Saturday 28 January 2023

2mm Napoleonic: Test Bases Progress


I’ve made good progress with the balance of the blank test bases I made up for the 1809 campaign as detailed in my last posting - I’ve been experimenting with various block types and the positioning thereof, as well as playing around with some temporary labelling.

I’ve thrown in a couple of MDF rounds as Corps commanders, and also some stand-alone artillery bases on smaller sized 60x60mm squares - these might be batteries of position, or grand batteries, independent of the cannon integral to most Brigades.

For the most part, I’ve stuck to the ‘keep it simple, stupid’ school of painting, and avoided too much detailing, enabling the production of enough blocks to do the bases justice, I think, although more thoughts on that later:

Below we see a French Dragoon Brigade, perhaps Guerin’s with various squadrons from the 7th and 30th, as well as the Italian Queen’s Dragoons and lastly the Cacciatori di Cavallo -  backed up the Cuirassiers seen in the last post:

Throughout these bases, I haven’t been too fussy about which of Irregular’s cavalry blocks I have been using  - although I stuck with the BG5 close order 8-horse strip for the ‘heavies’, I’ve been mixing and matching the BG4 Carbine Cavalry with BG11 Sabre Cavalry elsewhere - adds a bit of variety to the linear strips; BG12 Cavalry Commands with guidon are also randomly included:


The Dragoons got a mixture of lighter horse colours, a uniform green topped by a gold headgear dot, and some red dashes at rear/sides of the strips for the saddlecloths - I have not been worrying anymore about being strict on the figure/man ratio as such - although at Wagram, Guerin had respectively four squadrons each from the French and the Queen’s Dragoons, and then two squadrons of the Italian Chasseurs - so you might say a strip here equates to a squadron….

In reality, I was governed by what I could fit on the base, bearing in mind the 10mm strip at rear affecting the depth, whilst wanting to give a flavour of the formations being used - not sure I am entirely satisfied by the columnar look here - on later bases I might go for a more pleasing ‘charging’ line - across the base width to give it a bit more L’Arme Blanche ‘oomph’ - they seem a bit clinical as-is.

Next up, some of the half-sized artillery bases, probably depicting heavier calibre batteries, here made up of Irregular’s BG6 pieces with various limbers, caissons or wagons to give a sense of the depth of a deployed artillery unit:

I had a fancy to think in terms of visually identifying the calibre of such batteries by the amount of pieces on each base - so the Austrian one above, with nine items, might be a 9lber unit, a quick calculation for the player’s eye - but to be honest with the labels just behind, it should be easy enough to have that information there.

Next up, a look at some infantry formations from both sides - I wanted to give a sense of the Battalion Masses employed by the Austrians in 1809, as well as the characteristic French Columns - again, no hard and fast rules in these test bases, but a trio of BG2/BG40 blocks might equate to a French Battalion, whilst three or four BG15/BG42 blocks for the historically larger Austrian units.

So, a six Battalion French Brigade above, and below a view across two Austrian ones - the centre one with some skirmishers deployed to their front - Irregular’s BG3 in this case - as before, working with more what fits on the base, rather than strictly depicting every part of a formation.

Next up, a look at the temporary labelling I printed up - I say temporary, in that just like my previous Ancients project, I eventually want to work on some magnetic labels to enable swapping out identifiers for different units, but am ‘back burner-ing’ that as it is a bit too much faff when I want to be spending the time painting troops !

Here we have the French Garde Imperial Grenadiers, using Irregular’s BG35 March columns so that they look suitably beefy ( eagle-eyed readers might recognise these as the ones I painted appearing amidst the 2mm listings on Irregular’s website - the blocks have somewhat shamefully remained un-based since I did them, what, eleven years ago ? ):

I’ve included a national flag, from the 6mm ones produced by the superlative Tony Hughes at Tiny Tin Troops, just to see how that looks on the label - which is a bit rough here, as I cut it a bit too shallow for the 10mm space….

The Austrian one is for a Dragoon Brigade, although I employed ‘heavies’ strips by mistake for the front line - although they look quite good here with a supporting battery deploying,and a small unit of Chasseurs behind:

The actual text on the labelling is something I’m undecided on - there are some space limitations, after all, if you want a font size that is easily legible at tabletop distances, and in retrospect, it seems a bit redundant to have the word ‘Brigade’ - we knew in advance that was the ‘scale’ of these bases - it might be better to use the space to add in the Divisional or Corps hierarchy, but then you’d end up with things like “ IV / Reserve/Nostitz/ Rothkirch/Dragoon or some such, which is all a bit much. 

In play, I’m more likely to say: “I’m attacking with these dragoons”, than pronouncing the foregoing word salad….. but then again, the hierarchy style would be more ‘military’-looking - definitely something to ruminate whilst poring over Nafziger et al…… !

The Corps command circles also got a small name label, although these look a bit out of scale/place to my eye - might have to have a think about these - particularly given there are lots of Austrian commanders with very long names…… Erzerhog Franz etc etc….. ! Maybe the ‘III Corps’ might be better here…. ?

Irregular’s BG24 Army Command Group appears alongside the useful 20th Century Range’s IK4 HQ base, with a BG13 mounted pair and a guard formed of a BG40 block.

Overall, I’m fairly happy with the progress so far, although I think I need to tighten up my ideas on how to decide on showing the make-up of each Brigade, whether to include skirmishers, integral artillery, etc, etc - I also think that the bases could use a bit more aesthetic appeal - it may be difficult to add trees or structures to scale in what is a large, abstracted plot of land - so will have to ponder this with the next tranche of troops.

As a personal aside, I’ve managed to bust the index finger on my right hand, so it might be a while before I put brush to mini whilst I wait for the swelling to go down….. at least I am being authentic in suffering for my Art…. Although I’m thankful I have not yet made a base with a Napoleonic surgeon - he would probably be prescribing amputation without anaesthetic !

Anyway, battle scars permitting, I’ll be returning to this test run soon…..


  1. Impressive work, they look great based up and will look quite superb on the table, cracking job and it shows what can be done with 2mm. Hope your finger heals soon as well!!

  2. Thanks Donnie, appreciate the feedback - I think I’m getting closer to the look I wanted to achieve, just need to tighten things up a little and widen the Brigade types to begin filling in an OOB - hopefully more to come soon !