Miniatures Talk

Basing question

Posted by Fireymonkeyboy on 12 Mar 2017, 16:34


Figured I'd come to 1/72 central for some info / advice.

I quite like 1/72 scale figures in general - there's some terrific sculpts, and the proportions are more human. I do struggle a little, however, in basing them. There's a couple of different issues here.

One is that I'd want to base them flexibly for gaming purposes (ideally in a way that would let me use them for different rules sets). This usually means putting them on smaller bases - which gives flexibility across rule sets. The problem with this is that 1/72 figures come in a range of different poses, few of which (other than the marching ones) are suitable for putting multiple figures on a smaller base. You can see some of my problem in an older blog post here: ... rt-of.html.

How do people handle this issue - bigger bases look good, but are inflexible, smaller bases are flexible, but you get overhang and things look odd. Any help appreciated.

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Posted by ToneTW on 13 Mar 2017, 20:04

I hear what you are saying FMB it is something I am asking myself for my Napoleonics and Samurai collections and you rightly point out it is a question of flexibility vs looks. I am leaning more towards the bigger base/looks camp.

Personally I prefer rules like Basic Impetus which doesn't deal with formation changes or assumes a unit commander is changing formation as they see fit. So I am trying to work out what looks good in relation to the amount of figures I have. so far I am thinking about going for 80mm width and sticking as many mini's on as possible to get a massed unit look. I started doing my Napoleonics on a 60mm square but I don't think the cavalry will look 'right' in my eyes. I also think less bases are easier to handle and put away, my ancients used to be individual figures and I got sick of getting them out as single models.

If you are doing opposing armies for the period as long as both are similar you can always tweak rules to suit your base unit sizes with a 'formation' counter or if bases need removed a casualty marker to show a base has been destroyed etc.

Something I find helpful is image searching other people's units for inspiration which has brought me to your blog a few times.

I'm still not sure what to do with the Samurai figures! I can't get my head around the 'look' of their armies.

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ToneTW  United Kingdom
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Posted by Edwardian on 14 Mar 2017, 12:38

If I could offer a 'newbie" view ...

For me it is the look of the thing, so I look to rules that are not prescriptive regarding basing and then base according to appearance.

One thing that has struck me is how fashion influences how units are presented. Once upon a time 'proper' wargames figures in 'proper' scales depicted mainly marching or advancing poses. This favoured very tightly packed columns; on looking through my copy of Charles Grant's book, it is very noticeable that there were a lot of figures very tightly packed into his battalions.

For years those using 'toy' figures from 'toy' scales had to throw out most of each packet in order to rank-up battalions. More recently, thanks to HaT and, now, Strelets, this is changing. So, I can rank-up figures a la Grant.

But, wait, what is this? Now the fashionable way to base Napoleonics seems to be almost open order, and with figures doing a variety of different things on a battalion base. I first noticed this with 28mm figures, but now it has spread to 1/72nd. So we have a figure standing smartly to attention, another in motion, on the march, a third standing to load his musket, a fourth firing his and a fifth charging the enemy, and so forth.

I am evidently old fashioned. I like battalions ranked up and all doing the same thing. That 'same thing' is preferably 'march-attack', but advancing or standing are also fine.

But, I do like to get a reasonable view of the figures, which becomes difficult if they are wedged too close to one another.

So I took to trial and error with compromise in view. I have found that, for me, the best impression of numbers, whilst still allowing a good look at the figures yet giving the impression of a compact and orderly body of men has been to base each figure centred on an area 16mm wide and 17mm deep. These are then mounted semi-permanently on 2-deep company bases, surrounded by a border that creates an added gap between the companies.

Having based a regiment in this way - - I am comfortable that the approach works for me, but, of course, it is a subjective choice.

So, really, I have ended up taking the opposite approach to the OP; I have decided on how many figures I want and the base dimensions are then dictated by the figure spacings I have adopted because I happen to think they look OK!

This is probably entirely the wrong way to go about things, and it is certainly not scientific, but I throw it into the mix for what it's worth!
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Edwardian  United Kingdom
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11 Feb 2017, 15:49

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