Befreiungskriege 1813-14

Painting and modelling 28mm Napoleonic wargaming miniatures

Not warped but bowed

Posted by Martin on May 9, 2010

I’ve got an inconvenience to solve. It’s not quite big enough to be described as a problem but it is a thing I need to do something about.

I like Litko’s laser-cut plywood bases. In particular I like the thin 1.5mm ones (rather than the 3mm ones) because I prefer my figures on a lower profile base. However, this preference for the thinner base may just be the cause of my present inconvenience. I ordered some 100mm x 60mm bases for my horse artillery battery and during an inspection yesterday I noticed that these bases don’t lie completely flat on the table but bow up slightly in the middle. I’ve never had this problem with Litko bases before but I’ve never had such large bases before so there’s probably a correlation.

The question is what to do about it. I slept on it overnight and decided on a plan this morning. As I write this, one of the bases is soaking for a few minutes in a bowl of water. When I’ve posted this, I’m going to fish it out and clamp it firmly flat to my workbench with a couple of G-clamps and leave it there to dry out. It seems like a simple plan so I’ll be delighted if it works.

If you’ve had a similar problem and found a solution to it, then I’d be interested to know about it.

14 Responses to “Not warped but bowed”

  1. Peter Royle said

    Hi Martin like you I prefer the thinner Litko bases and. I also had same problem with thicker bases, i.e Artillery, warping so I ended up plumping for the slightly thicker ones. The 1.5 mm bases seemed ok until I based them up.
    Cheers Peter Royle

  2. Hello Martin

    Your solution is the one I immediately thought of. This should be a major source of concern for you!! 8O)

    BTW I use 3mm Litko’s with no issues to date. To be fair they are all magnetised and spend most of their time stuck flat on metal so perhaps this has helped.

    Good luck with the fix.

    von Peter himself

  3. El Mercenario said

    I use 2mm thick cardboard for my bases, I cut it depending I would need. As 3mm Litko’s are so thick, I used some 1,5mm round ones for generals, and that’s right, sometimes they bent a little by the middle. For larger rectangular bases for limbres etc. I always use 2mm aluminium bases, it’s cheap and can be cut at the shop according to your needs.

  4. Phil said

    Were they delivered this way or did they get this way after you put some basing material or paint on them? If the former, I’d send ’em back. If the latter, I’d give them some time. I built up a bunch of terrain bases on mdf and they bowed when I put the basing material on them, but after a week or two they flattened back out.

  5. Gaz said

    I’ve used 1.5 / 2mm ply for years in all sizes. I buy if from The Model Shop in central Manchester and I’ve never had a problem with it. maybe it’s just a bad batch of sheet Litko have had? Unless exposed to continually damp conditions and not sealed properly, ply shouldn’t warp – that’s the whole point of it.

  6. John M, said

    Hi Martin, I get my bases from Geronimo jones, same stuff as the litko bases and a bit cheaper great quality too

    all the best

  7. Ralph said


    With regard to your use of the term P-Brigade to denote a Prussian Bde in R2E, whilst this is a perfectly workman like solution, in the interests of authenticity could you not use the term ‘Abteilung’ instead? My understanding is that this was the term used at the time for the smaller all arms mission specific detachments that might equate to a conventional bde, at least over the term of a table top battle. You could then refer to the actual parent Bde as a Division, thus conforming to the other armies in use?

    Or am I revealing my ignorance?

    Kind Regards,


    • Martin said

      Hmmm, that’s an interesting idea. The word Abteilung has several literal translations including department, division, section, unit and even office. That makes it a very flexible term and, historically, it’s been used in several senses by the Prussian/German military. In the Revolutionary Wars and the early Napoleonic period, my understanding is that Abteilung was a term often equated with a wing of an army but if we move forward to the Second World War is was most often used in connection with units of battalion size (the term Kampfgruppe was usually used to describe larger formations).

      What’s consistent about the usage of Abteilung is that has always been used to describe ad hoc formations set up to carry out a specific mission. So that’s appealing but I don’t know if it was the term that Prussian commanders actually used in 1813.

      I’d be interested to know if anybody can shed further light on the correct terminology to use and, ideally, cite references.

      • Phil said

        You might drop George Nafziger a note. He went through a bunch of german language source material when working on his books on the 1813 campaign. I bet he’d know offhand. He can be reached at nafziger at (according to his website). Put “order of battle” in the subject line.

        • Martin said

          Phil, I’ve sent off the e-mail you suggested. So now to wait and see what comes back.

        • Martin said

          Update: I’ve just had an impressively swift reply from George Nafziger. He says:

          “I do not know if such detachments had a name. I do not recall seeing
          anything in any period documents or near period histories. Abteilung is a
          more modern term meaning detachment and often interchangable with
          battalion. It is not inappropriate,but I simply do not know of it being
          used. As for Kampfgruppe, that is definately a modern term and was not
          used. I have to believe that the Prussians simply used some linguistic
          equivalent of detachment, especially since the Prussian/German armies did
          not move out of the regimental structure until 1870 when they finally
          organized standing divisions and such a concept would have been useful.”

  8. Ralph said


    I came across the use of ‘Abteilungen’ in Sam Mustafa’s ‘Lasalle’ rules, in his notes on the organisation of the reformed Prussian Army. I wonder where he got it from…

    I know that he frequents TMP, so I might post on that venue and ask where he got it from…

    Kind Regards,


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