Sunday 29 April 2012

Portable Crimean Russians

I've done some thinking about which of my figure collections I could use for a stab at Bob Cordery's The Portable Wargame rules and a terrain set inspired by Ian Dury's tabletop set.

For those of you who missed out it looks a bit like this!

Not knowing a lot of details about this setup I surmised that the figures must be 15mm, I could be wrong, but I have access to a club set of 15mm Peter Laing Crimean War figures and I thought that they would do nicely for an experiment.

A 4 base Russian battalion looks like this on a 3 inch square grid.

The same battalion in column of companies is slightly deeper than the 3 inch grid.

There is plenty of room when a skirmish company is deployed.

On a 2 inch grid the battalion takes up most of 2 squares.

A double line of companies almost fills one square.

Even with a skirmish company thrown out one 2 inch square is not big enough.

Moving up to a 3.5 inch square leaves plenty of room for 4 companies in column.

Likewise leading with a skirmish company is OK.

A battalion in double line of companies has plenty of room.

So much so that a second battalion can be brought into close support.

This experiment has given me great food for thought. Can I develop this plan further without straying too far from Bobs original ideas and also emulating the visual impact of Ian Dury's setup.


  1. Are theses the club figures from the game put on in Charlotte Square Edinburgh to accompany the Crimea War photo exhibition? Circa 1973/74?

    I too think the portable set up has much potential too and wonderwhat way to proceed with it. By the way if Slim gives the "go-ahead" I would be interested in the ancients rules too.

    1. These are indeed from that very collection.

      The Scottish Arts Council headed by impressario Richard Demarco were having a photographic exhibition of the Crimean War by the Times war correspondant William Howard Russell. They funded my club to the tune of £100 (a large sum in the 70's) to put on a relevant wargame display alongside the photographs.

      My club encouraged Peter Laing to produce all the relevant 15mm figures in time for the display and many club members painted them. We also built a 9' x 6' fully contoured table of the Balaclava battlefield.

      I have taken on the task, albeit very slowly, of restoring the collection to a useable form. It is amazing how much cereal packet cardboard deteriorates after 40 years. I have some way to go!

      I would hope to do enough to test out The Portable Wargame.

      I will keep you in mind once Slim makes his decision.


  2. Jim,

    The figures in the picture of Ian Dury's terrain were from the range of 15mm figures produced by Peter Laing (and what a great loss it is that they are no longer available!).

    Having looked at your experiments, I would go for the 3.5" squares ... or even 4" ones if you can. An 8 x 8 grid of 3.3" squares makes a playing area of 28" x 28" whereas the 4" squares would have a 32" x 32" playing area. Bearing in mind the figures that you have available, the large squares would seem to make more sense, with portability/storage being a consideration thereafter.

    All the best,


    1. Thanks for your comments Bob.

      As always I have bigger plans in mind. Once I have established the 8 x 8 form of your game I need to see if I can scale it up to 16 x 8 or 12 x 12. I would wish to make it multi-player but retain both its simplicity and portability.

      The next scaling I hope to do is check out the squares against my collection of 15mm and 10mm buildings.

      I also need to finalise the size of the squares. I have made some test pieces of 4mm thick flooring grade cork tiles. They do warp a bit more than I would like.

      I might investigate half inch thick and one inch thick cork sheets as well as glueing 4mm sheets together. I can't see me getting much of this done in the next week or two and I'm off to the States for 5 weeks after that!


  3. Recently I started wargaming using Bob's rules. They make for fastpaced games. I was wondering; in the last year I started collecting Peter Laing figures and have been looking for Crimean figures. If you could take more pictures of the PL figures your club have and post them if possible, I would appriecate it. I have found a couple other sites with Crimean War photos, but they are not up close like yours.
    Regards, John

  4. It's interesting to see how we are all gravitating towards the mid-19th Century for this. I'm doing the Franco-Austrian War of 1859, using 1/72 plastics. The selection isn't great thus far, but some conversion of other figures should fill in the gaps. Talk about Old School!!

    Best of luck on your project,

    Chris Johnson

    1. Yes, the mid-19th Century gets neatly away from the Napoleonic Period without getting stuck in the increase of war technology by the start of the 20th Century.

      Having said that I'm toying with the idea of dropping back into the Medieval Period and also the Ancient Period.