Thursday, March 8, 2012

Impetus: Basing for our 8cm frontages.

I've fielded a few questions from people interested in Impetus about how our basing system works. Jason and I initially started out with the 'proper' 12cm frontages for 28mm but found that the battlefield was too cluttered and it got in the way of our fun. So we followed Craig's lead and went for 8cm frontages instead.

Here is a quick rundown for how I've done it and some comments on how to make the basing a bit more flexible.

First up the heavy infantry (FP, in impetus terms). This runs the gamut from heavily armoured troops to almost unarmoured but they all have the common characteristic that their formations are dense, with solid lines. The suggested base depth for these is 4-6cm and you want to give the appearance of a solid mass of troops. I use 8 figs per base for these and have a mix of two ranks of four and some other bases (like the one on the right) have a front rank of five, with figs arranged behind that. The base on the left is a General and I have used less figs, to help it stand out some more. I usually do these 5cm deep but I think 4cm deep is ok.

Next up are the lighter infantry units like light foot/Auxila (FL) and Archers (T). The official size ranges for these are all 6cm. I have altered this for my own forces. I bases the archers relatively sparsely, with 4 figs, and on a 5cm deep base. I have kept to the 6cm deep base and 6 figs for the light foot (on the right) and I really like how this lets you model a unit formation of your choice. The Archers (T) could possibly stand to have 5 or even 6 figs but I like these bases with less to remind myself they are a support unit, with low VBU (the Impetvs combat rating) and should be played accordingly.

Some more shooters. The (T) Archers are joined by some (S) Skirmishing archers and a unit of (Art) Artillery. The official base size for S Skirmishers is 3-4cm. I went with 4cm but am beginning to lean toward 3cm and might do that for my upcoming Hellenistic army. I have modeled the S Skirmishers with two figs (because they are VBU 2) but have Lanciarii (VBU 3) for my Romans that have three figs. The Lanciarii are much more effective than those archers and deserve a more impressive looking unit. The ART Artillery can be on a 6-8cm base and mine is on a 6cm base, with the weapon and two crew for a light piece.

Next up Cavalry. This is the topic that caused the most debate but here is what I settled on and I think it gives the best visual effect. On the left, there are (CP) Heavy Cavalry with VBU 6. I modeled these as 4 figs and with 7cm of depth to get them all to fit. The official depth is 8cm but with our frontages that gives a square base. However, I might do that if I ever model up some Knights. In th middle we have (CM) Medium Cavalry with VBU 5. I still model these with four figs (but only 6cm depth) because they are still quite a strong unit on the charge and were pretty respectable cavalry in their time. To the right I have (CL) Light Cavalry Equites Illyricani with Javelins. These I have as three figs on a 6cm deep base. If CL is of really poor quality (eg VBU 2 CL scouts) then they could have only two figs.

That just leaves handling large units. These are represented in Impetus by multiple bases, stacked deep. This will usually be two bases but Pike units can have three. With our 8cm frontages, units can have very long bases this way and an overlarge foot-print, especially related to their frontage. A lot of people suggest having 2nd (and 3rd) bases as one rank of figs and I think that is a good idea. To the right you see my Vikings, which are large units of FP. I based these 11cm deep (so more than twice the depth of my usual FP bases) and did so because I needed to sabot base 25mm rounds onto them. I could have had just three rows of figs but I was already stuck with only three figs to each row and didn't like the visual effect of a 9 man FP unit - that is only one more fig than a single base of my Legionaries! If I did have 4 figs to a row, I would have happily made the second base only one row, rather than two.

I just made the sabot bases myself for these and since they were individually based, I put the whole unit on one large base and just removed figs when the rear-unit of each large unit was killed.
That was then, now my new recommendation for Sabot basing is the very cool pre-magnetised 20mm square bases that Galeforce9 do. You can see them here on my new Hoplites. A unit of Hoplite FP would be 8cm by 4cm, though I might still make the base they stick to a little deeper to help protect the spears.

One way to achieve this might be to make a large base for the hoplites. Then have two spacers, between 5mm (as in this pic) or even 10mm between the ranks to give three rows a little more depth. Without spacers, the unit would only be 6cm deep and that is the same depth as other single-based infantry units so far too shallow.

I hope this helps people trying to figure out their Impetus basing for 8cm. At the end of the day, it is a matter of individual preference but I suggest that at least all the units that can hold their own in a fight need a decent amount of figs on a base and that bases of only two figs should be avoided for anything other than the VBU 2 dregs of our armies.

Thanks for reading.


  1. Great post Jamie- my basng is almost the same except now for heavy foot I tend to only put 6 figures on in close order- though some do have 7-8. I am also putting 3 figs to represent medium Cav to help me differntiate them on the battlefield.

    Like you I've moved to 4 figs for bow so I can tell them apart from light foot and 5 cm bases as 6cm felt too deep (originally I used the same depth as my light foot troops, i.e. 6cm) and I do like the 4 cm depth for skirmishers as, again, it helps differntiate them- and either 2 or 3 figs per base.

    Did someone say Impetus Hellenistic? Now that is tempting...

    Last night I started seeing if I can make a 300 pt Comnenan Byzantines for my Crusades project and only need a couple of stands of Cav to do it- I'm going to use Perry's Armenians for the bulk of the force as that's what Kent and I use for all our Crusades armies.

    We really must get a game vs each other one day soon!

  2. Aah the contentious cavalry! :) My point of departure is the CL. Good CL looks silly with two figs, so I give them three - then the CM need four to look different. CP are at least all pretty distinctive looking, due to generally heavier armour and horses so stand out that way, I think.

    Hellenistic... Warlord have put out the Pike and I have five bases worth of Hoplites already and am longingly looking at some of the Greek cav and skirmisher models that are out. My only trouble is deciding between Seleucids and Macedonians. Either way, great fun. I am envious of your Byzantines, Adams Bulgars have got me wanting some but I am forcing myself to focus on just the one new Impetus army at a time.

    Yes we definitely need to have a game.

  3. I started with 3 for LH and 4 for everything else but Kent uses 2 and to save a few dollars (about 50% saving actually) I have started to do the same and don't mind it now. My skirmishers are also down to 2- but as my bows are down to 4 I'm okay with that.

    My visigoths are still waiting to be done and will also be able to form a core for late Roman/ early Byzantine forces- and be perfect for vs Adam. My main dilemma at present is whether or not to order some tear drop sheilds from Gripping Beast to differentiate the Byzantines a bit more. II really enjoy the early Crusades period- lots of light/med/heavy horse which makes for fun games.

    Looking forward to seing your Greek forces develop- pike blocks should look awesome in Impetus