My blog about my wargaming activities. I collect a lot of 15mm miniatures for the American War of Independence and so collect a lot of rules for this period. I started miniatures with Napoleonics, so I have a number of armies in 6mm and 15mm figures for skirmishing. I have15mm WW II figures that I use for Flames of War, Memoir '44, and someday, Poor Bloody Infantry. Finally there is my on-again, off-again relationship with paper soldiers that I sometimes write about.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

6mm Napoleonics

Well, I threatened to start re-basing my 6mm Napoleonics and that is what I have been doing in my spare time. I decided that I wanted them to be on 40mm wide hexes, as I would be able to use them for games that use 40mm frontage for 15mm figures; I would just be using more figures. Also, 40mm bases fit comfortably in a Heroscape hex, and I want to get back to grid-based wargaming. (Bending over the table and measuring is affecting my back! )

I will start with a single base equals a "unit" (whatever that might be, depending upon the rules). There are some new hex-based Napoleonics rules I want to try and a base is a battalion. For De Bellis Napoleonicis a single base is a brigade. Either way, 40mm by 20mm works for infantry, 40mm by 30mm works for cavalry, and 40mm square works for artillery.

First up are some Russian Cossacks. I've used nine figures on a 40mm by 30mm Litko 3mm thick, wooden base. I placed them about randomly so I could tell that they are rated as Irregular Cavalry in DBN.

The fact that I did not paint black dots for the eyes is starkly apparent in this magnified photograph, but it is not when you look at them at half arm's length.

Next are Russian Dragoons on the left and Prussian Dragoons on the right. Same size base. The Russians have nine figures and you can see that leaves you with uneven ranks. Why nine? Well, Baccus cavalry is sold with nine cavalry being the standard unit size. With the Prussians I decided to try eight figures and I can say I like the effect just as well. As all of my cavalry is painted in sets of nine, I thought about using the extra figure as a marker for that particular unit. I could put it on a 1/2" square base, for example. Some rules that might indicate disorder, or blown horses after a charge, could use this unit-specific marker for that purpose.

So, I've resolved that I will now base my units in groups of eights. Rather than re-basing the three Russian stands I just based, I will probably use delicate surgery and extract one figure, then use some clump foliage to fide the "hole" – or maybe even paint it as a hole in the ground!

Next up is the Russian infantry (musketeers). They are on 40mm by 20mm bases, 16 figures to the base. Baccus sells them as units of 24, so at some point I will have extra units without flags, which is fine.

Although I only have four bases showing, I have based up eight so far.

By the way, all of the 6mm miniatures shown have been painted by DJD Miniature Painting Service. I have bought French, Austrian, Russian, and Prussian 6mm Napoleonic armies from DJD, along with quite a few 15mm AWI units, and even a few 15mm Napoleonic units (for skirmish gaming). I have been tempted to buy more painted 6mm troops from them, but they are now selling them pre-based to the Polemos basing system (60mm by 30mm), which I do not use.

My plan is to start with a single base as a unit, then work up to two bases per unit so I can show formations, then four bases per unit so I can use them for Lasalle and Neil Thomas' Napoleonic Wargaming, both of which use four bases per unit. I will probably not go to six bases per unit, except for the Austrian large units. This means that the units will be on the small side for Black Powder, but for now I am limiting those rules to the AWI and FPW (the latter in 6mm also).

Right now I have enough musketeer units based up for a basic 12 AP Russian list. All I need are a couple of Elite Musket units (Grenadiers or Guards), Light Infantry units (Jagers), and artillery. I have the artillery already painted, and heavy cavalry (cuirassiers) if I need them, but have to paint the Grenadiers and Jagers. I recently ordered more Baccus Russians from Scale Creep Miniatures, but this time I got the new Russian sculpts. As I had just finished painting some Russian Grenadiers that were the old sculpts, I can honestly say that the difference is tremendous, especially in the area of paintability. I am strongly tempted to sell my unpainted Russians that are the old sculpts! I will probably never get to them anyway, as I am now painting the new sculpts first.

As an aside, I also painted some Baccus 6mm Bavarian infantry from the Franco-Prussian War line, and those are some of the best Baccus sculpts I have seen. So easy to paint. For the FPW I am basing one strip (four figures) onto a 1" by 1/2" base, six formed bases to a unit, plus three skirmisher bases (two figures on a 1/2" square base) added. That makes each unit 36 figures – 24 formed and 12 skirmisher – and a 6" frontage. Much more spaced out than the Napoleonics, but still has mass. I will be using these with Black Powder. If those rules don't work out then I may blow the dust off of my copies of 1870, They Died for Glory, and Chassepot and Needlegun and finally give them a try. Although, it might be cool to convert Square Bashing to the FPW.

Once the basic Russian DBN list is done I will switch to the French so I can get down to playing some games!


  1. If you ask in your order, Pete Berry will alter the command strip ratios to order.

    6mm does look good en masse.

  2. What no eyes!!! I always paint eyes...ok I'm lying!! The Cossacks look very nice, I think the 8 fig regts look better and as you said the spare can be used elsewhere. keep up the great work!!!

  3. Pat G.: I have heard that, but as I order from the US distributors (now Scale Creep Miniatures), I've never been able to test that out.

    That said, I am thinking about using the spare command stands for markers. I figure some drummers and officers can indicate disorder and the need to rally. Extra soldiers can get cut off the base, smooshed face down, and become casualties, representing hits, etc.

  4. I like your planning, the figures look great.

    Try 'Horse,Foot and Guns' The are great, but a work in progress.
    Big Battles.

  5. Hi Dale, I see that you are basing (have based) your figures exactly the way I am planning to do. May I ask what rules have you been using besides DBN for this type of basing, and why you liked the rules?
    thank you

    1. Please note that this was published in 2011. Things have changed since then. I was on a DBA kick back then. I wanted a common core set of rules to make it easier to switch from period to period, yet still retain some period flavor. I also thought that, as DBN was a commercial product that it would be fully supported. However, my idea of "fully supported" was not the same as the authors. They kept producing very minor tweaks to the rules and after about a year they demanded that I repurchase the product – not an 'upgrade' mind you, but a full purchase – as they had felt there was no incentive to changing it otherwise. I dropped it and never looked back.

      I continued to use my figures for various game systems and unfortunately started rebasing some, but not all. Today I have about 3-4 different basing schemes. It is a horrible situation.

      I started a rebasing effort recently (I hate rebasing) and I switched to 1" wide bases (with different depths for infantry, cavalry, and artillery). This allows me to use pretty much any rules. I simply use movement trays if the game demands larger bases.

      The 40mm wide bases are not ideal because of the way Baccus sells his figures, unless you are willing to do a custom order (where he will vary the packaging). Given that there is no longer any US distributor for Baccus, I may well start doing that.

      Drop me an email if you want a lengthier answer or specifics.


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Huachuca City, Arizona, United States
I am 58 yrs old now. I bought a house in Huachuca City, AZ working for a software company for the last three years. To while away the hours I like to wargame -- with wooden, lead, and sometimes paper miniatures -- usually solo. Although I am a 'rules junkie', I almost always use rules of my own (I like to build upon others' ideas, but it seems like there is always something "missing" or "wrong").