Saturday, October 24, 2015

Infantry Sabot Bases


My blog entries have taken a bit of a hiatus recently because I've been busily working on a new basing system for my Infantry.

I've always been a bit uncomfortable with the way infantry are represented in FFT when they dismount from their APC/IFV transports. I don't like the amount of space that is taken up by the two bases (Infantry + Transport), and the way they are treated as completely separate entities - in reality, at the ground scale of FFT, the infantry and transport fight as a closely integrated team most of the time. Added to this is the added time and irritation of moving and positioning two bases when 90% of the time they move around together anyway.

But I think I've hit upon a solution that I'm happy with - Sabot Bases.

I've spent a bit of time re-basing a whole load of my infantry onto Sabot bases that fit around my existing vehicle transport bases. Whilst re-basing is the bane of most wargamers, I think it's been worthwhile.

My sabot bases are laser-cut MDF with a 50mm frontage and 62mm depth. These sizes were chosen after  experimenting with different options, but I settled on these because two of them will fit in each of the 4" hexes I use for my terrain system, and they balance functionality and aesthetics. The front of the base is an area 50mm wide by 20mm deep for the dismounted infantry to occupy, and the laser cut-out holes are designed to accept my existing APC/IFV bases (on either 40x40mm or 30x40mm bases). This avoids re-basing of all my vehicles at least! Since both the vehicle bases and the sabots are laser-cut, they fit together nice and tightly so the base can be picked up and moved as a single item without the vehicle stand falling out all the time. Some photos are below.

The two stands: An Infantry Sabot on the left; and
One of my standard APC bases on the right (this one BTR-70s).

Fitted together (APC base fits into the Infantry Sabot).

Because they're laser-cut, they fit together nicely, without big gaps.

To show the versatility of the system:
The same Infantry Sabot that is used with these M2 Bradley IFVs...
... Can be used with these CV-90s...

... or these Warrior IFVs...

... or these ZBD-09s.

So how are these used in play? Well, the vehicles move around the battlefield and when the infantry dismount, the sabot is added to them to make a combined base. This is easier to move around (one base instead of two), and occupies a more realistic combined frontage and depth (instead of occupying twice the space, the combined platoon occupies about 1.5 times the space). I've found in my FFT games that 90% of the time when Infantry dismount, they still operate together with their transports. So it's easier to treat them this way, allows them to fight together and also does away with some ambiguous rules about Infantry and AFVs supporting each other within 1/4" (with a combined base there is no ambiguity).

Sabots in action!
This attacking Soviet MR Battalion is an example of a bunch of Infantry Sabots, in this case with BTR-70s.

I've added some updates to my FFT3 House Rules file to outline how these are used, but in summary:
  • The dismounted infantry and transport for a single combined base (Transport + Dismounted Infantry Sabot);
  • They still fight, are spotted and fired upon, and take casualties as two bases, however they both occupy the area represented by the combined base;
  • If players really wish to fight their dismounted infantry and transports as separate entities, with significant distance between them, then use the bases separately (ie. don't use the infantry as sabots).
The BTRs could just as easily be swapped out to make this a BMP mounted battalion.

A closer up view.
These are my Soviet Infantry, in brownish uniforms with lighter olive helmets.
They'll also do for Arabs in my Arab-Israeli games.

A nice view of an advance.
Tanks lead, Infantry advance supported by their integral APCs.

Other added bonuses of this basing system are:
  • for attack scenarios (probably deliberate attacks) where the attacker wishes to concentrate a lot of infantry in a limited frontage, Infantry bases could be added into the sabots in lieu of transports, effectively giving two infantry platoons in the same footprint. So more concentrated firepower in the attack / close assault, but very vulnerable to indirect fire. But it gives the player an option to do this if the tactical situation warrants it;
  • The combined Infantry / Transport bases also provide versatility for using the same miniatures and basing system for other rules systems. For example, they are perfect for using as "combat teams" for Modern Spearhead, and butting two of them together makes a great company base for FiveCore Brigade Commander.
  • Since the transports fit into the Infantry sabot, the same Infantry can be used with different transports. So the system retains the flexibility of being able to swap out different transports, rather than permanently basing the Infantry and Vehicles together in fixed single-base systems like MSH.

These are my greenish uniformed infantry.
I use these for NATO Cold War forces, and any others that wear green uniforms.
I'm going to do some light Tan uniformed troops too, to use for desert-camo and other light uniforms.
Maybe some in grey(-ish) uniforms too...


  1. Now that is clever, I can see it working for 6mm too.

  2. Rather ingenious mate - great outcome

  3. Very clever, and as Chris mentions, useful for a few scales.

    I suppose you could also use those same infantry sabots with a game where you mark status and such with dice or counters, and have the dice or counters in the sabot instead of the vehicles. (i.e. moral markers for a blackpower type game)