IntroductionA couple of weeks ago, I received a package in the mail from Heroics and Ros, makers of 6mm figures and vehicles for a wide range of wars. This was something of a surprise to me as I didn't recall ordering anything from them recently. The packing slip indicated that they'd been sent by my good friend Steve. OK, that's nice - but what's going on?
Regular readers will know that I've been unemployed for the last 5 weeks (don't worry - I'm starting a new job soon). Steve had decided that I needed something to fill my time and cheer me up, so he very kindly ordered this package for me. Also, he felt that my Napoleonic Austrians had put up a poor showing against his Russians the last time we played Black Powder. This was at least partly due to my infantry being a bit thin on the ground.
|2 large regiments of infantry: the German "10th Mitrowsky" on the left and the Hungarian "2nd Von Hiller" on the right|
Black Powder in 6mm
Steve's parcel contained 8 packets of Austrian infantry and 2 of Grenadiers. That's quite a large number of figures, since each packet has 50 or more figures. Not thousands maybe, but certainly many hundreds! Now, my existing Austrian infantry is a mixture of "German" and "Hungarian" bases (the Hungarians have blue trousers but are otherwise pretty much indistinguishable at this scale), with shako or helmet, in march or attack poses. In other words, quite a varied lot! This worked well enough for the DBN rules that we used to play where an army only required a few bases. However it's not so good for Black Powder, where a unit is much larger and for visual effect should have a unified appearance.
So, how do we do this? Firstly, base sizes are dictated by those from DBN, since I'm not going to rebase all my existing stuff. That's simple enough: 40mm width with 20/30/40mm depth for infantry/cavalry/artillery. How many bases make up a unit? That's less obvious, but by halving the movement and shooting distances from the Black Powder rulebooks and doing some rough calculations on the unit sizes used by other players, I've come up with 6 bases for a large unit, 4 bases for a normal unit, 2 for a small unit and 1 for a tiny unit. Being Austrians, my army will have a fair number of large units!
I've used the new models to create a large number of plain infantry stands, without command figures. These can then be used with my existing stands to create either large or normal-sized units as desired. My older command stands have been altered slightly, so that both flags are on the same stand (!) and so that each has the regiment name printed on a card upright at the back of the base.
Although it is technically possible to deploy a single base forward to depict a unit in "mixed" formation (i.e. with skirmishers deployed to the front), this isn't visually very appealing. Instead I've decided to experiment with a separate "marker" base with a token number of skirmishers on it; this can be placed ahead of any unit to show that it is in mixed formation. Note that this is a new idea of mine and I haven't tried this out in a real game yet!
The FormationsSo how does this look in practice? Using most of the new infantry and some of my existing bases (refurbished somewhat!), I now have 4 large units of line infantry plus enough extras to make up at least 1 or 2 normal-sized units as well. Alternatively, I could choose to deploy them as 6 normal units instead of 4 large ones. Here are some examples:
|10th Mitrowsky in "mixed" formation|
|2nd Von Hiller (Hungarian) in "mixed" formation|
|Large regiment in attack column|
|Large regiment in line|
|Regiment in march column|
|Large regiment in square|
|Skirmisher marker base|
As well as bulking up my regular infantry, I used some of the excess command figures to make a bunch more brigade commanders. These are mounted on 20mm washers and have a standard to aid with identification:
|A bunch of brigadiers!|
So look out, Steve: we're ready for you! We'll be back!