Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Monday, August 10, 2015

Basing schemes for smaller armies

As my 'Dip' experiment turns into a project, thoughts naturally turn to how many of the little metal blighters I need, and how I'm going to base them.

As background, a couple of years ago I ordered the DBA 2.2 rules and took advantage of a generous offer from Essex miniatures who were doing a 3 for 2 sale of their DBA 15mm armies. I decided I'd like to get into a Dark Ages / 1066 campaign, and so picked up 6 armies, adding a couple more, specifically Crusaders and Syrians.

Unfortunately, I've since found that I don't like small armies - and DBA armies are small! - but nor do I like the period enough to mortgage the house so that I can paint up armies to the size I do for my ancient fetishes fixations.

My problem therefore is twofold: I don't want to play DBA; nor do I want to build massive armies for what is (for me) a period of only secondary interest.

The first thought I had was to base them up on x4 bases (ie, 80mm x 30mm) for infantry, and x2 bases for cavalry (also 80 x 30), but I think that DBA armies spread out on bases of that size are going to look rather forlorn.

Instead, I think I might use the 28mm DBA scheme (60mm x 20 / 60mm x 40mm). This should allow me to get away with 8-10 15mm infantry or 4-5 15mm horse per base without the lines looking too sparse. The downside is that my basing won't be compatible with that of anyone else, but as I am going to provide all the armies anyway, I don't see that being a major problem in the foreseeable future.

The plan as far as rules go is to use Dux Bellorum (modified as needed), which means that I'll require somewhere between 7 and 10 units for each army. I may have to buy in a couple of extra packs of figures here or there, but first impressions are that the armies I have when mounted on 28mm DBx bases should just about hit the spot.

Now, with that sorted I can get back to painting!


  1. You reached a rational conclusion in little time at all!

    Using a 28mm base footprint with 15mm figures is an excellent solution. That way, you can cram many more 15s onto each base than could be done with a 15mm base size. Your pocket armies will look great too.

    DBx armies may be small but 8-10 units per side is close to an optional number of BMUs to push around the table. I find that about 12 BMUs per command work well in most games/game systems.

    Since you are fielding armies for both sides, there's "no great matter!"

    1. Cheers Jonathan, your positivity has removed any doubts I might have had!

  2. I know someone who does 10 mm figures on 15mm bases for DBX, and they look quite good. And since 15s on 25s should be pretty well much the same, in terms of ratios, they should look just as good...

    1. Cheers Luke: might base double depth for ease of movement, as well.


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