Friday, 26 November 2021

Fighting in 13.5mm



Well, I say that rather tongue in cheek, as the scale does not particularly matter, but the title will resonate with anyone familiar with Warlord Games’ Epic system.


Last year Warlord Games, best known for their 28mm plastics, released smaller scale American Civil War figures in a range that they described as ‘Epic’. The figure size is around 13.5mm and they are ranked shoulder to shoulder, with the infantry coming in strips of 10 soldiers.


Recently they announced a new period in the ‘Epic’ scale ….. Napoleonics! due for initial release in January 2022.


This will excite a lot of people. As a product, it is more complicated than ACW simply because of the number of different unit and uniform types that the company needs to represent in a single release. The ACW starter boxes were all based around a single plastic figure sprue that served both sides, then subsequent releases of the more niche units were done in metal ….. by contrast, the Napoleonic release is going to be supported by 11 different plastic sprues across the various waves of release.


Having regard for the tooling costs of each sprue, that is a huge commitment to the product. The CEO, John Stallard, while chatting on a podcast recently, let his mind wander to possible future Epic interests, mentioning English Civil War and Rome V Barbarian ….. can it be true, is Epic about to become what could be thought of as a cohesive ‘series’ of smaller plastics?


Anyway, the rest of this post just gives way to a general chatty discussion of Epic - nothing too great to hang your hat on, as I am just a punter, not on the inside track or anything, but the potential of the product is worth spilling some e-ink over.


Please use the ‘read more’ tab for the rest of this post.


When the ACW Epic line was first announced and we scrambled for information, we found that the figures were smaller than typical 15mm, but that a standard unit (a regiment) was to be five bases wide. At 60mm frontage to a base, that gave the regiment a tabletop frontage of 300mm, which was larger than the 240mm frontage of a typical 28mm regiment (using Black Powder rules).


How could this be? surely the whole point of the ‘little fellas’ would be to allow a Black Powder table to be reduced from a 12’ x 6’ to a more conventional 6’ x 4’ type of size, but of course that would be a single view that small scales are just to accommodate space strapped gamers (me). It seems that the whole point of Epic (the clue being in the name) is that a regiment on the table can have 100 heads instead of 24. 


However, those gaming in a smaller domestic setting (me again) have always been adept at changing things to meet their gaming needs and so of course, for Epic, all that needs to be done is to just use one, two or three bases (not 5) as best suits to represent the regiment.


There must have been enough people doing this and giving feedback to Warlord Games, that they went on to produce support packs of five command stands (metal), so that gamers could break the basic starter set down into smaller units - each with its own command stand, which consequently and perhaps unnecessarily to the space strapped gamer, allows for more units to be built from the starter set. So, there we are, something for everyone! It’s like a lovely fluffy ending to a scary story.


Being Mr. Space Strapped, I will be using reduced unit sizes, but more of that anon.


With both Warlord Games and Victrix Games now doing smaller scale projects, one might hope that their advertising muscle and hobby presence will bring a better diversity of model scale to our magazines and wargame shows, institutions that for some time have been strongly 28mm focussed and if it wasn’t for the likes of Baccus (6mm), Pendraken (10mm) and Kallistra (12mm), being stalwarts of the UK show circuit, the gamer of smaller scales might eventually come to be dissuaded from attending shows altogether. 


Looking back to last year, Warlord Games doing ACW at the smaller scale now looks like they were carefully dipping their toe into the ‘scale’ water in a safe period. They produced a single plastic sprue that had infantry, artillery and a commander, universally usable for both sides, taking advantage of a loose ‘generic’ type look for this particular conflict and using it to exploit mass production. It was a step into the unknown and it appears some lessons were learned.


Firstly, it was hugely popular, more than they had anticipated and needed a further production run. It generated a strong demand for the associated subsequent staggered releases (called waves) of the distinctive troop types of Zouave, Iron Brigade, Cavalry (mounted and dismounted) and skirmishers. These were to be done in resin, but apparently there were issues with using their resin on small figures in the large numbers needed and so, these later additions were done in metal instead.


This happened just as the global costs of metals were going through the roof and a consequence was that to the customer, it looked like the marketing of Epic was based upon a cheap entry box, followed by a high priced follow-on support, in a scale that some felt was proprietary to Warlord Games, though it turns out that Kallistra did 12mm ACW, which has been a close enough fit in scale terms to provide an alternative source of support for the likes of limbers, wagons, zouaves, cavalry and leaders.

A Kallistra artillery limber next to the Warlord Games regiment


Fast forward to the Napoleonic Waterloo release and from the off, this is well supported by plastic sprues for a bigger proportion of the overall order of battle. So the French for example get four cavalry types. There will be two sprues in a subsequent wave to cover the Prussians, so at some point in 2022, we should be able to gather three of the five main Napoleonic armies in Epic plastic.


Anyway, there is much to like and considering that we are a niche hobby, that itself has lots of niches, it is a fantastic thing to see this level of commercial and professional product support within the hobby, regardless of what one thinks about the scale or period or battle focus.


I had bought the original ACW stuff, but for a variety of reasons, I abandoned it and sold the bits off. Now with the news of the Napoleonics on the horizon and potentially other periods to follow, I have re-bought the ACW starter set, simply because if this is to become a series, from a collectors perspective and generally favouring plastic, I would quite like to be with it from the outset. 


I already have some 10mm / 12mm terrain for my Kallistra ACW and 1066 collections and for my Pendraken WWII armies, so building on that should be pretty straight forward and should not stress the storage situation too much. 


Over the next few months, I will work on the ACW stuff, while I wait for the Napoleonic Epic to filter into the Bricks and Mortar stores and then likely buy into the starter sets. The store gets supported and the resellers often offer a discount.


To get into the mood and immerse myself in the background fluff, I have just started reading Bernard Cornwell’s Waterloo (Published by William Collins) The History of four days, three armies and three battles. Sitting in the queue right behind that, is Tim Clayton’s Waterloo (Published by Abacus) Four Days that Changed Europe’s Destiny.


Both look wargamer friendly and I will particularly keep an eye out for some examples of smaller side actions that might make good scenarios that help smaller tables.


These 13.5’s might be ‘diminutive’ chaps compared to their 28mm brethren and the first thing that springs to mind is the hope to do ‘a quick simple paint job’, but I have been surprised how much painting there is to do per unit, simply because so much detail is present.


There are a lot of figures in the ACW starter box and the two British / French starter sets, so I am going to need to find a painting style that cuts across that, to get better output - especially knowing that Napoleonic forces are close at hand.

 

While true that after all of that painting, when the unit is on the table, most of painting work disappears (the three foot rule bites hard), I still appreciate the detail being painted. I have another set of figures that I did ‘speed painting’ on years ago and now whenever I use them, I ‘see’ that speed painting and wish that I had taken more time with them.





As I write this, I have just painted and based up some ACW mounted commanders (above) and they feel like they have taken a lot of work, but I have just seen a video about using Games Workshop Contrast Paints on these figures to increase productivity, so perhaps a solution lays in that direction - some pots have arrived for me to trial and more are on order to extend the colour range.


One thing I have not been keen on with the ACW infantry bases is that the strip of figures is 5mm shorter than the length of the 60mm base. The effect is that when bases are placed into a line, there are noticeable gaps between the individual blocks of figures. To dampen this effect down (photo below), I am cutting a thin sliver off each end of the infantry bases.





On the flip side of the base there is a lip. I am cutting just inside that lip with a razor saw, the line of which provides a consistent and accurate saw guide, a more reliable way to measure than the variable results that my pencil and ruler has been giving me!


It doesn’t quite close the gap (it would if I cut the base to 55mm), but looks better and works with the awkward command base, which has a musket sticking out to one side.

  

Warlord Games are using their Black Powder rules for their Epic ACW and Napoleonic games and they include an A5 version of the rulebook in the starter box, but while I use and enjoy Black Powder, I shall also be looking at exploring some other sets and seeing how the 60mm base frontage works with them.


For ACW, I am looking at Pickett’s Charge for mid sized games and Bonnie Blue Flag rules for the smaller actions that might have just a few regiments per side. For Napoleonics, Shadow of the Eagles and General d’ Armee top the list of candidates, while Bataille Empire is rudely winking at me from the game shelf - trying to jump that queue!


The last time that I dabbled with Epic ACW, I put up a blog post (see Resource Section below) covering the first scenario from the starter set (Battle of Greenbrier River) and I extolled the virtues of initially gaming with unpainted units, while rotating units across the painting tray, simply to keep the enthusiasm up, rather than waiting to slavishly fully paint two armies before getting a first game and then possibly discovering it is not for you ….. sound familiar!  


Rotating painted units into an army of bare plastic!

For the Waterloo games, I will likely go down the bare plastic route for the initial games, while I paint, explore rules and decide how many bases I want to represent various units, but for the ACW games, I already have existing Kallistra 12mm armies, so this time I will likely just rotate painted regiments into them, while I get things going.


The second rank are 3 x 40mm bases of Kallistra infantry

For ACW, I will be trying out two Epic bases per regiment (for a 120mm frontage, which equates to 3 of my Kallistra 40mm bases - see above). Visually, this gives a good compromised balance of line v limited footprint.


For Napoleonics, I am hoping that 2 bases will look right for line and 3 will give a good visual representation of massed column. 2 bases can also represent square (back to back), though I have seen a photo of 4 bases doing a napoleonic square and it looks right and much better to the eye.


This what a column of 3 x Epic bases looks like.

If I am doing a particularly small battle and have spare bases, then adding another base to each unit to make it look more eye catching also seems a good way to to go.


For both periods, I see an advantage in sticking with 10mm (N Gauge) terrain, as it obviously has a smaller footprint than 15mm terrain and buildings are less likely to visually overpower regiments of two to three bases.


Most of this is for the near future and as always, fully dependent upon what grabs my butterfly interest at the time. I will log progress over on my Commanders web space (see Resource Section below) as things unfold.


Anyway, I’m in reflective mood, so will close by saying thanks to all those that follow / read this blog and to the kind folk who regularly take the time to comment.


I am consciously grateful to the entire fabric of this wargaming community, bloggers, vloggers, wargame show organisers, magazine editors (and staff), rules writers, publishers, manufacturers and traders for keeping the wheels of a niche, but fantastic hobby, turning and making it viable for the long term. Thank you.


Resource Section.

Playing Epic with unpainted plastic - scenario 1. LINK

http://battlefieldswarriors.blogspot.com/2021/04/an-epic-warlord-games-battle-for.html


Commanders - my other webspace, which covers various projects and favoured systems. LINK

https://commanders.simdif.com


48 comments:

  1. Cheers for the heads up on this Norm. I note the ECW also has fairly generic uniforms and equipment and would be an easy win with an established fan base. If they had plastic none bendy pikes I might even have a dabble myself. With that said Rome and Barbarians would be interesting…damn this ruddy hobby and my insatiable butterfly! Lol.

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    1. Hi JB, I seem to remember hearing that for this year it was a toss-up between napoleonics and ECW, so that said, ECW looks like a potential early candidate and agree, non-bendy pike would be the win with that, plus being able to field a lot of cavalry reasonably.

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    2. I do fear that "Epic" ECW will mean 60mm of pikes with another 60mm of shot(te) on each flank.
      This reduces the scope to downsize compared to the later horse and musket eras.

      Fear not.
      We reduced the King of England's height by a foot.
      So hobbyists and their razor saws should find no problem chopping and changing.

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    3. Steve, 60mm certainly seems to be on path for the default base size. That base sprue will be as cheap as chips to produce by then.

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  2. I really dislike all the Warlord product and their stupid scales.

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    1. They do add to that 'something for everyone' aspect of where we are today.

      Compared to my yesteryear, a gamer can pretty much choose their preferred period and scale and it is well served, even the most unusual of topics. I am glad they are in the market place.

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  3. That was a most enjoyable and informative read Norm, especially as I had not followed the development of the ACW Epic product beyond it's initial release. Warlord are Brave to go into Napoleonics in this scale, they are up against huge competition in the period generally. My take on Epic is this - from scratch it will be a HUGE undertaking and commitment to build up armies, the scale is such that the figures carry an awful lot of detail that takes some very time consuming painting. I know with the ACW's that I still found myself adding highlights and basically giving them much the same attention as the Peter Pigs I currently paint for Graham. Sure, being shoulder to shoulder does speed things up very slightly, but I just can't begin to imagine the time it will take to paint even the starter Napoleonic box! All that said Norm I can see that had this happened ten years ago or so I would probably have jumped at it so maybe I'm just a bit jaded with it all. Painted examples I have seen online look great and I wish Warlord all the very best with it as the investment in tooling must be a considerable financial risk. I do look forward to seeing your project progress, it is a very exciting development in our hobby but just not for me.

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  4. Hi Lee, one of the big benefits of having Warlord Games in the community is that projects such as this are even possible. You are right about the detail, it is there and I end up doing 28mm techniques on them!

    Interestingly, last year, one poster said ACW would be hugely successful, but largely unpainted and left on shelves, I can see the basis of that, but of course we live in a 'now' world, whereas most gamers with big armies have built them up over years and would never see their collection as a 3 - 6 month painting project. As always, a bit here and a bit there is fine.

    I saw a show image today of an Epic ACW battle and you could see it was a blue and grey game, it looked painted up and flagged .... a close-up shot showed that in fact most of the detail had not been painted, it looked like it passed the 3 foot rule ... if only I could be sensible and do that!

    I do however stand by my comments of playing with both unpainted and painted plastics while the army gets assembled and 'dressed'! in some ways, it might almost be seen as necessary, especially if you are a new entrant to wargaming.

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  5. "I am consciously grateful to the entire fabric of this wargaming community, bloggers, vloggers, wargame show organisers, magazine editors (and staff), rules writers, publishers, manufacturers and traders for keeping the wheels of a niche, but fantastic hobby, turning and making it viable for the long term. Thank you."

    I completely agree with these sentiments Norm!

    As for your post, a very informative and thoughtful one as always. I too am a space strapped gamer as well as cash strapped now I'm retired, so ventures like this are always good to see IMHO. As you know I'm a dyed in the wool 10mm guy, with 8mm mdf as an aside, so these hold little if any interest to me. however I may buy the odd sprue just for fun to have a go at converting etc, just because I can!

    I hope this venture into a tricky period with so many units and uniforms to do goes well for them. With their PR machine and dominant position in the market, let's hope the smaller games get more press in the magazines and at shows. Here's hoping.

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  6. Hi Steve, the latest Wargames Illustrated magazine due out in a few days will carry a free napoleonic cavalry sprue.

    I have spent the afternoon putting together fencing (irregular and snakerail) by Red Vectors from Pendraken, the 10mm sets would suit you if you are looking for any extra bits.

    Likewise, I hope Warlord Games investment comes good and that they create a ripple in the celebration of the smaller scales,

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  7. Norm, great piece. Even though Lee is busy painting my 15mm ACW I still bought into the epic And have gradually developed a reasonably quick painting style that I think looks effective and allows me to turn out 5 bases (100 figures ) over a couple of days, particularly with the Union painting black straps on blue jackets - I just paint the main part of the strap and don’t look to follow it right into the nooks and crannies. Using an ink wash ( or dip) at the end hides a lot and lifts a lot. Then just a little highlighting.
    I’ve just finished painting 8 of the epic Cuirassiers to I think a reasonable effective standard. The video on painting the British is also informative.
    I shall buy into Waterloo my aim to keep motivated is to play DBN initially with one infantry base to 500 men and one cavalry base to 250/300 men and then move to a different set of rules as the collection grows!
    I think Mr. Stallard would like to make epic another main line and if so ECW will happen sooner rather than later as it’s his favourite period. Looking forward to seeing where you go with this

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  8. Hi Graham, 5 bases over 2 days sounds really good to me and I shall take some of that advice. I have just bought a 0000 brush, which I now see as is a bad move because it will just let me get at too much detail.

    Really good idea on the DBN, to help with the painting regime / timetable. That is good news about the ECW, makes it a bit more likely than not.

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  9. VEry interesting indeed - and what a chance they have taken.
    I think it will pay off simply by virtue of the look they are achieving. The units are so distinct and very much like real units when arrayed in vast quantities on the table.
    I wonder is that the genius of both the pose and the scale, and indeed the moulds - lending themselves to painting figures on a base.
    It looks more 'battle-like' than 15mm, less 'individual bloke' as with 28mm, easier to see vs 6mm. One would think we never needed a new scale - maybe we do...

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  10. Hi Darren …. All of the above :-) to some extent I am transported back to a time when as a teenager, I went into a game store that had set up a 6 x 4 to show off some new well proportioned 15mm napoleonic figures. I can see it now in my minds eye, with fabulous units marching onto the table along a road from the top right corner. Buttons were certainly pressed that day.

    I forget the brand name of the miniatures, but it was at a time when 15’s were just becoming a thing and they were on the small side, a size that today we would describe as ‘small 15’s’. They seemed perfect for the 6x4 format.

    I am increasingly inclined to think that scale or at least conforming to it between manufacturers is less important these days as choice and the manufacturing base is so wide, we seem to have everything between 2mm and 54mm and even within previously defined scale / size bands there is so much variance 2 - 4mm either way between manufacturers or between chunky / slim / proprtionate. What seems more important is that having chosen the figures you like, that the source will be able to do a full range.

    Kallistra have always done this with their 12mm. They don’t fit in with 10mm, but they don’t need to because the ranges are complete.

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  11. Well, a good thing for those who want a continuous stream of something new and those looking to make a buck or a pound. To me the constant introduction of new sizes etc not to mention the stream of new rules with specific basing org/etc requirements as a marketing tool over the last 40+ years has been a major factor in holding the hobby back from a wider audience. But people are having fun and others are making money so who am I to grumble like some old geezer. Just getting in practice I guess now that I've locked down to save sanity and accomplish things I started decades ago only to be interrupted over and over to changes scales, periods, stles etc. by my own human jackdaw nature!

    Anyway, the pics of your figures look great. I must go look at my 20mm ACW again to steady myself!

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  12. Hi Ross, I have always thought that it was a shame that the revolution in hard plastic happened in 28mm, if it had happened in 1/72, we would have all the benefits that boxes of hard plastic have brought, but with armies more conducive with the dining table.

    I was surprised to hear from one 1/72 producer that that his main market was collectors, rather than wargamers, so perhaps tapping into the combined audience of collector / wargamer at 1/72 might have made for a more successful consolidation of scale.

    15mm might then have remained at around true 15mm, rather than growing towards 20mm and so 15mm and 1/72 would have been the market dominant forces.

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  13. A thoughtful contribution Norm which I'm confident will help those on the fence make up their mind. My copy of WI with the free British sprue arrived yesterday and I was mightily impressed. If only I were younger I might be seriously considering the full set at £500+, if only...

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  14. Hi David, I’m sure many of this month’s Wargames Illustrated readers will share your positive view of the sprue. I think either Wargames Illustrated or Warlord Games could have maximised the impact by putting some on-line space to one side, where people who painted the sprue could show their results and maybe share some tips,

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  15. Very much enjoyed the article, Norm. I'm still resisting. Not being a painter, I ship the stuff to Fernando in Sri Lanka, and it gets expensive when there are lots of darn minis. If I give in, I'm almost in inclined to just go with the Kallistra 12s because after I include the painting charge the per mini cost may actually end up bring more attractive (and the Kallistra line is more "customizable" in that you can buy just what you need of the less common units like Zouaves or Iron Brigade)... Of course, no Nappies, but there's a nice AWI line (and I already have the entire 100-days OOB in 15mm, more or less at a ratio of 1 base per division).

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  16. Hi Renaud, the Kallistra AWI line is very nice and complete. I would think already having the full 100 days OOB is a big deciding factor.

    I wonder what scenarios will ship with the Epic Napoleonic? You might like some of those. With the ACW, 5 out of the 6 scenarios were based on scenarios previously published in Glory Hallelujah, perhaps the 100 Days will do likewise with the Albion supplement.

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  17. Great post, Norm. I have to say it took every ounce of discipline I had to pick up the Epic ACW starter box at Historicon! I'd love to get into the Napoleonics but at this point there is just WAY too much invested in my Old Glory 10mm troops! I will live vicariously through your gaming.

    I think 2 or 3 of Epic stands for a Napoleonic unit will look outstanding for just about any rules set.

    So the ACW are tolerable next to the Kallistra ACW?

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  18. Thanks Steve, everyone else seems to think that Kallistra and Epic are closer than other suppliers. It seems preferable to drop down a bit, rather than going up to 15mm. I can generally see that, but I am not wholly convinced. Figure proportion, detail, bulk and size differ enough for me to see them as different. However, I do see the point for things like horse drawn limbers as the Kallistra stuff is much more reasonably priced and the artillery is fairly close, but you get enough of that in the starter kit anyway.

    I have both Kallistra and Peter Pig figures and did a comparison post here. LINK

    http://battlefieldswarriors.blogspot.com/2021/01/warlord-epic-acw-painting-and-comparing.html

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  19. A most measured and useful post Norm. Anything that's gets folk out of the 50 figure is an army mode, has to be good thing surely 😉

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    1. Thanks Phil, yes, perhaps this is one of those minor adjustments that come along every now and then and the cycle towards skirmish gaming will be ‘adjusted’. I can see some really spectacular ‘club efforts’ appearing at wargame shows.

      It is also worth remembering that Warlord Games bought Skytrex, so perhaps there is something to fall out of that as well with their 1/200 range for more tanks on the table.

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  20. Thanks Norm really helpful summary like a lot of us I have been watching with interest especially given our most recent escapades in 10 mm SYW. As I now have a modest ACW in 28 mm I felt new projects drawing on my time rather than the warlord epic scale ACW stuff although I absolutely see the attraction of larger scale battles. The Napoleonics are a different matter. However there a couple of things holding me back. Firstly I have just bought into some 28mm Napoleonics this is a significant but defined pennisular war project. Secondly the numbers of figures is absolutely daunting to paint, clearly the big attraction which everybody will see is the opportunity to have four base units which can then form square, line and column in a very realistic way. But this wonderfully aesthetic we would all like to achieve comes at the cost of 80 man units !!!!! If anybody had suggested 80 man units even in 6 mm most people would think you were mad ! I would really like to Napoleonics on a grand scale at some point 13.5 mm might be the answer, or 10 mm or perhaps 6mm I’m not sure yet. Sadly I suspect a lot of those starter sets might not see completion ? It will be interesting to look back in many years time to see if they were a success. At the Battleground show there was a great looking ACW game using warlord epic. A lot of potential……but for now I need to complete my SYW🙂

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  21. Hi Matt, I think that is absolutely right, the true penetration of Epic (i.e. games on the table, not units sold), will not be known for a few years, once sales and completed projects start to become visible on blogs and the wargame show circuit. To embrace it, I think we need to move away from the ‘instant army’ mentality and see these as ongoing projects.

    I also agree with Grahams point of gaming with single based units to start with while the project picks up volume and only moving to multiple based units when you have enough painted bods or are happy to supplement with unpainted bases.

    I look forwards to seeing your 28 Peninsular project start to take off - has there ever been so much choice! :-)

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    1. I think on your last point the answer is no Norm I do think we all need to be careful though in our new projects…there is almost now too much choice, if that is a real thing. 🤔

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    2. Matt, you nailed my thoughts on this product and scale. I suppose if I was starting anew, this might hold some interest. Having Napoleonics in 15mm and 28mm, another HUGE collection in another size seems overkill and redundant. Having HUGE ACW armies in 10mm, 13.5mm holds little interest as well. Now, if this was WSS, I might be tempted!

      It will be very interesting to see the success of these products or if a lot of boxes will be sold and left unused. Norm, remember your high hopes for Perry Miniatures' Travel Battles? What happened there?

      I wonder if enough of these ACW (and now, Napoleonics) figures are being sold and gamed to make a case for their own Figure Size inclusion in The Great Wargaming Survey? We see from past survey results that these smaller figure sizes hold only fractional market share. Will these 13.5mm figures be dividing an already small piece of the pie or expanding market share for the smaller scales? Time will tell...

      Interesting post and commentary, Norm. Thank you.

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    3. Hi Jonathan, I wonder whether the ‘lock in’ concepts of scale will diminish as 3d printing becomes more widespread, with gamers simply printing at a size / scale that they find most pleasing and to meet their needs. In that world, 13.5mm would neither be odd or need to fit into a category.

      Indeed those that ‘need’ categories, such as rules writers, may be left with some head-scratching, perhaps three generalised bands, 40mm and below, 18mm and below and 10mm and below … or maybe we need 4 or 5 bands :-)

      I’m pretty sure market share for the smaller scales will rise on the back of what seems a bit of a Renaissance in big battle / smaller scale interests. If WG hadn’t stepped into this ‘rank them up’ vacuum, then perhaps the 3d people almost certainly would have exploited that genre and would in any case become common, just by another route.

      Some things and quite possibly the Great Wargaming Survey, have built in inclinations. For example, the rather fine Lead Adventure Forum hardly has any content for anything below 1/72 and probably loses that audience because of it. The Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy magazine (who run the survey), likewise promote the larger scales, (as do all of the magazines), so assuming their readership accounts for a goodly proportion of the survey vote, is there a built in inclination?

      A person who collects 28mm and one who doesn’t will each have two totally different experiences at a UK wargame show, enough I might venture for the smaller scale gamer to wonder whether any journey of some distance is actually worthwhile compared to online buying.

      I wonder whether a small part of the overall absence of small scale collectors from forums, surveys, magazines, shows and blogs is that in those public places, they are swamped by a barrage of gaming material that is not part of their world view or what is sitting on their table at home.

      Warlord Games are huge, their turnover is in the multiple millions and they have 108 staff (amazing that our hobby can do that), is that enough for them by product to take, push, shove, encourage the hobby into new directions? Also what are the cool kids doing, that might best determine where we are 10 years from now.

      We probably won’t know any of this for another 5 years, but I think the wargaming world is ready for some wider inclusivity of scale.

      I think the latest Wargames Illustrated magazine has 4 articles on Epic related material and with that kind of exposure, perhaps one of the things to fall out of it is the opportunity to provide a ‘hobby refresh’ for those wanting / needing it.

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  22. Indeed, lucky is the person who is absolutely certain they only have an interest in one period and one scale and one set of rules …... and have very slowly been collecting in it for 30 years :-)

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    1. So true. Many a time I look enviously at those who can contain themselves to specializing in one period. Then, I think of all of the other interesting periods they are passing-by and that envy fades.

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  23. The hobby has many facets and they do include browsing catalogues and being inspired by other peoples games, posts and interests and buying things and only asking the question why AFTER the send button has been hit!

    I’m pretty sure that the Airfix generation have sub-consciously become pre-programmed to get excited at opening any box that has a sprue inside.

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  24. Excellent post Norm. Firstly if I was ten years younger I would have jumped at the Epic range of plastic released by Warlord, but now? One realises that boat has sailed. To be honest Ive a few reservations about the way Warlord do business, its my personal viewpoint and probably not that relevant to anyone else. One thing I would suggest is you consider what sort of battles you wish to fight using these figures. For me I would opt for brigade size bases especially for the Napoleonic Wars. I am biased because I still possess very large brigade size 6mm Napoleonic armies using Volley and Bayonet rules. If you are to continue with the ACW period, again I would consider brigade basing using VB or Fire and Fury rules. Yes you only? have a x4 table but brigade basing gives you a real feel for these big battles. Using the Warlord regimental system defeats the huge benefits of the range. As a wargamer who sold all his 28mm armies to invest in 6mm armies and sculptured terrain to then sell virtually all those armies off to reinvest in 28mm armies I feel I am able to offer a bit of advice. The Warlord epic range are very nice and hopefully will be added to, although I wonder about that given the way they have treated other periods. Ancients in particular. So exploit the offers on at the moment, stockpile them and then consider how big a battle you want to fight. Best of luck you lucky so and so.

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  25. Hi Robbie, agree with all of that. When I first saw the ACW with the figures on each stand having a gap between the figures on the next base, it looked ideal for having the unit of several bases representing a brigade (of regiments) rather than having it as a regiment. Some fairly big actions could fall out of that, even in the domestic setting.

    I have quite a few boardgames set at that command level, so slices of action from the boardgame could be represented on the table, giving naturally generated scenarios.

    I am really hoping that WL games do Austrians!

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  26. Fashion and fads possibly have a place in wargaming, as they do in many other areas of our lives, so perhaps it time for a reprise of the eighties fashion fir larger armies of smaller sacked figures again? I guess as others have said, only time will tell. I am not a huge fan of Warlord...I am suspicious of their intentions and suspect them of a marketing strategy similar to Warhammer where they would end up in a very dominant position and therefore able to charge whatever they like for figures, although I do not think they will be able to avchieve that aim. Unfortunately, their drive for dominance mat cause some casualties amongst other producers along the way....

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    1. Re reading this, I think I actually mean Games Workshop rather than Warhammer !

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  27. Hi Keith, I like their CEO John Stallard, he strikes me as a real wargamer and I am guessing that he does still influence this company and underpins its direction, probably a good counter-balance to what is a commercial outfit of its size and influence. I hope so.

    Ours is a strange hobby which is still widely orientated towards the principles of cottage industries, where still a goodly proportion of what is produced and injected into the market place comes from the passion and interests of the producer rather than the raw reality of a progressive business model.

    As a wargamer, I enjoy this diversity and the friendly / family style trading arena that it creates, but we also need market leaders that can deal with significant volume and do the kind of product that might never be viable for others.

    As for Games Workshop, one of the benefits they bring is to put a presence on the high street and many mums and dads have an idea of what wargaming may be about, simply because of what they do and their public profile. If I am holidaying in the UK, the chances are, I will always be able to pop into one of their shops and gets some brushes / paints and browse shelves etc.

    It brings us back to having a lot of choice, more than we have ever had before and I don’t think that is something that such a small, potentially fragile, hobby can take for granted.

    In some ways, the cottage industry nature of at least part of our hobby, ensures some security for the future if there was a sudden downturn in demand (due to trend or economic shock) that made things unviable for the bigger commercial concerns … we would simply go back to the way things were and that wasn’t such a bad old world either …. but we were significantly helped to get going by the commercial giant …. Airfix.

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  28. Interesting post,as I only do one scale, 28mm ( I know it's not a scale but you know what I mean!) I view this with interest but no intention of getting involved. I've got no problem with warlord games bringing a viable and professional modus operandi to the wargaming world and there will always be someone else making figures, I play bolt action with plastic soldier company and other makes in addition to warlord and if I got fed up with bolt action I could try chain of command, warlord has no real control unlike games Workshop and 40k/warhammer, they look like nice figures and I think you're right that soon we will be able to print our own at whatever scale we want!
    Best Iain

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  29. Hi Iain, agree with all of that. Wargaming is a broad church, getting even broader and decision making on what to get into is increasingly down to personal whim or at most influenced by those who you may have to charm into a gaming with your stuff.

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  30. A very interesting post Norm. For me it's a no go. If these kinda figures came out 10 or 20 years ago, I think I'd very tempted. But I'm not sure my eyes would allow me to paint them. For Epic scale games though they're perfect . Can't understand why they had to make them in another scale, why not 10mm or Baccus style 6mm. It just doesn't make sense?

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  31. Hi Ray, Warlord’s explanation is that they wanted strips of 10 figures and to fit the sprue, they turned out at this size, rather than it being a deliberate design pursuit to go to 13.5mm. I use those Optivisor type things, but must say that once you get your eye in, it is pretty straightforward.

    I am really hoping for Austrians further down the line, so I hope they continue to support the size and broaden it.

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    1. I think I've gotta invest In an optivisor of some sorts. You never know I may be painting them or some 6mm one day?

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    2. Ray, I also use them for most of the detail on 28’s!

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  32. 3206

    I enjoyed reading your post and the following comments. Let me also thank you for reading and commenting on others blogs: it’s the kind of thing that really helps provide the motivation to keep doing it. 😀

    I think the epic stuff looks really great actually and would be tempted myself to start an epic project if/when they do a genre that I’m really into or want to start from scratch. Two things keep me out of the ACW epic figures; I already have big armies for it being the main thing and I didn’t like 1 sprue for both sides. If I had an interest in Naps this epic release would be very tempting. I hoping to see these troops on gaming tables at conventions in the flesh and maybe I’ll succumb then. 😀

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    1. Never mind the numbers at the beginning; keyboard spasm.

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    2. Hi Stew, the comments to this post have been great, there is probably as much in the comment section as there is in the original post.

      I am guessing that with the experience that warlord Games got from Epic ACW, they would do it a little different this time …. More plastic sprues and I thing the napoleonic package is reflecting that.

      I picked up my latest wargames Illustrated mag today, which has a free Epic Napoleonic cavalry sprue on it and they do look superb.

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  33. Hi Norm,

    Another great post and I am happy to read that you are (re)entering the EPIC scale stuff. I’ve been leaning on your previous EPIC ACW articles to plan my ACW project journey.

    I have a multi-step plan in place to advance my “index card” armies to add Peter Dennis’ paper soldiers to the cards and then later work on basing them separately like a “real” wargamer ;). I’ve been reducing the paper soldiers to match (by my measurements) the EPIC figure scale, so that I might blend in the EPIC soldiers without it looking to much like rubbish.

    My question for you is should I maybe look at the Kallistra stuff instead? Not sure what the value proposition is. I have ordered the Warlord paint set that includes the ACW sprue so I can finally do a legit size comparison.

    Also what are your thoughts on breaking up the EPIC bases to 25-30 mm frontages? It seems like that might suit adaptation to various rule sets better than the 60 mm.

    Cheers,

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  34. Hi Edwin, scaling the paper armies to match Epic seems like a very good idea, I know another blogger has scaled them up to 40mm, so they seem very flexible in that regard.

    You could always order a single pack of Kallistra and then compare them to your free sprue that you are getting. A lot of people see them as a good match, I don’t. Simply because the WG Epic are thin sculpts ranked up shoulder to shoulder. Kallistra are chunkier. However, while they might not work side-by-side, it still leaves you with the valid choice of going one way or the other as opposed to mixing.

    My own view on frontages is that a 30mm base would have been more flexible and have more universal value to a wider set of rules. However, I don’t feel strongly enough about it to want to chop the plastic ten man strips in half, I can’t imagine that making for a pretty look! If I felt like I needed to do that much surgery, I would just go for metal in the first place and if doing that Kallistra at 12mm and Peter Pig at 15mm are good candidates.

    As time moves on, I will do the smaller updates over on my ‘Commanders’ web site (link in the above article) and then bigger pieces will be posted here.

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Thanks for taking the time to comment