Saturday 19 February 2011

3mm ACW: Cavalry preview photos

Thanks to an ultra-quick despatch by Fighting 15s, I am now the proud owner of some of Oddzial Osmy's new 1/600th Cavalry releases, so I though I'd share a few close-up pics and my initial impressions.

First off, I must say that I decided this time around not to invest in one of the Cavalry mounted command packs, as I was over this month's budget for Wargaming purchases already, and further I think I'm more interested in deploying the Cavalry more in a mounted infantry style than honest-to-goodness 'arme blanche' horsemen.

As before with the infantry, on receipt, there was the visible venting remnants to the bases and figures, but these snapped off without trouble, and although there were some very small areas of flash visible between the legs of the central rider on some of the strips, these were easily poked out with the point of a needle file. Again, the overall proportions and poses are nicely modelled, although there is a slight difference in 'heft' between the three mounted Cavalry poses.

Above we can see either side of the Cavalry strip, with the two riders at the front wearing soft hats, whilst the one at the rear is ostensibly in a kepi. I found that the modelling of the latter headgear is rather slight, and therefore a bit underwhelming - viewed from some angles he looks almost bare-headed, but he does have a nice open pose and a good visible sabre.
I think the central figure is probably the best overall, with the final figure being a nice active pose, but having the horse in mid-gallop means the footprint seems smaller than the other two, and this is noticeable on the tabletop from above - visually this tricks you into thinking he is slightly smaller than the others.

All of the Cavalry are in motion, rather than just standing, which I rather like - but if you're looking for troopers at rest this might be an issue.

Above we can see a strip next to an Infantry one - noticeable is the greater thickness of the base of the latter, but I think overall, given the difficulties in sculpting anything this small, Marcin has done an excellent job keeping the relative sizes in proportion.

One thing to say is that I found that at least in this batch, the nice deep grooving between the mounted figures meant that the strip could be snapped apart into individuals merely by hand - no need for clippers or cutters - or any worries about kamikaze flying minis disappearing off the workbench!

Another view below shows a strip next to a Command one:

Once more, pretty good proportionally, even with the slightly thinner base part, and the galloping pose versus a static one.

Next up then, the excellent Dismounted Cavalry strip, which includes a single mount with nicely modelled saddle gear, the same with a kepi-wearing Horse-Holder, and two dismounted skirmishing figures, both kneeling, with weapons that are noticeably shorter than the Skirmisher strip's rifles - Carbines of course!

The front figure wears a this time clearly visible kepi, and the rear one a soft hat - I found a slight tendency amongst the strips for this figure to have a bit of flash - but again this was easily removable.

The skirmishing figs here could of course be used to augment those already available amongst the Infantry ones, and the Horse-Holder and two mounts hold out some nice opportunities for adding to command stands as points of interest - the Holder himself is a little on the short side given that he is meant to be standing, but not so much as to be disappointing.

The horses are once more nicely scaled alongside the mounted Cavalry ones; I think I will be doing a base that has a mixture of all the above types - a troop of dismounted figs backed by their mounts and Horse-Holders, with to one side another troop of mounted figs galloping by - that's the plan, anyway - a 50 x 50mm base to match the Infantry ones - it is tempting to do an exclusively charging Cavalry base, but in terms of a balance between the Historical reality of ACW Horse and gameplay, I think this will, as it were, cover all bases - showing the more common deployment as mounted infantry, with just a suggestion of their ability to fight from the saddle.

A well-referenced discussion of how ACW cavalry were deployed and used, with particular reference to their choice of weapons and tactics can be found here:

Really interesting stuff...

Finally, a quick size comparison photo in the light of the recent announcements by Steve over at SPC Wargame Scenery that his exciting 3mm Buildings will soon be available both at PicoArmor and Fighting 15s - something I'm definitely looking forward to; here an Infantry strip up against the ubiquitous Monopoly buildings - they would certainly provide an alternative, or could bulk out a town alongside a few 'character' properties:

Information on the real deal can be found here:

I hope to see a lot more to come from them - I have a hankering for some split rail or 'snake' fencing too - just can't imagine how to scratch build this in 1/600..... :-)

Tuesday 15 February 2011

3mm ACW: Some quick thoughts on base sizes

Having completed a few more 3mm ACW Infantry strips, I've been giving thought to how I might base up this new size of figures. I think to give meaningfully-sized units without having enormous bases, as well as factoring in as few cuts from the strips as possible, I'm going to be looking at Regimental level gaming. This should give enough room on each base for a few skirmishers out front as well as some mounted officers to the rear, with hopefully a nice vignette style look.

The simplest cut I've found so far, given the slightly fiddly nature of chopping up such small strips, is to be some surgery on the Command stands with integral flags - it is relatively easy to lop off two pairs of standing Infantry from one end, these can then be added in to the front and rear ranks, evening them up, whilst a whole Command group strip is then centred in the front rank of the unit, giving a total of 36 figures. (8-8 +2 and 8-8 +2)
I'm letting these practicalities dictate the way the project is to shape up, rather than getting bogged down in too many attempted rationalisations of the depiction of historical formations and units - normally the bane of most of my nascent projects!

This means a total of two Command strips and three standing Infantry strips are required to create each unit, therefore making good use of the fifteen strips per pack, without making each unit look too small, thus undermining the point of using small scale minis.
The length of this two whole strips plus two-figure line comes out at around 48mm, so dictates the width of the base at 50mm wide.
I've found a similar measurement in depth allows enough room for the skirmishers and mounted Officers, giving therefore, a nicely square base.

So with 50x50mm bases sizes, I can represent a whole Regiment of around forty three figs on each, whilst I'm thinking of using a conveniently half-depthed base for other units such as artillery:

I've found that the separate crew figures mean that for even just two guns, you need quite a lot of width on which to mount them; you could cramp them in tightly around the guns, but I think visually, some space around each cannon will allow a more natural-looking random application of the individual crewmen, as well as perhaps avoiding a less realistic muzzle-to-muzzle deployment for the guns.
The current lack of limbers, horse teams and caissons in the range neatly solves the problem of needing more depth to the base, and having two-gun batteries will mean I can get quite a lot out of the pack of thirty cannon!

I was also thinking that this half-depth base of 50 x 25mm would be useful for a Sharpshooter type unit, with a random application of approximately fourteen individual skirmisher figures, whilst also giving a use for the standard bearer side of the Command Group strips that have lost the four Infantrymen at the end:

So, how will all this fit in to rules and game-play? I must confess, I haven't thought too far in that direction, having in typical fashion been more enamoured with the figures themselves rather than thinking in overarching Project terms, but it occurs to me that something like Polemos would fit the bill...

Whilst I'm at it, I must just point out that Fighting 15s here in the UK now have their stock of the new miniatures, alongside the new Cavalry releases, and say that never fear, as soon as my order arrives, I'll be posting my thoughts on the mounted and dismounted figures.

As to the making and modelling of the bases themselves, I'm going to have to experiment a bit with that, as following some useful advice from Thaddueus of 'Lead No Bleed' and others, both on this Blog and elsewhere, I've got a number of options for making this as relatively stress free as possible, or at least effective in turning out a relatively large number - so check back for some updates on this to come...

Saturday 12 February 2011

3mm ACW: Painted WIP photos and thoughts....

Having been encouraged by the level of interest in the new 3mm from Oddzial Osmy, I threw caution to the wind, and threw some paint in their direction.
Being a lazy sort, rather than spend a lot of time and thought forming units, I merely had a go at the strips that I had prepared for the Review, in order to get an idea of how they would handle, instead of committing to large scale project work.

Thanks to the advice of Thaddeus over at 'Lead doesn't Bleed', I had a good idea of how I was going to paint these, namely with a generic, fast approach, that would hopefully play to the strengths of such miniscule minis, and produce large numbers without too much hassle; well, we'll see how far that plan "survived contact with the enemy" during the course of this post!

Perhaps out of force of habit, I started with a black undercoat, minded that in the past this has helped to pre-shade, if you like, smaller figures, and remove the need for later washes etc, that can often overwhelm minis under 10mm in size.
As this was going on, I began to immediately regret it, as it seemed that all of the detail was disappearing, so I panicked and threw on a drybrush of medium grey, which seemed to restore the equilibrium of things, although of course meant that we had already done two stages of process in what was only supposed to be the opening.....ho hum.....

I then went over the figures using a lightened shade of the same grey, to give a more Confederate look - this was supposed to be another drybrush-style action, but actually ended up being more lining and dotting, even highlighting things like raised details - picking out trouser legs, tunics, hats, that sort of thing.
Overall, things were beginning to shape up, but it was all looking a bit bland, so I pushed ahead and did the bases of all the strips in a light earth tone, and to some extent, this helped the individual figures to 'pop' a bit more as I worked on them.

So, I thought, a few bits of detailing, and we're done, right? Well, having flustered and fiddled my way through the hand-drawn flags, I followed up with dots of flesh colour for hands and faces -fairly straightforward, if a little time consuming, but then no more than I would do on say 2mm minis.
I realised, then, of course, that it helps to do the rifles before the hands, so then went on to outline these in a chocolate brown - hopefully this doesn't make it seem that they are hefting telephone poles, which can often be a danger in sculpts of this size....

Next up, and remember, we are quite a few stages into our alleged 'just a few steps' approach, I had to grasp the nettle of those darned cheapskate Confederate butternut homespun style vagabond uniforms.
Out came the 000 brush once more, and in varying shades of brown and the odd bit of blue, in went more trousers, hats, jackets and blanket rolls.
At this point, I was getting much more pleased with the results, but was painfully aware that we were most definitely in 6mm and above territory in terms of stages/time taken.
So, a quick once over and done? Unfortunately not - for the life of me, I couldn't resist popping on some colours for pouches and knapsacks, not to mention the artillerymen's ramrods, buckets and of course red kepis here and there..... I consoled myself by doing this all quite haphazardly, but then that of course meant that quality control overall wasn't quite what I would normally aspire to.

Another thing was that I was reminded of just how fiddly it can be when working on individually clipped small-scale figures - it's really the only way to get to all sides of a mini- I always stick mine down onto paintsticks using double sided sticky tape - but the artillery crews meant a whole gang of teeny-tiny figures to work on; I think this would impact any ideas I had for using a lot of individually clipped figs in future bases - the cast together strips are so much easier to do.

I think the main impression was that with the level of detail that the sculptor has provided, it was just not meaningful to shy away from detailing the various accoutrements, and therefore add to the painting stages and time taken - the artilleryman's ramrod, for instance, or the infantry blanket rolls, would just look odd if they were not picked out.

The Command figures in particular, would stand a lot of detailing, even when done quickly, and again I think this speaks for the theory that these 3mm minis are a bit too detailed when placed against their 6mm cousins - same amount of effort to make a meaningful paint job, smaller impact overall. Yet then again, look at the price differential - 120 infantry for UK £3.00 - 2.5 pence a figure, versus for instance, Baccus 6mm at 96 for £5.50 - 5.7 pence each....

So, what about the visual impact of these 1/600th versus minis that are twice the size - well, I haven't painted enough of them in numbers that would illustrate - obviously the bases of the strips need finishing, and I have to think about basing, etc so it is as yet quite hard to say.

Do I like them? - absolutely yes, and I think the more generic uniforms one tends to paint for the Union side would help with a quicker paintjob, but I think they still require a commitment of effort that puts them closer to 6mm than the 2mm I am more used to.
I think if you are new to the smaller scales, and would find 1/900th too small, and are looking to work cheaper than 1/300th, then these would certainly not disappoint - the charge of 'blobby blobs with no detail' could in no way be laid against these top-notch sculpts.

So will my North Carolina good 'ole boys be joined by more of the same, and might the Union also make an appearance? - again, absolutely yes, but I'll be setting aside more time than I had originally thought would be needed in which to produce them.

Tuesday 8 February 2011

3mm ACW Update: Photos of Newest Releases just published

Just a quick update to let everyone who enjoyed the previous review post know that just as I was hoping for future releases, my wish was instantly granted and PicoArmour in the U.S. currently have some pictures of the hot-off-the-press Cavalry, Cavalry Command and Dismounted Cavalry (with Horse-holders!) on their website:

All look really good, very much in the vein of the previous releases - only drawback for me is that I understand Fighting 15s here in the UK are currently out of stock.... :-(

Monday 7 February 2011

New 3mm ACW from Oddzial Osmy: Review and Comparison

Well, as a self-confessed small scale fanatic, I suppose it wasn't going to be long before I got my hands on some of the new kids on the under 6mm block, in the shape of the latest 1/600th American Civil War range from Oddzial Osmy. Now ACW was a possible candidate for a future project using 2mm figures, but having seen the preview photos on TMP and elsewhere, I couldn't resist buying a few packs to see just how these would shape up against the old favourites, and so I thought I'd give a run-down of my impressions, and also how they compare to existing ranges in the 1/900th to 1/600th area.

First off, I got my order via Fighting 15s here in the UK, who have an excellent website with some great illustrative photos of the various minis, and must be given special mention in that Ian Marsh over there was extremely helpful after a Post Office mix-up led to my package being returned to the Isle of Wight - he sent it back on its way lickety split after an emergency phone call - so top marks for service to them!

The minis from Marcin at Oddzial might be familiar to the growing group of gamers that are using his WWII and Modern ranges, but were new to me outside of what I had seen on Web; they arrived in the ubiquitous ziploc baggies attached to some clearly labelled branded cards, and immediately impressed with their overall proportions and clarity of sculpting in spite of their miniscule size. Below we see a representative group in their 'fresh-out-of-the-packet' state:

(All photos on this Blog should be clickable for an enlarged, Macro view)

The first thing to note is that whilst there was a total absence of flash, there were venting remnants from the casting process as you see above. These were easy enough to remove using some small sharp scissors, however I must say that as these minis are made with some very high quality metal/pewter, they are very hard - so I mean sharp scissors or snips! For filing away any small nubs of these vent left-overs where present on the base, a good needle file was also a help.
As you can see, the cannon pack, which contains thirty guns, one smoothbore, one rifled on each of fifteen strips, also require cutting to separate, although an integral groove makes this much easier.

So just how big are these little guys? Well, that's something I hope to illustrate throughout this post - although it's important to note the background squares on the cutting mat are 1cm by 1cm, here's a quick reference with a stand of the 1/600th infantry up against a strip of SYW grenadiers by Heroics & Ros; ostensibly 6mm, although better described as arguably closest to 1/300th in scale:

Each 3mm strip from Oddzial is a smidgeon under 20mm wide by 3mm in depth; the figure height including base I would say is 5mm, not including any protuberances such as the rifle muzzles or flags; the standard bearer measures for instance just under 8mm from bottom of base to top of flag.

Given this size, the sculpting quality on display here is second-to-none, the figures have decent human proportions, and the weapons, heads and headgear are not over-exaggerated or ugly, which can sometimes be an issue in smaller scale minis.
Below, on the left, the front view of an infantry strip, and to the right the reverse of same; you will immediately spot blanket rolls, canteens and ammunition pouches:

Overall, given the somewhat scruffy nature of field uniforms during the ACW, I applaud the decision to mix both soft hats and kepis amidst the strip, however this might not be to everyone's taste - at least it is true to say that such consideration to detail in minis so small shows great credit to their sculptor/designer.
The overall rear of an infantry strip once more:

and then the rear of the command strip which includes two standard bearers, an officer with sword, and a drummer - who, by the way, is the only figure which is wearing a backpack:

I'm trying not to trip myself up with too many superlatives here, in that the very nature of painting and using such small scale miniatures might be anathema to some, whilst I am something of a fan of them to begin with, but objectively, these are great creations given their relative size.
So just how do they compare to similarly scaled figures, particularly when seen up against the long existing 2mm or around 1/900th ones, and more importantly, the two perhaps less well known ranges that are ostensibly 1/600th in scale.
Both Peter Pig and Tumbling Dice in the UK offer some infantry or ground troops to complement their respective ACW Naval and multi-period Aircraft collections, although as I have discussed in previous posts on this Blog, the scaling is rather individual to each manufacturer:

Below we can see the new 3mm ACW cannon on the left, next to a 2mm gun from Irregular Miniatures, and on the right, the artillery group from Peter Pig's range 7 which is advertised as 1/600th - (that's a UK penny in the pic for scale):

I should say that the Peter Pig piece has had a light ink wash just to improve the definition in the photos; I think the artillery from the two 1/600th manufacturers would sit pretty well alongside one another - the integral figures on the Peter Pig mini are definitely shorter and less well defined than the new Oddzial ones, but the thicker base part would offset this to some extent.

An illustration of the artillery crew strip from Oddzial; again, excellent and vivid sculpting - ramrod, bucket, lever and ball all visible - it is important to point out that if you intend to use all five figures per each gun crew, then with 15 strips per pack, they will of course only match 15 guns, so you'll need an extra pack to accommodate the thirty cannon in the gun pack.

Next a quick look at the skirmisher strip, which again does not disappoint in terms of looks, and would give some 1/300th models a run for their money - they come in a lateral strip, with useful grooves between each figure base to allow ease of cutting into individuals; a figure with rifle levelled and one loading his piece both have soft hats, the two firing figures are in kepis - it is true to say that the kneeling firing figure does 'stand' a little tall in comparison to his counterpart, but given their overall size, this is not too detrimental:

Now the command strip, again with a 2mm Irregular mounted group for reference, and then, on the right, another command group from Peter Pig:

The latter piece has a nice animation, but is somewhat scruffy - the size difference with the new 3mm is more pronounced, I think. Oddzial's figures are again mounted so that they may be cut as individuals, and although my photography might not do them full justice, they are a useful trio, and bode well for the sculpted, but not yet in production cavalry figures that I believe are to come soon.
Talking of cavalry, just as a size comparison, let's see them up against the others - at left, a 2mm strip from Irregular, at the rear a cast-together cavalry block from Peter Pig, and at right a cavalry strip of riders in shako from Tumbling Dice - definitely the largest of the bunch:

The infantry proportions are similar, when seen against the other three companies' output as above:

The cast-together block from Peter Pig is clearly smaller than the new figures from Oddzial, and at the rear, somewhat indistinct in my photo, the 'giants' from Tumbling Dice; this impression is reinforced when comparing the skirmish strips/groups of each:

Of course, the figures from Tumbling Dice and Peter Pig were never designed as centrepiece parts of their ranges, but are there to augment their otherwise finely scaled ships and aircraft, whilst the 2mm from Irregular is obviously in a whole league of its own; I think the new 3mm ACW stands apart in both intent and delivery, and probably would bear better comparison against 6mm figures under such criteria - certainly, your intentions and commitment to a scale as a gamer is important here, whether choosing generic stands that represent large formed bodies of troops, or preferring a more detailed look whilst retaining 'Mass' on the table top.

Talking of which, I thought I'd mention one small wrinkle that struck me when ruminating on just how one might base up these figures; for me, the appeal of smaller scale figures is their ability to depict large formations in a more realistic manner, so as an example, I initially thought of employing a 60x30mm base with 6 of Oddzial's strips across its width as maybe a regiment.
What immediately stood out to my eye was the fact that the design of the command strip means that the standard bearers with flags would be off-set to one side - I'm no expert on the drill of the period, but to me, these always look best centred whether in the front or rear ranks - more Hollywood than Historical, perhaps, but just what I'd prefer:

This brings up a slight problem, for when the straightforward solution of cutting the strips to size, and enabling the individual placement of figures comes up, you run into the very hard nature of the metal they are made from - without a groove, these Line strips are little beasts to cut accurately, particularly when trying not to damage the figures either side.
A compromise, then, might start off looking something like this - but I think you have to address the question as to whether this level of surgery is what you want from minis that are supposed to be easier to prepare, paint and field than their larger scale cousins:

I think that slight quandary brings me to my overall impression of these new figures - their excellent detail is both their strength and perhaps their weakness - as a small-scale gamer, I'm not too proud to state that the smaller mini can often be a short-cut to fielding Wargaming units without the 'master-modeller' touch required by the larger scales, and it might be said that the level of individual detail on these will draw one inexorably into the latter approach.

What makes these new little guys most attractive is their quality, but at the same time, might this very quality mean that you would spend as much time on each individual figure as you would prepping and painting a larger, say 6 or 10mm one?
This would somewhat undermine the generic mass approach, but depending on the individual, could be very rewarding - there's no doubt these would look great well painted en masse, but would they be as forgiving of a more 'broad brush' approach that makes 2mm so easy to field?

So, that's ten out of ten for their quality and overall value - currently £3.00 per 120 infantry figures, but a lesser score for me in terms of how they might actually figure as a practical project - I can't help feeling that the level of detailing required to really do them justice would equal that of 6mm, with a slighter table top presence, and am worried that the generic painting approach suitable for mass 2mm blocks would be rather letting them down, or indeed, would show up my cr*ppy painting all the more clearly!

I can't really find it in my heart to be overly critical, in pretty much all respects these are a class act, and I guess if you baulked at the tiny size and lack of detail of 2mm figures, but wanted a way to have a lot of units without the price of 6mm, then these would definitely fit the bill; just can't help feeling that for 6mm adherents, they might be a little too small and slight when deployed.

So, will I be plunging into 3mm ACW on the back of these little beauties, well...I'm still thinking about that one - I've heard that the 3mm scale buildings from the revivified Simply6 will likely be available from Fighting 15s and elsewhere in the future, and have thought that some of the output of Peter Pig's Hammerin' Iron range could also augment what is available, whether scenery, artillery or even shipping....and of course if Oddzial bring out the cavalry figures soon, and hopefully a pack of horse-holders, and some zouaves, and....uh-oh....they might be hard to resist, in spite of my reservations.... hey, I'm as much of a Lead Mountain builder as the next man.... :-).

Thursday 3 February 2011

10mm Colonial French: Pendraken's French Foreign Legion

A look now at the building blocks of the new 10mm project, namely the French Foreign Legion figures from Pendraken. These are somewhat enigmatically sold in packs of ten of each figure pose, rather than the thirty or so of their standard packs - economies of scale, I s'pose, given the likely demand for these 'niche' minis.

They can be found amongst the InterWar ranges, and come out at a fraction more expensive than the majority of figures, at 11p as opposed to 10.8p each. (Taking into account the recent price rise.)

The size, heft, and definition of sculpt are in synch with the rest of Pendraken's output, and in general are some pleasing troops to look at; above, from the right, we see the FFL4 Officer, then the FFL2 and FFL3.

The officer figure's pose is either a nice active one, or rather quirky, depending on your point of view - I'm a little undecided - certainly, his revolver/pistol is a little stubby and under-defined, but on the other hand his Patrol Dress jacket is spot on. The standing and kneeling/firing figures are both also good, although there is a little scruffiness in the sculpt to the front - that said, the weapons are well proportioned (lacking only bayonets-hard to do in this scale), and the accoutrements, water bottles etc are easily visible.
These are obviously optimised for a later period than the one I will be working on, but luckily the uniform is still representative enough of a wide range of Era - any differences should be hidden at this small scale.

These line figures are supported by a pack containing three Hotchkiss machine guns (FFL5) - definitely outside of my time frame, but also some nice sculpts, with separate loader kneeling to one side:

The Foreign Legion had deployed a number of marks of similar machine gun in North Africa from as early as 1907, including Puteaux and St. Etienne - I'm not sure yet if I can squint my way past the obvious differences from the model depicted here - I'm also erring on the side of giving the Moroccans a reasonable chance at taking on the French firing line - I think MGs would be getting a bit WWI for my tastes.....

The next, and arguably the best figure from the FFL range is the FFL1 advancing pose - we're into full-on Beau Geste territory here, with great proportions and detail - bayonets fixed as we see below next to the officer for scale:

An illustration of how good a sculpt this is, is the characteristic French knapsack equipment, which to modern eyes seems ludicrously impractical - a wobbly tower of blankets, mess kit and impedimentia that is often a feature of contemporary photos and illustrations; just how you were supposed to march in the heat with it, let alone fight wearing it, I don't know, but it is faithfully reproduced here - even down to the two tent poles that made up part of each section's bivouac tent:

Finally, we have a look at the first of the kidnaps or captures from amongst Pendraken's other ranges, that will fill in the gaps and enable the deployment of forces that will suit the 1905 to 1914 timeframe.
In 1881, Colonel de Negrier had experimented with Legion 'Mounted Companies' to provide tactical flexibility - Legionnaires mounted on mules could catch up with faster moving raiders, and also support quicker-moving cavalry without being outpaced. These light groups rapidly became the norm in the desert expanses of Algeria and Morocco, with one mule provided for two men - this meant one man was always ready to go into action, and only one man in eight was needed as a horse holder.
Pendraken has recently introduced a range for the South American Pacific Wars of 1879 onwards; this includes a nifty mini mounted on a mule wearing kepi and havelock, SAP12, as we see below:

This should be just the ticket for mule mounted Legionnaires, and extend the reach of the Colonial French force quite considerably - not so much 'March or Die' as mules to the rescue.....
So then, these are the starting point in terms of figures, and will hopefully be hitting the work bench soon for some test stands to be done. In coming posts, I'll be looking at Cavalry, Artillery, naval troops, and of course those all important Moroccan types, so stay tuned!

Small Villages from Mighty Empires.....

Always on the lookout for teeny-tiny gaming related items, I managed to get my hands on some of the GW Mighty Empires game pieces that were recommended to me as a result of the long defunct 2mm Fantasy project seen elsewhere on this Blog.
A job-lot going for pennies on EBay, these pieces are readily available as spares both there and probably at a 'bring and buy' or garage sale near you - with Fantasy on the backest of back burners, I was looking at these with a view to augmenting the 2mm buildings available from Irregular, and provide some bombing targets for Aeronef, etc.

The principal pieces are a castle/fortress, a hill-top town, and small village with stream, which of course relate to the various factions in the original game. The village pieces in particular are rather nice, with quite a lot of detail for something that is barely 24mm in diameter - there's a steepled church, a mill with water wheel by a stream, and a couple of other smaller buildings - painted up quickly, they look don't look half bad - the only niggle, I suppose, the circular hole in the centre that was meant for the faction flag insert - left open here for demonstration purposes, but it could obviously be filled easily enough:

They sit very well alongside the pieces from Irregular, and are about the same scale, I would think - of course, they're generic, but provide some variety from the metal pieces we are so used to:

In terms of how they scale alongside each other, the castle, which has a great hulking Tolkeinesque quality, is probably the largest, (close to 1/900th?) the villages are in the middle, alongside the Irregular pieces, and the town is very much at the smaller end of things. (1/1200th?) In any event, they give a range of visual appearances that might fit in with, say, Land Ironclads, or more traditional Historical 2mm; certainly, if you can pick them up cheaply, you might insulate yourself against the inevitable recent price hike in metal miniatures.

As an aside, Mighty Empires also offers some other funky stuff, to whit a very impressive dragon, a huddle of medieval types made as a 'flat' group, and a rather excellent medieval cog warship - forecastles agogo!

Quite what I'm going to do with these, I can't imagine, although the dragon would easily grace any larger scale Fantasy project, and I guess the cog could draw one towards 1/1200th galleys etc.
I also managed to talk myself into picking up some other plastic mini castles at the same time - these are spares from I believe the Disney version of Monopoly, that as you can see, go pretty well alongside the aforementioned fortress - they might offer some conversion possibilities - sawing of a turret or two here or there - Hmmm, perhaps that 2mm Fantasy project might see the light of day once again after all......

In any case, I am sure that some of these pieces will be appearing in some guise or another on my tabletop - they certainly look all right being menaced by Robur's Albatross here, anyway: