It seems like basing of Flames of War mini's is a recurring topic for me! I'm still pondering on how to deal with the Churchill Crocodiles and their trailer, but this week I have also been working on my 4.2" Heavy Mortars.
I've seen some really, really great setups for these guys in the past. Including Cameron's excellent work here and here. Seeing those models came at a time when I was struggling to get enthused about working on stuff and helped me get back into what I was doing at the time.
Aside from looking great, Cameron's models have something that are seen quite often on artillery models, and that is a base showing the artillery to be dug in. For my birthday last July I got a box of 25-pdr's from A. These will allow me to have a full 8 gun battery. One small issue for me are these:
'Scenic' bases that come with the guns. Now, they are really really nice - and look great. But my other 4 guns are on standard flat bases, so the 8 guns are going to look different. So, the next thing then is not to use these bases. However, as the turning plate for the guns is sculpted on the bases, they are not included in the box. Sooooo.... I have to use the sculpted bases of find some of the circular plate things from somewhere. (Anyone want to swap?)
The other reason I have an issue with these sculpted bases is that in my mind, these guns are dug in.
OK, so I know that they are not dug in as in 'in a gun pit' dug in. But there is an element of protection on the base - which is something represented totally differently in FoW. Don't get me wrong - I don't think enough is modelled dug in. Troops in Normandy learned that if you were not sleeping, advancing or being shot at, you were digging (and I'm pretty sure the first three were happening while digging was going in). I've seen some really really nice sets of 20mm WW2 models that basically had squads in foxholes - but for my FoW force I made the decision to have everything on fairly plain bases. This was as much to represent the troops on the advance around Totalise as anything else.
If and when I do a opposition force, they will be the opposite - as much dug in as possible.
I do try to make the bases look interesting where there is need for them to be. For example, my 4.2" Mortars are currently looking like this:
Unusually for me, I decided to paint these bits on the bases. Mainly because of the bother of trying to keep the Mortar parts together while painting them. When I did the 3" Mortars I had to assemble them several times - mainly due to my son deciding he liked them being in bits. He knows not to touch daddies models, but mortars are not toy soldiers... It's now been a year since I have seen him and 1 year and a half since he has been in my house :(
Anyway, that's where I'm at. Stuck between feeling that I should try and keep the artillery bases simple, because being 'dug in' is a particular thing in FoW and I don't feel right having dug in models that are not dug in for rules purposes... and having to use the scenic bases because I am missing the parts I need to base the guns the same as the others I have done! First world problems, eh?