This is an article I wanted to write while with FASA Games, but didn’t get around to it. After running a lot of games of Noble Armada, I found that the round bases have made the game easy to run and the miniatures much easier to deal with, especially when boarding actions are taking places. I tried square bases, but they proved to be a little too clunky, especially when ships were close to each other, and the hex bases don’t really match the movement and maneuvering model of the new rules.
I went through a lot of bases, and found that the best bases so far are thick bases with a little weight to them. I am not associated with Litko Game Accessories, but they have been able to provide all of the bases that I need in a lot of different sizes and at a reasonable cost.
The best sizes are ones that are fairly close to the size of the model. For frigates and many of the smaller ships, the 1 inch diameter bases worked well. Using 3mm thickness on the bases was also very helpful, as they add enough weight to keep the ships from toppling over.
Update: I found that a better size for frigate-sized ships is 30mm. This fits the frigates nicely. In a pinch it will also work for raiders and explorers if you are on a budget for bases, though 1-inch diameter seems better for those.
For destroyers, galliots, and “medium” size models the 1.5 inch diameter base worked well. For larger ships 2 inch diameter bases seem to do the trick. It would be possible to go larger for carriers and dreadnoughts, but they might start taking up way too much real-estate in the area ofplay, as well as make boarding actions a bit awkward.
Flight pegs and flight stands make it easy to attach nearly every ship in the Noble Armada line to a base without doing any miniature modification. For some of the ships it may be necessary to drill out the hole for the flight peg to get it to fit, which I did for many of my own models as it adds some good stability while making it easier to glue.
I spray primed the bases so that they would be black, and to make it easier to put markers on for the firing arcs when I mount the model on the base. Using a compass and protractor I made a little template so after I have the base ready I can just add on some hash marks for firing arcs. If so inclined you could even add hash marks for turning as well, but I found them to be distracting and not as helpful as hoped.
Hopefully this little bit helps when building your own fleets.