Of movement trays and sabots

25 Nov

I have to admit, when I started wargaming Napoleonics, I thought I had it easy. Lots of minis to play with, but with multi basing (= more than one mini per base) those should have been easy to move around. Real life told me, this was not the case.

But at least this was to be the only basing problem, right! No hassle with skirmishers since those are to based in a uniform manner. Well again life taught me this was not the case. But this year I came up with a couple of solutions that I want to share with you.

Movement trays

Given that there are a lot of battalions on the average Napoleonics table, it can take quiet some time to move them around. Especially if they are big ones. And even with small units, there is always the danger of stands touching in an undesired way and paint rubbing of. Movement trays are a neat solution for this. You will say that movement trays are no big Voodoo and indeed you are right. I have been using them in other cases, so what is the problem here. Well honestly… I did not think about them, until Victrix released their trays. Now since I use their 40mm x 40mm bases for my infantry bases, this was a logical solution for me. The only problem was… I do not base all my minis that way. In some cases I use bases 50mm wide (if there is one mounted offer on the base) or 60mm wide (in case the historical unit size ends me up with a 6 mini base). And there are other problems. The Victrix bases are 120mm wide (= 3 40mm bases), but since I use historical unit sizes, I will at times have a number of stands which cannot be decided by three. Now with most of my abnormal basing requirements I go to Warbases since they have never disappointed me. And they did give me just what I wanted in this case too. I gave them the sizes I needed, told them that these should match the ones available from Victrix and that was all that was needed. So I got me a number of trays that can hold two bases, as well as ones for 2 ½ and 3 ½ bases. The only thing I forgot to order was trays for the 2 ¼ and 3 ¼ trays (to fit the bases containing mounted officers), but that should easily be remedied with my next order! So here are the results:

French Marine Infantry in their movement tray

French Marine Infantry in their movement tray
[left: tray by Victrix, right: custom tray by Warbases]

Prussian Jäger in movement tray

Prussian Jäger in movement tray
[both custom trays by Warbases, left: 2 ½ bases wide, right: 2 bases wide]


Now the far more complicated problem for me are those units that can deploy the whole unit as skirmishers under the Republic to Empire rules (like Légère, Rifles or Jäger)… lets call them Lights. Now the rules do not give you a fixed base size or shape for skirmishers, but I chose double hex bases (custom-made by Warbases again) for this. When I started painting Napoleonics I wanted to do both regular and skirmisher bases for these Lights. But once the first few units were painted I realized, that this would mean a lot of extra effort and indeed cost. So I decided to base those lights on half bases, so I could just use them as skirmisher teams, too. Again I had Warbases cut me those half bases to match the bases I usually use. Now the only problem with this brilliant idea was that once deployed as skirmishers, they had a far smaller footprint than their skirmisher brethren from the regular regiments.

Skirmisher comparison

Skirmisher comparison
[skirmishers from a regular Regiment to the left, Light regiment to the right]

Some time this year I suddenly though sabots might be the solution, so I got back to  Warbases (you can see the pattern developing ;-)) and asked them to cut me custom sabots to match my existing skirmisher bases and able to hold my half bases. And again they delivered in no time and with virtually no explanation of what exactly I wanted. And here are the results (I did not add any grass tuffs to the sabots, since I want to stack them up when not in use).

Prussian Jäger in their skirmisher sabots

Prussian Jäger in their skirmisher sabots
[custom sabots by Warbases]

I have to say, I am pretty pleased with my solution and hope you will agree.

While this post is in no way sponsored by them, I would suggest anyone who needs some regular or custom / special bases, movement trays or sabots give Warbases a try… I think you will not be disappointed!


Posted by on November 25, 2013 in Basing, Napoleonic, Republic to Empire, Rules


12 responses to “Of movement trays and sabots

  1. aslfan

    November 25, 2013 at 00:06

    What a great idea and I also use Warbases for my custom requirements, they can’t be beat



    • Burkhard

      November 25, 2013 at 11:04

      Thanks Ian and I knew there would be others with similar experiences with regards to the service from Warbases.

      BTW… You really must have looked at the post first thing when it came up, since this was really fast!


  2. Jonathan Henry

    November 25, 2013 at 00:31


    Some time ago you asked for ideas regarding a game that you could set up and play at a convention and how it coincides with historical anniversaries. I am liking the idea you tossed out for Berlin. If on a multiple night/days you could have the final drive on Berlin. You could have on the 1st night the set up for Seelow, the next day cover the surrounding of the city and the final would be putting the Reichstag on the table. Now you have plenty of both Germans and

    Russians to do this and you could focus on the terrain and on item in particular.

    The Tiger 1 of Muncheberg Numbered 323. This big cat was one of the last 5 made and performed quiet well. She was serving with wounds from the Oder on to Berlin where she was destroyed by her crew. This would be a battle/game that evolves. I think it would be so awesome that those that start on the 1st day would play in on through. If this is something you would be interested in I would love to share more ideas and help out.

    This is just an idea. I still thank you for the posts you had for Face of Battle. I have made alterations to the game to suit my tastes. Vehicles are very detailed and I use the Battleground WW2 by Easy 8 Ent. To make it more detailed. I use as many of the old Bandai type models I can find on eBay and do the interiors as well. I am loving it and investing heavily in my terrain. Using a lot of O Scale models railroad buildings.


    • Burkhard

      November 25, 2013 at 11:09

      Hi Jonathan,

      unfortunately Crisis is a one day event, but I have to admit I really love this idea of following one particular vehicle through the battles! It would be hard to do that at the show, but it sure is a great idea for club nights!

      The troops should not be a problem since I have around 200 Russians and enough Wehrmacht for a company worth. A similar number of SS should follow over this winter.

      Glad to have someone else around who likes the Face of Battle (modified or not), I still feel they are the best out there! And i share you feelings for the Bandai tanks. Quiet happy Tamiya have stepped up their efforts once more, too!


  3. Tom Halpin

    November 25, 2013 at 10:57

    Thanks for sharing this, Burkhard. I usually make my own bases and movement trays from thick plastic card but, despite being cheaper financially, it is time consuming. I have been considering sabots for skirmishers for some months now and have decided against making my own, so I shall be contacting Warbases in the new year.


    • Burkhard

      November 25, 2013 at 11:12

      Hi Tom,

      glad I could point you that way. I have to say, that I had been thinking about cutting my own bases (from styrene sheets) in the past, but as you say, this is time consuming and so far I have been so happy with the prices Warbases have provided, that I felt it was not worth the time lost to paint minis.


  4. Dean

    November 26, 2013 at 16:20

    Burkhard: You certainly have all your “bases” covered:) I had the same thought when playing Black Powder games with a lot of units. I actually have some cavalry on movement trays. Best, Dean


    • Burkhard

      November 27, 2013 at 11:00

      Thanks Dean… nice pun there! 😉


  5. Engel

    November 30, 2013 at 22:44


    You just got to love movement trays.


  6. Ernie FOSKER

    February 5, 2015 at 13:20

    Brilliant ideas ~ gives me something to think about as I build my 15mm WoSS armies ~ a big problem with WoSS warfare is the difference of firing methods between the French/Bavarians (volley fire) and the English(British if you prefer)/Dutch (platoon fire) and how to depict it on the table top.

    As for ‘Warbases’ they’re a brilliant company ~ absolutely superb nothing is ever too much trouble and their turn round time is excellent. I can’t speak too highly of them.

    Ernst von Pretzel und Bratwurst mit Pomfrit.


    • Burkhard

      February 5, 2015 at 15:56

      Thank you and glad you like the ideas. And I would be honoured if I was able to inspire you.

      And yes… Warbases are just brilliant. I am so glad I found them!



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