Wednesday 23 September 2015

In Blocks we (still) trust....

I seem to have spect an awful lot of time thinking about what to do rather than just doing it. My recent acquisition of a copy of Battle Cry has served to inspire me in many different directions which is probably the boost I needed in order to make something happen. I really like the figures in the game (they are a big improvement on those from the original version) and with this in mind I am planning to acquire a second copy. They are scaled at 20mm so would be ideal for use in a wargame - and that is exactly what I am planning to do. As is usual with me I will be making use of every component included in the game with the exception of the rules. I prefer the Napoleonic version of the Command and Colours system to the ACW one and so will be more likely to use either those or a fusion of Bob Cordery's Memoir of Battle derivative with a smattering of my own ideas.

Now here is the dilemma. I could build a pair of ACW armies of the blue and grey variety - none of that brown or butternut stuff - or possibly even a pair of kepi-wearing imagi-nation style armies. This is something I am currently mentally grappling with. I have worked out uniforms for both nations and reckon there is some mileage in the idea. I will give this further thought in the meantime though. I should also add that an email from that raconteur, wit and bon vivant, Conrad Kinch pointed out that some 20mm plastic figures are available for the Russo-Turkish War but of course this would absolutely no bearing on any decision I make....;-)

One thing I am going to tackle though is something a little different but given my fondness for my block armies should come as no surprise. I want to produce a couple of armies using those quite splendid 3mm or 1/600th scale troop blocks produced by Peter Pig in support of their Hammerin' Iron ACW naval rules. The range covers all that is needed in that there is an infantry block, a cavalry block, an artillery block and one for skirmishers and the inevitable command. I am conscious of the huge range of 2mm blocks that Irregular Miniatures produce and indeed, I have owned a few of these over the years but have never really progressed anything with them other than a brace of DBA armies for the Punic Wars. The 3mm blocks are a better fit for what I am planning and have the critical advantage of being more painter friendly in my opinion than their smaller counterparts from Irregular. The fact that Tumbling Dice also produce some models in this scale designed for the 20th century  - not to mention more aircraft than you shake a stick at - is also a major consideration for me as well. 

The size of a standard Battle Cry playing board would suit the use of single 3mm troop blocks representing an individual unit with the use of markers of some kind to record hits. For use with Hexon one could simple use 4 infantry, 2 cavalry or two artillery blocks for the standard units and merely remove a block when a unit takes a hit. Most importantly though, the game would have that 'en masse' look of whole ranks of troops rather than a few figures. 

The figures in the game I intend using with larger units when using Hexon - my thoughts at present are towards 6 or 8 figure infantry units 4 or 6 figure cavalry units and a pair of guns for the artillery. This will go some way towards the impression of massed ranks of troops in combat.

Mention of Tumbling Dice and the 20th century should also serve as a clue as to what else I am thinking of in this scale - specifically the Balkan Wars or WW1. There is also the tempting possibility of WW2 as well - and I am very aware of the models available from Pico in this scale! 

The geat thing about the 20th century in this scale is the variety of armies one could represent with three basic paint jobs - grey, khaki and olive green. Certainly the main bulk of infantry could be used for pretty much anything and by adding period and army specific vehicles can be tailored to suit any conflict or theatre imaginable. The same is also true to the ACW blocks from Peter Pig although the cast on flags mean that the country of an army would be defined rather than the period being represented. Painting flags in 1/600th will be interesting although I have a cunning plan for this.

All in all then this little foray back into a period I had resigned myself to not gaming - the ACW - (and the inspiration to do so came from a most unlikely source!) has served to give me a much needed shot in the arm and has set in motion a train of events that are leading to who know's where?


David Crook said...

Hi Stu Rat,

Many thanks for the heads up re these. I had heard about the range of WW2 vehicles but not the ACW stuff. I will certainly be taking a look at them now though!

All the best,


Paul O'G said...

Ahoy DC! Would you mind dropping me an email? I seem to have lost your email when switching laptops and have need to exchange dispatches with you Sir!

David Crook said...

Hi Paul,

My usual email is or you can get me on I will drop you a line to discuss the price of corn as they say....;-)

All the best