flag for them.

Bam. Two nights later. Maybe 4 hours of work.
And finally, I got three more members of the Deathwatch finished, which means I only have two more of these goofballs to paint up! And then all their bases. Sigh. Looks like I've got a lot of bases in my future.

Ugh. Too much pasta! Slow and steady,
terminators are always fun.
Blood for the - NO WAIT. THAT'S NOT RIGHT.
Robed Dark Angels always make me think that
Space Marines deserve a spa day.



  1. But.. But... With those irregular bases how will you maintain precise measuring and accurate arcs of sight???!!!

    (Those look awesome, BTW. A really good idea.)

  2. Thankfully I only game with socially functional adults who realize games are played for fun. ;)

    I'm really happy with the bases and can't wait to play a game with them. Looking forward to photos where the units don't have big rectangles around them!