Sunday, October 18, 2020

Twargame Advice

A world of advice on using Twitter to get your wargaming fix:

Stay away from the #warmonger tag.  It's for people who don't do a lot of wargaming.  They like "thuh comm-MUNE-itay".  You get lots of ads for milktoast content providers and soy-based podcasts.  A lot of  paint-by-numbers figures that will never face the trial of the dice.  Lots of consoomer activity with maybe a splash of vaguely wargamey webcomic art (circa-1998 in style).

Not a whole lot of wargaming, tho.

Warmongers. Nothing a little testosterone
supplement can't fix.

You're looking for the #wargame tag - that's where people who actually wargame show up to show off their tables and link to interesting blog posts.

An odd dichotomy, but one for which I am grateful.

By way of apolgy for all those wahah!-wahah!-wa-hacky! soy-faces, let me recommend a solid channel for those of us looking to up our painting game.  Vince Venruella isn't a personality whose primary goal is establishing a brand.  His videos are not bookended by marketing ploys and video diaries and tedious attempts at humor.  Instead, they are hugely informative, densely packed with the theories and fundamentals of painting, and all presented in a cool and casual style that educates.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

On the Table at 2mm

With the painting out of the way, let's take a look at what 2mm figures look like on the table.

But first, here is a side-by-side shot of the Great Traffic Light Alliance, with British on top and Austrian in the middle and Russians on the bottom row.

Any serious wargamer would chafe at the oddities of these line infantry.  Any wise wargamer would understand that the pieces are representative - we're going to be using these guys for everything from the Marlborough Ear to Seven Years War and maybe even a little Napoleonics.  That's a pretty wide swath of history that saw a lot of refinements in battle field tactics.

My armies are hampered a little by the decision to purchase army packs that work great for one specific era.  Using them for a broader than intended sweep means sacrificing purity for flexibility, a sacrifice that I am willing to make for the cause of good gaming.

And here is a good shot of how easy it becomes to recognize friend from foe on the table.  Ignore the massively out of scale roads.  (It makes me smile to think of 6mm terrain as way too big.)  Instead, note that the Austrians and Russians are easy to tell apart.  So too with the difference between cavalry and line infantry, with even a little cannon holding the giant crossroads easily distinguished by its unique appearance.

While I'm not yet a 2mm supremacist, this project has been very fulfilling.  It's a new scale for me, and the game scale - full Corps represented by around 20 elements - offers new challenges and a fresh approach to big battles over that of the usual "Rank and Flank" style games.

Don't be intimidated by their size - these guys are great.  

All my figures to date are from Irregular Miniatures.  They don't have a massive line of figures, but it's the biggest around (heh) and at this scale figures are extremely flexible.  It wouldn't be much of a stretch to choose some fantastic colors and name the blocks shown above as orcs or elves!

Thursday, October 8, 2020

A 2mm Primer

With three full armies of these tiny little blokes under my belt, I'm finally ready to share some experience with you, dear reader.  By no means an expert, the best I can offer is my experience working with this incredibly small scale.

First up, when you spray coat them, use a very light touch.  As you can see, a light dusting provides highlights to the raised areas, and a bit of shadow in the deep crevices.  As smaller figures, you don't even need to use the black primer, white drybrush method with them - the shadows arise naturally.
I've mounted my primed figures on small tongue depressors or craft sticks for ease of handling.  No chance to handle these figs any other way!

Painting was a breeze.  Using nothing more than the usual washes and a little dry brushing it is a simple matter to pick out just enough detail to get these guys looking like a proper army.  You want to use bright primary colors, just as one does with 6mm figures, and a little light drybrush to lighten them up one more notch and you're good.

Here you can see what a simple schema of yellow on white can do to make these guys look good.  The horses are a mix of colors hit with a unifying wash of dark ink.

The next issue is, of course, basing.  I've opted for simple 1-inch square bases for my figures as they can be used individually or combined to create larger formations - depending on the ruleset.

These craft squares are only a nickel each, and while they are a bit thick compared to the units...they provide a better handle for the unit than the figures.  They have a nice rounded corner, making them pleasing to the eye, and only cost about five cents each from Jeff Bezos' Crazy Internet Emporium of Goods and More Goods.

Next comes the ground cover.  A simple fine sand affixed with PVA glue (unthinned) holds both the sand and the figures in place.  The material I use has a nice unsorted character, with the larger coral pieces making for nice big boulders to break up the green monotony.  

This is old school basing, and very traditional.  It's traditional because it works, particularly at this scale where static grass just isn't an option.  Even the smallest grass would look like massive vines!

And finally comes the painting of the grass.  Here you can see what each step looks like with the base color on the bottom row, a light green highlight, and then a very faint touch of mustard yellow to dull the contrast and give them a bright, summery feeling.  The top row has a few boulders picked out in dark gray, if you can make them out.

With the fields in place, the red uniforms really jump right out, giving these British figures the characteristic color for which they earned the moniker "Redcoats".

Tomorrow, we'll look at a comparison of the three uniform colors done to date.


Monday, October 5, 2020

The 2mm Journey

Here's a bit of a look at my 2mm journey, one upon which I have only just begun.  Specifically, here is the starting point for my SYW Russians.

Bare metal inventory in progress.  Planning plays a big role here, and you want to dry fit to a base so your numbers are right, before you paint.

Dark green uniforms on light green bases help these boys pop.

Horse, foot, and guns.  After a while all you see is blonde, brunette, redhead.

The beast attacks!  Parrot for scale.

One big Corp sized army, fits into a single sheet of paper.  It's a 20-base skirmish that plays and handles very different from a true skirmish game.  Can't wait to take it for a test spin!

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Back to the History Books

Behold, the first teaser image of the Totally Not the Austrian faction for the Wars of the Trossian Succession.

Horse, foot, and guns.

It feels darn good to jump back into the historical saddle after a too long hiatus.  Yeah yeah, imagi-nations are barely historical but whatever.  Let me walk you through some of the process.

This project involves a whole lot of first times.  It's my first foray into 2mm gaming.  It's my first venture into a umpiring a grand-strategic game designed to generate tabletop battles.  It's my first toe-dip into the black powder era.  That's a whole lot of uncertainty to deal with in a project.

To help ease into things, I've had to make a lot of concessions to gaming.  Irregular Miniatures, God Bless 'Em, sell pre-made army packs for use with their black powder rulesets.  It looks like the army packs have been designed with Irregular's house rules in mind.  At this point it is too early to know whether that composition would have worked for my preferred ruleset.  At the same time, it is too late to ever know, because I've swapped out a few strips of figures here and there.

For example, my Totally Not French army comes with very little in the way of cavalry.  Very little.  Which might work for a Marlburnian game, but would leave them at a distinct disadvantage in a battle set closer to the Napoleonic era.  Fortunately, the 2mm soldiers are enough like each other that you can swap strips around fairly easily.  Provided your rank and file blocks are the same size, they can be swapped around with impunity.  This allowed me to achieve a more reasonable balance between and among the various nations.  The Not-French are still a little light in the Cavalry department, and the Not-Russians have very little heavy cavalry on hand.  

Which brings us back around to the NotAustrians.  My first ever 2mm army, they turned out pretty good.  Yellow on white with a bit of red thrown in for flare, they stand out against the light green bases and stand together as a unified team.  Sure, they are a bit monolithic, with no variety in and among the regiments, but at this scale that is of little matter.  The figures could easily be painted with more variety if one were looking to recreate a specific battle, it just isn't appropriate for Tros.

Of course, it's easy to distinguish armies when you only have one.  Check back in a week or so to see how these units compare to the NotRussians.