WR’s FOW 1/72 or 20mm basing

WR stated way back in YR2004 with his first Flames of war (FOW) game using Version 1.0 of the rules and supplement books. So WR has seen the many little problems which pop up when using the larger miniature and the FOW rules, all which date back to that YR2004 beginning period. Basing the miniatures quickly came to the forefront. WR couldn’t base the same number of 20mm miniature on their 15mm infantry team basing. So, WR had to make different basing arrangements, keeping in mind the larger basing sizes would have on rules and game play. The thought of collecting the FOW 15mm miniatures wasn’t an option. The WWII collection was all 1/72, 1/76. or 20mm, some painted, with many more unbuilt 1/72 kits and miniatures to construct and paint. So WR knew he was going along his own path, as most FOW gamers locally used the Battlefront 15mm miniatures, and hence the standard FOW basing footprint. After some trial and error, WR came up with the following basing system for his FOW WWI, WWII, and his future Korea war or Vietnam war based collections.

Materials: WR uses basic vinyl or linoleum floor tiles 12″x12″ and 1/8″ thick size for his FOW basing material. The common boxed floor tiles found in most hardware stores for about 80 cents per sheet and comes in various shades or texture design. WR purchases the box of 40 sheets and tends to use the lighter shades of vinyl tile thus making writing the unit identification on base easy to see and read on his FOW bases. With the 1/8″ edge, the ability to finger grip the based miniature aids in miniature movement and avoids grabbing the actual miniatures to shift the based miniatures or vehicle tabletop position every turn. Far in the past WR used thick and dense artist board or wood, such as basswood or balsa for basing, but found the bases tended to wrap. Should note the tile material has a bit of weight feel to the basing vs. wood or paper products. If the vinyl tile bases wrap, a little heat quickly bends them to flat state.

Side note: For his naval ship models (1/700 scale) display and textured gaming sea state base, the darker grey or blue floor tile used.

Tools: Pencils, rulers, small band saw, table sander, hand pliers, wide blade hand file, and plastic bowl or bags for tile cutting debris,

Vinyl or linoleum standard tile sheets (grey and light brown here). Hand pliers, wide hand file, his table sander and band saw equipment. Note the sample infantry base at the sander disc wheel.

Process: First measure out and draw the cutting lines on the tile sheet. using pencils and ruler. The basing size templates are written about / noted below depending on the basing unit. After marking the vinyl floor tile sheet with lines, WR cuts the tile piece with a simple band saw. Hand feed the band saw with material and follow drawn lines. Keep the cutting straight with slight adjustments while cutting and keep fingers clear of the band saw blade. WR typically does two to three sheets at a time, placing excess standard large or small infantry bases, or standard 12″ length strips cut to common widths like 1.75″, 2″ etc. into a future use box. Once the basic shapes cut WR then uses the hand pliers to nip off each base corner to a slight degree. After all bases nicked, the bases are corner sanded to smooth the corner curve using his table sander disc. Basically just smooth the sharp double points at each nicked corner by holding the base material against the rotating sanding disc just lightly. The sander can quickly reduce your vinyl bases to uneven shape,, so lightly goes the process. If no table sander available, WR in his past has used a basic wide hand file to round the nicked base corners. Keep in mind the table sander will create dust and fine vinyl particles of material so WR recommends a common mask while operating the table sander in open air. WR “rounds the corners” lto avoid the hard 90′ angular base corner look on the tabletop and avoids base stacking if the base is slightly turned. Keep those small base corner nick material or larger excess trimming material, in a plastic bowl or tub. WR has found many uses for the odd shaped cut offs including creating ruins and fallen brickwork texture on his FOW bases ( link: Military Trains, Tolley, Ruins and Rubble). This completes the base material process, the next steps are painting the base with paint, applying textured terrain, affixing the miniatures, and label the base with unit identification

Same equipment, just a clear view of the equipment. Sander is a xxxx. The band saw is a xxxx. Vinyl or linoleum tile will dull band saw blase after thousand bases so have spare on hand.

Painting and Texture: Person choice here as every gamer or modeler will have his preferred methods. WR use a standard green basing color for all his miniature collections. Buys the paint gallon size, at hardware store, the same color since the 1980’s it seems unless a special base color requires…. like a building flooring, ship deck etc. Base painted, affix the 1/72 (20mm) miniatures if they have a molded base otherwise glue after the application of ground texture. If a black wash dip application is needed (once or twice) to finish highlighting the miniatures, apply before the application of any scenic materials. Black wash is commonly applied for WR’s Ancients and FOW miniatures. His Napoleonic miniatures have a drawn black lining look. After any black wash dried, a texture coating of Woodlands Scenic material blended to taste is applied. Before gluing on the final light lichen material or small ballast rocks to complete the FOW team base, WR lightly spray coats the team base with a clear sealer to protect the miniatures from greasy fingers. Vehicles and artillery done the same way. Black wash the miniatures, paint base green, texture the base surface, affix the vehicle or cannon model, then seal coat. If crew miniatures have bases to them, I only texture the base under the cannon’s footprint. Then attach the cannon, and crew, finished with completing the ground texture around the crew miniature bases before sealing with clear coat. As for the glues used, common PVC white glue for the artillery cannon wheel / carriage trail or vehicle wheels / tracks. For the softer plastic bases WR uses GooP marine adhesive sold in a tube.

WR’s exterior work bench for basing miniatures. Here WR paints the majority of my basing projects like FOW, ancients, and napoleonics. Inside the house WR has a proper miniature painting table.

Closer view showing the gallon of matt green background base paint, PVC White glue, Woodlands Scenic materials, tub of FOW linoleum cut offs (future debris), clear spray sealer, and hand tools.

This photo shows GOOP marine adhesive tube for soft plastic miniatures , Group of green painted FOW bases (for two French Vichy dismounted Spahi) and Large (cavalry), Medium, and Small infantry bases with untrimmed corners. Black wash container at right for black washing the miniatures.

Basing sizes:  Basing is similar between the various team types in FOW but there are some tricks to know. WR counts the number of miniatures pictured in the FOW team platoon or company displays. For example: Infantry teams are typically two, three, four or five “shadowed” outlines of soldiers. Vehicles and gun / cannon models are almost always based individually. That same number of “shadows” WR bases actual miniatures on my infantry team bases with three specific exceptions. The three exceptions are: HMG teams base three miniatures, the Lt. mortar teams with two miniatures, and the medium mortars (8cm etc.) with three miniatures. This dates back to the FOW Ver1.0 rules which had slightly different miniature “shadow” counts for those teams compared to the later supplement versions / diagrams of the same game.

A cross section of basing. Tanks, vehicles, limbers, artillery pieces, A/T cannon, cavalry, motorcycle teams, mounted on bikes teams, and the basic infantry basing (small and medium)

Small Infantry team base (1.75″ wide and 1.5″ depth). Sorry, WR is English by birth many years ago and never went to metric system here in the states. Key to note that this base size carries a maximum of three infantry miniatures. These bases typically are your command teams, artillery observers, panzerfaust trap, snipers, small ATR (ROF1), LMG, HMG, Lt. Mortar, Medium mortars, and any other infantry team showing three or less miniatures. Note especially that my HMG and medium mortars use the small team basing and not the expected larger team basing with four or more miniatures if counting team “shadow outlines” in the FOW supplement books. This basing for the three exceptions above is a hangover from the FOW Ver1.0 days and also WR wants a smaller tabletop footprint for these teams as they bunch (crew) around the weapon.

Medium Infantry base (2.5″ wide and 1.75 depth). Holds four or five infantry miniatures. The typical rifle, rifle/MG. MG, Pioneer, etc infantry team. Also includes the larger 12cm heavy mortars with four crew around the mortar tube and any ATR / panzerschreck (ROF2) four man team. Some of the small A/T guns and artillery pieces also mounted on these bases facing their narrow end. Cavalry command teams, cavalry LMG, observers mounted, etc… also use this base size but turned 90′ for facing / basing the miniatures.

Infantry teams. (L to R) viewed are small team base (command), medium base (rifle team), and medium mortar on small base (see exceptions).

In general the “large” infantry base is used only for cavalry basing. See cavalry basing paragraph below.

Bicycle teams: Yes WR has guys riding bikes to the battlefield. Think Italian EW Bersaglieri, Hungarians Home Guard LW, German Volksgrenadiers… they are popular here in the warren for EW battles. Seeing a WWII tank gamer push a platoon of men riding bikes is priceless for a change of pace gaming. For basing WR places command teams ( two or three miniatures on bikes) on the small 1.5 wide and 1.75 deep base but typically only two actually on the small base. Use the narrow end to face the miniatures direction. For all the other teams of four or more miniatures WR uses the medium infantry base turned 90′. or sized as 1.75 wide and 2.5″ deep. Typical bike rifle team has four bike rider models on the base going 2 by 2 and a “roadway” for the terrain base look underneath the bikes. Bikes generally aren’t used for cross country movements. For the moment WR hasn’t painted any dismount teams since bike teams are automatically same as infantry teams per FOW Ver3.0 rules.

Bicycle and motorcycle basing. Bikes on left with command and rifle bike team. Right examples of doubled motorcycles, one with a sidecar arrangement. A single MC looks like the bike command.

Cavalry basing: Use the medium infantry team base turned sideways for the command, observers, snipers, Lt. mortar, medium mortar (if ever used as mounted cavalry?, HMG and LMG teams. If desired for weapon teams, WR bases a extra “pack horse” on the weapon team base to show they are different from command teams. For all other four or five miniature cavalry teams WR bases on 2.5″ wide and 3″ depth basing. Typically have four horsemen on the base even if five required. Again the 2 by 2 look similar to the bike men. Fitting that last rider sometimes a problem so WR forgets basing that fifth miniature. All my cavalry teams WR paints dismount teams for the tabletop, which are based as standard infantry teams mentioned above.

Cavalry uses large infantry base. Here  example of rifle cavalry team and cavalry command team arrangement. Even though five miniatures called for on rifle team, WR based only four maximum.

Motorcycle teams: WR hasn’t many of these team painted yet except for two German recon platoons. They are based like cavalry but on different width/depth base sizes. For single motorcycle (MC) command team (MC or MC w/sidecar) use use the small infantry base turned sideways again. Recapping my thoughts, 1.5″ wide and 1.75″ depth for command like teams. For the doubled MC miniature teams, base them 1.5″ wide and either 3″ or 3.5″ depth. For example if two MC w/o sidecars use the shorter basing as single or tandem rider MC miniatures are not as large as MC w/sidecars. If one or both miniature MC are MC w/sidecars, then use the longer base size for spacing apart the MC and riders. Note, you could base the double MC teams on a wider and less depth base but then the MC miniatures would be driving almost side by side look. Generally, all the vintage film WR seen shows these MC driving past the camera following each other, hence the narrow and deeper basing look. Again WR has painted all the required dismount teams for my MC platoons. Note: If the supplement book show one or two MC on the same base, WR doesn’t base the second MC on a separate base. WR paints both MC and base on a single team base look.

Ok…. that pretty much covers Infantry, cavalry, biker basing etc. Moving on to Artillery and Gun teams.

Artillery or Gun teams: There is no “standard” size basing for the artillery or other gun teams with using 1/72or 20mm miniatures. Sorry, the miniature models come in many sizes from a small 65mm mountain gun to a larger 203mm howitzer piece. So my general rule is base artillery or guns on a medium infantry base size or larger. By medium or larger WR means to have the base be able to handle the artillery piece footprint with a crew positioned around them and a little “edge” space. For example, many of my smaller A/T guns with crew fit on the standard medium infantry base with a little gun barrel overhang from the frontal base. So that 1.75″ width and 2.5″ depth. If the artillery piece or gun is “longer” in width with deployed trails, then many go up to 3″ depth. Generally WR has the wheels of the piece about 1/2″ from the front edge and so the depth becomes apparent because of the gun trails and need to place 3 to 4 miniatures for the crew. As the gun or artillery piece becomes larger, like the Russian 203mm mentioned, the base width increases from 1.75″ to 2″ or maybe 2.5″ and the depth goes to 4″ I think. Them 203mm models are huge! For the German 88mm FlaK cannon, mine are based on 3″x3″ bases because of the “X” gun mounting. To model the “extra crew” sometimes mentioned in FOW units, WR has decided just to place a small base behind the actual artillery piece model base. My 88mm extra crews are represented by the wheel assemblies / and extra gunner, mounted on a sized base to fit them both. WR places that model base directly besides the cannon base to show the “extra” crew aspect. Another way… pile up ammo boxes on a small base to place besides the 88mm miniature. For artillery and gun crews, I generally just place sufficient miniatures to give the look of manning the weapon. Having ten or more miniatures around an 88mm cannon would be too much, but five works nicely. So watch how many crewmen you crowd around your artillery / guns. Staff teams WR bases on a medium infantry base above. The battery command and observer teams on a small infantry base. Vehicles and transport see below.

Examples of 12cm heavy mortar team, field artillery 10.5cm, observer team, 7.5cm A/T team, and Infantry gun 7.5cm. Note heavy mortar team on larger base compared to medium / light mortars.

And Vehicles…… As I have mentioned WR bases everything for FOW. The main reason why are: 1) have all the miniatures on the same height look, and 2) It protects the models from the dreaded sharp terrain feature like hedges etc when doing the assaults on the tabletop. Tracks and wheels broke off every time before I based every vehicle… from the lowly jeep to the King Tiger. With many modern kits having the tracks be actual model track links joined (glued) together, basing is a must. Plus, 3) you can write the units info and what the model actual is underneath the base. You might know what that model tank is but many of your future gamer buddies may not. I label every base in my FOW armies, so even a non-gamer can at least place / gather the platoon models together after the game finished. Lastly, 4) handling the vehicle miniatures by having a base edge to grab with fingers saves model damage.

Vehicle basing with slight overage edge lip. Just enough to gasp the base edge instead of the model vehicle. Sd Kfz 251 H/T, Puma AC, and RSO with 7.5cm A/T gun mount needing crew miniatures.

General basing rule for vehicles. Sufficient base material edge shows to be able to grab the base and not the vehicle on top with fingers. Generally that means 1/8 to 1/4″ all around the outer edge of the vehicle. especially those tanks with schurzen plating on the side. Most of my tanks are on 1.75″ or 2″ base width and 3″ to 4″ depth basing. Vehicles such as trucks and halftracks tend to go on slightly narrower bases compared with tanks of the same size. All depends on the actual model size. There are some special basing situations to note…. like those long Churchill tanks with flame tanks behind them. Those I model with two separate bases, one for the tank and the other for the fuel trailer. Also, when the fuel is exhausted, I remove the fuel trailer from the tabletop and the Churchill just roams the battlefield. Should note by having a exposed base edge around the vehicle edge it makes it a bit harder to line the tanks up hub to hub on the tabletop, like all gamer love to do.There is a bit of a “gap” between the models, base edge to adjacent base edge.

Tanks come in all sizes. Small Grille 10.5cm howitzer team, to the Jagdpanzer IV at left, then the huge King Tiger in center.  The King Tiger base is 2.25″ wide and 4″ depth.

Limbers WR groups with vehicles above. The only difference I note is their length is short in some cases, so the basing tends to be more rectangular in shape. Didn’t base the limbers on too narrow basing as the team towing combination with artillery piece behind can look funny on the table. So WR’s limbers are slightly wider to match up with the typical artillery piece being towed by the limber.

Transport like tanks comes in different sizes, small truck to the large 3-5 ton models. Opel truck tows a quad 2cm AA team, Kettlerads at top, a supply wagon, and basic kublewagon.

Aircraft: Yes those hunters of the battlefield from above. WR uses a “heavy” 4″ wide metal flange plumbing fixture and single steel rod of various length to mount my aircraft from a “drilled” hole, at the model balance point, underneath the plane. One plane model represents one to three aircraft unlike the old V1.0 and Ver2.0 rules of one model aircraft per actual plane. All ground measurement done from the actual steel rod mounting point to target base edge. Look on my WR site for pictures of the aircraft and their movable base mounting as a pictures tells more than what I can write.

FW190 on mounting pole flies overhead to visible mount bottom view. Metal plumbing flange with filled center hole for brass pole tube. Note small hole drilled under aircraft model at balance point.

So, that is how WR bases his 1/72 or 20mm miniatures for the FOW Ver3.0 game system. He has posted many Flames of War scenario AAR on his blog so close examination of the game photos will show more examples of the basing in action.

Cheers from the warren work shop.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.