I am going through another of my bouts of indecision and so are having second and third thoughts about the most effective way to tackle the basing of my Del Prado collection.
Originally my plain was to replicate the style I used for the ACW collection which used the convention of 1” circular bases for foot figures, 1” by 2” pill shaped bases for mounted figures and artillery pieces were left unbased. In effect this would be using a single figure to represent a Command and Colours block.
I then leaned towards using a system based on that employed by Bob Cordery’s Portable Napoleonic Wargame which uses 2” by 1” bases for infantry with 3 figures and gun crew in 2s and 2” square bases with two cavalry figures or an artillery piece. Rifle armed infantry use a 1”.
My dilemma is simply whether or not I should be fitting the collection to the basing or the basing to the collection.
Given the variety of figures that are present in the collection it would appear that basing figures individually wold maximise the numbers I could use. This would be straight ‘1 block, 1 figure’ exchange which would certainly make translating Command and Colours scenarios onto the tabletop very straightforward.
I have hit a small snag going down the Portable Napoleonic Wargame route as, taking the figure mix I have available there are going to be a number of unusable figures due to unit sizes, in effect leftovers. I am not keen on mixing different poses of figures in the same rank especially when it is a single rather than deeper.
Another option that has appealed to me is to use a two figures base for infantry and cavalry and to use a '1 base, 1 block' system. This has a number of advantages. A standard 4 base infantry unit can be deployed in two ranks meaning that mixed figures can be given a purpose. For example the front rank kneeling firing and the rear rank standing. It also means that I can incorporate command figures, standard bearers, musicians etc. It means that I can maximise the variety of figures I can use from the collection and better still, as most of the cavalry are organised in multiples of 8 figures, all the units will have more of a tabletop presence.
The disadvantage of this method is connected to the base sizes themselves. The 2" x 1" base for infantry with 8 figures spread across 4 bases occupies an area of 4" by 2" which takes up a big chunk of a 4" Hex. the infantry also looks a little on the dispersed side. For cavalry it is even worse because a four base unit would be 4" x 4" which makes for some hex overhang - something I am keen to avoid. Using a 40mm frontage so that an infantry base is 40mm by 20mm or 80mm by 40mm when deployed in two ranks of two bases and the cavalry is 80mm by 80mm which looks a lot more compact within a hex. the 40mm frontage would appear to be the more attractive option should I decide to go down this road. Naturally it will also mean a complete reorganisation of the armies....
Decisions, decisions, decisions....
I have stepped back from my earlier decision in order to consider fully the options I have mentioned but as luck would have it I do not need to take any basing specific action just yet. The great 'unbasing' continues with both the Highanders and the Guards currently in soak and I am half way through cleaning up the Prussian cavalry so progress is definitely being made.