Saturday, 17 July 2010

54mm Soft Plastic Figures - Carrying on Up the Khyber

Some time ago I flirted with Irregular Miniatures 42mm figures and a really good set of rules they produced called Volley Fire by Nick Bouette - designed to showcase the range of models then available. The rules were very stylised and used a 6 x 6 grid of 6" squares. Victory went to the first player to exit a figure off the opposing base edge. The rules were designed with larger figures in mind and Irregular Miniatures offered battlepacks containing the figures needed for a game which was typically 24 foot, 4 mounted, a gun and crew and a general. The period cocered was pretty much from 1700 to 1918 with machine guns and barbed wire featuring in the rules for the later period.

The rules allow a player to 'activate' some or all of his figures from within a single square - moving and engaging in combat, after which the opponent can do the same. This continues until after all troops have activated and are classed as spent. The game continues until the victory conditions are met or one side is unable to continue.

I have played a number of games using these rules and whilst they are very stylised they do give a very challenging game and players are constantly forced to consider how and when they act and in what particular order. Combat is simply resolved by the use of normal playing cards; the score of which is added to the appropriate factor for the troop type in question.

The use of larger scale figures that these rules were designed for got me looking at the various ranges of 54mm plastic figures available (for example Imex, A Call to Arms, ESCI etc) with a view to trying a game with them. I was aware of some manufacturers of figures in this scale but by far and away the best potential source was the American company - Armies in Plastic

For the budding 19th century gamer with an interest in the Colonial era their range is really impressive and the latest news is that they have at last released a British shirt sleeve wearing gun crew complete with a 7 pdr cannon. This is for me fantastic news as the infantry and artillery are already available and for the opposition there is a great range of Sudan era figures, Pathans for the North WestFrontier, Boers and Boxers. Indian infantry and cavalry (Bengal lancers) and also Egyptians feature as well. Given the numbers involved for an 'army' the cost would be minimal as these are are around £8 or £9 a box consisting of 20 foot figures or 5 mounted or perhaps a gun and half a dozen gunners etc.

This does not count as a new project per se; to be honest I was merely awaiting the launch of a suitable gun and crew to kick something off in this scale and the best news of all is that I have a very good supplier of 54mm plastic figures a mere 15 minutes from me -

Oh, the thrill of anticipation! Carry on up the Khyber as it should be done............;-)


SteelonSand said...

I love the line "This does not count as a new project per se"......!

Methinks the...(Wargamer)... doth protest too much.....


Sounds fun, though, I've a few of the Irregular 42 and 54mm 'Toy' soldiers lying around myself, but not enough to form a coherent project, maybe the idea of adding to their ranks with some plastics might change that, though...thanks (I think) for the tip!

David Crook said...

Hi SoS,

The rules mentioned give a great game and with forces the size mentioned in theory this is not too onerous!

I have flirted with the 54mm plastic idea on and off for some time now but was always put off by the lack of any artillery. No excuses now then!

AIP also produce a naval brigade Gatling gun and crew.......;-)

You are of course correct about protesting too much!

All the best,


Chris J said...


Is it possible to secure a copy of Volley Fire? I did a search for the rules, and found only a remark on The Miniatures Page that they were not in print. Drat! Are they on-line somewhere? Would the author have copies for sale?


David Crook said...

Hi Chris,

I will have a hunt around butI could probably rustle up a copy.

All the ebst,