Tuesday, 24 May 2011

2mm: The Next Big Thing....

After an enforced hiatus here at SteelonSand Towers, with 'Real Life' doing its level best to intrude upon all things Blog-worthy, I thought I'd get slowly back into the groove with a number of posts having a look at what ideas are currently on the table, even if it is empty of actual miniatures!

As it looks like there will be little time even in the coming weeks for the physical work of producing more little men, ships and planes, I'll be throwing up some ruminations on the shape of future projects, alongside posting some more bits and bobs from the photo and postcard collection that might be of interest.

So first off, as the title says, what will be 'the next big thing', (or TNBT as I call it) project-wise using 2mm minis?

I'm currently exploring a number of options, and thought I'd mull over the pros and cons of the shortlist.
First off, I had mentioned that I was considering moving into Napoleonics with a view to meeting the 2015 anniversary of Quatre Bras, oh, and that other battle, what was it called...Water -something?
This is still a serious contender, in that it's an era for which I currently have no armies in any scale, but I am also baulking at taking it on for the very same reason - it is a really serious contender - a whole mindset, culture and world of research required.

It would certainly play to the strengths of 2mm minis - no button counting or lace-colours needed here, but I am somewhat bogged down in thinking of how the depiction of various formations might play out - I like big bases with big units, but even at a battle the size of QB, the sheer scale of things is pretty daunting.
That might move things toward bases depicting brigades or even divisions, but I'm not really used to that level of abstraction, as most of my prior projects are around the regimental/battalion level - I'm thinking of the 2mm FIW Quebec 1759, for instance...

Certainly, Irregular's Horse and Musket 2mm range is pretty much set up with Napoleonics in mind, and you could get a lot of bang for your buck, with generic units being applicable for other campaigns. I have a history of going for the slightly more obscure and quirky for most of my projects, so would I be selling out by getting into 1815 and all that? There is a nagging doubt that once you start, it's the kind of era that would push all other projects to the side....

Next on the list is a favourite of mine, the Crimea, or predictably perhaps, the old chestnut of The Charge of the Light Brigade. As a relatively limited campaign it does not have a high profile in Wargaming in any scale, but has plenty of colour with Turks, Sardinians, Cossacks, the French, and would give one the opportunity, if using 2mm, of fielding the whole 673-odd of the Light Brigade in 1:1 figure scale!

This would be somewhat tempered by having to also produce the whole of the Heavy Brigade, and a truly enormous number of Russians - perhaps even here, a larger unit level would be more reasonable - I am thinking of the brilliant efforts of Nik Harwood in particular here, who produced some cracking bases of his own:

Amongst all of his great work, his Crimean ones are definitely my favourites - but could I replicate this with my tendency toward larger bases - the Light Brigade might require five separate 80x40mm bases on it's own... that's a lot of cavalry, and when you factor in the Russians, well....

Then again, looking back at my own humble ECW Royalist Naseby army, a whole heap of 2mm Cavalry can look pretty spiffing:

Outside of the campaign itself, there are of course options to field many of the mid-nineteenth century protagonists in other guises, and a bunch of hussars, lancers and the odd 'Thin Red Line' would easily translate into mobile speed bumps for some early Land Ironclads, and the French uniform would be current all the way up until 1915!

In a similar vein, I had of course originally tabled ACW as another alternative, but the challenge from Oddzial Osmy's 3mm or 1/600th has effectively seen that off - when I eventually get around to painting up some Union, and finishing the CSA bases, I think these will see a lot of action, particularly with the back-up of the expanding range of scenery from Steve over at SPC.

Next on the list was something a bit quirkier, that would dovetail really well into an existing project, namely the Pacific War of 1879. This has been getting a lot of attention in larger scales at the moment, and has an interesting mix of multi-coloured Peruvian, Chilean and Bolivian forces, that again might see double duty as VSF armies - some blue coated, red trousered regiments are dopplegangers for contemporary French, for instance, whilst some Bolivian troops have a distinctly Prussian feel....

This would enable me to match the land campaigns with the naval angle using my existing 1/2400th vessels, whilst giving enough latitude to play around with some more 'imagineered' nations and combatants.

Having mentioned Prussians of course, one cannot help but move on to the Franco-Prussian War itself, again perhaps a somewhat under-represented era in the Hobby, which would have similar strengths to those mentioned above; generic-looking 2mm units giving plenty of cross-over potential, whilst providing an interesting base of Historical battles to try out.

So, the 'short' list is actually not all that short - and I have left the best (or craziest) for last - namely alongside 'TNBT' we have the option of 'TWDT' - namely The Whole Damned Thing.....!

This would see a whole cross section of 19th Century forces produced spanning say, 1836 to 1880, where generic bases of Lancers could be Uhlans or Cossacks - Hussars can fight for many nations, and kepi-wearing infantry can be just about anything I might like to call it....

There's still a lot to think about, and I'm a way off from actually putting pen to paper to organise armies, let alone put brush to mini, but whichever direction it takes, this will be the biggest thing on the radar in the next couple of years -until the next bright shiny thing comes along, of course! :-)


  1. Good to have you back posting again SoS. I'm having a quandry myself - although not in 2mm. I've got what I need to start a 10mm fantasy campaign, but am daunted by everything I've got lined up for myself :(

    In the world of 2mm I'm going for VSF myself putting together some land stuff to use with my aeronefs, so I'm following all your VSF stuff with great interest.

    BTW, it'a all your fault I got into 2mm in the first place - those great ECW figs in the photo you linked above are one of the reasons! I'm not sure whether to thank you - for the intro to a great scale - or curse you for adding to my list of incomplete projects! ;)

  2. The 2mm stuff is well worth a look. I have generic grey and blue armies, and a smaller red army - I've used them for ACW and FPW games so far. http://megablitzandmore.blogspot.com/2010/03/terrible-swiftly-painted-toys.html
    I will soon be posting a report of a 2mm Marlburian game we played last week.

  3. Great to see you posting again, there's some really interesting proposals amongst them, showing just how versatile 2mm can be. I can hardly wait to see where you intend to begin.

  4. Welcome back to the fray old boy! Some cracking proposals in there - whatever you do I know it will be good!

  5. Thanks for your comments Guys - things still very much in the mulling it over stage rather than anything concrete as yet - but certainly the trend is currently toward a generic forces approach fighting versus a new 'grounded in History' army.

    @cmnash - sorry to be such a bad influence! ;-)

    @ Tim Gow - looking forward to the 2mm batrep - lots of photos please!

  6. As a guy who has a number of 2mm armies and is quite satisfied with them, might I suggest you hang off the 2mm Napoleonics for now?

    The reason is this: Marcin seems delighted with the success of his 3mm ACW and has promised to start on 3mm Napoleonics this year.

    I love my 2mm Napoleonic armies, but I'll probably sell them and redo them in 3mm as soon as Marcin gets his line even halfway done.

    You might thus want to try obscure battles - the P)_acific War, say. Although something tells me you might be able to use Marcin's 3mm ACW line for those...

  7. Hi Thaddeus, yes, I agree that the ghost at the feast is definitely the 3mm figs - although the prep can be a little time consuming - the level of detail makes them serious contenders if other periods/eras are introduced - my gut instinct is that they might be the way to go for regimental/battalion level gaming - with 2mm weighing in at brigade and above, but it's going to be hard leaving the old favourites for this new kid on the block - probably got a long road ahead before I can make my mind up!