Thursday, August 31, 2017

Basing Conundrums





British 8th (King's) Regiment
8th (King's) Regiment shown with GMB Designs Flags.

NOTE: click or double click on all pictures to enlarge the view.

Like searching for the perfect set of game rules, so too is it impossible to come up with the perfect way of basing your troops. I am sure that we all want to tinker with our basing system from time to time, and horror of horrors, once in awhile this leads to the decision to rebase a whole existing army.

I finished a 32-figure unit of British SYW figures, painted as the 8th (King's) Regiment of Foot. This has caused me to rethink how I want to base my figures going forward. I like the look of the figures packed in closer together in the proposed new basing system for 32-figure battalions, taking up a frontage of eleven inches. My existing basing system has 30-figure battalions with a frontage of twelve inches.

Please inspect the pictures below that compare the old system with the proposed new system.


My current basing system places six figures on a 60mm wide base.
The complete battalion has a frontage of about 12-inches.




A proposed basing system has a frontage of about 11-inches for 32 figures.

The proposed system (top) has 32 figures with a frontage of 11-inches, compared to the existing system that has  a 12-inch frontage. So the smaller frontage of the proposed system actually holds two more figures than the existing system.

I like the basing for the Highlander battalion and so when I decided to paint another British regiment, I went for the 32-figure arrangement. I would like to use this system for all of my infantry going forward. I like the shoulder-to-shoulder look of the 32-figure units. Perhaps my favorite thing about the new system is that there is room on the end bases to place 9 figures, rather than 8, on the base and have the ninth figure being a drummer that I can place out on the flank of the battalion, where it would have been historically.


I would take the time to rebase all of my Prussian infantry battalions (7 of them) and Austrian battalions (8 of them) but for one little problem: I used Super Glue to attach the metal bases of the figures to an MDF wooden base, and as God is my witness, I cannot remove the figures from the old base. I have tried prying the figures off with a wedge shaped Exacto blade; I have tried putting the base in the freezer to help break down the glue. This trick normally works, but not on the test figures that I used.

So rather than painting just two more new figures per regiment and rebasing, the inability to remove the figures from the old bases means that  I would have to repaint and rebase 15 battalions (30 figures per battalion) or 450 new figures. Thus I would in effect be repainting both of my core SYW armies of Prussia and Austria and probably selling off all of the old figures. I don't know about that idea.

Another solution is to keep the old units based in the old manner, but paint any new units in the new format of 32-figures. I compared the frontages of the two basing systems and found that there is only a frontage difference of one-inch in the two system. So I could keep both old and new battalions because they have near-identical figures and frontages so as to be compatible on the game table.

I would like to hear your thoughts and comments on the basing conundrum, which you can post in the Comments section below.



25 comments:

  1. MUCH prefer the look of the new 11" basing system.. close order infantry should be .. errr.. "close" :o)

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  2. Have you thought about a chemical reaction? Google indicates acetone to remove from wood. You would need good ventilation and gloves.

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  3. prefer the closer look but not enough to go and rebase entire battalions. And on that thought - have you tried leaving the mdf base in water and then prising the figures off?

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  4. Jim, I too prefer the closer basing with 32-figure units but I doubt its worth rebasing all your old stuff. It'd drive you mad even if you could get them off their bases!

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  5. Close files look better to me but "as is" is pleasing too. Is it worth the effort? While I rarely affix figures to bases with super glue, I have been able to pry them off by wedging an Exacto knife between base and figure and applying torque. One reason to affix with white Elmer's since it is water soluble.

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  6. Rebasing is a soul-destroying exercise. My suggestion is to keep the old units based as-is, and move forward with new units using the new basing system. An inch isn't a big deal, and you can toss it up to the inherent lack of parade-ground frontages in actual combat. :-)

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    1. Or base a New Prussian regiment in the proposed method, but use white glue this time.

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  7. Personally I like the old basing system, mainly because the command figures are on the central base. Off set command figures just don't work for me.

    Re: removing superglue, soaking the bases in water should allow for easy removal of the figures.

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    1. I like the five bases system too for the reasons that you give.

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  8. I prefer close orders but as said above, rebasing is terrible!
    I have found with some msg bases you can slice a very thin layer off quite close to the figure. But for an army, prepare to lose the will to continue!

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    1. I'm equally fearful of losing some fingers in the process.😳

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  9. I like closer infantry, but I think 12" down to 11" is not worth the effort of re-basing.

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    1. I like re-basing... you end up with a "new" army... :o) Stand the old bases in water for a few hours.. put on a good video/audio book/Classic FM.. and away you go..

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  10. Not worth the effort.
    And I prefer the flags in the center too!

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  11. I would rebase and sell off the old figures to me..LOL. Seriously the new basing looks great and I would suggest the new basing for all future units and keep the old. I went down that road once and decided to keep my figures on individual bases.

    Pat L.

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  12. As someone who has rebased numerous times, I say don't do it. For the 18th century the closer formation looks better and I would suggest using that moving forward but leave the existing units as they are, the difference isn't great enough to be a problem on the wargames table.

    Willum

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  13. I awake in the night, bathed with sweat after having nightmares about re-basing. I admit, we all contemplate it but I have always regretted re-basing. Everytime I feel a bout of re-basing coming on, I think of that Quote from the great Phil Olley "No Need the think about basing, the decision has been made!" Thus I leave my basing as it was and plod on contented. I tend to agree with most of the Gents above. Leave the old as they are, base the new as desired.

    Very best regards from Germany
    Adrian Pickrell

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  14. Re-basing can be such a hard effort. But... you know you have to. The closer frontage is much better (in fact, I would go closer still!). Take one unit per week, and approach it like a painting task and it will be done in no time. I've found that, if you are prising figures off an MDF base, the base will slice off in layers using a sharp knife. Focus on taking "peeling" the base off the figures, from the bottom, if you see what I mean, rather than on getting the figures off the base. And be careful with those knife blades!! Good luck Jim.
    Phil

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  15. They look great. I would have to think very, very hard to rebase anything. I don't think the reward would be worth the effort.

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  16. The closer order bases look better as most others have said, though I wouldn't worry too much about the minor differences between previously based units and those-yet-to-come. I'd suggest, however, basing the drummers separately from everyone else, so you can place them in the different positions they would have occupied in real life depending on unit formation. Just my two pfennigs worth.

    Best Regards,

    Stokes

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    1. That's why I put on drummer on each end of the battalion and one on the command stand. I noticed that Phil Olley doesn't even put drummers in the battalion, but rather, makes a drummer vignette and places that behind the battalion. ( Phil, did you ever get those drummers from M.A. 😄 ).

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  17. rebasing is the way to go. Soak the old mdf bases in a shallow dish of water and they will become soft enough to pull or pry the figures off without damage. Any superglue and mdf still sticking to the metal base of the figure can easily be filed flat later.

    Flags in the center of the formation do look better, I agree, but Prussian, Hessian, Brunswick, Reichsarmee, and Austrian battalions kept their Leibfahne flags in the Leibkompanie, which deployed on the right flank, not in the center.

    Of course, when the battalion halts to open fire, flags, officers, and drummers deployed to the rear. It's old school to deploy drummers on the flanks, when in real life drummers stayed near the officer who wanted his orders transmitted.

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    1. According to Christopher Duffy, the drummers were grouped were deployed in a group of 9 drummers, on each flank of the battalion. He shows no drummers in the center of the battalion when the battalion was drawn up in battle formation. Seempage 118-119 diagram in "The Army of Frederick the Great."

      When in doubt, I always go with Duffy, hence my deployment of the drummers on each flank of the battalion in my proposed new basing scheme.

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  18. Like my bases all the same size, hence I would stick with the old method. I don't see much difference between the two. I learned a long time ago to only use Elemer's for basing. If the base is metal however, you usually pop the figure off with an Exacto blade, but not on wooden bases.

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  19. I firmly believe that rebasing is the work of the devil - DON'T DO IT!!! I have succumbed but wish I hadn't!

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