Sunday, 15 September 2019

Thirty Years War: Provisional 6mm basing plans for Tilly's Very Bad Day

Suggested unit basing for 15mm etc in Tilly's Very Bad Day
In Tilly's Very Bad Day each base represents a brigade. When I was going to do this project in 2mm I had intended to model different infantry formations, even though they all count the same under the rules. Now I'm doing this in 6mm, I'll just create generic basing designs and apply them to all armies.

Rules author Steven Thomas is an enthusiast for Impetus-inspired 'Big Bases' and I completely share his tastes. Steven's Thirty Years War armies are 15mm and his infantry are mounted 12 up in two ranks on 80mm x 40mm bases. That's fairly generous in comparison with, say, standard DBX basing and allows plenty of space around a unit to give a dioramic effect.

I’m doing this project using Baccus 6mm figures. The infantry come in 20 mm wide strips of 4 figures. For the pike-and-shot era with pikes flanked by muskets, there's a strong pull to put these figures on 60mm wide bases unless you want to do a lot of extra clipping. I could have gone for 80 mm x 40mm bases but I want to keep the table size reasonably small.

TVBD is measured in half-basewidths called TUMs. For 60mm wide bases a small table is 3' x 2' and a large one 5' x 3'. Those are very convenient sizes for not having to stretch too much and/or for playing at home. I can erect a 6’ x 4’ table but it’s a lot of trouble. 5’x 3’ is slightly larger than my dining-room table (which is 4’ 5.5” x 2’ 10.5”) but perhaps it will do at a pinch. If not, I’ve long been thinking of constructing a light-weight hardboard playing  surface which can be stored against a wall somewhere and dropped on the table as needed. (It might be made in two sections hinged with gaffer tape.)

Anyway, the bases I will be using are:

Commanders: 30mm rounds.
Cannons: 30mm squares.
Else: 60mm x 30mm rectangles.

Bear in mind that I'm not trying to suggest any faction-specific or period-specific formation. I just need some pike flanked by shot to suggest a pike-and-shot unit. The bases will never be 'realistic': they are purely symbolic - they are game tokens!

Arrangement of figures:


3 mounted figures.



Light horse

These are supposed to be the same strength as Horse, but will look better with fewer figures irregularly placed. Exact number to be decided.


These also represent the same strength as Horse but may also look better with fewer figures. They will be depicted skirmishing with horse-holders and horses behind. Exact numbers to be decided.



Notwithstanding what I said in the opening paragraph about generic basing designs applied to all armies, I have been wondering whether I should take the opportunity to depict the Imperialists with a higher proportion of pikes. It doesn't affect their status under the rules. It's purely aesthetic. The obvious arrangement would be:






4 crew around a cannon.

I have not shown any officers, ensigns, sargeants or drummers in any of the above diagrams. I do intend to have them but haven't yet decided where to put them.


  1. It is now 4.25 in the morning and the post has shown, so I think it must be an issue of two posts being posted on one day that caused this to be hidden.

    all the above looks good. I have just checked some Baccus 6mm napoleonic sample bags that I bought and those figures which are in strips of four are clear (as in not joined) of the figure next to them and the figures could be clipped off, so I am assuming the same will apply to the figures you have ordered - clipping is a pain though!

    Your post is making me look at my 6mm napoleonics again :-)

    1. The only reason that I'm planning to clip some is to fit in some figures in alternate headgear for variation. I use GW clippers. You have to watch out for figures flying across the room and be prepared to take casualties!

  2. Oh - I just read your response on yesterdays post as to why this post had not shown - all good.

  3. I've just been playing around with some Baccus 6mm Franco-Prussian War figures which I happened to have, and I had no difficulty in getting three or even four ranks of infantry to fit on a base and still had enough room to put an ensign etc out in front.

    I could also fit up to 22 cavalry on a base, although I have no intention of using that number.

  4. Richard, it is exciting watching your plans unfold. For clarity, my big bases generally have 12 models on them, where a model is a man or horse. Dragoons, for example, might have 8 skirmishing dragoons, two horses, a horse holder, and a rider. 12. A magic number. There are, of course exceptions.

    I like your plans for 6mm. Lots of figures on base. Your magic number appears to be 36. Wow. That will be impressive.

    I wish I'd done more with the diorama effect. Officers and sergeants out the front organising the troops. Officer on a horse. Casualties. Whatever. So much scope.

    I toyed with the idea of different pike to shot ratios. But with 12 figures on a base it is quite tricky. So I settled on making all units fit the 2:1 ratio, with command figures included in the pikes.

    Good luck with your project

    1. Steven

      Thanks for providing more detail. I can see that options are lessened with larger figures. 36 will be impressive, but also more expensive! Still, I don't intend to skimp.

      Adding supernumeraries is tricky. I think they would probably have worked better if I had gone for 80mm x 40mm bases. The problem with adding them to smaller bases is that they would disrupt the rectangular lines of the pike-and-shot array and could just make the base look confused. I say this because I attempted something similar with some of my 10mm Nine Years War bases, and it didn't really work.

      Subject to practical testing I'm currently thinking of 36 figures in a four-square array and then an additional 2-4 command figures out in front.

      I've ordered some sheets of Baccus flags. One thing I need to research is how, for 6mm, these are actually supposed to be used, i.e. will I be sticking them on pikes or doing something else...?