Tuesday, 26 April 2022

New 2mm Antonine Miniatures: some initial thoughts


Tap…..Tap….. does this thing still work….?   I dunno - you pop out for the proverbial pint of milk and nine years go by……. Never thought the Blog would go on such a long hiatus….. I feel like Rip Van Winkle or a defrosting Captain Buck Rogers, waking up from a thousand year long sleep….. 

“3D printed miniatures on demand you say……The Wargames Website created, you say…..2mm Facebook Group thriving….semi -pro YouTubers promoting the Hobby left right and centre you say” ….. it all seems like science fiction for this old Grognard…..

I haven’t really been up to much, just letting Real Life get in the way of the One True Hobby, and getting on with the day to day rather than putting brush to mini, or delving into project creation, or indeed, blogging about it…..

Not that I let this pause prevent me from indulging in all sorts of ‘ooh - shiny’ purchases in the intervening years (!)…. Rather I’ve been stocking up on all sorts of additions to the Lead Mountain, so hopefully some grist to the mill for posting about, if I can resurrect this old Blog and get it to creak back into life….

So in the spirit of being well out of the loop, thought I’d catch up a bit with a look at the newest of new-fangled 2mm Ancients by Antonine Miniatures via Warbases in the UK, released to complement the Strength and Honour Rules by Mark Backhouse.


Now having once been a keen proponent of the tiniest of miniatures, I’ve been watching with interest the various recent developments in the nominal 2mm scale, with the groundwork put in place by Zac Duckworth of Forward March Miniatures, the various iterations of 3D printed and home designed ranges, and was very excited to see Mr Backhouses’ new rules grow from a Homunculus to the fully fledged Lard-sponsored Strength and Honour with the miniatures to match.


I’d always wanted to try the vast scale of Ancient battles in 2mm - seemed like such a natural fit, particularly for the range from Irregular Miniatures, but had held off in that I felt the strip-like block nature of their output did not do enough justice to the more ‘irregular’ troops in terms of depicting formations….. with the best will in the world, and some creative cutting of the strips, they did not quite seem to be enough to depict hordes of well…Hordes….. or large skirmishing groups….. so was pleased to see this new range have blobs and blobs of just such miniatures - so had to have a delve !

Long preamble then, (apologies….. haven’t said a word in nine years, remember), but hopefully the start to a series of postings on my thoughts as I have a go at a Carthaginian army in 2mm.

Now I jumped in to purchasing these new minis from Warbases before they had produced either elephants or chariots, definite pre-requisites for Punic shenanigans, but I am pleased to report that these are now also available, and having scads of Irregular Miniatures’ pachyderms and quadriga lying around, went with those in the interim.

I purchased a selection of the various codes that would scratch the itch of producing everything from imitation Legionaries to Gallic allies, from Numidian skirmishing horse to Carthaginian cavalry…

So, perhaps the burning question for a dyed in the wool Irregular man, just what did I think of these new chaps on the block ?

They are obviously designed with the depiction of ‘Mass’ on the tabletop, perhaps even more so than my old favourites, and are made to represent, for the most part, large groupings of men or animals - the detail is therefore very limited, with a blob on a block on a hobby-horse appearance….. is this a criticism - absolutely not ! - I think this plays very well to the strengths of this small scale, and allows some very quick and expressionist painting - my favourite kind !

Where with 2mm from Irregular you could find visible and distinct helmeted heads, legs, armour, shield shapes, weapons, horses legs, standards and flags - all of which detail you could easily paint if your eyes are young enough or you own a good Optivisor - the Antonine 2mm are perfect for a broader brush approach - a spot of colour from above for the helmeted head, a stripe of another shade at the rear for a cloak or clothing, a splash at the front for the shield, a solid block of tint for the horse, some slapping on of quickshade shading, a very light drybrush of silver and done.

The minis themselves are very smartly produced with a smooth finish true to their computer design, and are nicely proportioned - no flash or venting remnants to deal with (smooth bottoms !), and only on the larger bases did I detect a bit of under-moulding where the odd head or two was diminished - not really a problem when it’s depicting a giant mass of people.

Size-wise, the cavalry is a little larger in proportions than you might expect when set beside the infantry figures, however, again, this gives them the added visual heft of the more impactful formation without seeming overblown.

How do they compare with the 2mm from Irregular - well, apologies for the poor photography below, but I would say that the infantry are pretty compatible in size - although of course without the detailing, and it is only with the mounted figures that the size is visibly different and the artificially block-like nature of the Antonine looks a bit odd against the sculpted and modelled horseflesh from Irregular.

So, perhaps not working if placed on the same base, but not too out of kilter if used in the same, or an opposing army. 

I haven’t done a price comparison with Irregular, but I think the minis from Antonine are quite competitive and given you are getting masses of troops, very reasonable in terms the cost - Warbases also offer the option of purchasing MDF bases to complement the new rules, which is handy.

Overall, I’m very pleased to see these new entrants become available in a retail setting - I don’t have a 3D printer so haven’t (Yet !) availed myself of the files that would open a whole new cornucopia of tiny troops - but feel they are a worthy addition to the ranks - I’m looking forward to seeing more and more become available.

In the next post, I’ll look at my take on painting and basing the little fellers,  and give some more thoughts on how they will be employed in a Second Punic War setting.

Finally, it’s good to be back!  😀