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"Why do you put bases on 1:1200 ships?" Topic

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John Tyson05 Mar 2018 2:09 p.m. PST

I am painting up a small fleet of six British and six French. As of this post, I have completed 8 ship (four each side) and working on a French 74.

Now to my question, why do you put bases on your ships? Mine seem to sit just fine without a base.

God bless,
John Tyson

JimDuncanUK05 Mar 2018 2:11 p.m. PST

Somewhere to put the ship name and any other relevant data.

The base also acts as a regular shape for measuring movement and firing.

Lucius05 Mar 2018 2:23 p.m. PST

I do it to protect the masts/rigging when moving them.

It makes them easier to store as well, unless you are putting rare earth magnets on the bottom of the ships.

rmaker05 Mar 2018 2:41 p.m. PST

So idiots don't grab the masts. If I could figure a way to put a bubble over the model, I would.

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP05 Mar 2018 3:09 p.m. PST

All the above reasons are good ones, and I'll add another: if the base is wide and long enough, sliding ships contact at the base first and can't tangle masts or bowsprits.

Of course, vessels I base use a magnetically receptive base and magnetized storage container so they don't slide at all during storage or transport.

- Ix

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP05 Mar 2018 3:14 p.m. PST

PS: I am also experimenting with ways to carry markers on the base (wreckage, boats, anchor cables, etc.) to indicate damage or status changes. I am convinced that an Age of Sail game can be managed without rosters using only aesthetically appropriate markers, but the markers need to come along for the ride every time the ship moves or the ship "heals" as they roll off and get left behind. Right now I'm leaning toward steel bases and magnetic markers, but I am open to flashes of inspiration.

- Ix

John Tyson05 Mar 2018 3:21 p.m. PST

To protect the masts and rigging? I used 24-guage black jewelry wire and superglue for all my standing rigging. The masts and rigging are extremely stiff for handling. Did I do something wrong?

Here are photos of my 8 ships finished to date. Not near the standards I see from others.

Click on pics to enlarge please.

Please advise.

God bless,
John Tyson

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP05 Mar 2018 4:13 p.m. PST

So I don't pick the ship up by the sails/mast.

Lucius05 Mar 2018 4:37 p.m. PST

Any rigging strengthens the model. That's good.

But sooner or later, a tumped over ship will either have bent or uneven rigging and masts. Over time, your ships will simply be in better shape if you base then, than if you don't.

jowady05 Mar 2018 5:56 p.m. PST

If you figure that you don't need bases (and you seem fairly certain that you don't) then don't use them, simple as that.

attilathepun4705 Mar 2018 9:14 p.m. PST

I second Lucius' statement. You will find that you don't need bases--until you suddenly discover that you needed them after all.

Winston Smith05 Mar 2018 9:27 p.m. PST

If you travel to a gaming venue, you will suddenly grasp the need for basing them.
Heck, even if you just move them from a shelf to your gaming table.
Lead masts and superglue rigging are not all that strong.

John Tyson05 Mar 2018 9:37 p.m. PST

I seem to have antagonized. My apologies, that was certainly not my intent. Please forgive a foolish old man.

Thank you for your kind advice.

God bless,
John Tyson

advocate05 Mar 2018 11:12 p.m. PST

Nothing to forgive. The ships look really good and I understand why you're happy as they are.

Timmo uk06 Mar 2018 7:03 a.m. PST

If you base them it's much easier to work out where to measure from when moving them. A centre point on each long side is where I'd measure from.

You can alway base them on clear perspex. Litko have a 1.5mm clear base option. If you make it into a flying base you get a 3mm hole in the middle into which you can glue a neodymium magnet.

Stew art Supporting Member of TMP06 Mar 2018 9:52 a.m. PST

Hi John,

I think you'll be able to get away with no bases if you keep to the running rigging like you did. you also did use a really think wire, which adds more strength.

there's really no right or one way to do it.

though I do think a base will make them easier to transport.

you're ships came out looking pretty good though! you're getting them done faster than I am. : )


Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP06 Mar 2018 10:17 a.m. PST

Nobody is forcing you to base your ships, so don't do it if you're opposed. It looks like you made your ships extra tough so you wouldn't have to, and maybe you'll be just fine. FWIW, I am generally opposed to basing my ship models as well; I just prefer the look of ships sitting directly on the sea surface. However, rigged men-o-war have become one of my exceptions, for all the reasons listed above. Rigging is hard, but rewarding – re-rigging is just aggravating. Gaming is rough on the miniatures, and the lead sails on metal men-o-war make them especially easy to topple without a base to spread out the footprint.

Also, as Winston pointed out, superglue isn't as strong as one might think, and I'd add that over time it gets brittle. I have a lot of old superglued joints that are now giving way after yellowing in place for 20+ years.

One way to avoid gamers breaking or retensioning your rigging in fleet-scale domino actions is to not let them touch the miniatures at all. Have players plot the moves and then you, the owner, do all the movement. Here in the SF Bay Area, Steve Martinez has been running Napoleonic naval games that way for decades. This has the added advantages of double-checking everybody's move plots and adding consistency and precision to the ships' facing and move distances (esp. in critical situations like ramming, collisions, boarding actions, drifting, raking, etc.).

- Ix

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP06 Mar 2018 10:22 a.m. PST

I suppose one could also discourage handling of the ships' rigged bits by replacing spars and top yards with needles or pins. Cruel, but it seems to work pretty well for spears, pikes and lances…

- Ix

Andrew Walters06 Mar 2018 1:04 p.m. PST

Bases are for measure, and if they're magnetic they can help with storage.

Not having a base eliminates the line between the base and the ocean, improving he overall visuals, provided you have a nice sea-cloth.

For some people, though, the base is their way of ruining everything. They have fantastic models, great rigging and flags, a nice textured base, and then they stick an ugly white label on the base which you can barely read and which destroys the whole illusion. Ugh. Find a way to live without them or make them nice, please.

John Tyson06 Mar 2018 4:56 p.m. PST

I thank everyone for answering my question on why to use bases for my 1:1200 ships. I do believe I'm going to base my ships so as to write the name of the vessel on the stand, possibly to put on lines for firing arcs, and stability/protection.

Now, I'm going to talk about using wire for rigging. I'm aware it's hard on internet conversations to hear another's tone of voice and see their body language. Please, imagine you're sitting with me, a 71-year-old man, having a friendly beverage together. I'm just relating my experience and not trying to say I'm smarter, or more experienced, or more savvy than anyone else (I disabused myself of that notion many years ago). Certainly, I don't want to appear antagonistic.

I originally had some 1:2000 ships that I put together back in 1984 for use with "Wooden Ships & Iron Men." I didn't use hexes, but modified the WS&IM rules to use on a table without hexes, using eight points of the compass. Those 33 years ago, I used a small gauge wire for rigging my 1:2000 ships and it worked out marvelously. The wires provided sound structural strength to the masts. So, in 2018, I decided I'd try 1:1200 ships as my 1:2000 ships got hammered/smashed some years back in a move from Germany to the US, leaving only two ships remaining. I used a heavier gauge wire on my 1:1200 ships. I haven't gamed with my new ships yet, but the 24 gauge wire does provide solid structural strength to the masts. I do know how fragile lead and pewter can be. Pictured with my ships is a stand of 15mm French Napoleonic figures that I've had since 1982. Fortunately, the flag bearer is the original and all bayonets within this unit, "34 Line," are still intact. I can't say that for all my Napoleonic figures.

So here is my recommendation for your consideration. If you haven't used wire for rigging your little ships, think about using wire for your standing rigging and shrouds.
--Just my view from the main mast crosstrees.

Thank you again for helping me consider the use of bases for my 1:1200 ships.

Here are some pics of my frigates and 64's in both 1:2000 and 1:1200.

God bless,
John Tyson

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP07 Mar 2018 12:55 p.m. PST

I think wire rigging is a great idea, though I often find it a struggle to get/keep it straight, and I've had problems stopping the glint at the ends where I cut it. It would be nice if someone made a tinted CA glue. :-)

Do you replace the lower masts with wire too?

- Ix

Here in the SF Bay Area, Steve Martinez has been running Napoleonic naval games that way for decades.
Marthinsen, not Martinez. Jeez, what a stupid typo. I hope Steve doesn't see this. SMH.

John Tyson07 Mar 2018 1:27 p.m. PST

Yellow Admiral, I do not replace the lower masts with wire. I glue the masts on and let dry. Just before I start adding the wire, I bend and align the mast into shape because once the wires are on, there's no more bending and aligning. It's much too stiff. I've not had much problem keeping my wire straight. My problem is getting the wires cut to the correct length.

Scafcom1 Supporting Member of TMP07 Mar 2018 1:51 p.m. PST

Don't worry, Ix. I won't mention this thread to Steve at all.

Timmo uk08 Mar 2018 9:02 a.m. PST

I think your ships look great and your photography does them justice. I actually don't like textured painted sea bases as I think they can visually over power the ship model itself.

John Tyson28 Mar 2018 6:29 p.m. PST

Again, I do want to thank y'all for your advice. I chose to base my 1:1200 ships using clear acrylic bases. Took some photos of my small fleet. Six British vessels and six French. I have already found the advantage of having the bases, especially the stability and for use in measuring. Fought my first solo battle using the Post Captain rules with two French vessels verses three British. The French was victorious although extremely battered.

Anyway, here of some photos of my ship with their acrylic bases.

Thanks again for your advice. It was most helpful.

God bless,

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