Scales, basing and figure manufacturers appear to be an area of much discussion in the Napoleonic wargaming world. Just search any of these words on The Miniature Page
website. There appears to be no end of debate and aside from choice of rules, nothing at times seems so much acrimony among the war-gamers.
So after much thought and knowing I was going to get it wrong (or at least knowing that 50% of the wargaming community would disagree), I decided to go with the following. This was influenced by several decisions I had already made.
First, I was going to go with 28 mm figures because I like to paint and that was the main reason I had started the hobby. I did, however, want to war-game and knowing that the figure size was a primary determinant of the table size needed, I was going to have to jam as many figures as possible on the smallest base that I could. It seemed that war-gamers with 28 mm figures had 20x16 foot tables and I was never going to be able to fit a table that size that in my attic, thus the drive to use as small a base as possible. The third factor was that I wanted to get the unit divisions done as soon as possible and had decided on a 1:50 figure ratio, I wanted to maneuver battalions and the Le Feu Sacre
rules seemed the best for me. Finally the look of it was important to me, I did not want to have units in line that looked square on the terrain, so I decided on single rank basing. With this and at least 4 bases for each infantry unit, I could easily form and more importantly be seen to form line, column and square. Cleverly this allowed me in the future to change the figure ratio to 1:20 (General de Brigade rules set) by just doubling the number of bases and arraying them behind each other essentially to end up with a double ranked figures (A long way off I suspect).
Infantry Basing: I found that most infantry battalion units were going to be 10-16 figures, so to get a minimum of 4 bases it was obvious that I would have to fit 3 figures to each base. Simple experimentation revealed that the appropriate base was to be 40 x 20 mm. I had also decided to base light troops on the same sized base but in 2 figures rather then 3, thus being able to detach them as skirmishers. Command stands were a bit of a challenge, as I wanted to use mounted figures as the colonel in chief, and one can not fit a horse on a 20 mm deep stand, so I had to use a 40 x 40 mm stand, with the flag bearer and the musician on the same stand. So each British or Portuguese battalion ended up having 3-6 (depending on the size of the battalion) 40 x 20 mm bases with one 40 x 40 unit command stand. I did something slightly different with the French units, as I wanted their mounted colonel to represent a regiment rather then a battalion. Look at the orders of battles for French units and you see that unlike the British, 3-4 infantry battalions of the same regiment were grouped together. So the regimental colonel was represented by a single mounted figure on a 40 x 40 mm stand. The Chef de Batalion was represented on a 40 x 20 mm stand with the flagbearer and musician. Otherwise the French Infantry units were based exactly the same (the one basing requirement of all rule sets) as the British units on 40 x 20 mm stands (French units were more uniform in size so in most cases the a battalion was represented by 4 stands, with 3 figures on each stand aside from the elite companies like the voltiguers represented by 2 figures per 40 x 20 mm stands)
Cavalry Basing: Easy, 2 horses on each 40 x 40 mm stand, with the unit command figures integrated into the unit. Most cavalry regiments are made up of 4 stands in my army (400 men)
Artillery Basing: As much as I tried I could not get an artillery piece on a 40 x 40 mm stand with figures so I opted for 50 mm square stands with the number of figures representing the number of guns, i.e. each figure representing 2 guns. In most cases, each artillery battery has 6 guns. Most of my artillery units (batteries) are therefore on 50 x 50 mm bases, with 1 cannon and 3 artillerymen.
Command Basing: In the Le Feu Sacre ruleset, army, corps, division and in some cases brigade commander stands are critical. I used a pretty simple scheme:
Army commanders are 3 mounted figures on a round 50 mm in diameter stand (see Wellington and Massena above)
Corps commanders are 2 mounted figures on a 50 x 50 mm stand (see Loison above)
Divisional commanders are 1 mounted and 1 standing ADC on a 50 x 50 mm stand (see Crauford and Picton above)
Brigade commanders are 1 single mounted figure on a 50 x 50 mm stand (Beckwith is with his horse, try to find a mounted 95th rifles officer out there)