Sunday, January 11, 2015

Small Interlude: An Army Approaches

Had a few quiet moments to pull a couple of armies down out of deep storage last night.    Sort of.  A couple years back, the boy convinced me to buy a couple of armies for mass battle.  In a moment of wargaming weakness, I caved and bought two army packs from Irregular Miniatures, an Undead Battalion, and an Army of the West.

Two packs will run 25 quid, or about 40 bucks, and you get somewhere in the realm of five hundred figures.  That ain't a bad price.  If you play a wargame along the lines of DBA or other 40mm frontage games, each pack gets you a full armies worth of dudes in each pack, and you can cobble together a tidy little force.  The only real downside is that you don't get to pick your mix - which might be a deal breaker for some.

Here's my problem; if I'm going to use 6mm figures in an effort to achieve a mass scale look for the tabletop, I'm not going mount one or two strips of guys on a stand.  There'd better be at least 20 mounted figures per base and at least 30 foot soldiers per ground pounder base.  To get that effect, you really need to double down and buy two of each pack.

I only bought one of each.  To rectify the situation, I've combined the undead and army of the west into a single fighting force.  Behold.

Behold, I say again!
That's 21 to 26 mounted and anywhere from 30 to 60 foot troops on each base.  Now that's more like a mass battle.  Yeah, 300 dudes on a side is a skirmish in the grand scheme of history, but this is a fair step up from those 15mm armies composed of 30-50 guys each.

To sort out these tiny bits of lead, I drew a grid two inches by three inches (my preferred base size) on a blank piece of paper, and then just started grouping like figures.  All told, it works out fairly well.  We'll go through the army in more detail once it is painted, but for now the goal was to establish that the two packs of figures could be used for a single force.

They can, with a few packs left over, all from the Army of the West.  The undead troops can be mounted on base in a pretty scattershot way to represent the ill trained levies (the bottom right bases above).  The Army of the West included five stands of close order pikes, but the pikes are way to fragile for use.  It also included two strips of loose order cavalry.  They won't work for a heavy knight force like this.  In the end, that's just 7 strips out of all you see above that won't be used.  The savings was well worth the waste - and I may be able to use that cavalry with a dark age force later.  We'll see.

Issues to resolve as these get painted:

  • Can the human knights (back left bases shown above) be painted to look like skeletons, or will this wind up being the army of the lich king, with some human soldiers and some undead?
  • Mount the bow men in strips of five, or cut them all apart and mount them scattered about the base?
  • Bevel the base edges or leave them square?  Bevelled will blend with the terrain better, but square will let me pick a color for the edges to help distinguish army or troop types.
Oh, and if you want to see what the undead units look like with paint on them, check out this link right here.

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