Wednesday, 21 October 2020

AWI still in the long grass

I had a bit of an experiment with some card, MDF bases and part-painted British infantry. I tried various permutations of 15mm, 20mm and 30mm bases with the little Lobsterbacks arranged in different numbers. I'm not sure I'm much further forward to be honest, but maybe laying it out in a post would help me crystallise my thoughts.


20mm sq bases with 3 figures placed with alternately 1 up front, 2 behind and 2 up front, 1 behind. Suitably 'loose' but probably a bit fiddly getting them in the right order. Frontage represents 20 yards at 1mm to the yard - enough space for a company of c. 35 men in 2 ranks at c 40 inches per file.


20mm bases with 2 figures. OK spacing wise but units of 8 companies (16 figures) would be a bit small for my liking.

20mm bases with 3 figures in a single line. This looks too much like close order. Suitable for Hessians and other 'mercenaries' ;-) 


20mm bases with 2 ranks of 2.

As above. 8 line companies worth to give an idea of how a battalion would look.

15mm sq bases. Rear: 2 per base; looks OK but looks too small for a unit. Front: 3 per base; seems crowded.

As above but the bases with 2 figures doubled-up/a 15x30mm base. At 15 yards wide this is possibly a bit too narrow for a company.



30mm sq bases with 2 by 2 and 2 ranks of 3. 2 ranks of 3 looks nicely spaced. Maybe a bit wide at 30 yards.

Can I draw any tentative conclusions? Well I need to if I'm to move this thing forward. I know some people might think, 'why the bloody hell is he overthinking this?', but it's just the way I am. Maybe I can't let go of that old charade of making it 'scientific and historically accurate' to prove it's not just playing with toy soldiers.

OK. Size-wise, bases 20mm wide (20 yards) seem the most appropriate. I can get 2 ranks of 2 on without them looking too crowded, but just a bit. That would give me battalions (with flank companies detached) of 32. I can also fit 2 ranks of 3 on them for the close order troops. It's only just occurred to me to try 25mm wide bases. That would also make them easier to pick up safely. Alternatively I could try 20mm wide by 30mm deep which would also help with horses. So maybe I have moved forward a bit.

One thing that is clear is that I need to lighten the colours on the little chaps.

20 comments:

  1. If you are not gearing your basing to a commercial set of rules, the final choice is yours. I enjoy seeing two ranks of figures on a base but that is my preference only.

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    1. I agree about 2 ranks. One of the benefits of commercial sets is that they DO specify base sizes. 😆

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  2. It is good to have worked out the basing as there is nothing as frustrating as rebasing.

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    1. Perhaps I ought to have a game first on card cutouts before I fully commit.

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  3. I would go with the first option, three per base, alternating between two up one back and one up two back - that's how I base a lot of my 28mm figures - bases normally 30mm w by 40mm d...I think its a good look personally!

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    1. It does look good like that. I might organise a play-off!

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  4. I've found 25mm square bases work best for my 10mm figures, giving enough space should you so want it and making it very easy to pick up each unit. This size works across all the rulesets I use, which is a big bonus. Personally I don't worry about the frontage issue as that's usually factored into the rules.

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    1. That's a good plan. I usually base 6mm and 10mm on multiples of 30mm with space around the edges. I'll give 25mm a go.

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  5. All this thought and reflection will lead out of the long grass. I can see you are at the end of the beginning. How are you intending to lighten the chaps btw?

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    1. I'll probably use white on the legs (I painted them grey), a light scarlet for the jackets and grey for the hats. Just a light brush in each case. Maybe make some of the hats 'straw'.

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  6. Good on you not to rush into something, I reckon. Taking the time to sort out what is best for you will be well worth it in the long run.
    For what it's worth, I really like the three to a base, staggered arrangement as the units have more 'bulk'.
    Regards, James

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    1. Do you think it looks better than 4 to a base? I’m in two minds.

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    2. I do, yes. I think it is 'cause I prefer the staggered effect. If you prefer two, distinct firing lines, then the four is better for sure.
      Kind regards, James

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  7. The best part about magnetic single-basing is not having to worry about these sort of decisions. You can change it on the fly ...

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    1. That is a good thought. It hadn’t occurred to me. What do you use for the base that the figures stand on?

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  8. That first pic with 3 to a base looks good, I like the '2+1' arrangements, just slightly 'irregular' enough to reflect the 'Loose Files and American Scramble' feel. ( The 20mm base with 4 figures looks OK too. )
    I guess the thing is decide what you want to represeent: one base per company seems appropriate and you can then (a) decide how many figures to represent that and just make bases to fit them, or (b) the other way around, work out the base size for the area they would cover, and fit however many figures look good! I made all sorts of notes for Pike and Shot along the same lines, 'cos I wanted to have nice deep blocks appropariate to the period. I'm sure most rules can usually be fudged to fit your base sizes!

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    1. You’re absolutely right. The rules can be fudged - in fact they invite that because there is no recommended base size, just 3 figures per company.

      You’re also right on the other aspect, in that the starting point could be ‘what do I want it to look like?’ Then build around that. There is a space constraint I have to bear in mind. Whilst AWI battles were small, they usually took up a relatively large area. So 1mm to the yard is about right for my table.

      Besides. 1mm per yard is a time-honoured tradition. Some things have hot to be held sacrosanct in this endlessly flexible hobby of ours 😄.

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  9. Gentlemen, thank you all for your really useful and insightful comments. This has been a valuable exercise for me.

    I will crack on with a final shortlist of options and make a decision. I currently have enough for a battalion each of British line, British lights, Continentals and Rebel militia. Maybe a trial game soon even if they’re not painted.

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  10. I like the 20mm square with 3, good to get it right as I'm currently in the middle of rebasing my Covenanter army, it's no fun! Figures look great by the way!
    Best Iain

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    1. The Pendrakens are great little models. A bit chunky perhaps, but easily the best I've seen in that scale.

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