Sunday, 10 August 2014

Stuck Out on a Peninsula

My next little project is to make a plan without going out too much on a limb but certainly going out on a peninsula.

My late chum left, amongst many other things, a box of very dusty figures in a variety of part finished, part started and still in a bag condition. 10mm sized apparently.

Clearing away the muck revealed:

French Napoleonic Infantry, so far so good.

Skirmish figures on UK 1p pieces, 20mm in diameter.

Main body, on 20mm x 30mm bases, 4 figures to a base. My first thought was he had chosen a 9 company organisation. Closer inspection of the pompoms revealed a 6 company setup. I don't know a great deal about French infantry battalion setups but thought that 6 was more accurate than 9.

I need to do a little bit research.

You can see here that the bases have been marked and then re-marked which tells me that my friend wasn't exactly sure of his setup. It was not something we had discussed.

The figures themselves look a bit spaced out, each being on a 10mm frontage.

There was a second battalion setup the same way so he must have made his mind up at some point.

He had done a British battalion too! 30mm x 30mm bases, 6 figures to a base. Knowing that British infantry battalions normally had 10 companies there will be 2 companies to a base. Closer inspection of the plumes confirm that, 3 white for the Grenadier, 3 green for the Light company and the rest white over red.

More research to do.

Light company also based on UK 1p pieces.

Again, they look a little bit spaced out.

The figures are gloss varnished too, I'll need to matt them down a bit.

Some part painted figures. I wonder what they are. French, Prussian, Portuguese?

Even more research to do.

More of the same with a bit more paint!

These are definitely French but still only part painted.

There were a collection of figures still in their original bags although some had been opened and some obviously not in their original bag.

At least they revealed the manufacturer, Wargames South. Result I thought, wrong I was!!

Wargames South (in the UK at least) are no longer trading although some of their lines (WW1 and WW2) are marketed by Arrowhead Miniatures. Enquiries revealed that the moulds had been acquired by Pendraken (of 10mm fame) about seven years ago but were never used in production.

Close inspection of the figures revealed that they are actually about 12mm (scale creep they call it) but more to the point I had no manufacturers listing to tell me what the figures actually were. A couple of evenings work with a magnifying glass revealed a fair idea of what they were. A coat of paint will work wonders in ascertaining their final wargames role.

The final problem they presented was that there was not enough of them to make up a reasonable sized force to allow some games to be played.

Solution (perhaps); I ordered a bag of Pendraken figures for a size comparison. I wish I had done this the week before last as I could have taken some of the figures into Claymore for a direct comparison and made a choice then.

No matter, c'est la vie!

Dong! Went a little bell in my head, well quite a big bell actually. Being partially deaf I don't hear little bells very well.

Earlier on during my clear out of my friends bits and pieces I had put aside a multi-compartmented box full of unpainted 10mm figures. I had stashed them away for a rainy day.

I dragged them out for a look-see.

Yes, you got it, more and more Wargames South figures, French and British Napoleonics, Peninsular going by the British stovepipe shakos. Hundreds and hundreds of them.

The problem now was to identify them, some in bags with no label, some mixed up in bags, some loose in the box. It was another couple of days work, afternoons and evenings to assess them but I now certainly have enough to make up a couple of forces for a game.

Now for the 64,000 dollar question. What rules to use?

My own, of course!

I have an extensive collection of Heroscape tiles as well as a ton of Hexon II. Which to use?

Heroscape tiles are quite small, about 45mm across. I have quite a few of them flocked which makes them a bit more scenic than a boxed game. I have enough in total to cover a 6 foot by 4 foot table including multi-layer hills.

An 80mm x 30mm rectangle fits over two adjacent hexes quite nicely and a 40mm x 30mm rectangle fits a single hex too!  The bigger could be an infantry battalion and the smaller a squadron of cavalry or an artillery piece.

These same sizes fit quite neatly over Hexon II tiles although you can get more of them per hex.

I have some thinking to do about how I want this game to look and play.

For example here is how 30 French infantry in 3 ranks looks like on an 80mm x 30mm base.

The spacing looks a bit better for me than those of my chum. Maybe I'm biased!

British infantry could be similar but in 2 ranks of course.

I need to have a think about how to depict skirmish and other light troops or will I abstract them out.

I will also have to think about adapting concepts from others rulesets. Neil Thomas' come to mind. He seems to use a 4 base element per unit. This concept allows distinction between column, line and square formations but then I may abstract these out too!

I wonder where I will go with this? Not too far out on a limb I hope.

Keep watching!


  1. Looking forward to seeing how this interesting project progresses...

  2. Might be worth looking at Command and Colours Napoleonic; hex based, dozens of Peninsular scenarios...

    1. Thanks Simon

      I may have a poke around their website to steal some ideas but I'm looking to write my own set as much as I can.

      The scenarios will be useful though!