In this second part of 192 Hexes of Joy, I shall look at the (not very) important overhang issue of base sizes – Are they too big for 4cm Heroscape Hexes? Do they need rebasing?
It is also an excuse for some Peter Laing eye candy, if you like slender 15mm.
There also creeps in a comment or two on basing, related to “one man equals how many?” sort of maths, ground scale, unit frontages and stuff that makes my brain hurt at times.
Overhang, Rebase or Disregard?
To start with, I laid out part of my 15mm Peter Laing colonial flying column of British Redcoats and their artillery to see how they would fit onto the Heroscape hexes.
The Peter Laing British colonial artillery pieces in this colonial flying column do fit onto one hex, but the limbers do not quite fit one hex. Limbers are definitely a two hex piece even with base trimming. Two cavalry or four Redcoats fit one hex comfortably.
The geeky Peter Laing figure ID bit: British Colonial figures 600 range
F603 British infantry advancing with F609 British officer standing
M602 British cavalry walking and A623 British Muleteer with A625 Pack Mule
Not too good on my guns but probably A609 15 pdr field gun, A610 Limber and A611 seated gunner for limber, A607 again and for limber M606 Artillery horse with rider and without rider M607
Gun crew A613 Gunner with shell, A603 British Gunner kneeling and A604 British gunner, field glasses (A602 Britsih gunner kneeling with ram not shown)
Hopefully these are correct, I will amend if told otherwise!
My Peter Laing ECW cavalry are still mostly based and ballasted as they were done in c. 1983 / mid 1980s. I thought that these ‘lobsterpots’ were the finest of 15mm figures, apart from his ECW Dragoons, except I was unsure if they had very fragile short swords or pistols.
My 15mm Peter Laing English Civil War cavalry shown here fit two by two, side by side comfortably on one Heroscape hex.
I may rebase these double cavalry figure bases eventually and add some flock variety to the bases. They were based on scrounged spare railway ballast, which could do with some partial flocking for a bit of variety. Painted in my Matt Grunge Airfix / Humbrol enamel phase, I think a recoat in gloss varnish should bring the figures out more.
More Geeky Peter Laing figure ID – skip if you wish! ECW Cavalry 500 series
Left to right – M511 Mounted Officer in Helmet (definitely Cromwell!)
M510 Mounted Officer in Hat. This could be used for Cavalier officers or Royalist generals – I used a Merit OO/HO railway small dog and on occasion a Peter Laing sheep with painted ears to represent Boy, Prince Rupert’s dog.
M506 – Mounted standard bearer in hat alongside M505 Mounted trumpeter in helmet.
and the bulk of my Roundhead Cavalry – M501 Mounted Trooper in Helmet (with sword or pistol?) Lovely figures.
Other 19 Century / WW1 cavalry shown above were bought second-hand, mounted three to a base. With the more obvious overhang, I think these will need rebasing at least onto two horses per base, but probably singly.
Bob Cordery pointed me in his comments on my last blogpost (Part 1 of 192 Hexes of Joy) that the overhang issue is often a “perceptual problem rather than a real one”, depending on the exactness of your gaming style. Bob also pointed me towards a interesting post by Archduke Piccolo on grid wargames, columns into line and such manoeuvres.
To be fair, my ‘Close Wars’ type Featherstone skirmish level games hardly use many cavalry or artillery in the cluttered skirmish terrain that disrupts and defies column, line and square manoeuvres, let alone easy artillery moves. But with a bigger 192 Hexes of Joy game board, who knows what changes of game style might result?
Will I need to rebase?
My Peter Laing ECW cavalry and ECW artillery are set out on bases in about 1983 to use them with the very affordable John Mitchell ECW rules sold by Peter Laing.
Looking up close at my John Mitchell rules, 1983 based English Civil War artillery, I think these are probably influenced by reading Terry Wise. He has much the same vignette triangular layout for artillery in his Airfix Guide to American Civil War Gaming, all to do with measuring firing angles and whether the guns need to be manhandled and relaid to fire at a different target.
There is a clear overhang of one hex from such vignette artillery basing. In fact seen overhead, this gun base spreads over 3 to 4 hexes, plus limber another one to two hexes.
To be honest, I am not that finicky now about rules for relaying guns, angles or lines of sight basing.
Looking at the photographs however I think that I may need to more compactly base or rebase my Peter Laing artillery onto a smaller near one hex affair.
Limbers, however, are as long as they are, even if bases are trimmed a bit at either end.
In real historical battle situations, the artillery train of limbers, horses and supply waggins were a bit of a nuisance or an encumbrance to the manoeuvrability of troops from one attacking or defensive position to another. Maybe they should occupy two hexes and also be classed as impassable or not allow troops to pass through them. This should add some clutter to the battlefield, much as terrain features do.
Defending such slow-moving vehicles such as baggage or supply wagons, limbers or ammunition caissons, along with their attendant civilians and family members proves for an interesting scenario.
Ground Scale, Bases and Unit Frontages
At this point I usually get a little frustrated with rule sets that start to fret about one man equals so many others on a set ground frontage of such and such. Buildings on this ground scale etc, frontages etc. My brain doesn’t do such maths on its hobby days off and as I am not playing set rules in competition at big brigade, division or Battle level, there is no need.
That is what I play 1 figure: 1 man small skirmishes with ground as it is, buildings as they are, often from another scale too – 15mm games with OO/HO railway huts or buildings etc., from whatever I have in stock.
A typical example from my childhood branch library is David Nash’s interesting little 1974 Hamlyn All-Colour Paperback book Wargames, pages 27 to 30:
Some of David Nash’s rule ideas I found completely bizarre, such as the “I can’t see you” correct or incorrect line of vision over a hill, where “line of vision must relate to the ground scale”. Of course those two figures could see and shoot at each other! A Lionel Tar reversed periscope could have told you that.
Otherwise I found David Nash’s curious little Wargames book a thought-provoking and well illustrated read from the local library, especially when thinking through rules. I now own that exact same well thumbed library copy (with the beautiful Dewey Decimal System number 793.9) Certainly a book worth revisiting in a future “on my bookshelf” style blogpost.
Here are more puzzling pages from books that I had or borrowed as a young gamer, including the affordable but strange little Know the Game – Wargaming booklet by Phil Barker / Wargames Research Group that I (was) bought as a youngster (EP Publishing, 1976/8).
Time Scales, Troop Scales and Ground Scales were earnestly explained. I stuck to 1 man equals 1 man until the John Mitchell ECW rules set out unit sizes.
Elsewhere in time I have stuck to 1 man equals 1 man, which David Nash concludes:
“For modern warfare, it is usually accepted that one piece represents just one piece … This is because there has been a change in the form of warfare. Up to about 1860, unit cohesion was of a paramount importance, but thereafter improved weapon technology increasingly demanded a much looser type of warfare.” (David Nash, Wargames, p. 30, Hamlyn, 1974)
Phil Barker’s Know the Game: Wargaming book was part of a series of 1970s illustrated individual booklets that were advertised as covering “every major sport and pastime … from archery to yoga.” This somehow put me playing with Airfix figures on the same level playing field (!) as Rugby, Football and every other major sport.
“A figure representing a Roman legionary … [herein a bit of maths] …represents 20 men in 4 ranks of 5.” Help, my brain is beginning to hurt here.
However some passages in this odd little booklet made instant sense, such as staggered figure basing for Ancients, admittedly using Airfix Ancient Britons rather than grown-up metals on my childhood budget.
At the end of all this careful explanation in books, I still think what suits me and my style of gaming best is 1 man equals 1 man, 1 gun equals 1 gun etc. at any scale above my handful of 1/300 figures (Imagine individual skirmish figure games at that tiny scale!) So I will slowly base or rebase on these lines.
Note to self at any point during reading the above books:
Remember Mark, relax, it’s just a game, just a board game, an elaborate game of “chess with a thousand pieces” as Donald Featherstone and others described it, each piece with its own movement and attack rules as you / each gamer decides, tinkering with other’s rule sets as we all do.
After considering such (not very) important issues as basing and frontages, ground scales, troop scales and time scales, it must be time for some reckless time-distorting chariot racing around a hex board circuit.
Rules to follow, but a good bit of fun … Ancient Britons versus Ancient Egyptians versus Assyrian chariots anyone?
I hope you have enjoyed the Peter Laing eye candy, and enjoy the comment by Phil Barker in Know The Game – Wargaming on suppliers under Obtaining Metal Figures c. 1976/8 on Peter Laing’s expanding range:
Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 3 August 2017.
Meanwhile over on Sidetracked, literally my Man of TIN gets Sidetracked blog for anything to do with trains, https://sidetracked2017blog.wordpress.com, my 15mm Peter Laing figures try not to blow up trains too much in the big desert wastes of 192 Hexes of Joy.
If you have enjoyed this blogpost, please ‘like’ my post or leave any comments, disagreements etc via the comments page. Thanks, Mark, Man of TIN.