Tuesday, 15 September 2020

The ACW in a Box (actually 3!)

Advancing in column of fours, a regiment of Union infantry march out to engage the rebels. 30mm Spencer Smith ACW figures painted by Old Painter Bob and organised as per Charge!

I think I am have finally hit the sweet spot in terms of the size and the look of the armies that I want to raise. Inspiration has come from many sources and if I am honest in my case I think it has been a combination of many threads. The biggest single influence has been Command and Colours, with a frisson of DBA (and its various derivatives) and of course, the continually evolution that led to the Portable Wargame series.

For the most part my interests are focussed on grid based games but with the added attraction of Dan Mersey’s ‘Rampant’ sequence and also the offerings from Neil Thomas.

I took the decision that all of my armies going forwards would be based individually to accommodate  various rule sets and that using movement trays is my solution for rules that are base driven rather than figures. Naturally this meant that Due consideration would need to be given to command and supernumerary figures, not only for the look of the thing but game use as required.

My interpretation of the ‘Formation in a box’ idea as championed by Bob Cordery and doubtless others! This is the Union box and the Rebel equivalent is identical

I have also imposed a limit on the physical size of the armies I will raise in that a single box file will be home to the entire collection of core troops. The picture above shows what I mean. However, wargamers being wargamers, there is always a margin for ‘project creep’. For me that means for the ACW collection the third box will contain the ‘specials’ - Zouaves for the Union, Texans for the Confederates and sharpshooters for both.

The above force can be sliced and diced in a variety of ways to suit any number of rules sets which is of crucial importance to me. The ACW collection is certainly stylised in the fashion of those wonderful Kurz and Allison prints but that does not bother me one jot. It may offend the ACW purist but again, it does not bother me one jot. They look lovely and I am really pleased with them. When I get to building the ships that will support them I am aiming for a similar ‘cartoon’ style - more ‘based upon’ than historically (or should that be hysterically?) accurate.

Once again many thanks to Old Painter Bob for his incredible generosity and interpretation.


Steve J. said...

Great that you have settled upon a basing and look that you like and works across several rulesets. The latter I find increasingly important, so most of my stuff for BP style games is four 1" bases equals a Battalion, with the option of adding or subtracting one if required.

As for the purists, what counts is what you like and for my two penneth I love the look of your Armies. Can't wait to see the boats/ships.

David Crook said...

Hello there Steve J,

I am pleased to have finally settled on something - it is one less thing to worry about - and everything going forward will be based individually. Naturally 1:600th or 3mm figures are exempt from this! I also think that by limiting the physical size of a force it does help to focus on what it really needed. The box full above can be used as is for a variety of rule sets and indeed, for my Portable Wargame or Command and Colours based games what you see would give an army of nigh on 20 plus units - experience with the block armies has shown me that around a dozen units a side is about as large as is comfortable so on a normal basis I would expect to use around two thirds of the box in total.

The additional box has the extras units in and it would be churlish not to add some fun stuff. The Burma collection will be along similar lines with the extra box containing the vehicles I will be using - for both sides. For a comparison the Del Prado collection used 8 such boxes!

Spencer Smith figures are very basic and so suit a simple paint job. Old Painter Bob did a fantastic job with these and I only hope that the units I am painting fit in as well.

All the best,


Steve J. said...

Around 12 units per side seems to have become quite popular of late as, as you say, it gives a nice and manageable sized force to play with, especially when playing solo.

David Crook said...

Hi Steve J,

I used to find with the block armies that any more than around a dozen units made for a very crowded playing area. I use a 13 x 9 grid and like to have some room to manoeuvre so keeping to a dozen units keeps things manageable.

In many ways I suppose this is a DBA throwback although 12 units is not carved in stone. I suppose my plan is not unlike having a DBA army with all the options available.

All the best,


Maudlin Jack Tar said...

Magnificent looking Union Army in a Box - Old Painter Bob strikes again. Could you please post a pic of the Confederate Army?

David Crook said...

Hi Maudlin Jack Tar,

Aside from being an absolute gentleman, Old Painter Bob has a lovely painting style. Half of the collection was painted some years ago but the recent doubling of its size is absolutely seamless - you would never know which was painted when!

I plan to hold a grand review of both forces once I have the final units finished but in the meantime I will post some more pictures in a day or so.

All the best,


Glasgow Warhog said...

Great army
You might like this

David Crook said...

Hello there Glasgow Warhog,

I took a look and all I can say is is WOW!!

There is some serious stuff there for sure!

All the best and thank you for sharing,