Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Basing Your Vehicles

This post is aimed at a unique crowd of Flames of War gamers.. It is aimed at those who like to base their armoured vehicles, or thinking about doing so...

Hi all, Matt here!

A few months ago I posed this question on the FOW Facebook page, "Do any of you guys put bases on your tanks and is this viable for tournament play".
I was staggered at the feedback I received from the community in response to my question. I think 3, maybe 4 comments simply stated, "Burn him", or "Blasphemer" and other comments to that effect :-O. Of course these comments were taken in jest (as of course they were intended - I hope :-s ) but they were hardly helpful were they!

Luckily, a few people stepped up and offered some great advice, albeit after the initial 30 minutes of 'abuse'. However following this event I now think twice about approaching the community whenever I have a question I would like to ask and this is clearly not on! I would therefore like to address the topic of 'Basing vehicles', as well as how and why I do this. I hope that this article can assist those of you out there that perhaps like the idea of putting bases on your vehicles, but wasn't sure about doing it for whatever reason.

The main reason I considered basing my vehicles was for storage reasons... Following our recent house move I have been looking for different ways to display/store my painted models. Initially I picked up a lovely glass cabinet from IKEA, which seemed perfect. The cabinet was an obvious choice, as it displayed all of my armies in the gaming room and even had a little light inside to enhance the display somewhat. Nice!
Problem... Dust! (& blimin' finger print marks) Unfortunately I didn't consider that the cabinet would end up being such a dust magnet. 

Given that I spend so much time in the room painting/playing games the shelves constantly needed cleaning due to buildup, which became such a pain! I should also mention that the models themselves were getting covered in dust and so a change was clearly needed.
So my next option was a filling cabinet... I realised that protecting my models was probably more important to me than displaying them and that I needed to use my limited room space as effectively as possible. The filling cabinet was the perfect choice! I can practically keep an army in each draw and indeed protect them from all of that horrible dust stuff!

So finally, we get back onto topic, 'Why do I base my vehicles!?' Well the big metal filling cabinet has been a fantastic storage solution for me so far. The only catch being, is that whenever I opened the drawers the models inside slid around a little, due to the smooth surface trays. The easy answer to this was to magnetise my models and thus base them if necessary.
I picked up the Flames of War magnetising kit to test out this solution on my British infantry. I actually found that the magnet strength was so strong against my metal cabinet that the sticky glue was not holding the magnets in place and so they came off whenever I tried to lift a model up. Simple answer to this was to use super glue to attach the magnet to the base. Now the magnets aren't going anywhere and more importantly, neither are my models. Success!
So I began basing all of my tanks out of necessity. I didn't care if it looked pretty - they just needed magnets. However as ive continued doing this, I've actually really enjoyed the visual effect of my entire army being based. The tanks now keeping a nice synergy with the infantry and guns. Some players, such as Steve Charlton and Robin Spence take this to the next level and the bases really enhance the paintjob.
    Some base examples from Robin

One question people do ask me is whether I have any issues in tournaments with my tanks being on bases. Firstly, the bases do make the tanks slightly taller of course, which provides a disadvantage if you play true line of sight. Well to answer that, I've never played a tournament where we have played true line of sight to be honest, so it's not an issue really. With such variation in terrain at events it's simpler to say, 'this is a hedge, it offers concealment' and so the height of the models don't come into question at all.

The second big concern was whether or not there is a disadvantage by not being able to put your tanks in that horrible, hull to hull / side by side 'formation' to ensure that all of them can shoot etc. Well as you might have guessed I absolutely hate that look anyway and will avoid doing it, even if my tanks were unbased! However I can't say I've experienced any problems in tournament play, or felt at a disadvantage. I am thinking about drilling a hole and using a peg of some sort to hold my tanks onto their bases though. That way I could always remove the tank from its base in game if they are going through a narrow town or something, but equally it's not been an issue so far so I might not bother.

So now you all know why I base my tanks! 

I would like to sign off with a gentle reminder to community/forum members of how important it is that we all work together to keep the game community thriving. Please ensure that all of your responses remain helpful and constructive. Even if you don't agree with the concept or the previous comment made by someone, try to remain respectful and helpful with your own comments as one bad experience could push someone away completely.

That is all. Thanks for reading guys. 
Papa Bear out!


  1. Hi
    Basing of vehicles in my opinion does enhance the model. Especially Early German and the Majority of Soviet Tanks where its difficult to make the vehicle stand out with a normal paint job. However gaming wise it can restrict movement. One way round this is to use magnets so when the Tanks get into close combat or tight spots they can be detached.

  2. Matt, basing vehicles is something I've blogged about quite a bit. I base all my tanks - going as far as to order custom base sizes from Warbases just to get my Sherman Crabs looking right. For me it's a transport. Scale and 'no car park on the battlefield' look that matters most. I felt with most other BF vehicles coming on resin bases it made the tanks look smaller if they were without one! I've not played any tournaments, but the basing has never been an issue.

    At a game in a local shop one of the Scottish FoW Rangers basically tutted at me and told me I was daft. I explained my reasons, and my hatred for the flames of war car park, and was told that no one ever plays like that... Obviously someone that needs to read more AAR's on the FoW website! .

  3. A First-World Problem if ever there was one! It's amazing the disdain people can fling at others for doing something in a different way to themselves. Personally, I don't base my vehicles, but why on earth would it matter to me if someone else did? I think I'm probably just too lazy to do the extra work!

    I have a metal filling cabinet similar to yours, and I found the non-slip material that goes under rugs to be very effective in stopping models from sliding around in the draws.

  4. Again, the rulebook covers the issue - it states that the extra base height is ignored for LoS. Granted, this can be tricky some times, but often if you find yourself trying to justify a line of sight, then you often don't have one!
    *Grumbles about tournament players not playing the actual Flames of War rules*
    Nice models as always mate!

  5. All is good in the land of plenty. However, if I ever meet someone who based his tanks claiming no LOS because of the height, my opinion might sway. I generally hate basing anything, so don't do that.

  6. I've always based my vehicles, the fact that some BF models come with cast resin bases like say Opel trucks, contributed to that choice, to maintain a uniform appearance. Like Matt I too also based them on magnetic bases, as my army is pro painted it helps to avoid damage. I really am struggling to see what the issue is here, other than personal preferences. As long as it does not affect game play, then what is the problem? The basing I have on my vehicles is aimed at enhancing their appearance, nothing more