Monday, February 28, 2011

Back Home To Plastic

 Changing Back From Tiny Metal to Larger Plastic Figures

When I first read a set of wargame rules and realized that there were formal games that other people were playing, other than merely shooting the figures with a BB gun or blowing them up with firecrackers, the rules I selected were Grosstaktik, by Leon Tucker. These rules had 1 figure represent 12 men, and the units were battalions usually around 48 figures each, although that number could vary.

The first decisions on looking over a catalog of what periods I could order was which period to choose, and what figures I liked, and finally which figures could I afford. But this was not like walking two miles to the hobby shop with a week's lunch money: as a formal Mail Order, I had to get my Mom to write a Check, so I tried mightily to keep it under six dollars, but may have gone over with postage. She said I can't just tape together a bunch of quarters in the mail.

At that point I already had some Airfix men, and so between choices of period, manufacturer and scale, and affordability, I came up with 18th Century as my first period, Grosstaktik for the rules, and Airfix men for the American Revolution as the collection. I already had about one box of each type, American and British, and so when I became a serious wargamer I ordered two more boxes each, and the rules to go with them. After that I got a bunch more, and then branched off into other periods.

Now after some reading in Brigade Daendels blog (see blogroll) and the work that Paul's Bods has been doing, (see blogroll), plus the effect of reading Charlie Wesencraft's Practical Wargaming,  I have gone to the hobby store and picked up some plastic figures again.

I especially was taken by the idea that Christopher Duffy, Anthony Brett-James, David Chandler, Donald Featherstone and Charles Wesencraft all had a game at Sandhurst for Borodino with a ratio of 1 figure to 500 men, and considered that they were probably using Airfix men in that game. It was mainly Featherstone vs Wesencraft, with Chandler as the umpire. It must have really been something. It's in an article on Vintage Wargaming (see blogroll.)

 So Now

I got two ten-dollar bags of Imex American Revolutionary War. Thesebags have the equivalent of two of the Airfix boxes of old, so there are 50 Americans, and 50 British redcoats in a bag. And I got two bags. So 100 for each side. They look like they are between 21-22 mm tall from the soles to the eyes.

I already have from several years ago some other Imex and Airfix figures, but I'm not sure how many. I would guess a few hundred more, plus an odd Revell Frederick the Great's army or two that I find behind furniture sometimes.

This project will involve a different kind of painting than I am used to doing, because for the past few years I have only worked on 2mm figures, which are so tiny as to require a Jeweler's Loupe to see any details.

I Needed More Figures Because I Had Painted The Ones I Had On The Back Burner

I did just paint up my last batch of 2mm, which were the Irregular Logistics pack. There were some 75 wagons, including four covered wagons and five pontoon wagons, plus aound 60-70 large, medium and small tents for camps. I have a Stamp Collector's Loupe with 16x magnification, plus several sets of magnifying glasses and finally a 20-40X Microscope, for working with the extreme small miniatures. One thing I don't have is a digital camera with a nacro lens, so pics will have to wait and substitute with imagination.

Before the 2mm I had two projects with 6mm, Adlers for the larger and Heroics and Ros with some Irregular for the smaller type of 6mm. Many think 6mm are too small, but they are huge compared with 2mm.

It will be a big adjustment to paint these giants again, but it sort of feels like going home.


  1. Will look forward to the 2mm stuff when you get the chance or the opportunity, nice to hear about the larger scale enterprise, looking forward to updates. Did nearly buy Waterloo in 2mm once from a company whose name escapes me now.

  2. Sounds like a plan! What regt's are you going to paint, please say your gonna do Sherbourne's Continentals, I love their uniform. I keep on at Postie who owns a massive 25mm AWI collection, I've even offered to paint it for freem, he'll take me up on my offer one day.
    Ray (Sex God)

  3. I like the way ray has put sex god in brackets....:-D
    Are you going to paint them up??
    The imex figs are 24mm a bit bigger than the Airfix ones...which sadly have lost out to the better sculpting techniques available nowadays.

  4. That sounds like Knight Designs, unless it was Irregular. Irregular are still doing a whopping good business in Yorkshire, but Knight Designs have disappeared. Both used to run ads in the glossy zines based on famous battles. I also used to see those ads and wanted them more and more till finally I got some.

    If they were Irregular then that is the set I have, since I ordered French and British and Prussian Napoleonic army packs, plus the logistics pack that I just finally painted, and scenic pack, which five were just over 100 dollars.

    Army packs offer some savings over the regular price. Since all are selected from the Horse and Musket range anyway, I could have said Western confederate American Civil War and received largely the same figures as Wellington's--two rank line infantry either way. Three ranks for French or Prussian, the Prussians just have more lancers.

    Likewise the exact same figures can also be the 18th Century armies simply by painting them a certain way and saying that's what they are.

    Recently a Polish company, Oddzial Ozmy, have released an ACW line in 3mm. They look good, but do not look compatible with the 2mm. They are individual men spaced apart, whereas 2mm are usually solid blocks of 20-30 or more men, at least in the infantry.

    Oddzial Ozmy have already been doing 3mm WW2 for a few years, and the Irregular 2mm may be somewhat compatible with those; it's up to the beholder.

  5. Sherbourne's, what's that, is that those red coated Continentals from Connecticut? I might already have done some like that, I'll have to dig up the older ones I already have somewhere. I may be thinking of some with orange coats.

    As a general rule, I would paint all regiments of every army, not some small selection, because I favor The Whole Death--Den Ganzen Tod--approach quite unlike what everybody on the forums and blogs talk about.

    I want full complete big battles, and in fact whole campaigns and beyond that even the entire war strength and effort of a given nation, men, ships, horses, sheep, cattle, cities and bankers included.

    I want taxpayers to pay for the barrels of wine for officers and beer for the men, and I want to issue grog in the Navy.

    A cross between 1776, Frederick the Great, Bruce Quarrie, Empire and many other influences.

    I admit it is too complicated.

  6. Sherbourne's were an early continental line regt, they wore brown coats, with yellow cuffs and turnbacks and had a green waistcoat and breeches. The colours are so differant to most uniforms of the period. It sounds horrid but most others wore blue coat faced red.

  7. Oh I think I did paint them back in the seventies then, it sounds familiar. The ones I have now are partly from back then and partly from 2003 or so when I added some. I notice that these new Imex are packaged as if for schoolkids to get a history lesson from them, and do not include a mounted officer like I thought the 2003 ones had. Haven't checked yet due to too many 12 hour shifts in the saltmines.
    The store also has a set with Pilgrims and Eastern woodland Indians suitable for King Philip's War, and that set looks interesting. Airfix only had Plains Indians for further west and later on in time.