Considerations around basing Ancients and Medievals for Impetus 6mm

Over the past couple of years I have played around with various different basing systems and sizes to explore the possibilities in 6mm. This journey has been posted on the Baccus forum and from the feedback I have had is it is a worthwhile read (Link to Baccus thread when forum back up). What I have tried to do with this post is summarise and condense the experience in relation to Impetus in preparation for the ‘Joy of Six’ wargames and trade show in July. We will touch on other aspects and sidetracks as we go along.


What does 6mm offer?

6mm wargaming is definately my prefered scale for wargaming and has huge scope in how it can be used. My initial attraction with 6mm was the ability to scale everything down to a manageable size and playability on a standard dining room table (~ 5′ x 3′) without it looking rediculous like it often does in 28mm. This obviates the need for boards being hoisted in and out of the garrage and allows far greater storage possibilities for both armies and scenery. When we moved house some 5 years ago the double garrage had a complete face lift and now houses my little wargame and hobby empire, along with a 10′ x 5′ table. For a spell everything went big to use the mass of board space I now had available. More recently however I have been revisiting the use of much smaller bases and portable scale boards. This is due to a couple of recent additions to our little band of merry men have limited space back at home, and looking at the ultimetely flexible sabot basing.

This throws up out first pivot – going big, going small, or somewhere in-between. This will obvioulsy depend on the size of playing area individuals have access to, and an individuals preferences.

When going small I would consider base/unit size of 30mm x 15mm which allows for as little as a 2′ x 2′ board to be needed (two games on the dining table!). Much fewer figures required – less cost, easier storage, portability, quickly finished mini-projects,… to name but a few advantages. More on this choice of size later.

Going large allows for much greater dioramic scope on the bases and an ever increasing visually satisfying mass effect. This may be at the expense of limiting the systems figures can be ideally used for. Our little group has not found this such an issue as we are quite happy to fudge things as and when needed.

Somewhere in between lies what most 6mm gamers consider the de-facto 6mm standard base – the 60mm x 30mm. If you read the thread on the Baccus forum you will come to realize that this is the centre of the universe where 6mm basing is concerned, and one would do well to heed its call.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the 40x20mm basing that I know many will have been drawn to through warmaster. I would contend that this base size was ultimately chosen to accomodate 10mm figures, and that its use  is not designed around 6mm (although it does work prettty well). If one applies the dimensions to a 6mm mindset then the equivalent base turns out at 30mm x 15mm…… and if you put 4 of these together you get 60 x 30mm….. they way of the universe begins to reveal itself!

How does this relate to Impetus?

Ultimately the basing suggestions in Impetus are the result of things like DBMM in 15mm and 28mm and multiplying the base elements up. Base depth varies as it has to physically accomodate the figures. This is not an issue in 6mm. The suggestions for both 6mm and 10mm are to “base 10mm or 5/6mm miniatures using half the dimensions shown for 25/28mm. During play use the measurements used for 15mm. You may prefer to use 15mm base sizes instead.”

The simple ‘half the base dimensions for 25/28mm’ is effective and relatively simple. The one thing it misses is that in 6mm in particular we are not dependant on base depth to physically accomodate the figures. It does however sit well that the base width is again 60mm. Many people with collections already on 60 x 30’s will simple play with them as is. Using the basing as suggested does however carry advantages in that there is more scope for dioramic effect (especially where cavalry are concerned), and unit types can be more readily identified by their dimensions. Of additional note is that the suggested playing area for a 300 point game of 6mm requires a playing area ~ 4′ x 3′ (the kitchen table!).

Using the ’15mm’ basing dimensions would probably suit those people who have existing collections based for warmaster. If purpose based, the area on a 80mm x 40mm base allows for an increased dioramic layout of the figures, and there are some fine examples on the forum where this has been done.

I am kicking myself for opting for a base width of 100mm x 50mm for the Trebia demonstration game we put on a couple of years back. If starting the project again now I would opt for the 80mm width and variations of bases. This would maintain the mass effect and visual impact needed for a demonstration game whilst also following one of the two main standards I can see people with 6mm armies adopting.



Impetus and the ‘Joy of Six’

So where does that leave us? Well in the main I can see people just using their existing collections of 60mm x 30mm figures. Personally I would follow the half 28mm dimensions as I like the extra depth it allows for cavalry along with compressing pike formations so they no longer end up deeper than they are wide. Ultimately as long as an army is based consistently I can not see it influencing game play that drastically.

One additional option is to consider sabot basing and the flexibility which it offers to varying base dimensions dependant on table space available. In addition it provides greater flexibility to use models for other systems such as Hail Caeser. I will be looking at this in more depth in a future post as I paint some armies up using some slightly different basing.


6mm sizes for half 28mm dimension Impetus

All base widths 60mm with the base depths as follows :-

Wagenburg – 8cm (or more if necessary)

Cavalry – 6cm

Heavy Infantry – 2cm (or 3cm)

Light Infantry and missile troops – 3cm

Skirmishers – 1.5 – 2cm

Chariots, Artillery and Elephants – 3cm (or 4cm)


Some Examples

I’ve put on some examples but intend to edit and add to these over time.

80mm wide Impetus range


This entry was posted in General.

10 comments on “Considerations around basing Ancients and Medievals for Impetus 6mm

  1. Matt says:

    I’ve gone down the 15 x 20mm route with 20mm frontage, with 6 units making up a Baccus 60mm x 30mm base. I also have a number of 30 x 20mm bases with a 20mm frontage but 30 mm depth which are perfect for chariots and elephants etc.

    The advantages with this are almost endless unit variety as I mix and match each unit group, easy casualty removal, and units have the ability to sit on fortifications and march in column etc.

    The 15 x 20mm base accommodates having a range of between 4 and 8 figures – I prefer to place these in an irregular line, representing the chaotic flow of a battle. Casualties are featured on some.

    Units placed together merge into one massive moveable diorama – I use upturned Redendra (sic) plastic bases smeared with Dr Mike’s muck. The result is pleasing.

    I will have access once again to these bases in less than a week as I will return to the UK to collect them and ship them out back with me when I return to Bangkok.

    • cranium27 says:

      Hi Matt,

      20 x 15’s works well. I’ll be covering this and some other variations when I have a look at sabot basing. Currently painting up some units for a couple of variations…..

  2. Steve says:

    Yet again Mike you put doubts into my head…I was quite happy with 60×30 but now I am thinking again

  3. 60 x 30 and 40 x 20 have their good points, because 6mm depth is less of an issue, you could also do 60 x 20 for regulars and 60 x 30 for warband

    • cranium27 says:

      My hope over the comming few months is to get some 300 point Impetus armies finished using the different 60mm width basing options so armies rather than bases can be viewed. For some armies I shall be using Baccus and others using Rapier. One other thing I would like to do is the same for an 80mm width unit (scaling up the 40 x 20’s), but this is not a priority before the ‘Joy of Six’ show. Its all go here at the moment :-).
      I’ll hopefully be along with the painting demo at Sheffield where I hoped to have made some significant progress on these for your perusal.

      • Matt says:

        Rapier – your figures are excellent but I am compelled to shave off the bases to have them fit in with other leading brands. If you were to reduce base thickness I’d buy shedloads AND you’d save money on the white metal! I burned out a Dremel doing about 500 of the bleeders!

    • cranium27 says:

      Personally I get through a lot of stanley knife blades shaving the Rapier bases down, largely using a cutting mat but then final stages done in my hand – so careful on the thumb! Hard work but worth it.
      I can see how it may put some people off though.

    • cranium27 says:

      Looking at 60mm width and variations in depth has real implications with rulesets like Hail Caeser….. something I am looking at demonstrating the basing of. This is where sabot bases start to come into their own. 30×15, 30×20 and 30×30 if you want to remain compatible around the 60 x 30’s…

      Not going to say much more at present, but currently figure painting progresses towards some mock up units with the prospect of doing a couple of armies.

  4. scottsz says:

    A nice peak inside the choices (and benefits) of 6mm. Love the pics.

    Well done!

    • cranium27 says:

      This is the tip of the iceburg to what I have experimented with basing in 6mm. Indeed these experiments continue and will recieve further attention in the not too distant future. I’m sure I will case a few headaches with the vast array of options open to people playing in 6mm.

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