2mm Ancients for DBA based to 15mm sizes


When I first started using 2mm blocks for Ancient games I based them individually on 20mm frontage bases. Although this had the advantage of making it possible to play games on a handkerchief-sized battlefield, it did make them awkward to handle and too small for my aged gaming mates to see.

Having finally taken the hint after seeing some other gamers' efforts at using 2mm on 15mm bases I decided to re-base. The following photos and notes are the result.



  • The bases are all standard sized 15mm scale DBA bases. The bases are made from a dense and rigid card glued (with PVA) onto magnetic sheet (for ease of storage and transport).

  • The texturing is actually coloured sand (sprinkled onto thinned PVA) over the painted base.

Base Layout

  • I have tried to use the same number of blocks per base as there would be 15mm figures but this is modified a bit in some cases (e.g. Elephants). 

  • Where possible I have also attempted to make the base into a bit of a diorama so that it actually represents the 'look' of the troop type. 

  • Because of the size and relative lack of detail, I have also attempted to make different element types distinguishable from each other. In some cases, notably Blades, I have since thought of better layouts so I will note these in the appropriate places.

  • Generals' elements are distinguished by, well, a general added. I used the ABG5 (Roman) general with blocks painted in one colour and ABG11 (Barbarian) for less regularly painted blocks.

Close Order Foot : Blades, Spears & Pikes 

Above : Bd4 & Bd4 General - Use either ABG1 or ABG2

The General's base has the two sets of 2 blocks separated, I now think this is a better arrangement for Bd4 - it makes them distinguishable from Sp4. Don't know why I didn't do that in the first place.

Below : Bd3

Uses the same blocks as the Bd4 but this time painted in random colours and hints of armour - as dismounted Knights or Vikings perhaps.

Above & below : Sp4 - Use ABG18

The General in the front base would be better placed in front of the solid 2-ranks of spearmen. That way Bd & Sp would be more easily distinguished from each other.

The lower picture has irregular spearmen, their shields and tunics painted in random colours.

Above : Pk4 & Pk4 General

The pair of mounted generals JUST fits onto the front of the base. Use ABG16 (as here) or RBG9.

Right : another option for Pk using the smaller ABG17. You could also use the RBG33 or 34 blocks.

Loose Order Foot : Warband, Auxilia & Bow 

Above : Wb3 & Wb3 General - use ABG8

Place the blocks in either a 2-1 or 1-2 formation but all touching each other. Generals should be in the front rank and you could use the 2-horse chariot (ABG7) as an alternative general for those armies, such as Celts, that use them.

Below : Wb4 & Wb4 General

Arrange these as a solid block, the irregular appearance of the figures will distinguish them from the heavy foot elements.

Above : Ax3 & Ax4 General - use ABG13

Arrange these in a looser formation than Wb, with space between the bases.

Below : Ax or Bw (alternative) - using ABG24

This block has 12 regularly spaced individual figures and produces a good loose formation. The problem is that this block is often rather poorly cast and you can't always rely on getting good blocks. Note the general's element has one block split either side of the general.

Above : Bw3 & Bw3 General - uses ABG20

Possibly the easiest block to paint. Lay out with space between the 2 ranks in a 2-1 formation.

Below : Bw4

Lay out as a solid block, bowmen should be distinguishable from the other close order foot types as they don't have shields.

Other Foot : Psiloi, Hordes, Artillery & War Wagons

Above : Ps - use ABG3 (javelins) or ABG12 (bows)

Cut the blocks into smaller groups and randomly distribute them over the base.

Below : Hd - use any mix of ABG6 and BG23

In the elements shown the front rank is 2 ABG6 and the other 3 blocks are all BG23. Any arrangement with more than 4 blocks would be OK.

Above : Ar - use ABG25 (or RBG30 for Medievals)

Below : WWg - uses RBG31 (armoured wagon), RBG30 (bombard) and some cut up RBG22 (dismounted dragoons) 

This version represents a Medieval WWg, not quite sure what I'd use for other periods.

Mounted, the Basics : Knights, Cavalry and Light Horse

Above : Kn3 & Kn3 General - use any combination of ABG14 (BG10 similar) & RBG13/14.

Arrange in a 1-2 formation with all bases touching. Generals should be out in front

Below : Kn4 - use ABG22

Arrange as two separate lines of 2 blocks with a small space between them. 

Above & below : Cv & Cv Generals - use either ABG4 (regulars) or ABG8 (irregular)

Arrange in either 1-2 or 2-1 formation with the general between the separated lines or within the front line. This makes them different to Kn.

Above & below : Lh - use ABG10 (javelins) or ABG9 (bows)

As with Ps, cut the bases into smaller groups and arrange on the base. If you use single figures then a passable base of circulating light horse can be modeled (as above).

Mounted, the Rest : Camels, Chariots & Elephants

Above : Cm3 & Cm2 - use ABG23

The Cm2 are just cut up and randomly distributed. The Cm3 have the 3 blocks arranged in a less regular fashion than Cv.

Above : LCh - use ABG7

5 blocks arranged as you wish. I use the 'arrowhead' formation to indicate the general if I need one.

Below : HCh - use ABG19

4 blocks arranged over the base with a 'square' formation indicating the general, either that or the white horses.

Right : SCh

Just a pair of ABG19. Looks a bit bare but it needed to be different to other chariot bases.

Above : El - using ABG15 (Indian, warriors astride)

Use 4 elephant blocks (or 5 for a general). Add a couple of bases of light infantry too, if you fancy it.

Below : El - using ABG21 (with Howdah)


These are not the only possibilities but they do make a set of elements that can be distinguished from one another and still look like the armies they are supposed to represent.

Army 2/3 : Classical Indian

Army 2/56 Early Imperial Roman

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