After 2016… (I) 14-06

Games in 75m were quite similar to RolePlay.

In the summer of 2016 I released the Second -and last- Edition in English of my book: MY TOY SOLDIERS AND ME. It will stop there forever. If forever exists. In later posts on this blog I will highlight what I considered interesting for the reader after more than sixty years in the hobby, but today I am going to sum up what has happened since. I think I said in the Epilogue that this kind of book is a mix of divulgation essay and memories but mainly an exercise in auto-satisfaction and a way to communicate with my grandchildren a posteriori.

By 2016 I had sold my 25/28mm collection, as a result of a deep crisis with that scale, I still like them mind, in fact I liked them so much that I already considered them Military Modeling stuff of the first order. The standards of painting have improved in a way that you can extend this to 15mm and lower, but let’s leave it at that. The point is clear.

Since then I have built a small collection of 6mm, it is small because of the scale but also because I concentrated on some periods and I did not let myself go as I did in my youth/middle age. They are mainly Baccus because of the sheer quality of the minis and because they suit my taste, but another reason is that the range -catalogue- is quite extensive and growing. But not exclusively, I have some Rapier ACW too. Curiously for such small things they do not seem to mix very well, but this is just a matter of taste, do your own thing, it’s ok.

I already had the Crimean Light Brigade of Tennyson fame. But after a stop or pause of several years I steadily built other periods. First of all I ordered from a painting service -more about that in an specific post- Roman Republic and Carthaginian Units to use in a board-game grid of a very old game (Metauro) whose 54mm plastic original figures had disappeared from the Earth after several generations of my family playing with them. I was pleased by the look of them Baccus -Up to that moment I had doubts about the quality/presence of Infantry minis in 6mm- All right then, I went Colonial British Khaki, I specify so because I am not doing some of the periods I used to enjoy in 25mm and on the contrary going for some who were neglected for lack of time or cash or space. It is important to say for your info that I do not build the Opposition anymore, gone are the days of painting hundreds of Zulus, Dervishes, Fuzzy-Wuzy, Pathans, Afridis, Ghazis, Plains Indians and what not; I never preach or try to impose my ideas and do not believe in proselytism so as a mainly solo wargamer it is my decision and that’s that.

Zulu Impi 25/28mm.

So, Colonial Brits with Bengal Lancers and Indian Regiments, Custer’s 7th (only Custer battalion), The French in North Africa aka XIX Corps late XIXth Century were added to the Crimean Cavalry, also a one off Von Bredow’s Cavalry Brigade from the Franco-Prussian War (the famous Death Ride) and last but not least the ACW with both sides present, meaning Billy Yank and Johnnie Reb. The ACW was my first love and a period played extensively with my usual wargames companion, my little brother (ten years younger than me). I think it was the Prussian General Von Moltke who said he was not interested because it was an affair of “two mobs chasing themselves in the woods”, I respectfully disagree. I will detail why I love it in subsequent posts.

Von Bredow’s Death Ride in Baccus 6mm (the Dragoons are out of the pic because some sources say they were detached from the final Charge).

My grandchildren were the recipients of the unwanted gifts of Playmobil Armies -build with love and a lot of fun- so the three males (11, 9 and 5 old respectively) are now the owners of the proud Armies of The Grand Duchy of Vlaufosk, The Bermil.lion Electorate, and The Whiter Shade of Pal Co-principality. Hope the seeds flourish one day. I gave each one of them also a company of British Guards with bearskin. Because I kept the Trooping the Colour set of Playmobils and Custer’s whole 7th (but I am selling the last one). As it is I am through with Playmobils having had a lot of fun with them but concentrating on my 6mm projects and my Old traditional 54mm Toy Soldier Collection.

A Cabinet more or less full of Playmobils 75mm while building periods when the “customs” frenzy was at its pic… I had real fun doing them!
Custer’s whole 7th in 75mm bathtubed at 1/9 aprox. (Still for sale at 900 euros + Postage by MRW anywhere at cost).

After 2016… (II) 17-06

I started again buying Baccus figures with Colonial British in mind, but with a change of colour, I went khaki because a read of MAIWAND made it compulsory -we wargamers are like this-. By then I had already decided to use a painting service -or several- not because I do not know how to do it myself, just because when you are near seventy years old… time is a factor and that was not the only project in mind. In fact due to real life work pressure I did use painting services in 25/28mm in the late old days of that scale unable to snatch the time to do the painting myself, so it was not a new experience at all.

30x30mm stands makes possible to field small Regiments, or big one’s, it dependes on how many stands you use on that particular game. See also ACW limbers pressed into colonial service (multipurpose equipment is used whenever possible). I use a stand 30x30mm to represent a company but in Victoria’s Little Wars the system is adaptable.

I was lucky, the painting service provided by Mersey Wargames, Turbil Miniatures and REVEILLE (found them on eBay) has been excellent: the ratio price/quality, the basing they use, and quite a quick turnaround, sometimes the packing is a bit loose but that with 6mm is not a problem. I have already mentioned that I put the flags myself and do retouch the final aspect with POSKA markers. Yes! the 66th carried their Colours at Maiwand… (I did a quick conversion to get the Ensigns using dressmakers pins).

Old pic already published on the Baccus Forum, since then I have cut out the bayonets of the minis

Now, for a bit of heresy, I use the same minis to fight Maiwand, the North West Frontier and The Sudan. It is a bonus of 6mm. I know Peter do the Camel Corps mounted and dismounted but I did not bought them because the difference between a dusty grey and khaki is quite imperceptible in 6mm. I can hear purists crying oh Dear!. But let’s push on. One of the main attraction of Baccus is the quite complete Catalogue, but of course it is never complete for maniacs of a certain period, then you use proxies. I had the lucky strike to get (from the WWI range) the minis with turban head I needed to my project -a coincidence in time mind, I had already started blindly when Peter added those figures to the Catalogue!- he did graciously acknowledged the point!

Great War Indian troops pressed into service on an earlier era -aka NWF-, see the Bengal lancers at the back. They do have Vicker’s too! I can see Lt. McGregor (Gary Cooper yet again) whistling for them in “Lives of a Bengal Lancer”. I always wanted a Regiment of Bengal Lancers (In 25mm I only managed 6 mounted Minifigs…)



So lets do a quick survey of the Baccus Catalogue for Colonials: The packs I used have the following references: CBR02 British Infantry-Firing (only problem the bugler comes with the marching infantry pack); CBR24 Highland Infantry-Firing (again the pipers are on the Marching pack); CBR04 Lancers (great pack no problems there); CBR05 Royal Artillery 7 pdr. , I used limbers from the ACW range -finally having 6 horses per limber- never managed that on 25/28mm! mind that I do not duplicate the stands I simply use my ACW limbers!; CBR25 Royal Artillery 2.5 RML Mountain Gun simply excellent, I also dissembled some mountain guns and glued them on mules from the mule pack and a perfect stand!; CBR26 Royal Navy – Gardner Gun did the same with them but with pack camels; and CBR08 Mounted Officers excellent again… have bought several because I use them as converted standard-bearers too. Somehow that ends the “normal” packs then as proxies: WWI range Indian Troops GWE10 Indian Infantry Advancing – GWE11 Indian Infantry Firing – GWE12 Indian Vickers Guns and Crew – GWE13 Indian Cavalry (excellent Bengal lancers) and GWE15 Indian 2.5″ RBL and Crew. Of course it is very important in that scale to have the transport baggage so I bought packs: EQU03 Pack mules (used too on the Little Big Horn project, the trick is NEVER use figures on the stand!); EQU01 Waggons; EQU12 Pack Camels (ABU KLEA in mind); and the Naval Brigade using Confederate from ACW08. I even managed to build a Hussars with Swords Cavalry Regiment using CBR03 and a bit of cutter work modifying carbines into swords and a bit of work on the scabbards too. Really satisfied with the result.

See the converted Camels and Mules to transport Gardners or Mountain Batteries.
A Regiment of “converted” cavalry with swords. Note the vedettes carry carbines.
A Regiment of Lancers.

After 2016… (III) 24-06

After taking a peek at the Outro of my book I guess it is time to say that 6mm won. The decade or so that I toyed with Playmobils is gone forever, mind, it was FUN and no dealing (well a bit) with paints and rigid figures (lead toy soldiers have a definite “position” and you can not change it) was a novelty for me -of course I could not resist painting some extra details on them- but what was really amusing was to dissemble them and do other figures exchanging parts- that way you could get the soldiers Playmobil never produced (even if they produced the parts!)… LOL

Probably the most convoluted customizations of Playmobil figures I ever made. Age of Reason. (There in the Armies of my grandchildren!)

So, the movements Up & Down in scale after a deep crisis with my beloved for years 25/28mm ended with an exclusive dedication to 6mm. I sold or gave as gifts to my grandchildren the vast majority of Playmobils and kept some for good old times sake. Currently in my office Cabinets there are only the Trooping of the Colour set, and the complete 7th Cavalry (recently have decided to sell them too)

Baccus (mainly) 6mm has won the contest without doubt and it is a scale I am really satisfied with for wargaming purposes. Gone are the days of detail obsession, fear of derision at doing something wrong on the painting scheme, the ever present search of the perfect set of rules, and other aspects that were nagging me as the lack of room to maneuver, the always secure flanks, the difficulty to present the tail of an Army, Lines of Communication and so on. There were intelligent tricks to represent all this on the tabletop in the larger scales… but got fed up with them in the end: dice to see if that flanking troops arrive!; dice to see in which place of the table!; take a chance card! etc. It was becoming Monopoly.

Grierson’s Raid in 28mm… suddenly more interesting in 6mm.

Maybe I should have explained earlier that for me not all the fun comes from winning a wargame, not anymore, it is equally interesting the disposition of forces in a marching Column, its movements, the scouting ahead and the flanks and rear, and the correct orders and ways to attack or pin down and flank an enemy position that a battle head to head so many times done in 25/28mm. I can move troops in 6mm! Suddenly couriers and vedettes have a meaning, where the troops “are placed” also, and moving them around is a serious business I enjoy. This of course is mainly done in small Colonial periods aka Punitive expeditions in the NW Frontier, Desert warfare in North Africa with the XIXth Corps (French you know), Tamai affairs (Osman Digna), Custer’s Battalion movements (an interesting mystery), Doomed Charges of Cavalry (or not), they all have the BONUS of space in my old tabletop. Of course that not exclude big battles as in the ACW period but are today less of an obsession and not the only target.

An ACW wargame against my brother using 25mm Minifigs back in the good old days! Using again Charles Grant Scenarios book.

So, to sum up and end this post 2016 actualization:

1) I have a nice -for me- 54mm traditional New Toy Soldier Collection on display and add items to its themes very very slowly and carefully!… It is real interesting when I find a firm as Replicametalsoldiers&models (Andrew Stevenson) who can do “special things” on demand. No change of main themes in the offing, but toying of with my own version of A GENTLEMAN’S WAR with 54mm… will keep you posted about that (a 2020 project).

All the Queen’s Men 7th cavalry in Parade Dress Uniforms. Sold them long time ago to make place.

2) Playmobils are in my past. But I still skirmish or parade them when my grandchildren are in the mood… not often enough.

Naval battles no more…

3) 6mm is my actual passion, I keep saying to myself: This is the last order… this is the last parcel to the painters… I have to write down some really good rules for 6mm just in case my brother turns up unexpectedly and we have a game like in the good old days… only reason why I built those ACW Rebels!.

Baccus (and some Rapier) 6mm Union Army on its tray.
Baccus 6mm Confederates on its tray (Cavalry and equipment for both are stored apart).

4) The old Boardgames of my childhood have new figures (METAURO has Baccus 6mm), and Little Big Horn has kept the only 25/28mm figures I own today a mix of Dixon’s for the 7th and Old Tradition of London for the Native Americans (Politically Correct nowadays!… it seems injuns or hostiles is not quite appropiate…).

Little Big Horn a boardgame from the series Great Battles of the World.

And I hope that makes clear what I am up to in the fall of 2019!

54mm is not the bigger of my scales… I even have a Napoleonic Chasseur of The Imperial Guard made of China porcelain… and even bigger than those shown!

And those imprescindible books by HEIMDAL… The French Line Infantry due in May 2020.

Foot Imperial Guard.
Horse Imperial Guard.
The last units you need to know about from the Imperial Guard.
All you need to know… pending the second volume for the Horse Artillery…