Home Forums Ancients How small would you go?

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  • #12992
    Shandy
    Participant

    Hi!

    At CRISIS, I saw the new 3mm range by Magister Militium and was immediately captivated: The figures were tiny but still recognizable and they produce a real mass effect:

    But why a new size? When I was home, I contacted Richard Clewer from Magister Militium and asked him a couple of questions about his personal motivation behind the figures. I’ve now published this short interview on my blog:

    http://wargamingraft.wordpress.com/2014/11/21/threes-a-crowd-interview-with-richard-clewer/

    I’m not quite sure why I’m that fascinated by those figures… I’m pretty much a 15mm man, but have been contemplating 6mm for a while. Now however I’m sure I will get some of the 3mm figures to do my Boudica project. I guess its the impression of large masses of men that does it.
    Cheers
    Shandy

    • This topic was modified 6 years ago by Shandy.
    #12994
    willz
    Participant

    Thanks for sharing, very nice Shandy they look like a group of warriors ready to do business.  I am very impressed with the overall effect in such a small scale.

    Having never painted anything smaller than 20mm, it gets me wondering should I have ago at small scale.  It becomes possible to do large battles in 3mm.

    #12996
    Shandy
    Participant

    Especially if you have a limited playing area, as I have. At the moment, I’m painting 15mm figures for a large battle project but I’m already realizing that I can’t make too many units as they won’t fit on the table.

    #12997
    Ian Marsh
    Participant

    3mm is not a new size. Oddzial Osmy has been producing 3mm (1:600)  infantry, vehicles and aircraft for seven years (well, that’s about the time that I’ve been selling them), and Tumbling Dice for even longer. Oddzial Osmy produces 3mm Napoleonics, ACW, SF, WWI, WWII and moderns, but not yet ancients. I’ve even had news releases published about them here on TWW. 🙂

    There is a dedicated 3mm Yahoo group at https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/3mm_miniatures/info

    • This reply was modified 6 years ago by Ian Marsh.

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    #12999
    Shandy
    Participant

    Thanks for the info Ian, I didn’t know that. I will include a note in the blog post. This is my fault, not Richard’s, he never claimed it was a new size!

    #13004
    Ian Marsh
    Participant

    NP. Avoids me taking it up with Richard, who is even taller and better built than I am:-) And who would in any case set the lovely Zoe on me, who is also taller and better built… 🙂

    Richard has been buying 3mm Oddzial Osmy off me for several years. I guess he saw an opportunity in the ancients – Oddzial Osmy is still steadily working its way through horse and musket, while also trying to add to its existing starting points of modern and WWII.

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    #13010
    Shandy
    Participant

    Well, I never could relate to that newfangled not-horsedriven stuff like tanks… I guess that’s why missed the news concerning the Oddzial Osmy stuff  And also, I sometimes still find myself confused by the scale & size conventions of wargaming – sometimes it’s a scale like 1/600, sometimes a size like 3mm…

    Anyway, has anyone already played ancients games in 3mm? Or would you never go that small?

    #13011
    Noel
    Participant

    I go as small as 6mm.

    #13013
    Patrice
    Participant

    Fascinating! Thanks for the link.

    (but for me, as a player, it’s 28mm or death  )

    Um, although I can accept some 15mm DBA sometimes…

    http://www.argad-bzh.fr/argad/en.html
    https://www.anargader.net/

    #13019
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Anyway, has anyone already played ancients games in 3mm? Or would you never go that small?

    I played 6mm Ancients and have played 2mm Napoleonics.

    #13021
    Altius
    Participant

    I can’t see myself playing with something as small as 3mm. When you step back from the table, you can’t really tell what is what. I play a little 6mm for modern warfare and sci-fi, where masses of vehicles are common, but about 90% of my gaming is with 28mm.

    Where there is fire, we will carry gasoline

    #13022
    Rules Junkie Jim
    Participant

    For some of us it’s a matter of available space. I’m not into ancient-period gaming, but  3mm figures on a 2′ square playing surface makes perfect sense!

    #13028
    Piyan Glupak
    Participant

    These MM 3mm figures look very good to me.  I will be interested to see what other troops become available in that figures size.

    Smaller figure sizes allow you to give the impression of reasonably large troop formations on reasonably small bases.  It looks to me as if you could base any type of ancient unit (including chariots and elephants) on 20mm deep bases.  In my opinion, armies tend to look better on similar sized bases, particularly in the smaller scales.

    I started wargaming in 6mm (ECW, then ancients) before getting some 25mm figures for skirmishing, then going into 15mm because there were more potential opponents and the range of armies available was far wider.  Now, I tend to use my 6mm ancients for ‘Big Battle DBA’ (DBA with 36 bases per side) and my 15mm armies for normal, 12 bases per side DBA.  I try to keep to recommended base depths for my 15mm armies, but tend to simplify things with my 6mm armies.

    #13030
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    I have been painting 3mm almost literally since the first day they were available. I have extensive WWII, Modern and Sci-Fi collections and I have posted quite a lot about this scale over at my blog, which contains painting, basing and terrain tips. http://leadnobleed.blogspot.com.br/2012/12/what-do-3mm-figures-really-look-like.html

    To put it simply, there are plenty of good reasons to game in 3mm, most of which have been touched on above (space, the ability to game big battles, etc.) My favorite, which hasn’t been mentioned yet, is affordability, which makes this scale somewhat of a “bonus” scale to any gamer, in that you can get into it essentially for free.

    A pack of 3mm O8 WWII tanks runs 4.50 USD for 15 castings. Ten packs will give you enough troops for a battalion-sized game of Blitzkrieg Commander which can be played on your coffee table and stored in a shoe box. And, unless you are REALLY detail minded, you can get everything painted up in a weekend, with the terrain done on another weekend.

    A six company French 1813 infantry battalion with 180 figures (i.e. 1:4 scale) costs five dollars. 3.50 if you go with four base battalions. Compare that to a 32 dollar box of Warlord figures. For the price of one box of warlord’s admittedly maravelous 28mm stuff, you can field a six squadron cavalry regiment, four entire artillery batteries, and a five battalion infantry brigade! And you can paint everything in an afternoon!

    One should not think of 3mm as competition for larger figs, but rather as a complimentary scale. It allows one to do cheap, fast projects in periods or areas one normally wouldn’t go into. For example, I have wanted to play Napoleonics ever since I got into wargaming, but the thought of putting together and painting the necessary figs was just too daunting. This is no problem whatsoever in 3mm scale, however! Just during my off time at the World Cup, I was able to paint and field an entire French army. Awhile back, I wanted to do a Venezuelan invasion of Colombia: 50 bucks of O8 figs was enough to set me up.

    3mm French Army

    Finally, of course, this is THE scale for nice looking, easily portable games. Many wags say “Hell, if you go 3mm, you are practically boardgaming”. First of all, that’s not true (see my above link comparing counters to 3mm stands). But secondly, even if it were true, so what? A boardgame can be carried in a backpack, friend, with room left over for a book, an iPad and sixpack. Idem 3mm. Even my deluxe set up consists of a flocked terrain mat wrapped around a pvc pipe and two shoeboxes of terrain and figures. This is a bad thing? Only if you are a hugely wealthy git with an SUV and a dedicated wargames room! A DBA set up can easily be completely stored in a shoebox in 3mm.

    Now yes, there are problems with 3mm. One of them is that, to be as spectacular as the larger scales, real thought must be given to terrain. Your battles are going to look somewhat like Osprey maps and not like toy collections. This is not necessarily a bad thing.

    The real problem, however, is that you need to develop an entirely new painting and basing technique for these. Painting needs to be MUCH lighter and basing much simpler, with finer grain or even no flocking. You can see my eight years of travails over at the Lead Doesn’t Bleed blog. However, now that many people have developed the techniques you need to use and posted them, you won’t have to go through the troubles I had. You can find a discussion about these tips and techniques here on TWW at: https://www.thewargameswebsite.com/forums/topic/painting-3mm-1600-vehicles-and-figures/

    In conclusion, I find 3mm to be a wholly rewarding, cost-effective and lovely scale. There is literally nothing to not like about it, except for the fact that it isn’t 28mm… But that is precisely the point! With regards to 3mm versus 6mm, well, that is perhaps a matter of taste, but again, one typically gets three times the number of 3mm castings for something like half the price, so I would say that, if anything, it is even more cost effective to play in 3mm versus 6mm than 3mm versus 28mm.

    Given that you can buy a complete army in 3mm for the price of one Games Wankshop blister pack, I very much urge gamers to try this new scale out! You have literally nothing to lose but the price of one cheap dinner for two!

     

     

     

     

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #13035
    Shandy
    Participant

    Thaddeus, that is a magnificent collection you have! And thanks for the link to your blog, very useful.

    I agree with all you said. For me, space and money (and time) is also rather limited. This was the reason why I first changed from 28mm to 15mm, which I really came to love. But already, terrain is taking up more space than I really have…

    I also like what you said about doing periods one wouldn’t normally do. I’m interested in the Boudica revolt, but not enough to paint up a hundred 15mm romans and even more celtic warriors. 3mm will give me the opportunity to play and explore that period without a huge investment (well, I’ll probably spend all the money I save on books on the period, which will take up even more space, but that’s how it works… )

    #13037
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    I’d go 3mm, but I probably wouldn’t be able to see the little buggers well enough to get paint on  them. 

    What do they bring to the party that 2mm doesn’t? The group I was in then had a fling with Irregular 2mm back in the 80s. The armies all looked a bit…lumpy on the table.

     

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #13040
    Piyan Glupak
    Participant

    My only experience with the Irregular Miniatures 2mm figures has been to paint (and use) some of their figures as markers for my ancient naval game.  Unfortunately, I have only seen pictures of these 3mm figures.  However, it looks to me as if there is more relatively easily visible detail on the 3mm figures.

    The smaller the figure, in general, the easier the paint job, assuming that you don’t try and paint what you can’t see when playing.  On the other hand, vision tends to change as you get older, so maybe it might be some of the younger wargamers going for them.

    #13055
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    I am 47 years old and my vision sucks. It is no harder painting 3mm figs than it is, say, painting belts on 28 mm figs. Like everything in minis, it is a question of tecnique and not one of eagle eye sight and rock steady hands.

    Paint for effect, not detail. That is the key.

    O8’s 3mm figures are about 200 percent more detailed and recognizeable than Irregular’s 2mm figs.

     

     

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #13060
    Mr. Average
    Participant

    I have, as in the past, to second Senhor Blanchette on the subject of scale. 3mm scale has come into its own in the past five years, and O8, and now others, are producing casts of stunning quality and detail. For a relatively small outlay of money and effort you can have a sizable force for just about any period, and store it in minimal space. I play at every scale, and find 3mm is great for games that feel very large and (dare I say it?) epic in scale. You don’t have to imagine that one big tank represents four smaller ones – you can just have four smaller ones.

    And the cost being as low as it is, what are you losing by giving it a try? I can put together a fully playable TO&E for any interested party that costs $25, and will get you a combat battalion or equivalent, or two sides of multi-company strength or better. Would you be willing to go in for that little and risk not liking it? Any other game and you’d be in for a minimum risk of $100, $200 or more if you bought two sides for the game. At the 3mm scale price point you can experiment with lots of different armies, organizations and strategies without getting in over your head with any one of them.

    #13065
    yorkie
    Participant

    Although they look like nice figures and I agree with the comments above, I wouldnt get them. I am too heavily invested in other scales especially 6mm.

    Having said that I do like the look of the modern stuff…….

    http://stevenkelly1.blogspot.com/

    #13066
    Piyan Glupak
    Participant

    I am 47 years old and my vision sucks. It is no harder painting 3mm figs than it is, say, painting belts on 28 mm figs. Like everything in minis, it is a question of tecnique and not one of eagle eye sight and rock steady hands. Paint for effect, not detail. That is the key. 

    Firstly, congratulations on your age.  If I can remember that far back, 47 was a good age to be.

    You might find that you are preaching to the converted with regards to some of the people responding to this thread. I find painting small figures very much easier than large figures, so I concur. No experience of 3mm figures but with 6mm I find the basing sometimes more important than the fine details of painting.  For instance, I re-based my 6mm Polybian Roman hastati and princeps on 40mm by 20mm bases, with 2 ranks of 4 hastati on the right at the front of the base.  On the left I put 2 ranks of 4 princeps to the back of the base. Even people with worse vision than myself can see what they are at more than playing distance.

    BBDBA with 6mm Republican Romans and Seleucids

    Not a very good picture, but perhaps you can see what I am getting at?

    O8’s 3mm figures are about 200 percent more detailed and recognizeable than Irregular’s 2mm figs.

    Somehow, I find that easy to believe.

    #13072
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    Dear Yorkie,

    Not to belabor the point, but the great thing about picoscale is that there is no “too heavy investment” in other scales… Unless you’ve got all other periods covered in 6mm.

    Again, maybe 6mm Napoleonics is your big thing. Fair go. But you watch Aliens and think it would be cool to do a one-off game. Twenty bucks will get you enough figs to do a nice little battle on a 3×2 mat. I wouldn’t want to try individual figure-based skirmishes in 3mm, but fireteam based skirmishes are certainly doable!

    Like I said, it is something of a bonus scale because it is cheap, easy to paint, and easy to store. It is also a great scale for producing micodioramas to give away as gifts.

    It is ridiculously easy to buy and paint these things. My biggest problem so far has been buying too much! I have far more sci-fi stuff then I could ever conceivably use, but I keep on buying more!

    My latest project is to do Steve Jackson’s Ogre in 3mm. 40 bucks of figures gets you more than enough, and that is counting the expen$$$ive Plasmablast 6mm tanks I use as Ogres.

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #13110
    Mr. Average
    Participant

    By the way, TB or others, (and at the risk of derailing the original, for which I apologize) what rules would you recommend for someone thinking of Napoleonic or ACW 3mm gaming in the near future?

    #13131
    Mike
    Keymaster

    I like the Irregular Napoleonic Boxed rules, they worked for 6mm and 2mm so should do 3mm just dandy.

    THE IRREGULAR MINIATURES RULE BOX 6/2mm Napoleonic

    LINKY

    #13137
    Blackhat
    Participant

    I am actually drifting the other way into 54mm….

     

     

    Black Hat Miniatures -
    http://www.www.blackhat.co.uk/

    #13174
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    Frankly, Mathieu, I enjoy <i>Black Powder. </i>simple, yes, basic, yes, but for that reason easy to learn, easy to play and easy to modify.

    I also have LaSalle, Longstreet and Napoleon at War. The last two look particularly promising, but I haven’t played them yet.

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #13383
    David Blair
    Participant

    I’ve been interested in these for a while now. About 10 years back I bought an irregular minis 2mm battle pack with the intention
    of a DBA travel set.That was my 1st mistake,at the time I was painting 6mm Ancients and had 100s done but suddenly 300 light horse
    just looked like a scouting party.

    The travel set idea was shelved and all the 6mm sold off and I started buying 2mm. First on 30mm wide bases then 40mm,finally on
    60mm wide bases.At roughly 1mm to a yard that gave me a unit frontage of 180 ft so my Romans were based 40 figs wide by 6 deep so
    240 figs per base or a Cohort at 1:2 ratio.

    Taking that as the benchmark the madness ensued. Celts,Germans and Greek troops followed then Parthians,Sarmatians and various
    nomadic tribes all at 1:2. At last count I’ve around 800 bases done averaging 200 infantry and 100 cavalry figures on each.
    Terrain now actually looks the part,I can never square 4 trees representing a forest to myself so I use large clumps of them.

    Seeing as I’m too heavily invested in 2mm to change now these are of interest for command bases so I hope lots of folk embrace
    this new range.

    #13385
    Thaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    Well, Dave, I also invested pretty heavily in 2mm Napoleonics, basing huge armies for Volley & Bayonet. I have bought 3mm stuff to do battalion level games.

    You might want to consider 3mm in any case. I know that the detail bonus o er 2mm makes all thndifference for me.

     

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #13388
    David Blair
    Participant

    Oh I’m definitely going to use some 3mm figures along with the 2mms. The commands will stand out all the better being 3mm.

    Added bonus will be when some other companies start selling more 2/3mm Ancient buildings.So whilst I won’t be changing en-masse
    myself I’ll be supporting anyone who does.

    BTW I’ve bookmarked your blog,That’s some really impressive work you’ve done and I’ll be visiting it often for ideas particularly
    when I get round to flocking my bases. I’ve decided to wait until all the painting is finished for consistency.

    #13410
    Mr. Average
    Participant

    Well, even aside from the generic pro-3mm sentiments I’ve already expressed, I’m really thrilled to know that there are 3mm ancients out from MM now.  I have never bought their stuff myself but Roman Legion packs are a brilliant idea and as a temporarily-misassigned Classical Archaeologist, gaming with the Romans is one of the most versatile ways to go.  You had Romans versus basically everyone in the ancient world at some point or another – and frequently, Romans versus Romans!  I’ve half a mind to pick up a few legions and stage some of the battles from the Civil Wars.  It’d be a bit of a chore to do Philippi (total of 36+ legions!) but there are plenty of smaller actions that could be done, fictional or otherwise.  It might be the kick some people around the club needed to at least examine the scale as a viable one for scale wargaming.

    By the way, I should say that GHQ’s TerrainMaker hex tiles are fantastic for realistic and functional 3mm scale terrain, and Brigade’s line of 2mm scale Mediterranean buildings would make superb Greek and Roman towns.  I’ve also heard positive things about Hexon-II boards for 3mm scale, but the cost to import them to the USA has so far been prohibitive.

    #13431
    David Blair
    Participant

    The Brigade line are very good. Here’s a mix of the Irregular Middle Eastern and Brigade models and also the Med Village.

    Middle Eastern Village

    Med Village

    #13985
    Olaf Meys
    Participant

    While pretty, the smallest I’ve painted is 6mm. As far as actually purchasing or playing with regularly, I’ve not gone below 15mm, and in the last 20 years, not below 28mm.

    http://mainly28s.com
    wargames review site...

    #13989
    yorkie
    Participant

    I know im backtracking a bit but, I think they would work really well with Blucher, the new game to be released in the new year by Sam Mustafa…

    http://www.sammustafa.com/honour/modules-games/blucher/

    The small size would certainly look impressive.

    http://stevenkelly1.blogspot.com/

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