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. Side by side is a line. One behind the other is a column unless facing opposite directions, making a square.

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

PEN-164 French Dragoons - Line
PEN-164 French Dragoons – Line
PEN-163 French Dragoons - Column
PEN-163 French Dragoons – Column

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.

PEN-156 Spanish Brown with yellow facings - Line
PEN-156 Spanish Brown with yellow facings – Line
PEN-157 Spanish Brown with yellow facings - Column
PEN-157 Spanish Brown with yellow facings – Column
PEN-159 Spanish Brown with red facings - Column
PEN-159 Spanish Brown with red facings – Column
PEN-160 Spanish Brown with red facings - Line
PEN-160 Spanish Brown with red facings – Line
PEN-161 Spanish Volunteers - Line
PEN-161 Spanish Volunteers – Line
PEN-162 Spanish Volunteers - Column
PEN-162 Spanish Volunteers – Column

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.

PEN-155 Royalists in Venezuela - Line
PEN-155 Royalists in Venezuela – Line
PEN-158 Royalists in Venezuela - Column
PEN-158 Royalists in Venezuela – Column

7 thoughts on “Big Bases for the Peninsular War”

  1. 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.

    • 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.

    • Glad you like them Graham. Wow, 90 x 45 with 28mm sounds fantastic. Be great to see some photos.

  2. Hi Steven,

    Do you use plain DBA/HOTT rules even with muskets? Or have you modified the rules in any way? I’d like to follow you on this path with my 1/72 Napoleonics! 😀

    Thank you. Your blog is really great! I’m a huge CF fan and I really really like your posts!

    • Pietro, I tend to play HoTT rather than DBA for horse and musket. Somehow it gives a better simulation – I’m not sure why. For HoTT muskets are just normal HoTT Shooters. Check out the battle reports I’ve included under Liberators HoTT.


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