When we decided to do 6mm WW2 in advance of Sam Mustafa’s Rommel rules being published, my first criterion was that the tank bases would have to have 2 or more vehicles on them. I really didn’t like the way rule sets worked with 1 tank = 1 platoon or company, so I wanted more than 1 vehicle on a base as a visual reminder that the base represented a unit rather than an individual tank. This led to us deciding on a base size of 60mm x 40mm to be used in a grid of 15cm squares, although, in hindsight, I think 70mm x 45mm might have been better.
When it came to the infantry, I decided to have 8-10 figures on a base. These could be arranged in section formations etc. The issue then was that there would be a lot of empty space on the base. This was an opportunity to be a bit more imaginative with the basing than the usual earth and grass. At 1/300 scale the base represents an area of 18m x 12m. This is not the kind of area that you normally get on a figure base. In 15mm that base would be about 18cm x 12cm, in 28mm it would be about 30cm x 20cm. I can’t think of any games that are using that size of base to put 10 figures on.
So, the next thing was to decide what to put on a base, and, more importantly, how to make it.
This base has the basic ingredients that I was going to use. The road is made from polyfilla and 2 colours of 2mm static grass are used. Then clump foliage is added. The latter is from Gale Force Nine, which supplies handy little tubs of various coloured foliage. There are lots of possible variations just using these ingredients, and it’s very easy to do.
Now, the grass is applied via a 9v static grass applicator and I think using one of these is pretty much obligatory to get a decent effect over these kind of areas. You really want one of the ones that ‘shoot’ the fibres upwards, like a Flockbox or similar. These are around £40, well worth it if you can justify the purchase, then you can make your own tufts as well. Alternatively, I have seen people get really good effects from using scatter rather than static grass, so that may be a cheaper option.
There are lots of other things that can be put on bases. So, I’m going to describe how I went about doing some of these. Some were successful, others less so.
The barricade here is by Perfect Six Scenics. The building is just made out of 2mm mounting card with some Gale Force Nine fine cork rubble thrown in.
The easiest way to do fences is to buy them from Irregular or Timecast or something. This one is made of plastic brush bristles for the posts. The horizontal lines are cut from thin card in a kind of ‘letterbox’ shape, that is a long hollow rectangle like a picture frame. It can be a bit fiddly, but it stops the card curling and keeps the lines parallel. It also means you can glue it on in one piece. Make sure the ‘frame’ shape is bigger than the base, then when the glue is dried you can trim off the bits at the ends leaving the two parallel lines.
Here is a stream effect. This is done by painting the base a muddy colour (or blue if you prefer) and then gluing clear acetate over it. This is the kind of stuff that they use in blister packs. I prefer acetate to gloss varnish for still or slow-moving water, but you could just as easily use varnish. You need to be careful when gluing the acetate that the glue doesn’t seep underneath too far into the part you want to be visible.
Here are some crop fields. This is simply a case of using an applicator to get 4-6mm static grass to stand up. You can press down the grass afterwards to make tracks.
The barbed wire fence on the left is made with the usual plastic bristle posts drilled into the base. The wire is just cotton. Again, this is a bit fiddly but easy enough once you get the hang of it.
A more complicated wire barrier here. The cross pieces are pieces of thin card glued into crosses, the poles to complete the ‘chevaux de frise’ structures are brush bristles again. I tried various types of wire before settling on this stuff. It’s 0.15mm wire for use in vape devices. You can also get it in 0.25mm, which would probably be as good if not better. The wire is wound around a cocktail stick to make coils. The bits of straight wire here are again made of cotton.
I’m not sure if anyone makes 6mm road signs, but these are easily made. As with a lot of things with these bases, it’s all about how thin you can cut a piece of card. Glue the pieces of card to your rapidly dwindling stock of brush bristles and you’re good to go. Again, the same principle for the coils and the wire fence as before. The sandbags are from Perfect Six scenics and are very useful.
Once more, the easiest way to do gates is to buy them. This one is made from thin card again. Sliced very thin. Very fiddly job. Yeah, you’re better off buying them….
This is the kind of ‘diorama’ base that you can make with this size bases. Here two KV-1s burst through a hedge into a cornfield. The field is 6mm static grass, the hedge is clump foliage.
Russian infantry. The truck is to indicate that the infantry is motorised. Polyfilla road again.
I wanted some forest-type bases, but I didn’t want to have trees on the base as this would make them too tall for my storage boxes. So I went with some twigs to give the impression of trees. I dyed some flock into various brown and orange colours for the autumn leaves. I’m not really convinced by this base, but there we are.
These barricades are by Perfect Six again. They are 30mm sections, so 2 of them cover the frontage of a base. Pretty straightforward.
The wall here is a piece of cork tile. Some fine rubble is added to the collapsed part. In 6mm I think you can get away with just painting stone walls grey. At larger scales, you’d really need texture. Again, you could just buy the stone walls.
There are loads of possibilities for basing with this size of base. you can also have separate basing ‘themes’ for each unit to easily distinguish them. Some of these ideas could probably be applied to the more usual 30mm square bases too.
The Germans for Rommel:
All figures are by Adler. All vehicles are by GHQ.