Wednesday, 16 June 2010

A Sense of Scale

For a long time (well, long for me), I've been considering 6mm miniatures. Peter Berry of Baccus Miniatures has a very convincing piece on his website extolling the virtues of 6mm over 28mm. Now, it's in his best interest to make 6mm seem appealing, but in looking at photographs on his site and on other peoples' blogs, I do like the massed look of 6mm. I'm also drawn to the speed of painting that comes with the lower level of detail. In particular, there are good pictures on Reinforcements by Post's website. I have two problems, however.

The first is that I've already invested in Napoleonics, and 28mm Napoleonics in particular. I've bought a reasonable number of books on the period, and two boxes of Victrix infantry. I like the look of 28mms, but my output is slow (a couple of hours per figure, at my relaxed speed) and my space is low. This blog has photographs of almost all the Napoleonics I've painted in two years*.

*My slow speed is mostly down to being at University and having to dig everything out in the holidays.

The second is that the Napoleonic period isn't the first period I'd choose to do in 6mm, for several reasons. Even in 6mm the uniforms are fairly detailed. I don't like the bayonets on Baccus figures, but Adler Miniatures are individual castings (Baccus come as a rank of four), and I dislike the thought of basing them all.

So the questions are, do I do 6mm at all? If so, do I do it alongside or instead of 28mm? In either case, should I do Napoleonics, or do another period?


  1. I'm doing Nap in 6mm for Grande Armee and Lasalle. I too have limited painting time (two kids under 5!) but I've avoided 28mm (all periods) for several reasons
    1. Cost - I know they are good but I just can't do plastic!
    2. My painting style suits smaller scales
    3. Space...

    If you've started 28mm Nap and like it then go the Sharpe Practice route and build up slowly. If you want to try 6mm then do a different period. Pete's new ancients are lovely (if I wasn't doing Punic Wars in 15mm I'd go for 6mm now!). But painting 6mm Naps is in some ways easier despite the detail. I go a bit over the top with mine but at viewing distance you need less detail.

    Reinforcements by Post have a good reputation as well but look at the 1806 French on my blog to see other painting services..

    Good luck!


  2. I'm doing Napoleonics in two sizes, 6mm and 20mm, the first for the big battles and the second for the skirmishes. It has worked okay, especially when you get used to painting 6mm - you can turn out an acceptable division a week easily. If you want to do big battles in 28mm with limited time and money you have to do one of the following things:

    1. De-tune your painting and be happy with very basic paint jobs.
    2. Use very high figure to man ratios and get over the '4 men taking a flag for a walk' aesthetic problem.
    3. Be prepared to spend a long time building up your forces.
    4. Re-think playing big Napoleonic battles.

    What I have done is place a limit of 100 figures on the basic infantry for the 20mm stuff which has made the two projects achievable and put a limit on the costs.

    Good luck with your project

  3. I think at the moment I'm going to go with (2) and (3). I think 6 men can masquerade as a battalion just as well as 36.

  4. I have done ACW in 6mm, 15mm, 28mm, and even 54mm (plastics). 6mm can give the "mass effect" look but they are just so bland. On 28mm you can see their eyes, cuffs, buttoned shirt, canteens and haversacks, etc. You can really identify with the unit and the "men" in it. I'd rather have a unit of 12 finely painted 28mm figures then 100 6mm figures. Right now I'm leaning toward usign Volley & Bayonet for ACW and eventually Naps. I can get 10 25,,\28mm figures on a 3" square base - that represents a brigade of 1500-2500 men. You can get creative and make it a bit of a diorama, like this guy did with his Black Brunswickers...