Saturday, July 31, 2021

Hobby Paralysis: The Struggle is Real

Round or square?  Why do I care so much?


I'm a stickler for bases. I like to joke that I put more effort into my basing than some people put into their entire army. Something that's been bothering me is that GW's larger round bases are noticeably thicker than the 25mm rounds and other squares. Here's a 40mm base compared to a 25mm base:



That might seem really nitpicky, but when every model is an individual, all that "side-edge" real estate adds up on the battlefield. Visible base sides are the reason I use a drab green rather than black for my base rims– Having a bold black ring around every model on the board really breaks the immersion, whereas green or brown base sides blend into the grass and dirt of the battlefield. I think the first time I began noticing this was when I was playing Warmachine– At first I thought that the rounded black lips created a nice-looking "chess piece" aesthetic, but when I started putting units of 10 and 20 models on the table, all that black in and around the miniatures' basing really started to bug me because it stuck out like a sore thumb.

When 30 models on square bases are all ranked up in a tray, the base edges vanish, but now when they're spread out it becomes much more noticeable. When I look at my Nighthaunt army, the base sides just stick out so much, and I've realized that part of it has to do with the thickness of the bases. (And before you ask, no, I'm not willing to simply put them on totally flat rounds. Since I've already got regular rounds on my Nighthaunt models, I'd like these to match when fielded as part of the same army. I reserve flat discs for my spells and counters.)

So, the least I can do is get rid of the excess thickness. To do this, I made a cutting guide out of thick plastic card. I stacked a few pieces to match the thickness of a 25mm base, and laid my knife on it to cut around the base and shave off the top to shorten the height. I tried using a belt sander, but the friction causes the plastic to warp a bit and it was almost impossible to keep it level and maintain a uniform thickness all the way around.





Here's what the base looks like trimmed down, and now it matches the height of the 25mm base. It just has a bit of a curve to the top, which won't be apparent once it has basing material on it.



I trimmed down a bunch of 40mm bases for my Fell Bats... and then GW posted the Warhammer Community article about Warhammer: The Old World, confirming that , yes, it will be a 28mm-scale, square-based game that will give players the opportunity to use older armies. Essentially a successor to Warhammer Fantasy. So, I was literally sitting there, staring at my bats, with 40mm rounds on one side and 40mm squares on the other, unsure which I should base them on. In my previous post, I had mentioned "hobby paralysis." Well this is what it looks like.



Building an army requires a lot of work and time (and it ain't cheap, either). The reward for that investment, is that you end up with models you can use for many years. For me, tabletop wargaming it's not a transient hobby; I don't collect, paint, and friggin' name my models just so I can sell them in a year and start over. But this new cycle of constantly rotating rules and formats seems to encourage just that. And I find it discouraging to the actual hobby. Why paint models when they'll be obsolete in a year? Why bother finishing the bases at all when they might be changed on a whim? Hell, even if I had re-based my undead for Age of Sigmar, the Vampire Lords would need to be re-based again anyway because they used to be on 32mm bases. Or, maybe I would have been one of those players who loyally re-based their entire army only to find out that it's been relegated to Legends and unusable for Matched Play.  And now they'll have to switch it back so they can use it again in The Old World!

So, the concern for exactly what is going to happen to my army in the future leads to paralysis when it comes to any kind of creative decisions. I'm absolutely not re-basing the rest of my Legions army onto rounds now, but what should I do with my new Soulblight models? Should I just square-base them to match the rest of my Legions army in the short term and then use them for The Old World? How long until The Old World comes out? Do I round-base them and treat is as a separate army from my Legions force? This is where the lack of new unit types in the Soulblight Gravelords book really hurts, because I'm reluctant to build and paint all-new units of skeletons and wolves when I already have so many. Is there another half of the Soulblight army coming in nine months? That's a reasonable assumption based on how the most recent battletomes have been handled, but who knows?

Its not even a matter of simply following the current fad and enjoying it while it lasts, because the turnover is so fast now, by the time I get an army up to par, everything could have changed. I've already written off playing any games the rest of this year due to Covid being back on the rise, so I feel like I could comfortably skip the entire 3rd Edition of Age of Sigmar, and not even miss it, because by the time I'm back in a game store on a regular basis, we'll all be ready for 4th Edition.

I honestly don't know why I struggle with this so much. I'm probably never going to participate in an Official™ tournament, and no one really cares at the local level. I just don't like having to "fix" work that's already done. So, I've decided to go with the round bases on the bats for now, and I've planned out the positioning and basing details so they will line up and rank up on squares. When the time comes, I'll cut away the sides and put the round tops on 40mm squares. It's much easier to go from a round to a square because you just need to add material to fill out the corners, rather than cutting off the corners to fit within a circle. And, I'm not going to have 10,000 points worth of models to re-base. (That's another thing– Even if I had re-based my undead, I'd only be able to field a fraction of it anyway because army sizes are getting smaller.)



I used fencing from the Sigmarite Mausoleum for the bases, and extended one of the bats' tree stumps with wire and modeling putty.



I also made this base for something (or someone):



'Til next time!


  1. depends if you're going to play games in old editions soon or not

  2. I feel ya - I'm having a similar debate with my old Empire army: rebase vs. wait.

    GW seems hesitant (as ever) to release too much info ahead of time, lest it dampen enthusiasm for what's coming out right now, but the current pace of change doesn't match how long it takes to paint up an army, which has it's own dampening effect. More guidance about what's coming would be great.

    1. Yeah, definitely don't re-base them. I feel like the Cities of Sigmar battletome is just a stopgap like Legions of Nagash was– It will get paired down at some point and parts of it will become unusable so you'll have re-based for nothing.

    2. Fingers crossed the info about the "Dawnbringer Crusades" is a teaser of a new cities-focused book.

    3. Dawnbringer Crusades sounds like it's part of the Crusade/ Path to Glory campaign system.

  3. GW's base shenanigans have really put a dampener on my hobby drive, too. I had just finished a display board for my Space Marines that was laid out for standard 25mm bases when they introduced 32mm for Marines but weeks later. Bummer. And the switch to round bases for Fantasy miniatures was equally annoying. Thankfully, I'm not much of a gamer, so all my old Chaos stuff is still sitting happily on squares...

    But since you tend to have more elaborate bases, might it be an option to magnetize the "terrain" bits and match a square and a round base to each so you can easily switch them? It'll be fiddly for some models though. Especially tiny-footed skeletons...

    1. I actually did that for my second Terrorgheist- had him perched on a wall and magnetized the wall to fit on a round or square base.

    2. For your characters, magnetizing them so you can switch between round and square bases, as has already been suggested, is probably the best option. For troops, I would put them on round bases and buy or make square movement trays (like the ones from https://6squaredstudios.ca/store/square-movement-tray-3x2-40mm-bases/ or https://sarissa-precision.com/collections/trays/products/1x1-conversion-tray-for-40mm-round-bases , but there are quite a few companies who now produce those 'conversion movement trays').

    3. I've done that for my banshees and wraith. As for putting the round-based troops in trays, it'll depend on how much of a size difference there is and if it will give an accurate representation of the number of models. For example, a Fell bats on 40mm rounds could easily slot into trays representing the 40mm squares.

      Probably not a big deal in-game, though. I'm just more a stickler for all the base styles matching more than anything else.

  4. Luckily, there are many good alternatives to GW games.
    I returned to the hobby after a long haitus because there were other skirmish-type games I wanted to play. My current favorites are Frostgrave, Stargrave, Five Parsecs from Home, and Mork Borg Forbidden Psalm.

    If you want a direct parallel with GW games you could play One Page Rules.

    GW makes great models but no so great game rules. Don't get discouraged from getting to actually play a game!

    1. Thanks for the suggestions! I'm sure I'll eventually settle on *something* for the rules. But Covid's only getting worse, so I'm not even worrying about gameplay now, just building models. :)


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