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"Basing on 2 or 3 lines?" Topic

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mwindsorfw Supporting Member of TMP22 Jan 2018 6:52 p.m. PST

I've lost my mind, and may start building 6mm armies. I have heard that a few armies, notably the British, we're able to operate in 2 lines, while most other armies had to use 3 lines to achieve the same thing. So, should some armies be based in 2 lines, and others in 3 lines? FWIW my ACE figures are in two lines, and I'm happy with how they look.

coopman22 Jan 2018 7:42 p.m. PST

I like the look of 2 ranks of miniatures. I didn't do this until I started playing "Napoleon's Battles" and realized how much I liked it.

USAFpilot22 Jan 2018 7:58 p.m. PST

If you are making a diorama than 2 lines for British and 3 for the other nations. If you are playing a wargame than 1 line for all will do.

John Edmundson22 Jan 2018 9:33 p.m. PST

As per USAFpilot, if the rules don't mandate anything, it's about what you like the look of. Personally, I prefer one rank given that the depth is already overscale and each figure already represents 20, 30, whatever actual men in width so why would we have one represent only one in depth. The unit footprint should be as thin as possible and rules that require two rank formations work against that principle. It's only my opinion though, as the rules and basing giving the look and feel YOU want, and consistency with opponents if relevant, is what matters.


langobard Supporting Member of TMP23 Jan 2018 1:41 a.m. PST

What rules are you using?

I use Black Powder for smaller games (in 28mm) while I use Age of Eagles for multi corps games (using 10mm).

Both rule sets suggest 2 rank basing, but while I could use smaller bases for I use two ranks of Old Glory 10mm figs to give me 10 infantry per base instead of 4. I think it looks good.

Similarly, in Black Powder, any plastic infantry figures are based 6 figures to a base in two ranks as it looks better than 4 figures.

It's up to you and what you enjoy, but I certainly encourage you to do what looks good to you!

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP23 Jan 2018 3:01 a.m. PST

As one who has never thrown dice (other than short and disastrous foray into airborne and amphibious assault WWII) does strike me that if we are talking about 6mm figures, the two and three ranks must LOOK far better and authentic. Fully appreciate the huge depth of footprint for any "Thin Red Line" in 28mm but this must be the advantage of the smallest scales.

My money goes with Langobard's closing remark.

and yet you must be constrained by the rules and especially the practice of your intended opponents.

The challenge for you is to work out what the third line actually did. Fillers in for casualties? Reloaders for front ranks? Blazing away, at risk to their fellows ahead?
Surprisingly controversial ……….

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP23 Jan 2018 3:46 a.m. PST

Your call, but aesthetically there is much to be said for historical ranks for the Napoleonic Wars, especially in microscale.

Stoppage23 Jan 2018 4:48 a.m. PST

6mm – foot – two ranks with supernumary rank behind (sargeants, drummers, etc).

Put more supernumaries in for poor troops and the French. Better troops (British, etc) thinned-out to show they don't need mollycoddling.

Extra points for the commander on the right flank leading slightly.

or if you are modelling assault troops – put the supers out front leading

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP23 Jan 2018 5:19 a.m. PST

Yes, good point. Positioning is everything.

Grenadier Co to the right, Light Co to the left, King's Colour (The Union Flag) right of the Regtl colour (pretty coloured flag with small Union Flag), etc

unless British Guards but that is another day……..

Do let us know what results…. even better to see a few photos.

davbenbak Supporting Member of TMP23 Jan 2018 6:06 a.m. PST

I use square bases and put the British 2 deep and 4 wide, Continentals 3 deep and 3 wide and Austrian big battalions 3 deep and 4 wide. Gives me the look I want as well as more or less the correct figure count proportions. Should scale up or down depending on whatever figure scale you use.

As has been noted you can just about give up on getting any realistic depth when basing. Why worry about the infantry when you'll never get even close when basing cavalry or artillery figures. I am more concerned with aligning unit frontage with ground scale.

GarryWills23 Jan 2018 10:40 a.m. PST

I use 1 rank of 15mm figures. I think the most important thing is that you base them close together so that they look as if their elbows are touching. The modern fashion seems to be to base in open order.

As someone once said – the best decoration for a base is more figures.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP23 Jan 2018 11:09 a.m. PST

@ davbenbak

Agree, you just have to ignore depth. It's like hills. Hills in wargames are rarely more than twice the height of a figure, and yet we accept them as hills rather than the obstacle-golf course obstacles they appear to be.

evilgong Supporting Member of TMP23 Jan 2018 1:46 p.m. PST

I reckon the strength of 6mm is that you can have a mass of figs per unit, so go deep to suggest the multitudes of men.

I don't know if you need to go 3 deep for the 3-rank formations, that might depend on how wide you depict units.

Mike the Analyst23 Jan 2018 2:40 p.m. PST

Whilst this will be a matter of individual preference I have to say I find this debate strange as the focus is on the number of ranks while the number of files is always reduced from say 200 files for a 600 man battalion in order to fit to a 60 or 30mm base.

Yes we know some nations used 2 ranks, some 3 and on occasion the 2 ranks were doubled up to 4 but do we need to display this knowledge?

If the use of 2 or 3 ranks is used in the game to for example deal with losses or weakness in close combat then it is significant and using bases with 2 or 3 ranks makes sense.

John Edmundson23 Jan 2018 5:14 p.m. PST

Yes, but aesthetically I can see the advantage of 2 or 3 ranks when using 6mm figures (which I hadn't noticed in the OP). If the figures are being based on bases deep enough for 15mm or larger figures, then it's just an opportunity to reflect the multiple lines within the battalion.

The other question is, are the rules being used of a type that uses the battalion as the basic unit – if it's regiments or brigades, the distinction becomes less relevant again. As people have said, consistency with opponents' collections and personal preference are probably the most important issues.


streetgang6 Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member23 Jan 2018 9:34 p.m. PST

I base my Old Glory 10mm 5 man strips into 3 ranks for 15 figures per base. I group these into 6 base battalions, so 90 figures per. It's a really nice effect to see that many figures making up a battalion.

von Winterfeldt23 Jan 2018 11:47 p.m. PST

In case you use 1 in 1 scale – I would base in 3 ranks, otherwise in one rank, for me it is more important to represent the width of the unit – the depth is alays distorted, and yes basing the figures as close as possible togehter and use two or three lines of battle.

Glenn Pearce24 Jan 2018 10:21 a.m. PST

Hello mwindsorfw!

I would say that you have finally come to your senses. 6mm opens up an entirely new world of gaming. Once you get the itch it's almost impossible to stop.

In the early days (1970-2000) of 6mm some players did mount them in 2 or 3 rows/ranks depending on the country. Some still do, but most do not. Baccus6mm came up with a basing scheme that used a base size of 60mm x 30mm and they sell their infantry in packs of 96 figures which gives you 4 bases of 24 figures in two ranks (12 per). Today within the 6mm community it's called by some as "standard 6mm basing".
Since this base can look like a mini-diorama and save you an entire rank (12 figures) per base it has proven to be very popular. I have 50,000 figures based this way.

So drop over to the Baccus web site and have a look, there are tons of pictures.

Absolutely no need to change from the two rank look that you already enjoy.

Best regards,


Stoppage24 Jan 2018 11:43 a.m. PST


Today within the 6mm community it's called by some as "standard 6mm basing".

I'm looking out of the window and can see no 6mm community.

The last couple of times at the Joy of Six – approximating to a community of sorts – but really a bunch of gamers and enthusiasts enjoying themselves – no-one referred to your favourite base size as standard 6mm basing.

The only time you hear of communities in my house is on the telly – usually from some bleating politician or pleading lobbyists moaning about some special interest group requiring some tax-payer cash to ease their woes and make them go away.

Please do not suggest to new players/enthusiasts that there is a community and that your base size enjoys more support that it might actually have.

Ta, cheers.

Glenn Pearce24 Jan 2018 4:54 p.m. PST

Oh my Stoppage, sounds like you must have been staring at a brick wall outside of your window. It also sounds like you have been watching way too much telly. The world has moved on since you were last outside.

So let me update you. The "Joy of Six" is the showcase of the 6mm community. I honestly have no idea how you could have been there a couple of times and not realized that. You really didn't notice all the 6mm stuff, or the almost complete absence of other scales? How about the 6mm retailers, did you miss them as well? And you never even made the connection between 6mm and the name of the show?

Anyway next time your there please stop by and talk to Peter Berry the owner of Baccus and the shows producer. I'm sure he will be able to tell you that he has generally sold over 5,000 of those bases a year. A rough calculation of probably 20 years in business makes that 100,000 bases from only one retailer. Or better still just visit his website. The evidence that this is a very popular base with 6mm players is easy to find. If you want to look for it.

So, I'm sorry Stoppage, but I have to decline your request that I stop sharing my knowledge and experience with all the new players/enthusiasts who ask for it. And of course enlighten any other people who might have missed the boat by staring out a window too long or watching too much telly.

Best regards,


Stoppage25 Jan 2018 11:43 a.m. PST

Hi Glenn

Thanks for taking the time and trouble to post your riposte.

Re-reading my post I realise that the last sentence was a bit rude – sorry about that.

I always enjoy your knowledgeable and experience-laden posts about 6mm napoleonics in general – please, please, please keep doing those; the ones about the ONE BASE SIZE less so.

Please ignore my rant about the word 'commmunity', I realise that it has a more reasonable usage in North America than this side of the pond (it being more polemic here).

I appreciate that you are trying to create a welcoming environment for new players, however, a lot of players over here possess 6mm micro-armour and troops but wouldn't consider themselves part of a 6mm 'community'.

Anyhow you've provided some more information to back-up your claim – 5,000 bases in one year is many (though I note that your 50,0000 6mm figures divided by 24 per base gives about 2,083 bases just by yourself!). (NB A Baccus staffer told me that they reckoned on 200,000 strips in a year – approximately 1,0000,000 6mm figures!)


Glenn Pearce25 Jan 2018 5:30 p.m. PST

Hello Stoppage!

You are a true gentlemen. I likewise apologize for anything that I may have said that was out of line.

It's the same over here, some of the micro boys don't consider themselves 6mm. And yes North American English is very different from yours.

Yes indeed Baccus is the real catalyst of the Polemos basing system 60mm x 30mm, 60mm x 60mm and 30mm x 30mm. Year over year their sales increase and their customer base expands daily. I know there are a lot of people who don't like and would never use their system. But as far as I can tell the supporters seem to be more numerous than any other single base and are growing at a faster rate. The new players/enthusiasts seem to be playing a big part.

Although I have a large number of these bases a number of my friends around the world also have collections that exceed 10,000 figures that are based the same way. There are at least two clubs in the UK and mine here in Canada that don't even except 6mm into their club unless they are based this way. I'm also aware that a number of people buy their bases from other suppliers so the number of 100,000 is only a fraction of the actual number sold.

There are also some commercial painters who automatically use these bases to sell their figures. You can easily find some of them on ebay and other online sites. I rarely see other bases used and if so their generally someone's personal collection.

The rate of growth for this base is unlike any other base that I've ever seen in 6mm.

Before Baccus, 6mm was a splintered scale, just like the other scales. I would meet other 6mm players and we would spent hours and hours trying to figure out a common rule system to use so that our different basing styles could be compatible. Baccus changed all that. I can go on and on about the other benefits of this base, but I won't as I understand your not interested.

Anyway, nice talking to you and I look forward to hearing from you in the future.

Best regards,


Stoppage26 Jan 2018 6:12 a.m. PST


Sorry about the last few posts between Glenn and me – we've digressed from answering your actual question.

As posted earlier I prefer two lines of miniatures – I reckon they do a good job of depicting close-order troops in combat line – any more looks a little heavy and clumsy.

Some gamers like to space their miniatures out along the base – others like to bunch them up elbow-to-elbow.

Really the only way to be sure is to buy some and try them out on a variety of base-sizes (blu-tack is useful here).

For the record I use Heroics and Ros 5mm on cereal-packet cardboard bases. (Though I recently bought some metal-paper to try the sabot/movement-tray idea.)

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