Friday, April 2, 2010

Basing… Again…

Or RE-basing, I should say….

I’ve been thinking about re-basing my 20mm WW2, modern, and future war stuff for some time… the current impetus is my desire to try out Bruce McFarlane’s HOTT WW2 and Modern HOTT variants. More on that in a moment, though….

I’ve also been re-basing a bunch of 15mm WW2 stuff so they all have a common base frontage – mostly for the same reason. It hasn’t been so much work as only a few things that need rebasing. All the infantry and tanks were already on a 50mm frontage, some of the smaller guns and vehicles were on smaller bases and had to be redone.

There are a couple problems with the 50mm frontage… First is that it isn’t one of the suggested base sizes in DBA/HOTT, so will require some tinkering to figure out what “100 paces” and I’ll have to make new measuring sticks just for that lot. The other is that the deeper bases are all deeper than the base frontage (~63mm deep – I’m using the standard base sizes for Flames of War), which causes some funny business when units are flanked and have to turn to face…

I COULD have re-based the whole shebang to 60mm frontages and everything would have been just ducky. But that would have been a whole lot of WORK… (just to “try out” a game) and also from time to time I get thinking I’d like to sell or trade off the last of the 15mm stuff and I figure it would be easier to do so if it were left on a base size that would be most useful to other people (i.e. the FoW crowd)…

As for the 20mm stuff it’s, more or less, ALL going to have to be rebased. The question is what frontage to use…? I’m considering 60mm or 80mm.

Now, I’m not JUST doing this to play the HOTT variants. Whether they work out or I go back to playing Blitzkreig Commander, Cold War Commander, and Future War Commander. I’ve wanted to do this for a while - get everything on at least a similar frontage and, if possible, only a few different base depths – for maximum uniformity…

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages I can potentially foresee:

If using 60mm it would be the same frontage as 28mm DBA/HOTT. I could therefore use the same measuring sticks, terrain and game boards. Also some of the Modern tanks and vehicles are currently on 2.5” bases and would only require shaving ~3mm off one side to make it 60mm (it’s not as difficult as it sounds - I’ve tried it). This would make for a bit less work and wastage of basing materials.

The downside of 60mm is that some of the big sci-fi tanks won’t really fit at all and some of the bigger WW2 and modern tanks and guns that do fit are still on proportionally much deeper bases.

80mm is double the “suggested” base widths as 15mm figures – so everything’s pretty easy to figure out. This frontage would require proportionally less deep bases – even for the big stuff. This is really one of the biggest issues for me. Having units on bases that are much deeper than they are wide just kind of looks funny to me and causes issues in the geometry of most games –especially in maneuvering and falling back and turning to face flanking enemy. The infantry would be on 40mm deep base so that the total depth of 2 stands in column is the same as one base width, which makes things loads easier in terms of the geometry of the game.

My primary concerns about the larger frontage is that they’d look freakin’ HUGE and I might need MORE storage bins!? The space required to play would be bigger but for a standard DBA HOTT game it would only need a 4’x4’ area – which is no problem at all for me… of course if I was going back to BKC/CWC/FWC I might be pushing it for table requirements. And if I ever suffered the kind of head trauma that would make me think that skirmishing with 20mm figures would be fun some of the vehicles would be on bases that are just way too huge… of course… if I suffered that kind of head trauma I probably wouldn’t mind re-basing the whole shebang all over again anyway…

I did a few samples of each size for comparison and just to see what they look like….

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

From left to right; 50mm frontage (current), 60mm frontage, 80mm frontage.

60mm Froantage with 4 (SS on the left) or 3 (paras on the right) figure. I think if I went with the 60mm base widths I'd stick with 3 figures per base...

French Somua tank on 80mm (left) and 60mm (right) frontages. A lot of the WW2 tanks would fit on a 80mm square base – much reducing the number of units on bases deeper than they are wide.

British 6pdr on 60mm (left) and 80mm (right) frontages. On the 60mm frontage the base is deeper than it is wide and I think the barrel STILL pokes out a bit. On the bigger base there is no barrel overhang – a consideration for storage stands that have overhanging barrels (or any overhanging parts) are harder to fit into storage together and more likely to be damaged… I suppose it’s also an issue on the tabletop when trying to line up stuff.

The down side of the 80mm frontage here is it looks HUGE – the small gun and tean seem a little lost in the base… now this could be rectified with a bit more clever modeling – making these bases into mini dioramas. Perhaps some ammo boxes and extra crew could be added (of course that would require buying or manufacturing said sundry items… but..

German Pak 43/41 AT gun and crew on a 60mm frontage (left) and the British 6 pdr on the 80mm frontage (right). Even on an 80mm base I think the Pak 43/41 would still have some barrel overhand… unless I went with a REALLY deep base.

Jadgpanthers on 80mm (left) and 60mm (right) frontages. I think this is the largest of the WW2 tanks that I have in my arsenal currently.

Same Jadgpanthers with others for comparison – on the left are Jagdpanther and Somua on 80mm frontages and on the right are a jadgpanther and a british 6pdr AT gun on 60mm frontages. The Jadgpanther on the 80mm frontage is on a base that’s only 1.5x base width deep, whereas the Jadgpanther on the 60mm wide base is over 2x the base width deep.

Tanks supporting infantry. The 80mm frontage units (on the left) end up being only 2x the base width total depth. The 60mm frontage units end up being almost 3x the base width.

On to the Moderns…

These are Cold War Canadians, form left to right; 50mm frontage (current), 60mm frontage, 80mm frontage.

It’s in the modern stuff that the difference in base sizes between infantry and vehicles is most pronounced – for me at least. In the above example neither looks terribly wonky, though I’m preferring the 80mm (on the right) – it just looks a little closer to the right amount of stuff to have de-bussed from the APC. Below however…

With bigger APCs/IFVs this difference is definitely more pronounced. When I was playing
I said stands of Infantry were HALF platoons. Where the vehicles represented FULL platoons… of course if you lit up one IFV and the two half platoons were knocked out with it... that was a sizable chunk of your unit lost in one shot...

Same issues with the Canadians mounted in Grizzlies.

These are the largest of the Cold War tanks I have to deal with Russian T-72 (left) and American M1 Abrams (right).. they are on their current bases which are actually 63mm frontages (2.5 inches) – again they seem really deep – even if I move up a scale in gaming (where stands are companies or battalions)

On the left are 80mm wide bases (with an M113 and a blank one), on the right are ~60mm wide bases. With the 60mm wide bases the tank unit takes up almost twice the area of the mechanized unit… Where as the tank unit on the 80mm wide base would take up only 1.5x the area of the mechanized unit mounted up – and would be the same size as the mechanized unit once the infantry debussed (should have taken a picture of THAT!)

For the Russians I think both BMPs and T-72s would end up on the same 80x120(?)mm bases…

Another consideration… the future war stuff… The super heavy grav-tanks would just not fit on a 60mm front base… I could do the future war stuff on a different sized bases than the other stuff – but then I wouldn’t be able to use them together… and I WOULD like to be able to use them together, because the modern (and even WW2) stuff could be used with Future war units as troops from planets with lower tech levels… I even mix up ww2 stuff with modern stuff in brushfire conflicts where one side might be using obsolete WW2 vintage surplus while another is supplied by the latest their super-power supplier has to offer…

More of the Future War stuff and modern stuff that has already been re-based to 80mm wide bases.

One last shot – an M577 command post on it’s current base (63mm wide) on top of a 80mm wide base – the extra room could give me space to add some officer looking types looking though binoculars to make for a slightly more interesting looking general/command stand for my army…

Well just in putting this post together I think I’ve pretty much convinced myself to go with the 80mm wide frontages… What I should have done is done a couple infantry stands with 4 and a couple with 5… that’s pretty much the only question remaining – how many infantry to put on the base…?

I know, I know... I wouldn't even have to worry about this if I only did micro armour... don't even suggest it I'm not going to switch to a different scale.... but not that I've mentioned it... I DO have some Future War microarmour (battle tech and GW Epic stuff, etc) that I'm going to have to reconsider the bases for - they are all sorts of different sizes... I even thought about doing bigger bases for them (perhaps 60mm fronts) and putting multiple vehicles on a base - at lest for the smaller vehicles...


  1. If you put some command figures on the larger based M577, I have a suggestion. If you have four figures pointing, you might mount them to the base all pointing in a different direction. Then you can call the stand "Four Lieutenants Pointing North".

  2. Lovely post, completely blown away by your ability and range of interests


  3. Altough you have convinced yourself I find 80mm to be VERY big.

    On another not how do you base your Hott stuff Tim ?

    Inf 60x40 2rows of 3
    Cav 60x40 1 row of 3
    Light Horse 1 row 0f 2
    Rest ??

    Hope to hear

  4. 80mm is big... but it is necessary for the WW2/Modern/Future Wars stuff - as some of the latter have very big tanks that just won't fit on 60mm. the 80mm also gives me some room to put a fair number of 20mm guys on it - yet dispersed enough to look... well... at least a LITTLE dispersed... as most modern armies are.

    HOTT armies... well... that depends...

    SOME infantry are 60x40 with two rows of three.. others are 60x40 with two rows of four (if they're a type of unit that fights in close order and I can cram them on!) it fluctuates depending on the troop type and the size of the figures...

    I don't have time to do a comprehensive list right this minute - I'll try and sum up my "system" a bit later...

  5. Okay my DBA/HOTT basing goes something like this:

    Foot is mostly on 40mm deep bases, but some are on 60mm deep bases. generally use 1.5-2x as many troops as would normally be on there.

    So Spear, Blade, Pike, and some Bow and warband (which would normally have 4) have 6-8 figures.

    Auxilia, Warband, other Bow and Warband, which would normally have 3 figures, I use 4... sometimes 5.

    Psiloi - 3 per base.

    The only foot I do on 60mm deep bases are hordes and some warband. The warband that I am doing with 6+ figures are put on a 60mm deep base - usually orcs.

    Mounted are mostly on 60mm deep bases. There are a few I had originally put on 50mm deep bases, but I'm phasing those out in favour of consistency - and will eventually be re-basing the one still currently on the 50mm bases. I usually go with what they are supposed to have 3 knights, 3 cavalry, 2 Light horse. for forces that are strictly Fantasy I tried to do 3 for knights, 2 for Riders... but that didn't work so well (because a few of the GW figures I tried to use as knights were just so damn big...)

    So that's a simplified explanation of how I base stuff for DBA/HOTT. I generally TRY to be somewhat consistent... but there's always exceptions...

    Hope that helps...?

  6. Tim,

    This (the comprehensive HOTT/DBA basing compendium) was very helpful.

    Thanks for your time.