All About the Base, About the Base …

A busy rainy day rebasing Peter Laing 15mm figures.

A few of my Peter Laing 15mm as based and roughly painted in 1983 …
My original 1980s Plastic Card bases for Peter Laing musketeers and highlanders. 

A rainy day today, so after a short while rebasing some recently acquired Peter Laing Ancient Greeks, I had the bulk of my time well spent rebasing and flocking some of my 1980s Peter Laing English Civil War and 17th/18th Century Scots. These were the first Peter Laing figures I ever bought, so greatly treasured.

Plastic Card had a slight tendency to warp a bit  on my original larger bases. Peter Laing F517 Musketeers in helmet firing, F505 Standing Drummer in Hat, F504 Standard Bearer with original flock or ballast bases. 

For the last thirty odd years they have waded through knee-high thick dark green flock grass or over gravel ballast, scrounged from the family model railway scrap box when my pocket money ran out.

To suit the Peter Laing / John Mitchell ECW rules they were originally based in groups of 6, 4, 3, 2 0r 1 to make up small regiments of 20 or 30 infantry, which could have casualties removed in various combinations.

Whilst these strips of figures looked good to my childish eye, for my current skirmish Close Little Wars games, I need figures on individual bases.

Just a few of my Peter Laing F503 Musketeer in hat marching, now individually rebased. Lots more to rebase this winter. 

I have rebased the figures in my own ‘blend’, a mix of different coloured Woodland Scenics flocks, play pit fine sand, very fine local beach pebbles and some of the original 1980s ballast recycled.  A little shadow of the original gravel or dark green flock remains around the figure bases, for old time’s sake to remember my childhood efforts.

My favourites F515 Dismounted dragoon firing, now individually based for skirmishes. 

In most cases I had based my strips of figures on bases roughly similar in size to the individual bases I use today, roughly 15mm by 15mm.

In some cases I could easily score and cut the original plastic card  then simply remove old flock or ballast then reflock. The occasional figure that needed a new base has one made from scrap art mounting board card.

The Scots Highland troops from Peter Laing’s “suitable items from other ranges for use with the ECW (500) range” remain great great favourites.

They were designed not only to oppose Peter Laing’s original Marlburian range “to extend the range to cover the ’15 and ’45 risings “ but also “to provide suitable Scots figures for Montrose’s army.”

Peter Laing F1001 Highlanders with lochaber axes, F1005 Highland standard bearer and F1004 Highland drummer with M1001 Mounted Highland officer, now individually rebased. My 1983 matt enamel paint job. 
Peter Laing F1008 Highlanders advancing along with Highland command group, now individually rebased. My 1983 paint job needs updating and detailing. 
Peter Laing F1006 Highland clansmen with claymores. Chaaarge!


Sometimes there is quite a lot of facial detail on Peter Laing figures, something  to look at when I repaint these again from their 1983 original painting. 

I still have lots of Peter Laing musketeers, pikemen and cavalry to rebase this winter as well as finding the Highland Piper and Officer.

Recently I have been painting or repainting my Peter Laing figures as needed using gloss acrylic rather than the original matt enamel Humbrol / Airfix paints easily available or scrounged in the 1980s. I really enjoyed as a child painting the bright colours of English Civil War regiments and banners, so the colourful gloss acrylics should add to this when repainting is due.

I did get around to painting my Peter Laing Lowland Regiments in the mid 1980s but never finished them off with flock or basing, as I probably ran out of expensive Plastic Card. The pocket money ‘war budget’ kept running out,  as I usually (over)spent it on figures rather than basing materials.

I have recently acquired on EBay a few more bashed Peter Laing Highlanders and Lowlanders that need repainting, along with a few more Marlburian infantry to paint and base. These were recently obtained from Alec Green, swapped for an strange excess of Marlburian drummers and gunners.

Hopefully soon my recent Peter Laing Marlburian swaps  will look as splendid Alec Green’s neatly painted and based Marlburian infantry. Photo: Alec Green. 

I think that there will be a few Close Little Wars skirmishes and ambushes in the suitably “cluttered terrain” of the Glens this coming spring, once the Highland snow has melted of course!


Send no money or stamps, Peter Laing has retired and moved. Sadly the whereabouts of the moulds is currently (October 2016) not known. Military Modelling advert c.1982/83,  7p a foot figure! 

You can read more about John Mitchell’s English Civil War starter rules and the Peter Laing ECW range here:

The Close Little Wars skirmish rules I use  (based on Donald Featherstone’s appendix to his 1962 book War Games) are featured here:

The blog title? Borrowed from Meghan Trainor’s song All about the Bass – watch the retro version by the talented Kate Davies and Postmodern Jukebox and other ensemble / tour versions on the Postmodern Jukebox channel on YouTube and ITunes.

Hope you enjoyed some of the fruits of my rainy day at the kitchen table spent “flocking“, as it’s known in my household.

Blog posted by Mark, Mr MIN Man of TIN blog, October 2016. All photos unless stated by Man of TIN blog.

6 thoughts on “All About the Base, About the Base …”

    1. Thanks Alan
      I will post further pictures when more rebasing completed. Amazing how the lighter flock brightens the figures, even without my conversion to gloss toy soldier style acrylic paint.
      Mark, Man of TIN blog


  1. Great shots of your Peter Laings. I also like having my figures single based. Your post makes me mad at myself; a few months’ ago a large collection of PL Highlanders was up for sale. I actually forgot about them and therefore missed out on buying them. Looking at your collection brings back that bad memory!


    1. John
      Thanks for you comments – single bases are working well for me with very small scale actions with few figures 20-30 each side. Too fiddly for larger actions though. I would hate to rebase them again so would require building movement boxes /bases if I ever went back to regimental / bigger actions.

      I know that feeling when you forget to bid or get outbid without realising. Frustrating!
      Mark, Man of TIN blog


  2. Mark – the figures look great – I especially like to see Laings that I don’t have in my own collection.
    My basing technique is similar, though I use a mixture of multiple and single bases designed to fit simple rules a friend of mine and I came up with a VERY long time ago!
    I just use artist’s mounting board, the figures are stuck on with ‘UHU’ clear glue (works perfectly!) and then I cover the base with PVA and fine sand. For larger bases I add a few pieces of gravel (sieved from some sharp sand).
    My colour scheme is a garish yellow-green emulsion (very seventies!), with washes of heavily thinned down (with white spirit) burnt umber, burnt sienna and sap green oil paint.
    You should get an idea from the pictures I took of my ‘Wargaming 19th Century Europe’ game board – the terrain tiles of which are done in the same finish (but acrylics and water rather than oil and white spirit as the latter would melt the foam core!)


    1. Hello Ian
      My basing technique is pretty much the same as yours minus the base colours. I like the newer solvent free UHU as it doesn’t smell or string so much.

      Like you I like art mounting board for bases (despite the expense) but was lucky to intercept a couple of box files worth of ex-display stuff heading for a bin at work. The Plastic Card I used before was a not often available (because of the expense) option in place of the poor cardboard available to me in the 1980s when no beer mats were available.

      I like your idea of blending the figure bases in with your terrain boards – the Google site pictures of yours look very good from all angles, well blended in with the PECO backdrops. Not got around to terrain boards yet whilst I play around with hex boards for now.
      Fabulous figures as ever.
      Mark, Man of TIN


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