How Men of Quality Resolve Differences

How Men of Quality Resolve Differences
Pudel and Peper attacks - an ugly but inevitable part of any 17th C. British Civil War, "Oh! The Shame of it All!"

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Neil Thomas' "19th C. Wargaming"- 4th Franco-Prussian Playtest

You can here them knocking...can you keep them out?
Neuville défense de la porte de Longboyau img 1960-rama.jpg
By Alphonse de Neuville, Public Domain,
The 3rd playtest was quickly played and very similar to the previous games, just some fine-tuning of the rules took place. I forgot completely to take any pics, so not much to record here! Also, I was super busy at the time, and didn't record events carefully.

This leads us to the 4th playtest, where, determined to take good pics, I even brought the tripod for the old Sony digitial cam.

This time, I wanted to have an all-out Prussian attack, since I was reading Howard's account of the battle of Saarbrucken, and was very curious if the game would play - generally - the way that battle went. We shall see...

Below, the battlefield is laid. French to left, must defend both towns successfully from the advancing Prussian horde to right. French have one weak infantry division and a strong cavalry division. Infantry Division is 3 Guard battalions and 3 Ligne battalions, two rifled muzzleloaders. Cavalry division is three brigades of 2 Units each, all regiments of hussars, dragoons and such, no guns. 

This scratch French force is facing two Prussian brigades, a stronger one and a strong one. They respectively have 6 / 4 Infantry battalions, 2/1 Krupp guns, 1/1 Skirmishers and two Cavalry squadrons each. The stronger one is at bottom, the strong one at top. The French have the Guard at top and Ligne at bottom, with four cavalry at top and two lower, towards the center. Just visible is the ridge on which the Guard occupy a town.

French side. The 15mm show up pretty well despite the weak lighting. Flash makes it worse, interestingly. The center cavalry are cunningly placed so that they can charge up the hill or thru the narrow gap to the lower right of them, and therefore they can counter-attack in support of either brigade. The French batteries are out numbered and outclassed; c'est la vie! There is one in support of each brigade, directly next to each town.

In front of some French battalions is my special rule for the French: they can dig in, when in open terrain, and enhance their save by 1 to 4+. In the open it is 5+ and in woods it is 3+, so right between. The downside is that when dug-in, they count as Out of Command, and must roll to move - on a '1' they form up but don't exit their field works, showing the reluctance of the men to abandon their protection. 

The other French rule is that their cavalry is brigaded together and has its own general - they won't listen to the Infantry General. Thus the French have larger, unified cavalry forces, but it is harder to coordinate them closely with the Infantry.

Prussians below, have a 10-6 superiority in Infantry Units, a 2-1 superiority in Skirmishers, and a 4-6 inferiority in Cavalry, but theirs are closely integrated with their Infantry brigades. The three Krupp batteries [about 6 guns ea., but one stand in this game] are at center, gathered together exactly between the two brigades. The four Infantry battalions are above them, and the two Cavalry regiments [white cuirassiers] are behind.
At the bottom of the pic, the six Infantry battalions are lined up, with one and a Skirmisher just behind the wood, with two Lt. Dragoons in blue at bottom and rear. The General is just above the cavalry.

View from the French lines: Hussars and two regiments of dragoons at bottom, three Guard Infantry and one battery next to the town. The Prussians only have three batteries a few Infantry and a Cavalry Unit poised to attack down the valley - pas de probleme, oui?

Right flank - an astonishing flash of lightening punctuates the overcast day - could this be an omen?? Superstitious Soldiers rub their rabbit feet. Three line battalions, one in the town, with the General and a battery between town and woods. Skirmishers to right. Their plan is to hold the wood and keep pressure off the town. The gun has a shorter range and is about half as effective as the Prussian Krupp guns, but has no opposing battery here.
The lightening fades away...a gloom from the overcast sky settles on the battlefield...

Turns 1-2. Prussians drop 24 dice, 4 per gun on each turn, against the French battery. The French have 4 dice back [they're about half as effective due to poorly designed shells]. The French take 3 Hits and are concerned about their only guns.

Turns 3-4. French General retreats battery off the hill and rally a Hit. French Guard to right take a beating from the bombardment, and similarly retreat off the hill, abandoning their field works. Guard in town do the same. Guard to right manage - of course - to roll a '1', and form up slowly and but fail to move off the hill, malhereusement...

A Lull comes over the battlefield; there's a few adjustments to the positions and the Guard rally the best they can [down to one Base loss ea. Infantry, 1 Hit on the guns].

Turn 9. Prussian left starts to move forward. French realize their battery is out of position, too far to the rear, and has very limited line of sight on the attacking Prussians.

Turn 10. The Guard shift left - this is a bit awkward due to the Cavalry, and I should have used the General to speed up the movement. Then again, I can't even place a battery well, so what do I expect!? Obviously, too much wine, women and song when I was supposed to be studying the tactics of my forefathers at St. Cyr. The problem is that the General has a 6" command radius, and I wanted to be certain to position the Ligne battalion on the woods edge, and that seemed more important than moving over the Guard. In any event, the Ligne Unit is a bit too cramped between the battery and the skirmishers - sacre bleu!

Turn 11. The French Cavalry General leads some dragoons into the valley to threaten the Prussian advance - but there are three Prussian squadrons opposing them! The French battery manages to inflict a stand loss upon one Prussian battalion at center. The Prussians keep shifting to the French right. The Skirmishers reposition themselves farther over.

Turn 11 different angle. The French continue to respond to the Prussian attack on their right - there is no movement at all upon their left, so nothing prevents them from doing so. The battery is in a valley between the hill and woods, and behind the military crest of the hill. The Guard are taking up positions in the woods. More French cavalry will advance later.

Turn 12, Prussians. The Prussians organize their Cavalry, but the forward dragoons left their flank exposed to the advancing French cavalry. The Skirmishers pour fire into a Prussian battalion, but it is ineffective [three Hits, three saves]. The Skirmishers can't hold.

Turn 12, French. With a resounding battle cry, "omelette du fromage!" the French cavalry charge into the exposed Prussian squadron. Chassepot and Artillery fire inflict another lost Base on the center Prussian battalion. Skirmish fire is ineffective [no Prussian Base loss]. In melee, the French drop eight dice to four and force the Prussians to retreat behind their other two Squadrons. The Guard form up in the woods. Strong center, weak flank...

Turn 13, Prussians. Both squadrons charge, including the dragoons into the exposed French flank, and of course they trounce the French who add insult to injury by completely missing with all four dice and not even winning against the Cuirassiers to their front! They are forced to retreat, blocking the Guard and guns behind them. Prussian Infantry charge and rout the Skirmishers, who disperse despite having elite morale. They took a Base loss in the melee, lost and retreated and failed morale for losing, losing their second Base, and are removed. The damaged Prussian battalion wisely shifts out of the Fire zone and the General moves to help them rally.

Turn 13, French. The French battalion in the woods is threatened on its flank, and decides to retreat. A second battalion leaves the town to attempt to hold in the woods, which are the key to the French position - within them, the Prussians have the same Range, and the same protection, as the French in the town, plus they've numbers on their side.

Turn 15. The Prussians begin forming up and advancing on the left. They re-organize their cavalry and push a Skirmisher and Infantry battalion forward at center. In the woods, they maneuver to both threaten French battalions and outflank them. The French bend their line back to protect their exposed right flank as long as possible. The Guard are have a difficult choice - shift back to the left to protect their town, or go farther right to hold at least one town. Both are difficult, and one must be more palatable than the other...

Turn 15. Prussians form up and advance against the other town. French Guard prepare to defend the town when the moment is right. Their guns have again retreated to reform after taking fire, this time from the Prussian Skirmishers. Skirmishers are a real nuisance to Artillery in this game - they've enough firepower to whittle them down quickly, forcing them to reposition out of their shooting range, which is a generous 3" farther than the line Units.

Turn 16. Prussian Advance continues. They get VERY close on the right and pressure the Center, also. The Guard are hard-pressed in the center.

Turn 17 and end. We ran out of time, but the Prussian attack on the right succeeded, causing the French right to fall back into the town and the open. With Prussian control of the woods, it is unlikely the outnumbered French can hold the town. 

At Center, the Prussians are massing four Infantry, three batteries and a Skirmisher against the town. Opposing them is only one French battery and a Guard battalion, and the four French Cavalry, who won't do anything but delay the inevitable. 

The French will have to retreat! Hmmm, Sedan looks like a good spot...

Tactical Assessment:

  • Rules worked well - like an account of Saarbrucken. The Infantry are useful, the Guns when massed are a decisive force, and the Cavalry can be a useful support when used very intelligently. More use of them as dragoons should be made.
  • Anyone opposing the Prussians would do well to take a page from the book of Wellington and deploy on the reverse slope or in the cover of woods!
  • Per the historical analysis, the rapid shellfire of the modern guns had a strong suppressive effect - while not many casualties were caused, their long reach and the explosive shells were very discomfiting to the Soldiers. The Rally rules work well to present this; Battalions lose their edge, but not their ability to fight.
  • Despite writing, re-writing and re-re-writing the rules, I didn't play the French very well. A few small mistakes cost me troops I could ill-afford to lose, and I was unable to take advantage of Prussian complacency on the left.
  • The command rules worked very well - they present players with decisions and problems, but none are insurmountable and local initiative is more likely than not to occur.
  • All the respective Unit types work according to the history - Infantry is certainly queen of the battlefield, but the Prussian Krupp batteries are themselves decisive unless French use terrain to minimize their effect.
  • The rally rules work perfectly - most Units can withdraw and reform in the face of superior firepower, but they never get their edge back. This will reward players who plan and are thoughtful about their men, which is better history and better gaming.
Overall, I really enjoy playing the period and the rules are an enabler for historical tactics and game  play, and are quick and easy to work with. A little tweaks may be left here and there, but they are sound and ready for "cold playtesting" with strangers.

The period is basically Napoleonics in color and flavor, but the firepower makes it feel more like colonials. Terrain is critical, as it provides the friction against which the firepower rubs and is limited. This makes for good game play that is neither like WWII nor like 1815, and provides a great intermediate set of historical challenges to the wargamer.

This will have to be a priority project for me in 2019!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Advent Journey has begun...

Star light, star bright.

Dec 2 - 24, 2018
Advent is a penitential season observed in many Christian churches. It is a time of expectation and preparation for the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas and the return of Jesus at the Second Coming [click]. "Advent" is from the Latin word meaning "coming". 

The "penitential" aspect means it is a time to intentionally reconcile ourselves and our actions to God and His desires for us individually and collectively. Reconcile here should be taken as not perfectly meeting God's desires, but taking purposeful steps to gain ground [hooah!] for Jesus in our lives.

The liturgical color for the season is purple, which in Mediterranean cultures symbolizes royalty [it being the most difficult, expensive color to make in ancient times, it was reserved for kings and other big shots]. We may therefore use the color as a reminder that Christ is the King of kings, the Lord of lords. 

So, how are things going with this little 'ol hobby?
Well, I found stapled to an old church bulletin a list of goals last year [came upon me during the service so I scribbled them down immediately]. 
And it is looking pretty good:
  1. Get camera tripod for better pics [done, using]
  2. Sell off Urban War and most 28mm sci-fi [done!]
  3. Put WSS items on blog [done, and sold!]
  4. Same with Odyssey Slipways Star Wars fleet [done, still available [click!
  5. Sell off an historical period project [some progress]
  6. Paint items for Space Hulk game - pending]
  7. Post and sell Thunder Mountain Arthurian fig project [pending]
Overall, not bad - 4.5 out of 7 done, but it's only a 64% which is a "D" in most scholastic endeavors. However, "D=degree" is not really the mentality we are trying to cultivate here!

The Pink and final white sheet are the more recent list of goals and lists, and things are going well, but there's more progress to do especially in the area of painting itself, which has not been a particularly fruitful endeavor for me. I've spent most of my time researching and writing rule sets, some for me and some to support the interests of others and b/c it is always an interesting challenge.

I've recently posted my goal to do a blog post or two weekly, and I think that helps with actually getting things done. I hope and pray that this season there is spiritual progress with this hobby and that there is something to learn and share with others in it!

A blessed and sober Advent to you all! 

Remember, Christmas is not until December 25th, so hold off on your "Merry Christmas" wishes until that season, which extends for 12 days from Christmas Day to Epiphany!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Going Small, p.4 - 6mm Bacchus ACW flagpoles

Proportionately, 6mm Bacchus standard bearers - or Scottish caber tossers?
Image result for caber toss
You decide!

So, these are too big. And they are too fragile being made of soft lead. I should do this before I prime, ideally, but here we go:

Veeerrry, careful cut with X-acto between pole and color sgt's face [close shave day!]

Highly recommend a new blade to to a little start point for the Dremel bit. Tiny bit, btw. Unfortunately, below pic is a bit blurry but the left blade is new and has a tiny point. You have to *gently* place it where the hole will be drilled and twirl it in your fingers a bunch 'o times - *gently* or else the tiny tip will break off in the figure you're drilling, and it's a paint to remove! 

When you've made a starter point or dent, you're ready to drill. Use a small, new Dremel bit and gentle pressure on a firm surface lest you break something or hurt yourself!

There's now some flash pulled up from the hole by the bit - you can see the guy looks like he's holding a pineapple. Use a toothbrush to brush it off, or an X-acto horizontally to cut it off if you must.

Select a size that looks more realistic. Apparently, these poles wheren't that big around, sometimes Southerners used a long switch from a tree even! Left is the original, center and right are two sizes of piano wire. I'm going with the right one, it looks...right.

Sized the length by guesswork - needs to be large enough to see the flag, and it can always be cut down a bit even after being glued.
Put a little bead of glue on the end of the wire...
...then stick down the hole - but not to the ground if the figure is walking! It isn't a walking stick and would have been held waist high, perhaps in a belt loop holder.
Final result below. I think I could even go down one size with a wire.

Hard to tell in this pic - a bit blurry - but the new ones are about half as wide as the old, and obviously they're much stronger.

There's a continuous learning curve to every aspect of this project. And I probably didn't pick well when I decided to do six stands of CSA first, since they don't have uniform uniforms!

I think the most difficult part is just being able to see and paint what I'm looking at. My goal is to paint up enough for "One-Hour Wargames" scenarios and see how it goes from there. I'm hoping I can stick with it!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Neil Thomas' "19th C. Wargaming"- 2nd Franco-Prussian Playtest

Victory is ours!
yes, but not in the war...don't blink, it's almost over.
Paul Louis Narcisse Grolleron (French, 1848-1901)

Changes I made in the RAW:
  1. There were still a few rule "exceptions" to mechanics that were unnecessary, and hard to remember, e.g. Infantry and Guns can TURN while in line/unlimbered, but only Infantry can Fire, but at a reduced rate. I'm uncertain this is either historical or efficient in game terms. I made both unable to fire if they Turn, which I consider a Movement, anyway. This also harmonizes the Move OR Shoot mechanic.
  2. But, there is so much LESS of this sort of thing than in other rule sets, that it's a big relief to play it! Yep!
  3. Probably the hardest thing to get one's head wrapped around is that there's a Change Formation Phase at the start of the turn. Game Design Convention has such things during the movement Phase, so I'll be interested in trying to understand why and see how it feels. I re-wrote the Turn sequence so the phases are Move-Shoot-Melee. However "Move" has subphases for Change Formation / Rally, and Charge.
  4. Cavalry move only a LITTLE faster than infantry, which is odd. They do get to maneuver more easily. We added 2" to the Cavalry move, so they are now 8" v. 5" for foot.
  5. The Firing rules allow you to plink away sequentially at units until you get the result you're looking for, which gamers love and Kevin and I dislike - some Target Priority rules may be in order. Considering...haven't changed it yet. It is in fact a complicated rule to work with. My initial thought is that the front is a priority, "front" being perpendicular to the sides, so a rectangle as wide as the Unit and as long as the range.
  6. I also find the presence of out of period, i.e. not Franco-Prussian, rules / troops / data distracting on the RAW writeup I did, so will remove all the earlier period references and chart modifiers from the charts. I removed all the weapons not needed for F-P war. This greatly simplified the charts.
  7. Also, there seems a needless amount of distinction over Dragoons, who have a lot of exceptions and don't seem very good, anyway! However, their rules do make me think that these would work for ACW battles with a few tweaks. After a bit of research, decided that Dragoons are regular Cavalry when mounted and skirmishers when dismounted. Ergo, removed pretty much all the references to them on the charts. It's amazing how clean and easy they are to work with now!
  8. I'd like to have some Rally Rules, similar to the ACW rules from Wargaming: An Introduction. Of course, this will lengthen the game a bit, but I like rewarding players who conserve their Soldiers instead of ruthlessly getting them slaughtered. I introduced allowing units to Change Formation and Rally, together, representing in effect a "reform and reorganize" period. They can't move, shoot or charge, so it isn't a freebie. If they make their morale roll, they regain a stand. However, they can't rally to full four stands, i.e. the first stand lost is permanent.
  9. Converted all measurements to Inches. I also ditched the 1/4 per Turn for Infantry Units, and switched it to a -1" cost instead. Overall, I find subtraction easier than fractions, even tho' the 1/4 wasn't bad with all the cm measurements being in values of 4, e.g. 8, 12, 16, etc.
  10. For Line of Sight, Gaps, etc, went with a base width, e.g. 4cm, which is about 150m.
So, lots of little improvements, let's see how they play out!

Turn 1-2, Below.
This time, the French and Prussians set up much more effectively. The Frogs deploy their Napoleons well into effective range of 12", and the Infantry are 9" from their target, the town. My blue skirmisher is holding off an Infantry and a Skirmisher in the woods. This is good for me, for now, as I'm keeping two Units busy and not driving on the town. However, I certainly don't have combat power to win and turn the left flank of his battle line. 
Prussians have the town held solidly, but are somewhat daunted by the superior French range. They have adopted a Wellingtonian tactic and are behind the hill, except for the Unit actually in the town and the Krupp gun which is out of French range. It's job is to knock out the French guns as they are the most vulnerable having no save and only four hits.

Below, turn 3 center. French did occupy one victory point, the town at left. However, preferring a very aggressive drive on the other that French Battalion is leaving, probably to support the main attack on the right. 
The Prussians are hastening to the town with a battalion and a gun. Of tactical concern is that Prussians have solid control of the woods with a blue Skirmisher lining North side and a full battalion within it. This situation will continue to bedevil French plans...

Turn 5-ish. Combat between Skirmishers in cover is slow and very likely inconclusive. With breechloaders, they get 4d6 needing a 6 to hit, and a 3+ save for any hit. Infantry Units are much more powerful despite their skirmish-like fighting doctrine in this period. They fire 8d6 needing a 5+ to hit, so 4x as dangerous, but there is still a 3+ save in woods. Obviously, the one blue Skirmisher won't win this fight! 
I really like how NT's rules, particularly this rule set, shows the development of fighting tactics over time thru this period. Combining some aspects of the Napoleonic Warfare book's rules with this would give a great, flavorful game for the American Civil War.

Turn 5-ish, different angle. The French certainly have a firepower advantage for their main thrust. The question is will the Wellington approach work out for the Prussians??

Turn...much later, around 12 or so. French finally beat up and broke thru. At top right and right are the units from the woods - note the green hats on the Skirmisher Unit. One Prussian battalion has one figure left! The other has three stands but had to advance out of the town to fight the French, and now has a French Guard Unit on its right rear! The Prussian Cavalry Unit is in white, and is fighting the French Cavalry Unit. Another Prussian Infantry is near them and beating up the Guard Unit to its front.

On the left, the Prussians are departing the town objective to attack a Line Unit in the flank, while the French Guard similarly threaten their flank with two stands. The French have cleared the woods at some cost, but it should be worse for the Prussians - I forget to have them check morale at the end of each melee they lost.

Same turn, different angle, below.

At this point, the French have managed a bloody victory, and the playtest concluded mainly because we felt like we'd learned what we needed to learn.

So, was happy with all changes, the only things I'm changing at this point:

  1. Morale check to see if Units lose a stand on a retreat - just check once; failure means you lose a stand [which may eliminate the unit] and you face away from the melee. Passing means you face towards the melee from which you just retreated.
  2. Rallying. I like this rule b/c it rewards people for conserving their troops, which is very realistic [usually] and good generalship. I will make it harder, in that it is 2 worse than normal morale, so Elite Troops need a 5+, Average need a 6+ and Levy a 7+ on a d6, giving a +1 for the general being present.
  3. Cleaning up the charts a bit more, including some better color coding and organizing.
Overall, I am very pleased with this system. I feel like there needs to be more for Generals to do, but that would fall under the optional rules category.

I will endeavor to cut'n paste here all the additions and changes that were made when they are finished.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Going Small, p.3 - Painting 6mm Bacchus ACW

Why have we waited so long to join the world of color?? Image result for Relaxing civil war soldiersImage result for Relaxing civil war soldiers
Well, this is super's been two years that this project has sat around, primed and unpainted. I guess my excuse is I have been a lot busier with designing the games I want to play than with hobby crafts like painting. Still...TWO YEARS! Ugh.

In any event, here we are with the figures primed and covered with a rag. I've decided to go with painting a butternut brigade of Rebs first, as that should be easiest and get my brushes wet. I also have some ideas to use Micron pens at times. Hopefully, all this will save time and these guys will paint up quickly. Overall, I am hoping that despite having more figs per regiment than 10, 15 and certainly 25mm figs, it won't take terribly long. Or if nothing else, it will be a different kind of artistic crafty work and be interesting.

As recorded in my first "Going Small" blog post [CLICK], I hope to use the 6mm figs to have a more realistic appearance of Units on table, as well as a top-down mass effect. This will have the welcome effect of bringing a sense of proportion to the table, and instead of units of 18 or 24 representing a battalion of 500-800 Soldiers, it will be more like  60-80 figures. The ratio will be more like 1/10, and the depth distortion will be substantially less. The linear appearance of Units will be - mostly - restored and their appearance as a platoon / company on the table will be replaced by something that looks at least like a small battalion.

Reviewing the concepts for both the game and the basing / Unit system from post 2 [CLICK], I have to say they still seem both appealing and solid. Interestingly, the Units at 32 figures will have more than nearly all my old 15mm Johnny Reb guys at 20-25, but they will take up just over 3" on the table, while 15mm took up about 5". I could actually play any regimental game in a small space doing this, or the brigade / Unit game I'm thinking of - pretty cool! I will definitely be trying out some more playtests of the Neil Thomas ACW rules from Wargaming: An Introduction with these guys.

Yep, Step 1 is to DUST OFF the minis...covered by rags but it was 2 years.

Step 2: collecting my blue and grey paints - they might work, might not.

Step 3: Collect the Brown Paints! yes, I forgot them...

I use a system to paint variety for larger figs. I try to only generally follow it, which prevents accidental repetition [similarity and patterns] that look artificial. So one might call it systematic randomness. ;)

In this case, there are way too many rows to work down them so I'm using a linear system of painting the first three figs in a 4-fig block the same color something, say, shoes, then the next block has two, the third one, then I do the same working from the other side of the block. When they're done, I can further mix and match the little blocks when I mount them. If I was painting a regiment, I'd have to stick to the one set of figs so they didn't look TOO random, e.g. they might 90% have the same hat, same gun, same shoes, same belts, and 10% would be different with say captured Yankee equipment. Hope that makes sense.

Below, I've a pic of my first color, a Vallejo dark brown called German Camo Medium Brown #70826. I'm trying to make significant contrasts so the little guys don't look like mushy porridge with hats or something! I'm using it for gun wood and some of the shoes. A lighter brown, GW's Bestial Brown, will be a "variety color" for the same items:
Note that you need to paint the little bits first on these figs since they are so small. So I'm painting the guns, the shoes [the two browns and GW Chaos black] then the gun barrels, then hitting the larger trousers [which are recessed a bit] then I'll start working on the trunk. The face and hands will just be flesh dots, so will be among the last things done. This is quite the reverse of painting a 28mm fig, btw!

Below, the silver of the barrels using GW Boltgun Metal, highlighted with GW Chainmail at the tip-top of the barrel to give it a bit of light-catching shine. You can just barely see the barrel bands wrapping around the stock of the gun in this pic. Probably not worth painting but as they are sculpted on I can't help myself...!

Brushes that proved useful thus far are:

Craftsmart 3/0 [very fine] and 5/0 [fine] - cheap, easy to grip, holding a tip thus far.
Also, Loew-Cornell '0 round' #795, and a battered Armory 3/0 for dabbing wider bits like the trousers, and sidling paint up onto low bits like the shoes.

Colors I've been using thus far. Some of the pain is kinda junky, but a little water and lots of shaking somewhat revives them! All will be replaced with Vallejo, over time.

Overall, the Vallejo are much better paints, but I was virtually given the GW paints and altho a lot of them have dried out and died over the years, they've been worth more than I paid for them! If I had to make a recommendation, I'd say to go with Vallejo, but you'll need a little palette and some plain smooth plastic bits on which to drip and mix the paint.

Here's where we are thus far - guns, shoes and the occasional hat. Not bad.

Next, I got in some time and painted all the trousers. I was going for a mix of blues [captured Union items] and blue-greys [same, but faded, and / or CSA] and brown flannel [a very old and battered Armory paint called Butternut or Armory Dun/Buckskin. The blues and greys are from nautical USN colors by polly-S. Don't worry about them, you really shouldn't use these anyway!

Below, a close up of the same stage. My assumption is that pride will make the command group better-uniformed and MORE uniform, if you get my drift. Personally, I think the color sergeant looks like a caber-tosser so will most likely be doing some cutting and drilling very very soon.

I have to say that they look a lot better than I thought they'd turn out at first!

So far, the project has taken:
120 Minutes to clean, mount and prime all 700-ish of them

For the brigade of 92 Georgians [in my mind...we'll see]
  60 minutes browns, 
  60 minutes black / silver guns,
  60 minutes pants
300 minutes, or 5 Hours. As each paint stage for the 92 takes about an hour, I can sense this will not be quick, but it has been a lot more fun than I thought.

So what are 6mm like...
Well, the painting technique is more like "blobs and dots for effect" rather than painting in strokes like 15s and 25s. So per figure, it is much quicker. However, I'm not interested in units of 15-30 figs like my old Johnny Reb ACW [nearly all MiniFigs - nice clean figs]:

  • For games where a Unit is a regiment, they'll have 4 stands of 16 total of 64 figs. This will be a fig ratio of about 1/5!
  • For games where a Unit is a brigade, they'll have 6 stands of 16 for 96 figs in lines, with another dozen or so in skirmish order and a gun or two, for about 110-120 figures. This will be a fig ratio of about 1/10 - 1/15

Unless you are going to use about the same number of figs, I'm not sure that 6mm is a faster project. However, 6mm is certainly easier to paint than larger figures, so not a bad place to start - and if you ruin a couple of units...let's face it most people can't tell!

6mm is definitely a less expensive project than painting up the same number of Units in 25mm, even if those Units have as few as 18 figs in them! A bag of Old Glory is $18 for 30 figs, or 60 cents a fig, for $14.40 a unit. A bag of Bacchus 6mm ACW is about $10 for 96, so 10 cents a fig, for $2.40 a Unit of 24, or $6.40 for a unit of 64 like I'm doing. Sounds like about 50% off. However, the terrain in 6mm is a lot more important as people will be looking at the terrain as a landscape, whereas in 28mm they will be looking at the figures mostly and the terrain is mostly incidental [not that lovely 28mm terrain doesn't catch the eye, of course, but one doesn't feel as obligated to provide it]. Even with this, I think that paper buildings and some very nice fields will work well and cost less than 25mm terrain.

6mm is also more portable, of course. Even with cavalry the army will move in a small box [may want to get magnetic bases...] and only a Macedonian Phalanx of pikes upright will demand extra space into the 15mm size boxes.

So at the moment, I'm thinking that a 6mm project is a cheaper, more portable and easier to paint project than a 25mm one. The real challenge is provided by 10mm figures, who offer many of the same advantages but are definitely a lot easier to see.

Another question in my mind is what will look better, a less colorful army like ACW or a more colorful army like many Napoleonic and Age of Reason armies are. Sometimes lots of color is a negative, sometimes not. I'll be interested in how this project develops and the craft and artistic skills I learn along the way.

So to summarize, 6mm projects:
- will take similar time to paint Units with more figures,
- but are easier to paint faster,
- and will cost about half as much as a 25mm project,
- but you will have to invest in some nice terrain,
- and are definitely portable.
- and 10mm may have many of the same advantages but be easier to see!
Main question - is it going to look very cool on the table??

Meanwhile, now that I've got my painting groove going, I am of course being distracted by a week of Army and Thanksgiving travel in the next fortnight, so I hope I can keep up my motivation.