Wednesday, April 27, 2011

8cm Basing for Impetus

Okay so here is my basing system for 28mm figures. All bases are 8cm wide but the base depth varies depending on the troop type.

The bases are almost the same as the suggested 15mm bases for Impetus but with an extra cm depth (in most cases).

  • Heavy Cavalry: 7cm, 3 figures. However for really heavy Cavalry (eg cataphracts) use 4 figures.

  • Medium Cavalry: 7cm, 3-4figures

  • Light Cavalry: 7cm, 2-3 figures

  • FP (Heavy infantry): 5cm, 6-8 figures- depending on the unit type- more irregular basing for Viking warband for example. Typically I place 4 figures in the front rank and 2-3 in the row behind.

  • FL (Light Infantry): 6cm, 6 figures in an irregular formation

  • Large Units: 10-12 cm Depending on the troop type (heavy or light infantry). One suggestion I‘m starting to use is a second standard base but with only 4 figures for the second rank of large units (up until now I’ve been using a second base with the same number of figures as the front rank). Jason however uses a double depth base with 10 figures which looks verty, very good.

  • T (Missiles troops): 5cm, 4-6 figures (I use 6 mainly as I like the look. i also prefer the lslightly shallower bases a bit better than using the same depth as the light infantry base.

  • S (Skirmishers): 4cm 2-3 figures- depending on what you prefer (I use 3). I have been using 5 cm depth but liked the look of Jamie and Jason’s skirmishers.

Advantages of 8cm bases over 12cm ones.

Impetus suggests the use of 12cm wide bases for 28mm gaming- mainly because many players base their figure for the WRG/DBX basing conventions (which I detest) and so two of these DBX bases side by side makes an Impetus base (well technically 4 would combine to make an Impetus unit). Personally the sooner the archaic WRG standard (6cm width x 2-3cm depth) is consigned to the dustbin of history the better! The fact is, and has been for several decades, that modern figures do not fit well on 6cm widths (especially if using the recommended number of figures to represent different troops types). In future I will be using multiples of 4cm (4, 8 and 12) for all armies.

One of the advantages of Impetus is that it actually requires less figures than some games to field an army and so 28mm gaming is once again affordable. The arrival of cheap, well proportioned plastics in 28mm from a range of manufacturers (often for less per figure than 15mm figures!), and for a range of eras, has led to a resurgence in this scale- which looks far more attractive on table than 15mm figures do (at last to this wargamer).

Although the “standard” or recommended 12cm Impetus bases give plenty of options for creating an army of wargaming vignettes or dioramas there are a few disadvantages. To my mind the main advantages of 8cm frontages are as follows:

1) Table size needed: compared to the 15mm widths you need an extra 1/3 wider table for a game, with 8cm bases two 500 pt armies fit comfortably on a standard (6x4ft) table.

2) Terrain: the larger bases can cause more issues when to comes to manoeuvring over or round terrain which means you need to simplify your terrain or use less of it- which can impact on the look of the game.

3) Figures needed: You can get away with even less figures on an 8cm base than with 2cm ones so you can get an army painted and on table faster- or field larger armies. Another win/win as far as I’m concerned.

4) Table top manoeuvring: Jamie and Jason have used both the 12cm recommend bases and my heretical 8cm ones and found that units were easier to move using the 8cm ones- there are less “traffic jams” on table as units get in ach others way. This may be partially not being used to using 12cm width units and therefore the need to have more room between units. However, as far as I’m concerned it is another bonus for our widths.

5) The look: Although not ass much room to make a diorama as on the 12cm bases there is still plenty of scope for adding interest to the base- and the base’s can be made to look more animated and action packed than 4 DBX bases wih barbarian troops in nicely organised ranks. This one is defiantly a bit of a compromise but the bases still look pretty good.

Is our basing perfect?
No, but it works for us. For me the key is the interaction between playability and look. Standard DBX bases fall short in this regards far as I’m concerned- the bases are too small (4 warband figures “standing to attention” just doesn’t do it for me).

For some players following the basing rules to the letter and they would not dare use their own basing standards, least the basing police come and take away their figures. For me though as long as two of us use the same conventions (or similar ones) we shouldn’t have too many problems.

So although there are some disadvantages of the 8cm frontages to my mind the benefits outweigh the disadvantages and it works for me and hence I am trying to convince other local gamers to at least consider this when building armies. However, if I do meet someone who insists on using 12cm bases it is a simple matter of building some 4cm wide sabots and we are good to go.

So for me, the 8cm base width is my preferred base size- you milage may, however, vary.



  1. Hi Craig,
    I am still pondering this one but think that the standard you suggest is a little light for the cav. I am thinking that cav that charges looks better in fours(cp and cm can be told apart by equipment) while snooty cav would be better in threes. To me, two cav figures to a base looks too few. The guy who had the original 8th base idea has his light horse in threes iirc.

    I think there still needs to be consideration of the visual element. I was happy with roman fp as eight per base, since it suits the little units as part of the checkerboard, but I am seriously considering pike in tens. That frontage fits easily. The same goes for large units of fp IMO. 2nd and 3rd bases for large units could be smaller but the overall density of figs probably needs to be higher to get the look right.

    That is not to say that there needs to be rule about fig density. My Fp Vikings are twelve to an 8x11cm base so as to accommodate their 25mm round bases. However, while small bases help gameplay I do not think it gives the right look to reduce fig count proportionately, especially for CM, CL, and FP. With plastics, cost is not really a factor.


  2. True Jamie

    Originally I was going with 3 for LH and 4 for Medium/Heavy Cav and it does look good- that's how my Numidians and Sassanids are based.

    However most of my Cav are metals and at approximately $20 per stand of 3, cost for me is a factor in upgrading to 4s- with the Syrians it would make for a 25% increase in price (at least $100 worth) for no additional benefit- except for that fact it looks good so decided to go with 2s and 3s as it matches Kent's forces which had already decided to do that with his Cav due to cost. Who knows though, long term I may increase them- actually my original idea for the Syrians had been 4 per base :)

    It depends on the figures of course and heavy foot do look better in 8s but even 7 looks pretty good- my warband types (eg Vikings have 6-7) while my more orderly Roman types have 8 in two ranks of four.


  3. Having shelled out almost as much to get three bases of A&A Sarmatians as I did for the entire set of plastics for the rest of my Romans - I know what you mean.

    I just can't get past the way that DBA LH stands always looked so wrong to me with just the two horse on them, though.

    I definitely agree the LF and S look good with less but things like Phalanx and Shieldwall are going to look better with more figs. Since they will be neatly ranked, I think even eight is too little for Pike, my evenly spaced Roman bases actually look a little sparse with that many.


  4. I will ponder your words of wisdom... Less Syrian bases, but each with more Syrian Cav on each may be the way to go- my light horse may be here in the next day or so and so might gow ith the 3 per base as I have with my other armies. To tell them apart I am tending to put them diagonally on the base to represent them turning after shooting- so may go with 3 and redo the others to get 3 based of each type (my original plan before we upscaled to 500 pt games and I needed more bases:)

  5. Heh "wisdom".

    That is not a bad idea about the LH. Maybe CM could be flexible 3-4, depending on how effective we reckon they should look and LH could stay at 3 but be modelled differently to show their role?

    I have Equites coming, and I just don't rate those guys. General Maximus' base could have four figs, while the other could have three but set ip in a line to charge. A unit like Equites Illyricanii (LH) could be three as well - since they can actually charge in, but set like you suggest to wheel while shooting.

  6. I like that diea for the Equites

    I was originally going to make Cav with a VBU of 6 or more 4 per base and VBU of 4-5 3 per base.

    I've rebased the Bedouins tonight, I think I'll leave the Syrians on 3 to a base to differentiate them from the Ghulums which are heavier Cavalry and which will be rebased with 4.

    I like the look of the Bedouins with 4 per base


  7. Hi Craig et al.
    I'm working on my Bulgars at the moment and by my list my skirmishers are definitely cavalry.
    So two miniatures on horseback, 8x4cm base?
    Also my medium cav is VBU 6 so 4 per base, and my light is VBU, 3 three per base?
    I was just looking at the Crusaders vs Syrians battle here and they went with 3 and 2 per base mostly it seems.
    So to rephrase;
    Medium Cav VBU 6, 4 figs on 8x7
    Light Cav VBU 3, 3 figs on 8x7
    Skirmishers VBU 2, 2 per base 8x4
    Also Generals?

  8. I would be interested to your thoughts of basing for Elephants
    Looking at your basing for S.E Asian armies

  9. Hi Craig,
    Reading through the latest posts on your Blog, it looks like you have reverted to the 12cm Impetus basing. Is this correct or are you still basing on 8cm. I am looking to rebase my War of the Roses 28mm figures and I cannot decide between 8cm and 12cm, perhaps I'll make up some bases and decide.
    All the best, Tony

  10. I've only very recently got into IMPETVS having spent a long number of years trying to get to grips with DBx, and finally giving it up as a bad job.
    As for figure quantity, I was thinking of having a similar number of troops per base as their VBU. +1/-1 for Mounted, x2/x3 for Foot. Using 15mm scale on 80mm wide bases, depths following DBx convention.
    I have yet to prove my theory in practice ;)