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"Unit labels for Napoleonic troops" Topic

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1,103 hits since 25 Jan 2018
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jfishm198125 Jan 2018 8:16 a.m. PST

Hey all,

I'm running a fairly large Napoleonic game (based on Borodino) at an upcoming school event. There will be, at a minimum, 150 units per side. I've never been a big fan of unit labels, but given the nature of this particular game, it might be a necessity in order to keep everything organized.

So, I'm looking for ideas and inspiration- how do you all handle unit labels? What kind of information do you put on yours? Since I'm loosely using the Borodino OOB, I was thinking of doing something simple like:

Line/4th/II Inf.Corps

Since the basic command is a division, I figure the students need to know which units are in the command and which corps commander they belong to.

I'm def curious to hear some opinions!


Personal logo Mserafin Supporting Member of TMP25 Jan 2018 8:48 a.m. PST

I've always found using labels in different colors works well. So all the units of the 1st division have white labels, 2nd are red, 3rd blue, etc. This makes it real easy for players to keep track of which units are theirs ("mine are the green ones"). Especially useful with novice players.

Mick the Metalsmith Inactive Member25 Jan 2018 9:06 a.m. PST

I use to think them a visualpain but now I paint icons,small letter and numeral codes,in colours on the base border. Stops all the underside of base examination requirements with the potential butterfinger droppings that produced even worse visual eyesores of broken lances, flags, swords and bayonets.

T Corret Supporting Member of TMP25 Jan 2018 9:34 a.m. PST

I used a three color scheme on the back of the bases, each color separated by a painted black line, of division/brigade/regiment. A roster of units is easily marked with a set of markers to match. Even the 1/16 inch basswood bases I use are easy to spot on a good size table.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP25 Jan 2018 9:37 a.m. PST

Keep it simple. I'm working on labels for Leipzig. Each nation gets a color (France = Blue, Russia = Green etc.). Each force gets a color coded dot (I'm going to use small stickers about 1/8" across). Then simply number the units 1,2,3….

HappyHussar Supporting Member of TMP25 Jan 2018 9:59 a.m. PST

The colors will mean more to them than the unit designation. They wont relate to "Gudin's 3rd Brigade" like they will "The big Blue brigade."

torokchar Supporting Member of TMP25 Jan 2018 11:46 a.m. PST

I label all of my figures – 15mm and 28mm. I like the look and they are easy to distinguish on the tabletop.

Here are some examples of 28mm stands and labels:



I attach a balsa "triangle" piece to the back of the stand so it gives a 45 degree angle – that way you can stand over the units and still read the label.

Here are some 15mm examples – with these I have to sand the back of the stand to get the 45 degree angle:


I also color code for national colors.

14Bore25 Jan 2018 12:08 p.m. PST

Color codes by division should work work out

Personal logo T Callahan Supporting Member of TMP25 Jan 2018 1:12 p.m. PST

My stands are 1 inch square. On the back side a 1" long x 1/4" label has the following information.
National Flag Division symbol, morale grade, special information.

National flag graphic ie: French
Division symbol: square, circle, diamond etc in the color of the corps
Morale grade: A, B, C, etc.
Special Information: a graphic denoting lance/Ulan, Horse artillery heavy Cavalry.

Using symbols saves space and transmits the information quickly when looking for a stray unit or counting units on the battlefield.



Cathusac1 Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member25 Jan 2018 1:13 p.m. PST

I am between designs, and pfaffing about somewhat, but I did have colours by Brigade within a Corps, in the same "family" of shades by Division. That way one isn't just messing about with the bottoms of the bases. Of course I didn't hook them up to the order of battle sheet, and when I tried it looked appalling. So I'm almost back to square one, especially with an entire army nearly: in shako-covers that are meant to be black as troop identifiers. Well maybe I should give the shako covers a brigade ID patch. I'm thinking aloud as I'm typing. Thank you for making me contemplate my own road block and I hope I have contributed an idea for you. Find some common feature across all your troops and assign a similar scheme in each force. I think I went through up to 7 pairs or trios of colours (some Coalition Corps are utterly horrendous to do Austrians, say by Brigade or by Regiment you're doomed either way best to have best of both worlds.

TMPWargamerabbit25 Jan 2018 1:27 p.m. PST

Labeling bases is a great idea… until the photos clearly show the label and not the miniatures. I prefer a system of small color coding on the rear base edge.

Green 1st Btn
Lt Blue 2nd Btn.
Yellow 3rd Btn
Purple 4th Btn
Orange 5th Btn.

Add a unit code lettering (regiment name reduced to one or two letters) or number, painted in white.

Should add our group plays with 28mm miniatures and based as single or double basing.

Gonsalvo25 Jan 2018 6:45 p.m. PST


You might want to talk to our own Tim Couper. I'm sure you've seen the style of adhesive labels he uses for temporary ID – green and subtly color coded.

Certainly only the command stand of each unit really needs a label.

When Barry and I ran our own Borodino game, we made color coded (By Corps/Division) cards for each command, with necessarily labeling the units of each Division. I can send you the files for that if you like. .. I am pretty sure i still have them.


davbenbak Supporting Member of TMP26 Jan 2018 5:36 a.m. PST

Since I use the Carnage & Glory II computer moderated system fairly often, most of my units are labeled. Each unit and leader gets a number. The labels are color coded for nationality and I try to add some unit number distinction. Each player gets a sheet listing all the units in their command, their strength and morale. Of course the labels are meant to be easily identifiable so may not be esthetically what you are looking for.

BattleSausage Inactive Member13 Feb 2018 3:33 p.m. PST

Torokchar those labels look really awesome! Do you have any 28mm minis with labels to share?

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP14 Feb 2018 4:18 a.m. PST

I have to say I think those labels look awful. They're the only thing I notice, the bases look to be thickened to allow them to be readable, and hence they entirely undermine the very high quality of the paint job. It's as though someone had put a postcard into a frame 12" wide.

Playing games with those must make battles look like Napoleon: Total War running on a PC with a really poor frame rate. I'm getting a headache looking at them.

evilgong Supporting Member of TMP14 Feb 2018 4:58 p.m. PST

Put a bar-code or QR code on / under the figs and use one the the free software packages to download a reader onto your phone.

No idea if the bar-code could be linked to a database to show troop info and present troop state as updated during battle.


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