Tuesday, 3 June 2014

With a broad sweep of the eye - 2mm wargaming

A casual review of my blog posts over the past few years will easily identify me as a wargamer who starts many projects, but finish few. I've learned over the years to accept who I am, rather than fight it! So, without apology, I introduce my new wargaming fascination - 2mm!

I recall years ago standing in Eureka Miniatures and being handed a Irregular Miniatures 2mm Tercio. At the time I was a dedicated 15mm gamer and thought, 'no... Never!' Too small, too blocky, no details ... never say 'never'!
RBG 10 Tercio, painted by James Chester from http://www.irregularminiatures.co.uk/
Now, after reading many TMP threads (3mm or rice, painting 2mm, who makes them etc.) on small scales miniatures in the past few weeks, lets get some stuff out of the way:
  • Yes, they are really small but you can paint them without an electron microscope;
  • Yes, I agree that 2mm is a way to field armies for large engagements without having paint for months (possibly years at my pace!);
  • No, I don't want to play with counters (although defend the right of those who wish to!);
  • No, I may not as well be painting grains of rice ... yadda, yadda.
What has drawn me to this scale is threefold:

1.  I'm attracted to the idea of recreating the look of those classic, grand scale battle scenes we see in contemporary accounts - I think the first case of this was seeing the image below of the Battle of Naseby.
Preparation for the Battle of Naseby, fought on the 14th June 1645
published in The History and Antiquities of Naseby by John Mastin, 1792
2.  I want to experiment with making terrain for this scale – it brings together elements of cartography (which I enjoy) with my interest in modelling terrain for wargaming. I'm inspired by people' using the 'terrain cloth' style and think this is the way to go for 2mm.
From https://www.flickr.com/photos/36331979@N00/ - obviously not for 2mm, but you get the idea.
There are some great resources and eye candy on the web (not always for 2mm, but relevant) at locations such as (to name but a few):
3.  They are relatively cheap – great for those times where your wargaming budget is a bit light on!

So, as you can see, many have gone before me, and much air has been expended on debating the merits of this extremity of small scale wargaming.

Now for my own humble offering. Well, it's early days ...

My first 2mm project will focus on a brigade level scenario for the First Battle of Bull Run.

I am currently working on the Confederate forces - the Irregular Miniatures Confederate Army Pack provide for 15 brigades of infantry, so that should come close to providing what I need.

Some links for OOB's online (and I'm sure there are many more):
The plan is to, where possible, customise each stand to reflect the individual brigades and hopefully add some 'colour' by representing some of the state militia uniforms present. There will be some poetic license taken, for instance I'll have all of the 1st Louisiana Battalion in the Tiger Rifles uniform - I can't resist!

Learning to paint 2mm is a new and interesting challenge. I have based my initial attempts on the method used by SteelonSand. Once I get a method sorted I'll post it here.

For now, my ham-fisted first steps - I can see this scale will take a while to get used to:

Here's the Irregular Army pack mounted, with undercoat and dry brushing of
basic uniform colour underway
Confederates (from the rear) in a light grey with some different hats/pants picked out. 

Tiger Rifles with main colours blocked in
My initial experience suggests the importance of using some crisp, vibrant colours rather than the muted tones we are often seek on larger scale figures. The importance of painting the face is not lost on me - that really gives the blocks some charter. I've read elsewhere that most of the Irregular horse and musket infantry are holding their guns at the port - initially I was thinking this was a bed roll across their chest - an opportunity for a bit of detail there.

As for those hard core types talking about painting the lace on the Zouave's jackets and the drums, I'm not there yet! Maybe a I need a stronger magnifying glass!

'What rules will I use?', I hear you ask. The jury is still out. I'm considering Polemos OTC/COE but I already have a 6mm ACW project on the back burner for that ruleset (yes, another long term project).  Although, I have been considering using Polemos with a reduced base size. I've been looking at some of the free rules discussed, but nothing jumps out at me yet. I have also been considering DBACW - but I need a rest from DBx. Yep, no idea yet. Any suggestions welcome!

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