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"Spanish American War 1/2400 ships - basing?" Topic

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Col Durnford Supporting Member of TMP05 Jul 2020 2:58 p.m. PST

Next question on my new Spanish American War ships in 1/2400.

Do you base your ships or leave them baseless?

dragon6 Supporting Member of TMP05 Jul 2020 4:47 p.m. PST

I don't base my model ships but it's a personal thing. If I did I would go with a clear plastic base and be sure to use a mat coating to kill glare

Col Durnford Supporting Member of TMP05 Jul 2020 7:00 p.m. PST

I'm leaning towards not basing. Since most naval games use some type on roster, how do you identify individual ships?

Personal logo McKinstry Supporting Member of TMP Fezian05 Jul 2020 8:05 p.m. PST

I base mine with a name tape embedded with white letters on blue to blend as best as I can.

Personal logo War Artisan Sponsoring Member of TMP05 Jul 2020 9:36 p.m. PST

Since most naval games use some type on roster, how do you identify individual ships?

Well, they look different. At least the different classes do. Individuals within a class can have subtle differentiations like funnel bands, even if they don't match the actual, historical ones . . . white or black, wider or thinner. There isn't much really reliable information on what distinctions individual ships carried at any given time anyway.

I don't base my 1:2400 miniatures, Russo-Japanese, Spanish-American or WWI. It's not that hard to make some kind of diagram or note on the roster indicating which miniature represents which individual ship. In miniature gaming, aesthetics is important and I have rarely seen basing that doesn't interfere severely with the aesthetics.

hindsTMP Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2020 6:16 a.m. PST

I don't base ships for visual reasons, as otherwise it looks like a bunch of rectangles scattered over a table.

To identify individual ships, I try to paint them differently. The main way is to paint a particular minor detail differently, corresponding to the order in which the ships appear in my reference books. So for the British WWI Lion, Princess Royal, and Queen Mary, I paint a particular lifeboat cover blue from left to right, in that order. As a backup, I also write the ship's name on the bottom in pencil (so it can be erased if necessary).


daveshoe06 Jul 2020 11:52 a.m. PST

I base my ships for a couple reasons. 1) it makes measuring movement and turning easier for players, 2) it gives players something to grab onto instead of the models (which can be important for more detailed models or if you have clumsy players).

There are some other reasons too; bases can be magnetized for better storage/transportation and it can give you a place to put the name or other identification mark.

Here is an example of some basing I have done for Spanish – American War timeframe ships.


I have been moving toward clear bases, which look like this


Bases have their utility, just as in land wargames, but they can distract from the visual appeal. I would suggest trying out some bases and if you don't like how they look on your table, then take the ships off the bases.


gamershs06 Jul 2020 1:46 p.m. PST

I am basing my ships now ( did not do it in the past). As the ships are used unbased ships start to get ware/damage from being handled. Also, for my Houston ships I have drilled and put in secondary (use wire) guns that will penetrate fingers if not careful.

On my latest ships I put flags on the ships and for the older ships I put flags on the base. I am putting the name of ship and class of ship on the bottom of the base with the nation color coded on the label.

After the first couple hundred ships I am not as worried if the blue of the base is different from the blue of the felt they are on. Not sure but I have over 1500 ships in 1/1000, 1/1200 and 1/1250 scale.

Buckeye AKA Darryl06 Jul 2020 4:09 p.m. PST

Clear bases with ship names. Here are some bases I had Warbases make for me. I also have customs ones for the Battle of Elli, and for the Battle of Lake Erie. I still need to get some for my Spanish-American War ships.


Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP07 Jul 2020 3:34 p.m. PST

Daveshoe and the other PNW guys make me wish I lived in the Seattle area. So many nice fleets to play with! *thumbsup*

I based all my 1/6000 ships. I didn't consider them usable without bases, and I didn't even consider it possible to remove the DDs from their cast-on bases until hindsTMP showed it could be done(!). I got around the "field of rectangles" problem by carefully color-matching the bases to the seascape I was using, and using a dark ocean color. The ships are all lightened several shades for 'scale effect', and they stand out nicely on a dark ocean.

I've used all my other naval miniatures down to 1/2400 scale unbased. I have always preferred the aesthetics of ships resting directly on the sea surface, though I do get complaints (some from my own mouth) about managing fiddly swarms of tiny 1/2400 DDs and other "large" small craft (minesweepers, minelayers, gunboats, large torpedo boats, etc.). Bases make the miniatures easier to handle, but I just don't like seeing them on vessels more than a couple inches long.

I've begun to reverse directions for some applications, such as the 1/1200 ironclad-era ships (1860-1890ish). 3D printing has started a shift of my collection from metal to plastic ships, and plastic ships are more fragile and prone to shifting from drafts or bumps to the table; bases help with strength and stability. Lone vessels that are only 1"-2" long and not very tall (like a 1/1200 ironclad) are rather fiddly to move and measure, and bases help with that. I am leaning toward clear acrylic bases (to help view shallows and reefs in the way), but would really like the magnetism of steel bases; I haven't made a final decision yet.

I still intend to recreate the pre-dreadnought fleets of Russia, Japan, France and the UK in 1/2400, but despite the fact that they are all about the same size as 1/1200 ironclads, I have no intention of basing any of them. Most of the Spanish-American war vessels in 1/2400 would be about the same size, so the same principle would apply if (when?) I collect them. Part of the difference for me is speed and shooting ranges small models feel much more frustrating to deal with if they only move or shoot a few inches, but by the mid-1890s the ranges are measured in feet on the table and the ships are moving a half a foot or more per turn.

- Ix

wtjcom07 Jul 2020 10:24 p.m. PST

I like basing because it allows a good representation of ship's wake. The photo below is 1/3000 scale but I've done the same thing at 1/2400 scale and will be trying it out on some 1/1800 scale models. But this is admittedly not to improve handling, as the base is thin to keep the sea surface as flush as possible with the surrounding table… it's just for looks.

The sea detailing was done with Vallejo plastic putty using a rounded chisel tip orangewood stick. First paint layer was dark sea blue, followed by white waterline and a lightly dry brushed wake. Then a hefty layer of clear gloss, followed by a second light layer of white, but not dry brushed. That was followed by thinned white "tracks" in places to recreate thin foam. I should try making torpedo markers like this!


EJNashIII31 Jul 2020 7:27 p.m. PST

wtjcom, what material is your base made of?

Murvihill01 Aug 2020 8:58 a.m. PST

I don't base mine but if you choose to I'd suggest making the front a wedge and paint the bow wake along the leading edge. The eye is drawn to regular shapes like rectangles but the bow wake is supposed to be there anyway.

wtjcom07 Aug 2020 11:23 a.m. PST

EJNashIII: For the 1/3000 ships I used .020" styrene.

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