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Saturday, 27 May 2023


 How many times over the years have you rebased your collection - or at least parts of it. It is a right faff for sure, so I try to avoid it where I can. As I don't do competitions this is usually not a problem.

However in recent months I have come to wonder about the way certain rules and 'games' now portray the units for their given period and how the 20mm frontage for most infantry and 25mm for many cavalry has evolved, and is it the best way?.

What started this train of thought was looking at some assorted 28mm Napoleonic models of various nations all on 20mm frontage bases and also quite a few of the often called 'standard' unit(of which in reality there was no such thing) . Seen as units the troops looked too spread out with lots of daylight between each man. Don't think it was like that. Look at the modern Trooping of the Colour or even a decent re-enactment unit. They move about with very little space between each man most of the time.

Now this does not apply in certain periods of course. 17th century chaps needing more room to perform their drills- and it was not because of the baggy  breeches ! . No they mostly moved about  with some little distance between each man so my ECW dudes (or is than now W3K dudes) can stay as they are.

 No this is really about my 18th century collections 7YW and AWI really but with some Indian stuff  as well and maybe some Marlburians.

My first Marlburian unit. The rank and file are on 15mm frontage the 'Command' figures are on 20mm frontage. My reasoning here being that they should be bigger targets in the Grantian style games these will hopefully one day be used in.

 Now I have heard the argument that the larger figures won't fit on  smaller frontage bases so I thought I'd try a few experiments and - so fat I have not found any major problem with infantry. though I am keeping the depth at 20mm per model, as the depth of the figure won't allow much reduction.

Reducing the frontage per figure from 20mm to 15mm obviously reduces the frontage of the whole unit by a quarter as well as making the unit look- dare I say- a little more 'realistic' in its tabletop appearance.

This awful picture nevertheless shows the difference in frontage on even these two tiny units
 actually 2 grenadier companies from different AWI units. Both groups are from the same pack of models Old Glory AWI21. The upper group's frontage is 60mm the lower 45mm.

Another shot showing the two differing frontages side by side. I definitely prefer the closer look..

Now I won't be changing all of my troops. This will only be  chosen units for certain types of game. My 30mm Stadden and Willie AWI collection will stay on 20mm frontage(and shiny!) Shinyloo will stay as it is, as will the nascent 'Shinynine'... but if I ever get around to the Peninsular well that - and India will be a different story.


  1. With you all the way on having close order troops tightly packed as opposed to socially distanced - to steal a well-turned phrase from the Yarkshire Gamer. This even forms one of the questions in his regular quiz for guests on his podcast.

  2. Big Andy -
    I tend to agree that closer files look better. I don't have many 28mm figures, but my 25mms look pretty OK on 15mm frontages per figure. On the other hand I use the same spacing for my sub-25mm plastics. They do look a little bit loose, I agree.

    My first army was (and remains) my Airfix ACW. The infantry I placed on half-inch (12.7mm) frontages. that works quite well.

    I had forgotten my Marlburian project. These are 28mm. I began by placing them on 15mm bases, but then got a whole bunch with 20mm plastic bases. So I've used the 20mms. I have to admit, though, I would have preferred the 15mm as occupying less frontage - consideration when you have limited space. My 36-figure infantry units in 2 ranks occupy a frontage of 36cm. You can 'fit' 5 such units in line along my 6-foot table with maybe 3mm remaining. At 15mm per figure, each would occupy 27cm. You could fit 6 such units in line with rather more space to spare.

    Too bad: the decision has been made. But it rather calls into question whether to persist with the 36-figure foot and 24-figure horse units. They have been designed so that 18- and 12-figure units can be used instead, but the temptation is to go the 8-foot and 6-horse route.

    But begets another problem...
    Happy days,

    1. Only one point to make there- The AWI and indeed the Marlburians were called '25mm' when we made them and indeed still are on the OGUSA website. Yet they are the same size or perhaps a little larger than Foundry and about the same height- though not build of Front rank. To be precise the Marlburians are a little smaller than the AWI. But I'm not one of those chaps who suffers from '3mm Angst' so I don't really care as long as they fit on the bases,

  3. I have to agree that the smaller frontage looks really good and they figures fit well, more importantly for me is how good do those OG Marlburian figures look!! I really must invest in some as I really like the look of them.

    1. It is one of our older ranges but still has bags of character I am very(very0 slowly building up French and probably Dutch and Imperial forces but currently every paining moment seems to go to Indian subjects.

  4. Basing is a consistent issue/problem for sure. "Now I have heard the argument that the larger figures won't fit on smaller frontage bases so I thought I'd try a few experiments and - so fat I have not found any major problem with infantry". I'm urrently on basing Normans for the Triumph rules on 60mm frontage. For the infantry troop type the rules call for 4 figures on that frontage. I tried. There's no way to get 4 Victrix Norman infantry on a 60mm frontage without they basically hugging each other! Nice blog post though. There's isn't enough discussion in the community on this topic. How to solve the problem of basing...

    1. The problem is often the rules and players strict adherence to them in the face of other evidence. Now Idon't play competitions so on levels other than the aesthetic I actually don't care. In many of today's element based games the models are merely counter decoration so it may not matter how many actual models are placed on any given base. My personal preference for 25-30 mm rules is for the actual models to matter in the game though in smaller scales 'element' style rules make more practical sense.

  5. The Crann Tara figures making up regular units for my 1745 game are six on a 40mm x 40mm base. Looks great to me! I've even managed it with some Front Rank figures.

    1. So 3 fig frontage would be 13.33mm per figure- surprised you can get 'em on but I can see why- excellent.