Saturday, 11 May 2013

Out of the mouths of babes ... and Conrad Kinch ...

If the truth be told, it was not Conrad Kinch's mouth but his pen that made me see the light ... but does that divergence from the saying really matter?

In his recent article in the 'new' MINIATURE WARGAMES magazine, Mr Kinch (I am copying Arthur Harman's pseudo-Wellsian style here for a moment!) gives some excellent advice about building up a wargames army, including DON'T BASE FOR PARTICULAR RULESETS.

Now I am as guilty as most for doing exactly what Mr Kinch advises against ... and suffering many a major dilemma as a consequence. In fact I am in the throws of that very dilemma at the moment with regard to both my Colonial and World War II figures. Should I concentrate on single-figure bases or should I go for multi-figure bases? (Regular blog readers will remember my previous anguished blog entries about this specific topic ... and my repeated changes of mind!)

What Mr Kinch actually writes is as follows:
Rebasing is the purgatory of wargamers; a long, dull, deadly boring process that one undergoes in order to reach the promised land of playing with 'official' basing. Do not do it. Resist the urge ... Base you figures singly and use sabot bases of the required size ...
Funnily enough, I was beginning to come to the same conclusion with regard to my two main figure collections. The prospect of re-basing a whole load of figures was really just too much for me to contemplate doing ... and Mr Kinch's words confirmed that in my mind.

Single-figure bases here I come ... until I have another change of heart!

(I may need Mr Kinch standing behind me constantly whispering 'single-figures good; multi-figures bad' to maintain my resolve in the long run, but in the meantime I am going to try flying solo!)

12 comments:

  1. I would go a step further than that and banish the tyranny of rules-specific base sizes altogether. For the non-tournament wargamer, it makes more sense to pick a single basing scheme that you're happy with, then base ALL of your figures to that scheme, across periods, theatres and planned rulesets. At the end of the day, for the purposes of most rules it doesn't really matter if a unit has a 40mm or a 50mm frontage, as long as all the all the bases in a game are to the same standard.

    Of course, basing all the figures singly and using sabot-type trays when you want to use them as units is a darned fine way to go about that.

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  2. Long before Canada (where I live) decided to get rid of our pennies, I had been sorting them out via strong magnets to find those that had enough steel content to be held by magnets.

    These make wonderful 19mm round bases for single 25/28mm figures.

    I build sabots using card or balsa with a balsa "rail" around them.

    Then (here is the key) I use "sheet magnets" such as those you can get at office supply stores or sign shops to line the flat surface of the sabot.

    These sheet magnets also take paint very well and it does not interfere with their magnetic hold on the pennies.

    Now they won't hold if you turn the base upside down, but they are perfectly good at holding them steady as you move them around the table (even on some reasonable slopes).

    I don't know if any of your coins will serve as well, but you might want to check it out.

    By the way, when they were still in circulation, about 22% of the pennies I tested were attracted by my magnet . . . and, of course, the price was outstanding!


    -- Jeff

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  3. I base on washers and use the same tape as Jeff for storage. Lee Valley Tools sells tiny rare earth magnets that I use on move stands. Much more expensive but they will hold a 28mm upside down.

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  4. Dr Vesuvius,

    I have always tended to follow my own path with regard to basing my figures ... but the prospect of having to move large numbers of single figures has always been a bit of a turn off for me. This is one reason why I have previously opted for multi-figure bases. However since I went down the BATTLE CRY/C&C/PORTABLE WARGAME/MOB path I have realised the benefits of single-figure bases ... especially if used with sabot bases. I can then use them for almost any rule system I am likely to choose to use.

    This looks like being the way forward for me now.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  5. Bluebear Jeff,

    The UK went over to using copper-plated 1 and 2 pence coins some years ago ... and I have been sorting them out and saving them for the past few years 'just in case'. This would now seem to have been a good idea.

    Warbases (a UK company) will make sabot bases to order. I already have some, and it would not be very expensive to buy some more. The addition of small magnets would not be too difficult, and would decrease the likelihood of figures falling off the sabot bases.

    The more I think about it, the more this idea sounds like being an excellent one to have made ... especially as the bases are so cheap (a 1 pence coin costs 1 pence whereas the same size washer cost ten times that!).

    All the best,

    Bob

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  6. Pat G,

    I like the idea of using metal washers/steel coins for bases alongside magnetic sheets/rare earth magnetics on the larger movement bases.

    Thanks for the information about Lea Valley Tools. From my point of view it is a pity that they are based in Canada and not in the Lea Valley that is only a few miles from where I live!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  7. Bob, the "rare earth" magnets (neodymium magnets) come in various sizes/shapes and are VERY powerful -- much much more so than the old "horseshoe" magnets we all had as kids.

    They are what I used to sort out the pennies . . . and you can probably find a number of sources on eBay and other sites.


    -- Jeff



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  8. Bluebear Jeff,

    That is very helpful information. Many thanks for sharing it with me.

    All the est,

    Bob

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  9. I just based up some newly painted figures – multiple figures per base – for a new set of rules and immediately felt 'basing remorse'. I kept painting new figure, but the new ones were mounted singly. I have yet to use the multi-figure bases, but have played skirmish games and other rules with the singly-based ones.

    The problem is that I feel like a year or more has to go by before you re-base, otherwise you feel like you have wasted your time!

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  10. Dale,

    I love the expression 'basing remorse': it sums up exactly how I feel about the whole thing.

    I have quite a few multi-figure bases, but my single-figure bases get used much more ... and the use of the latter - combined with sabot bases when needed - would seem to make far more sense.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  11. Basing really is a tough one. I'm lucky in that for ancients in 15mm - which is my main interest - you can't really go wrong mounting on a 40mm frontage as per the DBx scheme. My 20mm ACW, however, gives me nightmares. "Basing remorse" (thanks, Dale!) has crippled that project, in fact.

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  12. Prufrock,

    It is a dilemma for a lot of us ... and I can sympathise with your plight. I am going to give single-figure bases - combined with sabot bases - a try. I suspect that it is going to meet most of my needs ... but until I trial it I will not be sure.

    All the best,

    Bob

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