Monday, June 24, 2013

Toy Soldier Style

Recently a number of things have happened to get me started on a new project. I re-read H.G. Wells' Little Wars, looked at a bunch of blogs and websites related to gaming with 54mm (1/32) toy soldiers (as opposed to "military miniatures"), and started reading a book on the Crimean War.

Toy Soldiers (Armies in Plastic Union Civil War Marines) I'm using as mid-to-late 19th-century French line infantry

So the new project is a set of 19th-Century toy soldiers. "Toy soldier" gaming seems to have a lot of practical advantages if you are pressed for painting time:

1. the technique is super simple (block painting only)
2. you don't worry at all about the little details on the figure (the less detail the better, and it's okay if the details are "wrong")
3. the models are larger (you'd think this would be time consuming, but since you're not doing detail, you use a way bigger brush; in my case I've started using an "8" – yes, that's right, an "8" –  vs. the usual "0000" or "000" I frequently find myself using on 25/28mm figures)

I dived in this weekend and managed to get sixteen infantry models done in three days. When I do a more detailed "proper" miniature paint-job I'm lucky to get maybe three or four models done in that amount of time, if I really push myself.

Russian Crimean War Infantry (Armies in Plastic)

I decided I wanted to do some French (with some Allied British Cavalry) against some Russians in the Crimean War, and picked up several boxes of Armies in Plastic soldiers. The Russian infantry and cavalry, and the British cavalry are designed as Crimean war models. For the French I'm using American Civil War models. The infantry, zouaves and artillery are all a pretty good match for the French. The Russians artillery will be a super simple conversion (Civil War artillery crew, cut off the caps; take spare Russian infantry, cut off their caps; attach the Russian caps to the now hatless Civil War artillery crew and voilà).

The French again. Same guys as above, slightly different angle. I just like the French.

Using something like Morschauser's rules from How to Play Wargames in Miniature, I'll probably need only about 25 infantry, a gun or two, and about 5 cavalry per side, which means I've got two armies 25% complete in one weekend. All the other models are prepped, primed, and ready to go. I might also try using G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. which is a nice looking set of rules, even if I don't plan to have any sci-fi element (at least not to start).

I don't know if this is a significant enough project to merit its own blog. For now I'll keep it here, even though it really isn't the usual fare for this blog. I might put it up on a new blog if it takes on a life of its own.


  1. Seems like a good scale to do ImagiNations-type gaming in, too. Intriguing!

    1. You know, I actually had the same thought. That's a direction I might actually take if this new addiction keeps its hold on me.

  2. If you are not in too deep, have you seen the Shiny Toy Soldiers and Little Britons ranges from Spencer Smith Miniatures.

    This is actually the size of the figs H.G. Wells used in Little Wars.

    1. I have actually taken a look at the Spencer Smith minis and I have been tempted...

  3. Very cool. I look forward to following your progress.

  4. This is actually quite cool, looking good Chris.