Friday, 6 March 2015

Representing Napoleonic infantry formations on the tabletop

Before I began basing my Del Prado pre-painted 25/28mm-scale Napoleonic figures I played around with various base sizes and the number of bases that I was going to use to represent infantry and cavalry units on the tabletop. In the end I decided to use:
  • 50mm x 25mm bases for the infantry (with three figures per base)
  • 50mm x 50mm bases for the cavalry (with two figures per base)
I chose these sizes because they fitted in well with my Hexon II hexed terrain, which is made up of hexes that are 100mm from face-to-face.

I also decided to have two bases to represent an infantry or a cavalry unit as this allowed me to represent the three main infantry formations (column, line, and square) thus:

Infantry in column

Infantry in line

Infantry in square

The figures featured in these photographs are some of my newly-based Dutch-Belgian infantry ... who do seem to bear a resemblance to US infantry of the War of 1812.


  1. I have these figures as well got me thinking about basing them

  2. Bob,
    Your Dutch Belgians look very good. They would, indeed, pass for US Regulars of the later War of 1812, say the 1814 campaign along the Niagara, the battles of Chippawa and Lundy's Lane, if one refuses to be pedantic about details like plumes and facings. All you would need to do is add a colour bearer with the US flag!

    My reading of Blucher has made me think that a 50mm base widith would work very well, as a Hexon hex would then be 2BW across for purposes of movement, firing &c.
    If a unit started with its front on the boundary between two hexes, 1BW would take its front to the centre of the adjacent hex; 2BW to the opposite edge of that hex. Units in close combat could either face each other across a hex boundary, or both occupy the same hex.

    In this way, one could, I believe, convert Blucher into a hex-based system quite easily for games portraying army-level battles. For smaller engagements, like War of 1812 battles, a system that reflected battalion tactics in more detail would be better.

    Best wishes,


  3. Johntheone,

    Why don't you? I am really enjoying basing mine, and I know that once I have, I will finally get around to using them.

    All the best,


  4. Arthur1815,

    Having visited the USA and Canada in 2012, I became very aware of the bicentenary of the outbreak of the War of 1812. The thought of fighting a land/sea campaign around the Great Lakes is very appealing ... and very soon I will have some suitable figures to do so.

    A possible mini-campaign for the future, perhaps?

    Your thinking about converting BLUCHER for use on hexes is similar to my own, and it would certainly allow me to re-fight Waterloo on my 4' x 3' tabletop.

    All the best,


  5. Are these 6-figure unit battalions, or some higher formation? I'm sorry I haven't been keeping up with the blogs I follow, and, forced to ski, through them quickly, have probably missed stuff.

    Having discovered this project i shall be following it with interest. Meanwhile, have you seen anything of Paul Leniston's Napoleonic campaigns? He uses 8-figure infantry Divisions, 4-figure cavalry brigades, and artillery is subsumed into a corps reserve of 1 gun. Army Corps comprise 4 Divisions. 1 cav brigade and a gun.

    I find the concept quite attractive, and a fine compromise of resources.

  6. Archduke Piccolo,

    At present I just refer to them as 'units', but think of them as being brigades/regiments. My plan is to have two or three of them represent a division, with two or three divisions plus an artillery unit (and possibly a cavalry unit) represent a corps.

    My inspiration for this came from the way that Paul Leniston has organised his Napoleonic armies, and currently I could field:
    - Two Prussian Infantry Corps with four regiments of infantry, one of artillery, and one of cavalry each (plus an extra artillery regiment and cavalry regiment)
    - A Dutch-Belgian Infantry Division of two regiments
    - A Brunswick Infantry Division of two regiments

    These will be joined very soon by some more Prussian infantry and artillery as well a Dutch-Belgian Cavalry Division.

    I also find this concept attractive as it would allow me to fight corps/army level battles.

    All the best,


  7. I've got my mind around how to use my 15mm figures for Blucher on a standard 3" by 2" base. I've been thinking of investing in 6mm, just for the visual appeal. But my 1/72nd scale figures I now base as singles (15mm by 20mm for infantry and 20mm by 40mm for cavalry). That should also work for a standard Blucher base.

    The joys of coming up with a basing regime.

  8. Sun of York,

    One of the joys of using BLUCHER is its flexibility with regards to what players can use for 'bases'. My current 50mm wide bases make it possible to fight large battles on a 3' x 4' tabletop, but if I want to I can easily use sabot bases to make them larger ... or even to put more of my standard bases together to form larger BLUCHER bases.

    Good luck with whichever option - or options - you choose to use.

    All the best,


  9. I purchased, on a whim, a copy of Blucher and The Hundred Days today.

    They were on sale by a good friend of mine for £50 the pair so I snapped them up.

    I haven't read them yet but the production quality looks excellent.

  10. Jim Duncan,

    Sounds like a bargain to me!

    I totally agree about the production quality; it is excellent.

    All the best,