Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Multi-basing Celts

This evening I've been getting my Celt army out ready for a few games this weekend. However, it's taken me more than an hour to get them all ranked up on movement trays. Aaaah!?

As you probably know by now the army was based for Warhammer Ancient Battles so all the figures are on individual 20mm x 20mm bases. If you look back on the blog you'll notice that the bulk of the army is composed from Warlord Games plastic Celts. Very reasonably priced figures but quite a few have rather odd "chicken wing" poses which makes the a right pain to rank up nicely - and that's putting it mildy. I've always found them rather fiddly to arrange but this evening took the biscuit. Also, you only need to just clip a figure and the magic of plastic will ensure that several go flying and your painstakingly arranged ranks are thrown in to disorder.

The problems are (a) if I ever wanted to play a quick game then it would probably take me longer to get the army ready for battle than to actually play! and (b) the thought of getting the army out of the carry cases and the hassle of organising them for battle is almost off-putting.

Historical Celt leaders probably had less bother rounding up the lads for a ruck with the Romans ... well OK, maybe not, but you get the idea.

All this has led me to think that I need to gradually replace the awkward figures for more sensibly posed lead (thinking GB), and come up with a scheme for multi-basing the figures. I'd also look to remove some of the better posed figures from their individual bases and re-base (!?) them en-masse.

A warband of 32 figures on 4 bases of 8 x 4 figures, i.e. 80mm x 40mm, would be so much quicker to get ready for a game. Plus it gives an opportunity to make the bases look a little more scenic.

I'd have to think a little about how I based "command figures" to ensure they were approx front and centre. I like the idea of the front ranks of the warband being the better armed and equipped troops anyway so this shouldn't be difficult either. Also, basing figures in blocks would allow me to make the formations a little more disorganised.

Some of the blogs I follow (Saxon Dog being a prime example) multi-base most of their figures and I must say that the result is very good - though Dave's splendid painting helps too! BigRedBat's blog is another excellent example.

Casualty removal would take a little planning but it's not an insurmountable problem. Plus not all games systems require removal of figures anyway. Certainly need to have think about what to do as I'm just not happy with my Celt army the way it is. Some of the painting is a bit dodgy too. I know it was dipped but some of the figures are dreadful, plus some of the early figures were ruined by the horrible Army Painter varnish going cloudy. It was all rather rushed. I'm certainly not going to re-start the army from scratch but it definitely needs an overhaul.


Grimsby Mariner said...

Having had a similar experience recently with some of my collections I can completely sympathise. Personally, where possible, I like to use 4 figures on a 40x40 base but I also like to make the units a uniform size so I'll use a variety of bases. Multi-basing aslo allows you to drop a few figures and sculpt the bases to make eye catching terrain without lsing the block appeal of large formations.

Matt said...

Totally agree!

But getting my Celts off of the 3mm litko bases is going to prove tricky.



BigRedBat said...

As you said, I love multibasing. If I wanted to keep my WAB options open, I'd go for 4x4 or 4x8. They'd be of with Hail Caesar, too, or even Command and Colors.

Re removing from litko, getting anything off a wood/card base is really easy, just immerse in 3-4mm of water, to the level of the top of the base, for an hour or so. That's the easy bit; it's doing the new basing that is all the hard work!

Did you see Greg's Spartacus basing (with the tiger? Multibasing gives a lot of imaginative options.

Matt said...

Cheers BRB, will give your tip a whirl right now!.


Paul of the Man Cave said...

I too am finding it a challenge to block up my Vikings into a massed unit, but having them on individual 20mm sqaue bases means I can use them skirmish battles too. Thus, for me at least, that challenge is worth it for versatility.

Of course if I was smart I'd work out the best figure arrangement, and then number them so it takes no time at all to do it again in the future...

ZeroTwentythree said...

I use a mix of single and multi-basing. In the case of my Gauls & Germans, I've put some on 60mmx40mm bases, some on 60x20 bases, and I think a few other sizes, plus I still use enough singles so that I can arrange them into almost any frontage I want in groups of 30+.

This also allows for some more "mob" style basing instead of nice even ranks and files.

Some of the more "regular" troops, like Carthaginians, late medievals, etc., I've based on a mix of 60x20mm and singles. They still deploy quickly.

Everything is magnetized, including my move trays and my travel boxes are lined with a metal base. This also helps as I can deploy all my troops straight out of the transport box.