Jun 27, 2015

Proxy Armies

This is a Thirty Years War Spanish army made of wooden sticks. Four large infantry formations, eight groups of cavalry, two commanders and four cannon. It can be expanded later, and also used as a mercenary force in any theatre. 
The 'figures' are closest to 6mm. Infantry units have 75 sticks on five stands while cavalry 20 on two. The 'shot' stands have 12 sticks on them, the large pike blocks 24 pikemen plus command, including the regimental standard. Doing the maths, this means 300 infantry and 160 cavalry.

I painted them the simplest possible way. Most of the paintint time was spent on the bases, actually. I gave the stickmen a white primer then a single coat of paint: a buff colour on the foot with a brown dot on top, various browns on the horses, the pikes, VGC Scrofulous Brown on the riders and some metallics on the 'heads', pike points, gun barrels and armor where it was necessary.

The bases are made from tea filters and plasticard, painted brown, drybrushed and blobs of thick green wash added.

Of course these are just cheap 'replacement' figures until I can get to the real deal. I'm planning on using Maurice for battles as I'm quite sure the varied number of bases would not break the game. Cavalry with two-base units can cause problems as they have less frontage and are more fragile, but cavalry in the pike and shot era had difficulties to engage infantry anyway. If they come at a huge disadvantage, I can always combine two units to make a big four-base one.
I have painted the flag's colors on the front of each base; the sleeves of shot can be arranged in a way that the unit covers a 360° field of fire. I will work out some unit cohesion rules as the strength of the infantry formations lay in that. More experienced infantry will be able to change formation faster, meaning the enemy will be less likely to exploit vulnerable points during maneuvers.
Maurice is also just about the right size for engagements between up to 18-20 units per side, and the force activation rules would suit the period well. I think I'm going to use the distinction between caracole cavalry and the Swedish types preferring cold steel. Caracole cavalry will have melee penalties, but will be able to shoot. Lots to think about.

This was the initial experiment where I added green stuff for helmets and hats, but it was too time-consuming for such a reduced effect, so I dropped it on the other three tercios.

A much thinner Swedish infantry formation, a regimental gun and Polish winged hussars in the background. Some variety to the flood of Spanish forces.
Building an army of this size takes only a couple of hours with the PVA drying, which is a huge advantage. It is the overall look that matters as the stickmen are the simplest possible 'miniatures'. 

I would like to start 6mm forces for the wars of the Polish Republic. These would be good to play With Fire&Sword too, and Baccus has basically everything I'd need. ECW stuff for Swedes, GNW Russians for Muscovites and Cossacks, GNW Poles for the good guys, Ottomans too. Everything's good, the thing to consider is I'd have to drop a load of money to build them all!