To Hex, or not to Hex

Even though I’ve already invested some time and effort in making hex tiles, I’m still kind of “on the fence” as to whether I want to fully commit myself to them.

So they’re more of an experiment for the time being, with my other alternatives being:

  1. A single large (4 x 6 feet) terrain board
  2. A large (4 x 6 feet) terrain board made up of smaller (1 x 1, 2 x 2, or 1 x 2 feet) square/rectangular terrain tiles
  3. A single large (4 x 6 feet) foldable/rollable terrain mat

Option #1 is definitely unfeasible for me, given my space constraints. My wife will probably kill me if I attempt something like that in our small house :P

So I’ve got myself 30 pieces of laser-cut hex-shaped MDF boards from Warbases, and I’m planning to see how I like the overall effect of 30 hexes before investing in more.

I feel that the pros hex-based terrain tiles over square/rectangular ones are:

1. Small hexes somehow look better and more natural than small squares.
I highly suspect that this is just the wargamer in me. (I’ve been playing hex-based war games for almost as long as I can remember)
In my opinion, Square/Rectangular tiles need to be rather big (at least half a meter long per side) before they start looking good. A board made up of small square tiles remind me too much of a bathroom :P

2. Small tiles are much easier to make.
I’ve actually bought a few large MDF boards a long time ago, with a plan to cut them down to the required sizes and make rectangular tiles out of them. But each time I look at them, the task ahead of me felt just too daunting…
On the other hand, these small hexes don’t look so imposing and I can work on them whenever I have a bit of free time.

3. Hexes offer more versatility than squares when creating terrain
Or at least, they’re supposed to. I know that there are a number of arguments against that school of thought, but I’m with the school which believes that hex-based tiles can be used to re-create almost any type of terrain convincingly enough for wargaming purposes.

4. There are some hex-based rules I want to try out
I’ve been reading a number of fast-play rules that work on hex boards; something of a cross between board games and miniature games. They look very promising (especially for introducing wargames to non-playing friends), and will very probably allow for fun games that can be completed within an hour.
No fiddling with rulers or squinting your eyes to determine line-of-sight “from the eyes of the model”.
No “You’re only supposed to move 50cm, but you’ve just moved 51cm!!!” nonsense.

So there, these are the reasons behind my experiment with hex tiles. What do you think?

6mm Napoleonic British Line Infantry

I know, it’s been a long time since I’ve got myself these tiny little tin soldiers from Baccus… But what can I say? Life happened :P

Things have settled down a bit now, and I’ve finally managed to complete 3 bases of Napoleonic British Line Infantry. I’ve also finished a few hex terrain tiles that I’m planning to use instead of a terrain mat. Here are pictures of these little Brits posing on top of the hex tiles.
(Note: You can click on the pictures to see a larger version)

Since I’m a relatively new miniature painter, and especially since this is my first foray into Napoleonics… do be gentle with your comments!

I do know that the backpacks, equipment belt and canteen are of the wrong color, and I just couldn’t manage to paint in the facings (sleeves and collars) on such little miniatures… but I have a better idea now, so my next batch should probably look better!

P.S Oops! Only after taking these photos did I notice that I forgot to paint the edge of the bases

resized_dsc2343_angelbleu

resized_dsc2344_angelbleu

resized_dsc2345_angelbleu

resized_dsc2346_angelbleu

resized_dsc2347_angelbleu

resized_dsc2348_angelbleuresized_dsc2349_angelbleu

6mm Spartans Rebased using Baccus Basing System

I had introduced my 6mm Spartan hoplites a while ago.

Now, I’ve always known that Baccus (my 6mm manufacturer of choice) sells this basing pack called the “Baccus Basing System”, which includes fine sand and short static grass that are specially selected to be compatible with 6mm miniatures.

baccus_basing_system_angelbleu

But being the cheapskate that I am, I didn’t believe that the “normal” sand and static grass will look too big/long and out of place. So I went ahead with my own way, and this was what I got with my first attempt at basing 6mm minis.

dsc_7706_angelbleu

You can see that the grass is so long that it reaches above the knees, making these Spartans look like they’re wading through some thick jungle undergrowth.

I had also scoffed at buying pre-cut MDF bases, so I cut out some 1mm thick plasticard sheets to the required size and glued them together to make a 2mm thick base. Apart from this being a whole lot of work, I just couldn’t cut the sizes accurately enough by hand, so the seam between the two pieces of plasticard sticks out like a sore thumb.

After weeks of agonizing over how best to correct these problems, I finally broke down and bought a pack of 40 pre-cut 60mm x 30mm MDF bases and the “Baccus Basing System”.

Then I removed my Spartans from the old sub-standard base, and re-based them using the“Baccus Basing System”, going “by the book” in accordance with the instructions included with the pack. One slight deviation I made was to paint the base of the figures green instead of the recommended brown, as I thought it would look more natural against the grass.

And now, I hereby proudly present my re-based Spartan hoplites!

dsc_7739_angelbleu

dsc_7740_angelbleu

dsc_7741_angelbleu

dsc_7742_angelbleu

dsc_7743_angelbleu

Looking at the end results, I think that maybe I should have sticked “to the book” and painted the figure bases brown. The green color seems to give a clean but artificial look.

But all in all, I’m impressed with the “Baccus Basing System”, and how easily it gives good-looking results!

Experiment in Creating 6mm Terrain

After taking a look at Michael’s fantastic tutorial for creating modular terrain tiles, I just had to give it a try.

Since this was my first ever attempt at creating terrain, I thought it best to experiment on something expendable. What more expendable than those ubiquitous CDs? I grabbed hold of a couple of obscure ones that came with some digital gadget or another years ago, and “sacrificed” them :P

Well… while the results weren’t exactly what I was expecting, they were satisfactory enough for a beginner’s first attempt. I think the grass flock I’ve used were a bit too green, giving an artificial kind of look.

Another disappointment was the dirt road. I’ll need to work on a better blend of colors, as the ones I’ve used don’t really give the impression of a dirt road.

Oh, and we welcome our special guest models: 6mm Spartan hoplites! :)

dsc_7738_angelbleudsc_7737_angelbleudsc_7736_angelbleudsc_7735_angelbleudsc_7734_angelbleu

Baccus 6mm British Line Infantry, Primed!

I’ve recently purchased a good number of packs 6mm Napoleonic British from my favorite manufacturer of 6mm miniatures: Baccus

Now I’ve got a bunch of Line Infantry washed, prepped, primed, and ready for painting!

I hate the noxious smell of spray cans, so I prime all my miniatures (be they 28mm, 15mm, or even 6mm) by hand with black acrylic gesso.

This takes quite a bit of time, but I like the absolute control it gives me. I don’t know how many times I had to apply additional spray coats because there were certain portions of the miniatures that the spray didn’t “hit” properly!

dsc_7731_angelbleudsc_7732_angelbleudsc_7733_angelbleu

Basing Test for 6mm Napoleonics

I’ve recently picked up both Lasalle and Black Powder (the two major rule sets that seem to be all the rage these days with Napoleonic wargamers), and have been thinking of how best to base my 6mm naps so that they can be used for both rules.

Lasalle recommends building a unit as a group of 4 to 6 bases sized 40mm x 20mm, while Black Powder recommends their units made up of 6 to 8 bases sized 20mm x 20mm.

So if I simply go by their recommendations, it would seem best to use a 20×20 basing. This way, I can join up two of them to create 40×20 bases when playing Lasalle.

But my problem is… would this look good?

I personally love the massed look of 60×30 or 60×60 bases that seem to be the norm when it comes to 6mm. These bases are so roomy that you can place a minimum of 24 figures on them, and some people go all out to make each base into a “mini-diorama” or “vignette”.

But on the other hand, I like the idea of using groups of smaller (20×20 or 40×20) bases, since this will allow me to change the formation (March Column, Attack Column, Line, Square) of my units, which is a rather important part of “Petit Tactical” rules like Lasalle and Black Powder.

So I cut out some hardboard (thick cardboard) bases, grabbed a bit of Blu-Tack, and made some mock-ups to give me a better idea of what the end result will look like. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough miniatures lying around to effectively demonstrate the full effect. But still, I think this mock-up gives a rather good idea of what I can expect.

20×20 Basing

First up, mock-ups of a unit consisting of six 20×20 bases:

 

Well… while they certainly look practical for changing formations and such, they look a bit too “gamey”. Another consideration is that I’ll probably be fielding a good number of units, which would probably mean that I’ll have to spend a lot of time moving these guys around the table.

40×20 Basing

Next are two bases of 40×20. I didn’t have enough spare minis to make the required 4~6 bases, but you get the idea :)

Visually, they certainly are a big improvement over 20×20.

 

60×30 Basing

Lastly, here’s a mock-up of a “scenic” 60×30 base.

Even though I’ve placed 36 figures on the base instead of the usual 24, it still feels more like a “vignette” than a gaming base. I think this can be a problem if I want to use multiple bases to make up a unit, as each base would tend to stand out.

 

So what’s my decision?

I’m definitely ruling out 20×20, but I’m torn between 40×20 and 60×30. I have a bigger order of British infantry on its way over from the U.K, so I’m thinking of making a better mock-up with actual unit sizes before committing myself to a base size.

I’ll give an update when it’s done! :)

First Attempt at 6mm: Spartan Hoplites!

Here’s my first attempt at painting 6mm miniatures.

It’s actually been quite a number of months since I’ve bought this army of 6mm Ancient Greeks from Baccus, but only recently shrugged off my lethargy enough to get two units of them painted and based.

Once I set my mind to it, I was surprised at how easily and quickly I could paint these minuscule soldiers; it only took me a single weekend to complete 96 figures!

Oh, and I am aware that the accepted historical appearance of Spartan hoplites is of them carrying bronze shields with a red “lambda” painted on it… but I thought a red shield with white “lambda” would have better visual appeal, especially at such a small scale :)

I’ve cut out two pieces of 1mm thick plasticard, measuring 60mm x 30mm and overlapped them together to serve as the base; I’m still undecided whether I want to continue using this method for the rest of the army. I’ve recently bought a bunch of 2mm thick hardboard, so I’ll probably experiment and see which I like best.

In any case I’m as yet only a beginning miniature painter, so please try to refrain from demoralizing comments! :P

resized_dsc_7678_angelbleuresized_dsc_7681_angelbleuresized_dsc_7679_angelbleuresized_dsc_7677_angelbleuresized_dsc_7682_angelbleu