Thursday, 28 February 2013

Stands and Deliverance - Megablitz basing

Don M (he of Brazos Evil Empire fame) has requested a post dealing with the bases I use for my 20mm Megablitz toys.  So if you're reading this and don't like it you know who to blame...
The ground scale I use is 4cm=1km, so a battalion sized unit ideally has a base width of around 4cm, as one kilometre is the minimum frontage such a unit would occupy. 
Leg infantry are mounted on 4x4cm bases like the Italians above,  All photos have been taken against my cutting mat which is marked with a 1cm grid.  Hopefully this will help give readers a better idea of sizes.  The dark square at the rear left of the base is the mount for the unit's strength point (SP) marker.  I'll cover SPs in a future post.
My older (veteran?) units are based on balsa (3/8inch thick from memory).  I like fairly thick bases for two reasons:  Ease of handling - which helps to preserve the toys and to help set the stand apart from the terrain - this helps to overcome the notion that a toy tank or whatever represents a real one.  It doesn't.  Rather it represents a battalion-sized unit of, say 40-80 tanks.  All of this can really annoy self-styled 'proper' gamers.  Do I look bothered?
In the case of Motor Battalions, Panzer Grenadiers and the like who have their own integral transport vehicles, I mount the figures and vehicles on the same base - as in the case (above) of this battalion from 21 Panzer Division.  Vehicle bases are again ideally 4cm wide and can be as long as neccessary to accompdate the toys.  In case someone asks, the plastic figures on this stand are accompanied by their Roco Steyr lorry.  Very postwar but it somehow looks the part.
Some models end up on really quite long bases - such as this Flak batalion represented by an Sdkfz 7 (Roco) and trailer (Airfix), also on the strength of 21PD
More recent models have bases cut from foamcore board.  This is about as thick as the balsa bases but a hell of a lot quicker and easier (and cheaper!) to cut.  I use a steel safety rule and a Stanley knife with a fresh blade.
Some models - especially tanks and bigger guns need wider bases.  This Pz Abt (Matchbox PzIII with resin turret) from 21PD needs a 5cm wide base.  While we're dealing with tanks I should mention that I glue on the turrets.  It's not a PzIII, it's a battalion...   This too can annoy others!
When building units it is always best to consider what looks more or less 'right', rather than what is 100% accurate.  A case in point is this Italian lorry.  This is actually a 15mm (Peter Pig resin & metal) model, but the real thing is so huge that this toy looks OK with 20mm figures. 
It is worth tailoring base sizes so that the finished division fits in a boxfile. It is evident from this photo that 21PD is a nice snug fit!

Coming soon - SP markers.

Remember that if you'd like me to run a post on a particular Megablitz unit (or unit type) feel free to ask.


Archduke Piccolo said...

I am rather intrigued by Megablitz, though have never tried it. As far as models and 'leg' stands representing something more than a single man or vehicle, I am a convert this far: I'm pretty much a Command Decision man, who plays a bit of Panzer Marsch and has occasionally thought of giving Spearhead a crack.

But I do like the idea of a rule set that in 20mm scales brings the entire Panzer Armee Afrika within range of the 'average' wallet (give or take a Global Financial Collapse).
Just looking at those really nice shiny toys representing a whole Panzer division... wow!


Sean said...

It does look good. I have two possibly related questions. Where can one purchase the rules so that you get your due? And are there mechanisms for solo Megablitz?

Paul said...

I like the whole idea of the Megablitz basing as well and am tempted to make something up just for the heck of it.

Your best post for March I think.

Martin Rapier said...

There are quite a few rulesets out there which use battalion sized bases for operational gaming, of which Megablitz is a very fine example. I base all my stuff with an eye towards that particular level of game (2mm, 6mm, 15mm and 20mm) and usually buy all the extra bits (like fuel trucks, AA batteries, ambulances etc) to do all the division/corps/army support elements should they be required. The same toys can of course be used for lower level games.

For 20mm, like Tim, I use foamcore for bases. Unlike Tim I don't stick the turrets down:)

"brings the entire Panzer Armee Afrika within range of the 'average' wallet"

It does indeed, although being a cheapskate I have the entire German, Italian and Commonwealth armies of the Crusader/Gazala in 6mm rather than 20mm. My big stuff is reserved for Italy and NWE with a dose of Tunisia. Tim otoh.....

Tim Gow said...

Let's just say it makes a high level of megalomania affordable...

Tim Gow said...

In the UK, Wargames Emporium should still have stocks
Failing that I still have a few copies - I expect we can sort something out.

Tim Gow said...

Posted on Feb 28th I'm afraid!
I know you are resistant to the idea of basing vehicles, but as well as being useful to the game - as an indication of the real estate occupied by the unit - it also helps protect the toys from damage.

Tim Gow said...

I of course have it all in 20mm AND 6mm......

Sean said...

I can't seem to see it on their site or the link you provided. I thought I had sourced a copy in the US but can't find it now. I'll look to email you about it.

Don M said...

At last...........hip hip hurray!
LOL, just thought I'd pull the other one,
very useful to me in light of my recent
acquisition of some Frogy bits....)

Tim Gow said...

Glad to be of service Don!

The Ferrymen said...

Hi Tim,
I enjoy your blog, especially when it's WWII-related.
As long as you're taking questions, I've always wondered why Megablitz, being such a large-scale game, doesn't use a gridded playing area. It seems like it would simplify the rules, which must already be fairly abstract, considering the scale. Not a criticism, just a question.
Looking forward to future battle reports.

Tim Gow said...

Megablitz rather predates the era of gridded games. If I was starting again I'd seriously consider a grid.