Tuesday, 30 September 2014

the widest of bridges

The very wide bases we use for the Napoleonics do not allow for formation changes - nor do we want them to have that capability for that matter.  That would suggest a tactical capability which the rules do not nor want to have.  But this does restrict us to some degree for terrain purposes.  One of which is narrow crossings, such as between woodlands and especially river crossings: bridges and the like.

You can see in the accompanying photos of our wide stands on the normal model bridge does not look that convincing. It also could cause problems in combat adjustments; where exactly is the corner of the stand, etc.   I thought to solve these two problems by making crossings large enough to accommodate the large stands and have a defined 'end' point of the crossing.

While in hindsight I could have just made it to cross my existing rivers, I wanted to create a pontoon bridge and one small pontoon with very little river would look silly.  So I cut out some hardboard in a shape to bulge out the river and so make the pontoons look like being in the middle of a large river.

The way I construct is to have a plan drawn out in my head only to change it immediately upon looking at the materials at hand and then totally improvise!     My Virgo vs Libra conflict.  I am right on the cusp and show characteristics of both signs; often together......  So naturally you notice the lack of pontoons as well.  The bridge is fine for what it is for now.  Probably added together I would be surprised by the time it took to create, but with only a few minutes to do one part then let sit to dry for a few days only to go back and paint another part to match the existing river sections and so another small part, feels like very little effort went into it.  Perhaps it shows too!

Anyway here is the completed version of the recently constructed (raw lumber) crossing. The planks are removable.  I may build a stone version, or do as I originally should have, and simply build a model to span the river sections!


  1. Interesting approach, I have noticed the same problem. I prefer single unit bases, but they lose the visual appeal on roads and bridges.

    1. Way, way back, there was a wargamer of 1:72 scale plastics, who with the variety of poses those boxes seem to supply decided to have each battalion in each (!) of the following poses: standing, marching, firing , charging. He said he did not like the 'look' of a marching pose firing or the reverse. So when a formally charging unit would then march down a road, the charging battalion would be removed and the marching battalion would be placed upon the road. He would do this for EACH battalion mind you.
      While I suppose I could have marchers placed sideways, as it were, on some stands to indicate them marching through some defiles and over bridges, I am not prepared to do this extra painting for the effect. Wargaming is one of compromise as the following commentators acknowledge.
      Thanks for the comment.

  2. I'm trying to go for narrow roads and slim rivers, more in keeping with tracks and streams, but also being more to the ground scale. My first attempt with my ACW troops was using painted scene boards dedicated to the scenario. My attempt a Napoleonic scenario (using rules were on unit represents a brigade will be teh big challenge, but more because I want to deal with contours as well.

    I do like your big bases.

    1. Yup, ground scale and figure scale are two almost independent calculations in wargaming. If we use the figure scale, a major river could be five feet wide, if we use the ground scale, the river is only 2 inches. If we can place a stand of figures in a small redoubt and the stand represents 200 men, then the ground scale representation of the redoubt should be, what some 8 feet inches wide? [ a figure is ~1" tall, thus 1" linear scale, and if the unit forms two deep in defence - 100men x 1" = 100" /12" = 8+ feet!)

      That is type of stuff we must deal with. The mathematician aside, wargamers usual just do what looks good and what works with the rules. Thus with the nice big bases, we have to compromise perhaps even more but I am willing to do that.
      thanks for the continued comments

  3. *That* is some bridge! I reckon that you are spot-on Doug. Horizontal and particularly vertical scale are all over the place in wargames and yet we get all hung up about things needing to be the 'correct' scale. When all is said and done it is a representation and provided it works and does not produce strange, unexpected consequences on other parts of the table it does not matter, does it? The main thing is the overall effect and that the mechanics are about right at the scale of simulation being used.
    Nice post, thanks.

    1. In my previous responses to comments on this post, I have discussed this dichotomy between linear and vertical (figure) scales. I did the bridge in response to the very large bases we use (and love!) and the potential problems of a) "the look" and b) to try to eliminate some of the "debates" of movement and combat as a result of any crossing. This bridge and my previous 'crossing' model may help in b). Whether for a), it may just still look weird (?)
      Thanks for the comment