Sunday, March 2, 2014

Saturday, March 1, 2014

How Low Can You Go?

As mentioned last post, I started to paint at a much smaller scale, 10mm and then 6mm. For perspective, 10mm is roughly the size of a pinky-fingernail.

I've always wanted an ancients and/or fantasy miniatures army, but the popular scales -- 28mm and 15mm -- are both cost- and space-prohibitive. While the 15mm figs of Battles of Westeros and Battlelore could do (games I already own), the scale would demand a much larger playing area. Painting at 15mm also invites a level of detailing I didn't want to get into for a massed army. 

So I looked for something smaller. While Games Workshop as a company might get basheds, you gotta admit that their sculpts sure are pretty. So I started with their 10mm Warmaster line a few years ago. But when GW announced recently that they'd stop making it, prices on everything 10mm skyrocketed.
Click to zoom. A unit of 10mm Warmaster Chaos Army in need of drybrush highlighting. Painted in winter 2011.  

So I had to go smaller again, and accepted 6mm -- which is sustained by a growing number of manufacturers and a dedicated following. I had previously decided against 6mm as being too under-detailed. There's also the fact that in the U.S., there's only one or two companies (MicroWorld & GHQ) making 6mm figures that i find interesting. Beyond that, everything else has to be shipped from overseas. 

Here are a couple units of 6mm MicroWorld undead spearmen and knights. These were painted January 2014.

These aren't finished. I need to figure out how to stabilize the flags. The spearmen were done more recently and I used a finer static grass for the basing, which is closer to scale. I'm happy with how the flags turned out. The skull icons are based on 40k Orks.

So the main point of 6mm is to make massed armies appear closer to scale. Here's a great article comparing the visual benefit and cost benefit (in money and time) of 6mm vs 28mm: The Myth of the 28mm Vision

Below, 25m figures from War of the Ring are used as large creatures to the massed 6mm undead.
Finally, this is what the unit of 10mm Warmaster (unbased) looks like next to a based unit of 6mm MicroWorld undead.
While the Warmaster figs are obviously sexier, they cost at least twice as much and take longer to paint. I found Warmaster's 10mm, like 15mm, still invited a level of detailing I didn't want to obsess over. At 6mm, I'm far less concerned about the details. I can also fit three strips of 6mm figs on the same-sized base, which adds to the "massed" look.