JR3 Basing

So far my main point of concern with the new Johnny Reb edition is that the basing has gone from 5 stands to 4. Since none of my infantry survived, rebasing is not the issue, its the effect the change has on table appeal; that which I find in smaller ratios and more lead. Finally giving JR3's concept the benefit of the doubt, I play tested the rules with variable unit frontages and 4 stands to regiment. We did so without miniature eye candy, instead we used counters to give the full weight of the experience to the rules themselves. In the end I was very happy and the tests won over a convert to wargaming, my 18 year old nephew.

Unfortunately the accepting of this change brought me face to face with a new problem. The variable unit frontages for JR3 would mean purchasing many sizes of bases. I know many out there would say "just get one or two sizes and call it good" but I'm of the notion that if I'm getting wet, I might as well go swimming, so its variable frontage for me. Litko was an appealing option, I will no doubt use them for my AWI and other periods, but for basing two entire armies with up to 5 different stand widths just for infantry I had to come up with something else. Not to mention the sizes I needed were not stock, but would have had to be custom cut. Also, I wanted to save money, if possible, on basing the ACW forces so that I can spend more dough on lead. My thoughts of Perry AWI always in my mind.

To solve the problem I looked for a constant and what I found was stand depth, which is constant at 3/4 inch. With a little thinking and a few minutes rummaging through the house examining everything in small dimension, I came upon what was to prove my solution. Popsicle sticks! Well not the skinny ones, but the large variety come in the exact depth I need 3/4.

The next issue was the cutting of said sticks. Lacking a laser I needed a solid solution that could produce consistent results. I tried xacto'ing, dremel'ing, and even gave the mini craft table saw a go. None of these worked. There was chipping, splintering, inconsistency, and every other problem under the sun. It wasn't long before I had a breakthrough. I was watching some show on tv and a guy was using a hand chisel to shape some wood. I thought to myself that if those things are sharp enough I could probably make a precise cut with one or two whacks. Sure enough, after testing a few times, the sticks proved soft enough to secure the chisel then with a couple of whacks it was cut clean. I did find that using a block of wood underneath was best, preferably a piece with a knot in it (for extra density) directly under the cutting.

The glorious upside to all of this would be that it is extremely cheap.
  • $15 chisel
  • $0 Hammer (had one)
  • $3.95 for 75 sticks or you can get a box of 300 for $3.80, but there are more irregularities in the box. These are Wal-Mart prices.
  • $0 small square (to draw straight lines. had one)

Under the basing guidelines I'm using, at the largest size stand, you can get 1 regiment's stands to a stick. A lot more if you count the smaller sizes needed. Considering the largest size only, one bag of sticks will give me 300 bases for $3.95. Below are some pictures to give you an idea. Some are darker to aid in the pencil marks showing up.

The only thing not listed here that I will do in the future is adhere materials on the bottom for magnetic storage capability.

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