Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Skirmish Movement Trays for Lion Rampant

These movement trays have been made specifically for my medieval figures, all mounted on various types of 20mm square bases, for use when playing Lion Rampant.
Although not really necessary for skirmish games I find them a lot more practical and quicker than faffing about, moving dozens of individual figures around the tabletop. especially when playing a game in a more relaxed atmosphere between friends as opposed to a competitive game where every fraction of an inch matters to some people.

Using the Lion Rampant rule set your units consist of either six or twelve models depending on their type; therefore all these movement trays are allocated the appropriate number of spaces.
With these I have made specific bases to suit particular units. Some figures, such as these (unfinished) plastic Fireforge spearmen for instance, require a bit of thought to achieve a natural look and to avoid the figures sticking spears into each others earholes. It also helps when positioning the figures not to have similar models placed next to each other, although sometimes this is unavoidable. 

The actual overall sizes of the bases are actually not that important but as long as the figures are within 6" of each other everything should be fine, hence all my bases are less than 5" wide (better safe than sorry). 

Size-wise the largest is 5" x 3 1/2" (127 x 89mm) which is also the largest piece of MDF will fit into a plastic take-away container which I use when applying grass/flock the bases (I'm not as daft as I look). I use MDF off cuts from work (the red stuff I use is a fire proof variety). As I don't have access to a large bandsaw at home I've found that by repeatedly scoring with a sharp craft knife on both sides of the board (a metal rule or guide is essential if you don't wish to remove your fingers) you can quite easily cut thin MDF to the size you require.
Initial blank
Here's one I prepared earlier
As there is no 'unit facing',* I wanted to give the impression that the units are in a loose formation. You may notice that some of the figures seen here are even facing backwards in the examples shown. So rather than having the figures all positioned uniformly edge to edge I decided to space out the figures and create separate frames for each model on the MDF. Once happy with the final layout of the figures I marked the location with a pencil, The frames were then built up individually with wooden coffee stirrers allowing some wiggle room so that the figures would sit snuggly but not too tightly that I'd have problems removing them. Once dry the outer edges of the base are then chamfered and sanded down. The base can now be liberally smothered covered with PVA woodglue and covered in small stones and sand, taking care to ensure the square location gaps remain clear. 
When the base is completely dry (probably best left overnight) the whole base was painted with brown poster paint (the dirt cheap stuff available from craft shops or discount stores) then highlighted with my 'proper' acrylic paints to match the colours of the bases of my figures. The base was then varnished to offer some protection from wear and tear. The final stage is to apply the various grass and flock materials to give the bases a more realistic, natural look and to blend in with the bases of the figures.

In Lion Rampant mounted units consist of six models per unit. In order to give me some flexibility I decided to split the figures into two groups. 
One half of mounted unit movement tray
If you can't be bothered to go to all the effort of making similar bases (and to be honest it did involve a fair amount of time and effort to make these movement trays) Warbases make a product using the same principles. Examples can be found on the excellent blogger Saxondog's site:

* there are optional rules for this available from the author if you wish to introduce them. 
Lion Rampant variants