Sunday, December 4, 2011

Some Sample 2mm Irregular Horse and Musket Figures

 December 5 is Leuthen-Tag, ever since 1757

It is Leuthen-Tag again Monday the 5th of December.The old video from last year with the dramatization of the speech of Frederick to his generals, the Parchwitz Address, given in German, is no longer available.

  The battle on 5 Dec 1757 has been traditionally remembered by the Seven Years' War Association with a game. The Alte Fritz traditionally ran a wargame at the weekend for the occasion, and he is talking about one over on his blog now (see blogroll).

 Smaller Scale Figures Convention in the Slick Wargames Press

For my part,  the 2mm Blog (see also Blogroll) has a link to an article about smaller figures, in the slick UK media, not sure if that would count as Fleet Street or not, but it is our equivalent for hobby purposes. I am going to talk about that, although it has nothing to do with Leuthen. It's quite unusual, even newsworthy in itself.

This article is on the occasion of the Angel Barracks man's convention for the scales 10mm and less, so including 5/6mm, 3mm and 2mm and others even less frequently seen than those. There are some good pics of well-done setups in the short article, a few pages, from Wargames Illustrated. You'd have to click to the 2mm blog, then on his link, then that opens a 1.25 meg PDF with the article and the colour pics.

I especially liked the ancient city of Alexandria on the sea with both land and naval elements for a 2mm game with Julius Caesar and Cleopatra and the rest, a creative terrain setup. There are some terrain pieces made for the scale, but there is plenty of room for the creative work of inspired individuals too, and off the beaten path.

A Rant

I disliked the journalist spending his whole lede pretending that the magazine covers smaller scales evenly and that there is no need for enthusiasts to go and hold their own convention.

The reason is that it made me see that now we have crossed a line, which upon the realization of it, is deplorable. I didn't know the slick press for the hobby really counted as Fleet Street. I was used to photocopied and amateurish publications before these slick ones came along, with higher prices too.And I liked the simpler ones.

Previously I have understood that you can tell when a politician is lying, by seeing if his or her lips are moving. It is sad but true, I don't like cynicism but in a number of instances it is the only way to be accurate.

And I've learned that professionals are generally spinning things a certain way in every situation, favorably to their points of view, as well as salesmen, and the mainstream media--in fact about everyone you meet in everyday life including half the amateurs too, are at least spinning if not twisting the truth, with misdirection, misinformation, and misleading spins, for whatever reason, and after a long time of doing that, they themselves may lose sight of the reason for it and just do it out of bad habit. Because it becomes normal.

But now I am to believe that all those issues of WI have full, even coverage of 2mm? That must be the spin habit talking, not to call it hogwash. I think they have none whatsoever, and am annoyed that I have spent hundreds of dollars on their magazines for decades hoping just once they would.

But they didn't. It's 99 percent 28mm, with an emphasis on gorilla arms, banana bunch hands, and goggle-eyes, on heads like large pumpkins. And these distortions are justified for practical reasons understood by the insiders, but they look garish to outsiders, not at all like humans. Around 1986 one could at least see a tiny picture in the classified area, way back when the Knight Designs existed, of 2mm but there was no way to make out any detail from that.

The Bright Side

On the bright side it did give me something to put in the blog, plus stirred me just enough to do it. Here are a couple pics I took of some of Irregular Miniatures 2mm figures. These are from their Horse and Musket Range. They also have Ancient, which might be visible in the aforementioned PDF of the WI article.

Irregular also has a Renaissance range for the pike and shot period, and by all accounts those have the better sculpting, and then there are WW2 with vehicles smaller than the familiar GHQ or Scotia microscale. They also have some nice terrain pieces, railroad trains, guns, and wagons.

The board I am holding up as a base is about the size of a clipboard, and I have put in a Bic pen and some half inch (12.7 mm) cardboard boardgame counters on the side to help show the scale. The traditional coins used are actually unfamiliar across international borders, but that pen should be ubiquitous. I usually use that board under a netbook size computer, 10.1 inch, clipboard size.

These figs are not completed, they are just a couple 2mm photos I have here to show what they look like in the process. There are some horse,  foot and guns from the Horse and Musket range, on the one pic, and then the other shows a Logistics Pack, which includes various sizes of tents, and wagons. A few are pontoon wagons, a few covered and most uncovered. The sort of rules I favor think supplies, wagons and lines of communication matter a lot. So in this scale you can have 72 wagons pretty easily, and still not have that vast an array serve as the centerpiece, which it would have to do in any larger scale.

You can see how the infantry and to a lesser extent the cavalry are cast in blocks of various lengths. They are usually either two or three actual ranks deep, giving an appearance of mass. The smallest pieces would fit on those half inch boardgame counters, although a number of larger unit blocks are too long for that, and the limbers are too big with teams.

The artillery are 8mm square, those are three guns up front right. The taller ones further back near the pen cap are cavalry, those are apart so individuals or pairs or threes could be trimmed off easily to vary the unit sizes. The infantry blocks can be cut but would leave an ugly(er) side if you did, if you wanted different sized units.

Even with the jewelers' loupe I cannot tell the split trail from the single trail guns, and in the Horse and Musket period that is the only choice. It is OK because you could not distinguish types anyway. These same figures are Civil War, Napoleonic or Seven Years' War as needed. I mean you can repaint them during the game, if using the quickly drying acrylics. It's just a few dabs.

None of these shown here are the Renaissance, which do show more detail and several pieces are suitable for working into the Horse and Musket period.

I'll probably pick up a copy of the Wargames Illustrated at my newsagent's today, anyway, now they finally put what I wanted in it.


  1. Nice to see some of your work!!! I can't remember seeing a 6mm game in any mag recently let alone a 2mm one??

  2. Thanks Ray, It's almost all 28mm in there because they have just the detail level good for the photography, that's what matters to their business. But it is distorted, as a picture of the hobby.

  3. Another good post. It did occur to me that if you cut a piece out of the *middle* of your troop blocks you could join the ends up again to give more successful custom-sized blocks - you almost certainly thought of that anyway!

    Your rant about lack of even-handed coverage in WI is interesting. I don't know much about the politics of it, but I can identify with what you say. On the other hand, I guess 28mm is where the mainstream of the hobby is nowadays. In moments of insecurity, I get to feel very inferior because I don't do 28mm - especially Victrix and Perry - and thus have to spend my midnight hours trawling eBay looking for defunct ranges of figures. I didn't plan to become a niche fetishist, but here I am!

    2mm is interesting, but if I ever wanted to go that way I would worry a bit about availability - if Irregular decide it isn't profitable, where does that leave you? On the other hand, I guess the castings are cheap enough to allow you to bulk-buy up front.

  4. I like this and thinking of it a lot as my eyes get worse but well done for pictures and the fight against the man!

  5. Hi, guys. The ugliness of a cut is off-putting when it is six inches in front of you as you do it, but even 12 inches away on the clipboard or table it is nearly invisible.

    The infantry solidly blocked like that are just a little too thick for a hobby knife...maybe a tiny saw...scissors or wire cutters will do it but seem ham-handed when you try it.

    The key thing is there is a flag right in the center of the line, and if you look carefully, that cues you which side is the front.

    The cavalry are easily trimmed to any size group with no ugliness, but the heavy and light are different distances apart, which is something you have to account for with frontages and numbers and scales of game. There are lancers which look a little different also.

    The artillery are already single pieces with crew, it is only the infantry that tempt ugly cuts down the middle of the men.

    The reason to cut them is that there are too few single-rank deep pieces in the H&M range, except the loose-order/skirmisher pieces, which are not in solid ranks, and no columns at all.

    I wanted columns at least, and thinner formations, looking to fit on the small boardgame counters for certain types of games.There's no way to cut down to single ranks, without being too ugly.

    So only the two smallest size blocks will fit a half inch base, most are a little longer lines.

    I wanted to cut the longest two rank ones in two at the flag just off center, leaving one piece with a flag at the end, and one with no flag, then the ones with the flag at the head give a visual cue to think of those as a road column, where the thin end with the flag is the front.

    The short thick ones already look like assault columns such as the French Napoleonic ones, and as cast the longest thinner two-rank lines would look like lines in comparison, but not as much contrast if I need everything cut down to half inch size. So that part is just me, everybody doesn't have that requirement.

    Then you've just got thick and thin with no long, but that's only because of the half inch idea of mine, not a normal 2mm treatment.

    It is very hard to tell front from rear without the very slight visual cues like that.

    Also I wanted pieces of 3-4 cavalry small enough to fit the half inch counters, for that type of game, although that is just me, and most people use larger units than that, maybe 1 inch or 30mm or so.

    Another idea is about the distance at which certain details can be seen on troops far off, so that some could simply be a dark grey until they approach within visual sighting distance to a formed enemy for identification. This is for when the table represents over ten miles or even maybe fifty or whatever of terrain.

    Doing that you'd leave them unpainted/grey until the enemy can see more details closer up.
    * * *

    But TAL, Sir, you ARE the man!

  6. To little for my eyes! Are there really figures on those pictures? Nice post mate!


  7. Yes, there are hundreds of them.

    If you look at the top pic, count back five jumbo craft sticks to the rear, on the right flank of that stick is an Army HQ tent where the commanding general is seated at a table reading the map.

    It is 1 square millimeter, when unfolded, hanging over the table edge, and his current location is right by where he needs the next map section.

  8. Now I can see them! Thanks for clearing out for me! You did a great job on that map :-D

    PS: I answered your question on my blog ;-)