For King and (West) Country

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For King and (West) Country

Postby Athelassan » Sun May 14, 2017 12:27 am

For King and (West) Country (Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love 6mm Miniatures)

I first got into gaming with 28mm figures and they will always have a special place in my heart, but over the last few years I have been finding a number of frustrations with them. Firstly, they aren't cheap, even accounting for the way that historicals are significantly cheaper than GW figures. To get a sizeable army is still going to cost hundreds of pounds. Secondly, they're pretty big and so take a lot of storage room. Thirdly, they just take so long to paint, certainly if you care at all about how they'll look.

So when I got into the Civil War period I was persuaded to try a smaller scale, specifically 6mm. This is roughly the same scale as GW's old Epic range.

The first thing to say is that the figures are as cheap as chips. For the same price as a single Freebooter's Fate pirate, I can get a whole 6mm brigade. Although Baccus explains on their website why it's something of a fallacy to think in terms of 6mm “figures” per se, on a per-figure basis they work out at about 7.5p each. You can't really argue with that for price.

Secondly, considering how cheap they are, they are well cast. I don't know if this is just Baccus but I gather that it's common across the whole range of 6mm figures. There is almost no flash to clean up and very little in the way of mould lines. Given the hours I have spent cleaning up 28mm figures, snipping them off sprues and shaving off flash and mould lines over the years it was a delight to be able to use most of these figures pretty much “out of the box”. Pretty much all I had to do was run a knife over one or two parts of the horses, and straighten the pikes, lances, and bannerpoles.

Perhaps most importantly, while one might have thought that being so small would make them harder to paint, the reverse is actually true. Because of their size and the distance at which they're viewed, you can get away with much less subtle painting than on 28mm – the point becomes to give the idea of the unit rather than actually picking out all the details – of which there are fewer to pick out in any case. It is probably very hard to get 6mm figures to look great. But it's very easy to get them to look good.

As a result, once I got stuck in, I found them a breeze to paint, and because they're so easy to paint there's minimal frustration and agonising over details, which makes it easier to keep morale up. I have a unit of 28mm Roman cavalry I'm pretty happy with, but it's taken me about as long to paint a single cavalry figure as it has to paint a whole 6mm unit. I reckon I've painted more 6mm figures in the last two week than I have 28mm figures in the last two years.

As an added bonus, the units look substantial. It is much easier to look at a 6mm unit and convince yourself you're looking at a whole battalion comprising a couple of hundred men than it is with even a fairly large 28mm unit.

The only sad thing about them is that the small scale offers relatively little opportunity for conversion, modelling and individualising figures except through paint job. With my Romans I have enjoyed modelling certain officers as particular figures from history and giving visual clues on the bases. It's hard to see how to pull that off at 6mm scale. I might though see if I can find some 6mm dogs for the bases of Prince Rupert and “Black Tom” Fairfax.

So I'm a definite convert. I will stick with 28mm for my Romans and associated ancients, and (obviously) for skirmish games and the like, but I'm also going to push on with 6mm Civil War and will have to seriously consider the scale for any future periods I get into too.

Pictures of my tiny little menz will be forthcoming soon!

And if you thought 6mm was tiny, I'm also building a collection of 1:2400 scale ships (equivalent about 0.5mm scale) so that my 17th-century warriors can fight on sea as well as on land. Here is the current fleet (sans flags as yet):
Image

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Re: For King and (West) Country (Or How I Learned to Stop Wo

Postby Xisor » Sun May 14, 2017 7:40 pm

Those are excellent. But we must surely get more pictures? Soon is not soon enough.

Andy Chambers has been involved in dropzone fleet or somesuch, a spiritual successor to BFG and accompaniment to another game that has strong echoes of Epic.

I must say: I'm surely tempted by these other ranges. I think the pedant in me is fussy enough and lazy enough to steer away from historicals - mainly as I don't like the idea of getting it wrong. (Something that bugs me not at all in more speculative stuff.)

Also, historians are fussy gits so, that doesn't entirely make them more attractive than other gamers...

---

Nevertheless, I'm quite enthused. But as said: we need more pictures. (Or it didn't happen, y'know.)
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Re: For King and (West) Country (Or How I Learned to Stop Wo

Postby Athelassan » Mon May 15, 2017 5:48 am

Pictures have arrived!

Image
These are the first five unit I had painted and based at the time of the original post. (I need to run a blue brush around the edge of the top-left regiment's standard).

Image
And the second group of units, made up slightly differently (pike and shot level, rather than shot advanced in front of pike). There is a reason for this, which is that in Polemos rules it makes a difference whether your units are shot-heavy, pike-heavy or mixed, and the position on the base is a useful way to depict that without having to adjust the proportions of actual figures.

Image
Here are all eight units arrayed together.

When I said these were quick to paint, I wasn't kidding. The two rightmost units (yellow flag and black flag) were painted up entirely (barring undercoat) since my original post. Hence why they haven't been fully based yet - I need to varnish them first.

***


I know what you mean about historical gaming being offputting due to the community being (potentially) very detail-oriented. That is one reason why I am not keen to game the Napoleonic Wars or anything more modern than about 1700: where we have exhaustive information on unit appearances and compositions people can be very obsessive over getting all of them right. The advantage of the Civil War and ancients is that much of the information is conjectural, so in most cases as long as your painting conforms roughly to what is known and isn't entirely fanciful nobody can tell you you're wrong.

Well, some people will still try. But I think that's going to be the case anywhere.

That is one of the nice things about the Warlord games (they do four historical games and one sci-fi, as well as a couple of licensed properties lke Doctor Who and Judge Dredd). Being formed mostly of ex-GW bods they have brought over some of the same whimsical attitude that once predominated in GW and have relatively little patience with pedantic historical purism. They tend to emphasise a sort of "rule of fun" rather than the more nasally-voiced pedantry one associates with some historical games and communities.

I have heard of Dropzone Commander and I think that massive spaceship they wheel out at Salute every year is associated with it. I must admit that I am still somewhat wary about getting involved in new corporate fantasy/sci-fi properties after being burned with WHF. When I'm presented with a massive background dossier to make sense of the setting for a game I tend to switch off, as with the free Wild West Exodus rulebook, or, a while back, Shadowrun. This isn't entirely a new tendency, I think, as I've also always been uninterested in the various D&D settings to any great extent. Really I suspect that my engagement with tabletop is in wanting to have tangible representations of things I'm already interested in, rather than simply wanting to play a game and being prepared to bone up on the background to justify it. After all, I relatively rarely actually play.

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Re: For King and (West) Country

Postby Athelassan » Mon May 15, 2017 9:22 am

Image

Here I have labelled the units to indicate which historical counterpart they are supposed to represent. 17th century units were almost always named after their commanding officer (or nominal commanding officer, where that officer was also a general or commanded multiple units).

Sir Bevill Grenville, Sir Nicholas Slanning, Sir John Trevannion and Sir William Godolphin were Cornish MPs (and Lord Mohun a Cornish peer) who raised regiments in 1642-3 to fight for the king under command of Sir Ralph (later Lord) Hopton. These troops were first-class and have become the stuff of legend. Their finest hour was probably at the Battle of Stratton where they fought uphill, outnumbered 2-1, for ten hours, against a better-equipped Parliamentary army and won a complete victory. They fought similarly fiercely at Lansdown and the storming of Bristol. Sadly, such valour can take a toll, and they sustained heavy casualties, three of their colonels (Grenville, Slanning and Trevannion) being killed leading from the front. This inspired a famous (in Cornwall) rhyme.

In summer 1643 Hopton's army made a rendezvous with reinforcements from the Oxford army in Somerset, led by Lord Hertford and Prince Maurice (the king's nephew, brother of Rupert). These three regiments were raised locally at around that time.

Together these appear to comprise all the line infantry that fought at Lansdowne, although I have a couple more additions to make nonetheless. Of these eight regiments, only colours for Hertford's are known. The rest are conjectural, although educated guesses (fortunately some re-enactment groups have done some of the work for me).

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Re: For King and (West) Country

Postby Chun the Unavoidable » Tue May 16, 2017 9:54 am

Excellent research and excellent painting there, sir.
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Re: For King and (West) Country

Postby Rob P » Tue May 16, 2017 7:45 pm

Yeah, thumbs up to this.

I'm also bothered about accuracy, but I just use it as an excuse to never get started.

Looking great though and loving the history.
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Re: For King and (West) Country

Postby Athelassan » Tue May 16, 2017 11:06 pm

Thanks guys. Yeah, certainly with the Romans I spent a lot of time researching stuff, and then knowing how long the figures took to paint and how many figures I would need for a usable army, enthusiasm levels certainly dipped. The advantage of the 6mms is that they can be churned out so quickly, and the units themselves are very cheap so even if I find I've made a catastrophic mistake it won't be too much of a hardship to retire and replace the unit.

Together with the ships (also quick and easy to paint, though I think the flags will be fiddly) I have definitely gained an appreciation for the merits of small-scale figures. For a hobbyist like me I think they are probably the way forward.

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Re: For King and (West) Country

Postby Xisor » Sun Jun 04, 2017 12:22 pm

Intriguing. And fascinating on the identifiers. I like the approach!

I'll likely start a separate thread, but you should know, Ath, in light of this thread, my UCL & Scourge fleets for Dropfleet Commander are on their way to being painted & assembled!
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Re: For King and (West) Country

Postby Athelassan » Fri Jun 09, 2017 7:56 pm

Xisor wrote:Intriguing. And fascinating on the identifiers. I like the approach!

I'll likely start a separate thread, but you should know, Ath, in light of this thread, my UCL & Scourge fleets for Dropfleet Commander are on their way to being painted & assembled!

Huzzah!

I have had to come to Bristol for job reasons for a bit, and may end up staying indefinitely, which has put a real crimp in my painting progress; it might be a while before I get anything else done. I do have some more photos of units I've painted since the last ones, but I forgot to bring the usb cord that would allow me to upload them, alas.

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Re: For King and (West) Country

Postby Squiggle » Thu Jun 15, 2017 11:28 pm

these are good and it is an interesting take on the hobby. I have a 28mm Scots covenanters army I have had for to years and hardly painted any of!
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Re: For King and (West) Country

Postby Athelassan » Fri Jun 16, 2017 12:56 am

Squiggle wrote:these are good and it is an interesting take on the hobby. I have a 28mm Scots covenanters army I have had for to years and hardly painted any of!

I have the same problem with a lot of 28mm stuff. It looks great, so I buy it, then it sits there for years not doing anything. I am making some progress with my Romans but even that's slow going.

I'll stick with 28mm for Romans and I'm debating whether to try to convert and paint my Empire stuff as 16th century historicals or just sell it. I have a few other projects in the scale I want to finish, and obviously for skirmish gaming 28mm and 32mm are still best, but I think for mass battle gaming 6mm is the way forward for me.

Because the figures are so cheap, too, I can use them almost as one-off throwaway projects. I'm quite excited about the future, though I am missing my painting table and will probably be unable to get back to it for a couple of months.

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