Tutorial: my logical (big)basing system for 2mm and 6mm miniatures

Often newbies or veterans looking for fresh insights ask in forums how others base their 2mm and 6mm miniatures: methods and marking, how to identify elite battalion 3 and militia battalion 4 from corps II ? I paint 2mm Napoleonic, 6mm Napoleonic and 6mm WW2. Earlier I described my method scattered in sub paragraphs in separate blogs. Here I give a short cross-period overview.

Main points are:

  • how to make the bases (units) recognizable
  • sabot basing
  • unit markers
  • avoid clutter (loose labels, loose markers etc)

DISCLAIMER: I don’t pretend that my basing solution(s) are the best, the smartest, or the one and only path to light. It’s not a breakthrough in wargaming :-). I just copied and combined older suggestions and share some ideas to help others.

2mm Napoleonic basing

See my long tutorial. 2mm is my travel battle scale. Basing:

  • heavy cavalry in 2 lines, 3 units in front, 3 in the back
  • lancers in a single line
  • light cavalry in 3 lines, 1 unit in front, 2 in the middle, 3 in the back.
  • line infantry: lines or columns.
  • artillery: half-bases, 2 cannons per base.

My bases are a combination of 7mm double dice cells and magnetic vinyl strips and a printed label.

I ordered small dice in 8 different colours. Thus I can give the Ist corps units black dice, the IInd white, etc. Simple. As you see below, you can quite easily recognize the French and the Austrian units. Check if you can spot the difference between the artillery, the heavy and the light cavalry yourself.

I use the coloured balls and washers as extra markers: elite status, skirmish ability, attached artillery, prepared etc.

I also differentiated the colours of the bases. French bases are brown MDF with flock, Austrian bases are primed dark green, with flock.

6mm Napoleonic (sabot) basing

The dominant fashion in Napoleonic 6mm seems to be bigbasing 6 strips (24 figures) on a credit-card/poker card sized base with skirmishers in front. Which is what I do in 2mm.

For 6mm I roughly copied the 15mm DBx basing system. IMHO a system with small magnetized bases that you can place on a metal sheet is more versatile than bigbasing. I can play corps games like Blücher with 72-figure sabot bigbases, or tactical battalion games with 4-6 units that change formation, like Lasalle or Black Powder. See my long blog. Basing:

  • 4 strips (Baccus) infantry on a 15mmx40mm base
  • 4 skirmishers on a 20mmx40mm base
  • light cavalry: scattered on 40x40mm
  • lancers, cuirassiers: V-formation, 40x40mm
  • dragoons: 2 rows, V-formation, 40x40mm
  • commander: 40x40mm
  • artillery: single piece with crew on 40x40mm

6mm WW2 basing

Read my long WW2-blog and painting guide here. In short: again I copied the 15mm DBx-system. I don’t use labeled bases. The big problem with 6mm WW2 is that all armies are in the same earth tones. So, how do you easily spot the difference between a 6mm camouflaged Tiger and a camouflaged Panther from 2 meter distance without labels? Difficult to recognize in the dim lit dungeon we call ‘club’.

My WW2-diorama-bases have different colours: light grey for the Germans, pale sand for the Americans, pale brown MDF for the British, brick red for the French. Figure basing:

  • Commanders & subcommanders: 4x4cm. Large, elevated base.
  • Forward air/artillery observers/snipers: for these individual bases, I used some spare round 4cm bases, instead of a 4×4 cm large base. Binocular figures. Sandbags.
  • Light recon teams, light tanks and transports: 4x2cm. small base. A vehicle and a few miniatures.
  • infantry platoons: 4×2 small base. 4-6 miniatures. Some terrain.
  • infantry anti tank upgrade units: 4×1,5cm small base, 2-3 miniatures, placed directly behind the platoon, in base contact
  • infantry support units like medium guns, mortars, MG’s, etc: 4x3cm medium scenic base. Medium mortars, two per base. Heavy mortar: one per base.
  • engineers: one vehicle and a couple of engineers, on a 4×3 base.
  • armour on 4×4 diorama bases. Medium tanks: 2 tanks on a 4×4 base. Heavy tanks: 1 heavy tank on a 4×4 base
  • anti tank guns, tank hunters: 1 model on a 4×3 medium base.
  • heavy artillery, heavy mobile rocket launchers: 1 model on a 4×4 large base.
Front row, left: USA light Chaffee tank, pale sand 40×20 base. front row, right: M40 SPG. Middle row left: two medium (Sherman) tanks. Middle row right: heavy Pershing tank. In the background, left: M40.
A commander base

I abundantly use decals (deliberately (too) large) and miniaturized WW2-propaganda posters to give my WW2 armies a Hollywood flavour and to simplify identification during play. Magnetized strips and dice cells are absent on my 6mm DBx bases, hadn’t thought of that option yet when I was busy with these projects. Anyway, both systems work.

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