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"Densely or loosely based figures?" Topic

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846 hits since 26 Apr 2020
©1994-2020 Bill Armintrout
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Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP26 Apr 2020 4:08 p.m. PST

Forget all the nonsense concerning "ground scale." This question is not about that topic.
Which do you find the most visually appealing? Your little army men mounted and packed in formation shoulder to shoulder --or -- Loosely based, separated and spread apart on the base?
Now, obviously I am not speaking here of skirmishing light infantry types.
I personally love to see my armies advancing across the field of battle shoulder to shoulder. Like the French in the movie "Waterloo."
What do you say ?

Russ Dunaway

Personal logo War Artisan Sponsoring Member of TMP26 Apr 2020 4:31 p.m. PST

For anything Horse-and-Musket, pack 'em in tight and fill the whole base, I say. Anything less just looks wrong.

PK Guy Brent26 Apr 2020 4:56 p.m. PST

I like my figures packed closely. It looks right to me. I'm not a proponent of individually based figures on round bases. That look just doesn't do anything for me.

I should add – the vast majority of my armies are Old Glory. Thanks Russ!

oldnorthstate26 Apr 2020 5:03 p.m. PST

Depends on the rules and period…skirmish by their very nature should be individually mounted…rules for larger scale battles do lend themselves to closely packed stands of figures.

Eumelus Supporting Member of TMP26 Apr 2020 5:20 p.m. PST

Russ, thank you for the opportunity to grouch! Personally, it does look wrong to me to see supposedly close-order troops advancing with lots of room between them. One sees this quite a bit, e.g. almost all the figures in "Black Powder" seem to use this basing (20mm per man for 28mm, I believe). Not only does it look queer to my eyes, but I wonder that so many wargamers are unconcerned with the resultant extension of their unit frontages. Surely, maneuver room on the flanks of the table is always at a premium?

Personal logo Doctor X Supporting Member of TMP26 Apr 2020 5:34 p.m. PST

ACW and earlier – tight pack.
Post ACW – looser.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP26 Apr 2020 6:51 p.m. PST

I agree with the consensus: troops who marched and fought in tight formations should be closely packed on the wargame table. But it's worth pointing out that it seems to be very hard if not impossible to pack to actual "close order" density with individually-mounted figures, and mostly I've seen it done by casting them in blocks. I accept a 28mm figure on a 20mm base multiple ranks deep as the best I can do and still remove loses, change formation and disperse as skirmishers when required.

USAFpilot26 Apr 2020 7:55 p.m. PST

Agree. Close looks better.

Chimpy Supporting Member of TMP26 Apr 2020 9:59 p.m. PST

Well I'm going to be the dissenting voice. To pick up on Roberts' second point, packed shoulder to shoulder is fine with static poses and anatomically correct figures. But to fit in today's "fatties" and/or active poses you will probably need to offset the figures. This is OK for a line that's about to fire but troops advancing are supposed to be in ranks and files. ie each man is behind the one in front.

And fitting 4 28mm figures on a 40mm x 40mm base is not easy either let alone on a 15mm frontage per figure.

Twilight Samurai26 Apr 2020 10:37 p.m. PST

I'm glad some one finally said it.

Today's figures are fat, fat, FAT!

Particularly the plastic ones.

Wolfshanza26 Apr 2020 11:01 p.m. PST

I individually base on 3/4 inch thin steel. Depending on big battle or skirmish, the figures are placed on magnetic bases. can have shoulder to shoulder or skirmish :)

Martin Rapier26 Apr 2020 11:58 p.m. PST

For close order periods I do them shoulder to shoulder, for open order periods I spread them out.

For element based rules, the number of figures on a base is largely irrelevant anyway, just go with what looks good.

tabletopwargamer27 Apr 2020 1:08 a.m. PST

Depends on what you're representing surely?

Sho Boki Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Apr 2020 1:09 a.m. PST

The only reason to base figures loosely is to show uniforms on rear ranks.
To show your paintwork.
But this must not be an excuse.

Redcurrant27 Apr 2020 2:25 a.m. PST

I have my 15/18mm Napoleonics based with 8 figures in 2 ranks on a 40 x 30 base. With 4 bases per battalion they look fine

Decebalus27 Apr 2020 3:51 a.m. PST

I can see the point, that marching units should be based shoulder to shoulder. But i like my miniatures in action poses. I am tired of these thousand of marching napoleonic soldiers. I want them shooting, attacking with bayonet, dying and crouching. And for that you need some room.

Sho Boki Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Apr 2020 4:30 a.m. PST

Room yes, but not between figures but on table, as you use 1:1 ratio. :-)

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP27 Apr 2020 5:03 a.m. PST

For battles, we should all fight for space we mostky never have enough of. So in close order, then close. They also look weird if based too wide when they should not, besides taking too much space. Then your horses should be close too, and one chap representing two ranks be the same front as two foot (of 3 ranks). Semi skirmishing close order cuirassier look strange.
If you need them loose, magnets can be your friends.

" action figs" are ok in a firing line, look odd as a 6th rank shooting the one in front in column.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP27 Apr 2020 7:00 a.m. PST

Got to thinking. My H&R formed infantry are 24 in two ranks on a 2"/50mm stand, and my Baccus and Adler are 24 in two ranks on a 60mm base, so I'm really about in the same place: a real soldier can stand in a 2' frontage, but miniatures seem to wind up nearer 3-4 scale feet. Or has someone managed to pack 25 H&R musketeers in a single 2" long line?

Stoppage27 Apr 2020 7:12 a.m. PST


Use pliers to trim the base sides to get them really close (if obsessed then file down the arms too to squash them in real tight.)

Stoppage27 Apr 2020 7:15 a.m. PST

I want to rebase my 5mm H&R thusly:

Front rank:
RHS: officer slightly out front
LHS: 4-6 soldiers, close order

Rear rank:
Centre: 3-5 soldiers between the gaps in the front. (*)

File closers:
RHS: drummer
LHS: Sergeant with musket/halberd or Feldwebel with cane/sword

(*) I don't like the 'doll-hair' look and want the view from the enemy side to look menacing.

Personal logo Narratio Supporting Member of TMP27 Apr 2020 7:29 a.m. PST

Dense pack, make a battalion LOOK like a battalion.

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Apr 2020 8:35 a.m. PST

For me anyway, we already must accept that a 12 or 24 figure unit "looks like a battalion?" The more you spread the figures the worse the effect becomes. The smaller the scale the more pronounced it becomes -- 8 or 12 man 6mm battalions just does not look like an "army" to me?
NOW, when I see groups of 24-36 man units advancing across the table I have enough of an imagination to think it looks like an "army?"

Russ Dunaway

Bede1900227 Apr 2020 11:07 a.m. PST

I like OG's 10mm strips. The only issue is the cast on flags ( for the Napoleonics at least) are not desirable.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP27 Apr 2020 11:25 a.m. PST

SYW, Napoleonics, ACW I like 'em boot to boot

For Medieval I use a looser formation

138SquadronRAF Supporting Member of TMP27 Apr 2020 1:19 p.m. PST

I do Horse and Musket pretty much exclusively. Pack them tight.

TodCreasey27 Apr 2020 5:31 p.m. PST

With you Russ nothing looks like a great table of 28s massed together. Napoleonics and Ancients are my faves

Sho Boki Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Apr 2020 9:49 p.m. PST

I accept 3 figure battalions and 2 figure cavalry regiments. With 6mm figs such tight packed battalion have 1cm front and it is possible to play normal battles with plenty of room for maneuvre and with right visual battlelook for high command eyes.

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP28 Apr 2020 12:27 p.m. PST

3 figure battalions in 6mm? I built 6mm armies armies years ago with 50 figures battalion's, 70 figure Austrian.
One battalion per base, each base was a mini diorama.
I used a heavily altered fire and fury.

Larry Gettysburg Soldiers28 Apr 2020 1:50 p.m. PST

Here ya go, Russ. I agree with you, for Horse & Musket shoulder to shoulder lines are a must!

26th North Carolina, entered Battle of Gettysburg with 840 men, largest regiment in the Army of N Va.

After Gettysburg Day 3, the 26th NC had 152 men left.

Armistead's Brigade:

Timmo uk28 Apr 2020 2:27 p.m. PST

I like them packed in the units look better on the table-top like that, in my view. My French Napoleonic are really tight real shoulder to shoulder. 18mm figures on 8mm frontage.

I like to ensure that the gaps between all figures are the same across the whole frontage of the unit.

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP28 Apr 2020 3:18 p.m. PST

Looks really great Larry !! I also like to make sure the gaps between troops are even -- gives a better look of orginazation and order.

Russ Dunaway

Stoppage28 Apr 2020 6:03 p.m. PST

A sepia-toned photo would make those look real. Fantastic!

Chimpy Supporting Member of TMP28 Apr 2020 9:44 p.m. PST

I like the look of your units Larry Gettysburg Soldiers.

However I would like to know what frontage those bases are. To me they look like 20mm per figure assuming that they are 25/28mm figures.

If they are 15mm figures then well done on an even better job.

Sho Boki Sponsoring Member of TMP29 Apr 2020 2:45 a.m. PST

I have nothing against big battalions with more than 3 figures.
Of course they look cool.

But for wargame it is good to have space for maneuvre. So depth of table must represent at least 8 km, 4km for both sides. More is better.

50 6mm figures in two ranks take appr. 9-10cm front, so 1km is appr. 1m on table.
It is hard to play on table with 8-10m depth and even more wide.

Also I am lazy and very slow, so I never will build up any army for wargame with this ratio. But with 3 figures per 600-men battalion (1:200) it becomes possible. All uniformes will be represented also. This is the lowest possible representation without losing the view. But of course more figures will look better.

Larry Gettysburg Soldiers29 Apr 2020 6:39 a.m. PST

The images above are 15/18mm figures on one-inch bases. The first two pics (26th NC) are Blue Moon, just my nod to Russ for past favors he has done for me.
The last pic is AB with a few Old Glory sprinkled in for variety.
The flags are Flag Dude.

von Schwartz29 Apr 2020 5:59 p.m. PST

Close order troops need to be just that…close order

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