Big Bases for the Peninsular War

I’ve decided to go for big bases for the Peninsular War. Couple of reasons for this.

  1. Increasingly I find myself playing HOTT/DBA even for historical periods with muskets, like Liberators. The beauty of rules like this is there are a small number of playing pieces (12). Generals shouldn’t be involved in the minutiae of running their armies. And with a small number of moving parts you can only manage at the top level.
  2. When I do play rules for larger armies (like Shako or Liberators QPR)) I just get irritated because the fiddly small bases slows set up and I tend to damage the figures.

But I do like playing with more figures.

There are a small number of rules that support large bases with lots of troops. Impetus assumes 80mm wide bases for all troops. More recently Dux Bellorum for Dark Age Britain allows any size bases but one of the configurations described has the same basing as Impetus. And some people play DBA on big bases (BBDBA = Big Base DBA).

In the horse and musket period there is Volley & Bayonet (V&B). A mate of mine, Roland, is a big fan. Pretty much all troops are based on 3″ x 3″ bases; you can have any number of figures you want of any scale.

So I thought I’d tie that all together and rebase my Peninsular War figures on big bases. Each of my bases is 80mm wide and 40mm deep. (I got my bases from Tiny Tin Troops; Tony can provide them with a flex-o-metal backing sheet so they can attach to magnets for storage). Each stand gets six cavalry or 12 infantry. Two of these, one behind the other, is a V&B brigade stand. But for games at a lower level of abstraction a stand might be a battalion or even half a battalion (a “wing”).

For games like like Shako or Liberators QPR I can field battalions of 12 cavalry or 24 infantry but on only two bases. Two bases is, after all, all you need to be able to represent line, column and square.

Here are some snaps of the rebased units. Starting with a French Dragoon unit.

French Dragoons in line

French Dragoons
In column for something like Shako or as a “Brigade” base for V&B.

I had to paint up a few figures to bulk out the Spanish battalions. With my old basing regime for Shako I had only 18 figures in each battalion. So for the big base scheme had to top up with a further six figures in each battalion to make two stands of 12 figures.

Spanish Volunteers
In column for something like Shako or as a “Brigade” base for V&B.

Spanish Volunteers in Line

Spanish in Brown with Red Facings in Line

Spanish in Brown with Red Facings
In column for something like Shako or as a “Brigade” base for V&B.

Spanish in Brown with Yellow Facings
In column for something like Shako or as a “Brigade” base for V&B.

Spanish in Brown with Yellow Facings in Line

I also took the opportunity to base the most recent unit for Liberators on big bases. This is a Royalist battalion for the War in the North, i.e. Venezuela and/or Columbia. But the unit could equally do service in the Peninsular War.

Spanish Royalists in Venezuela
In column for something like Shako or as a “Brigade” base for V&B.

Spanish Royalists in Venezuela in Line

2 comments to Big Bases for the Peninsular War

  • Daniel

    Steven,

    I love the big bases. I too took the idea from Impetus, although I am not sure why you do not like the riles. 😀 My Peninsular army is 28mm on a 120mm x 60mm base. 4 cav per and 10 inf per. It works and looks good on the table. Your blog is great btw, really enjoying the read.

    • Steven Thomas

      Daniel, thanks for the nice words. 28mm on huge bases would look amazing.

      I didn’t find Impetus particularly realistic. The stand out oddity was French Knights destroying a pike block at first contact, without particularly good dice. Never happened in reality. Not once.

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