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"3mm - Distinguishing between troop types?" Topic

19 Posts

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15 Jan 2019 10:45 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Changed title from "3mm--Distinguishing between troop types?" to "3mm - Distinguishing between troop types?"
  • Removed from 18th Century Discussion board
  • Crossposted to Scale board

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©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Desert Fox15 Jan 2019 6:55 a.m. PST

I am interested in Oddzial Osmy's 3mm Napoleonic sculpt from Pico Armour but I have a question for others who game the horse and musket era in this scale.

How do you distinguish between different troop types on such small figures from normal tabletop distances?

In other words, how do you tell the difference between guard, line or second rate troops? At this scale, does a black grenadier bearskin look the same as a black shako from about three feet away? Can you really see plumes etc on 3mm figures on the tabletop?

von Schwartz15 Jan 2019 7:02 a.m. PST

My first question would be, "why 3mm, why not 6mm or 15mm?".

RittervonBek15 Jan 2019 7:03 a.m. PST

If I recall correctly there is some advice on this in Horse Foot and Guns by Phil Barker. Perhaps a thin line of colour on the rear of the base e.g gold for guard red for grenadiers etc would be the way to go.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP15 Jan 2019 7:05 a.m. PST

That is a good question

For 6mm it is easy enough if you plan your basing/painting right; plus for the rules we use there are a limited number of troop types you have to distinguish

I think some rules were just not meant for 3/6mm

khanscom15 Jan 2019 7:27 a.m. PST

For 12mm figures, Jack Scruby used to paint the topside corners of the bases-- red for elite infantry or heavy cavalry, white for light infantry or light cavalry. Line infantry were left unmarked, while elite light infantry would be marked with a combination of white and red. No limit to the variety of colors if you need more levels of distinction.

Jozis Tin Man Supporting Member of TMP15 Jan 2019 7:43 a.m. PST

Some options:

1) Label your bases. What does 1 base represent in your rules?
2) Use Skirmishers in front of your main line to indicate better troops. Maybe use the number of skirmishers to indicate better quality?
3) Add commanders on horseback to the rear of the line, more = better troops?

Let us now how you get on!

Martin Rapier15 Jan 2019 8:48 a.m. PST

For my 2mm stuff (never mind your great big fancy modern '3mm' figures) I:

1. paint coloured strips on the back edge of the bases. Along with nationality, it helps keep them facing the right way.

2. I put different formations on the bases, either in terms of figure dispersion of the arrangement of the blocks. So e.g. light cavalry will have a different arrangement to heavies.

3. Different coloured flags can help.

As noted above, it partly depends what 'one base' represents. Mine tend to be a bit grandiose, at least a battalion per base.

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Jan 2019 11:25 a.m. PST

Would the enemy have been able to see which type of troops they were facing at a table scale of 3 feet ? If not then why should a player need to !

Surely it is enough that you can ID the troops on your own side and when the actually get into combat.

Lion in the Stars15 Jan 2019 12:21 p.m. PST

Hats, my good man!

Guards obviously wear bearskins, Ligne in bicorns, Legere are in shakos. Or whatever.

marshalGreg15 Jan 2019 12:29 p.m. PST

If you going to collect and play the period Napoleonics,
it makes sense to be able to distinguish the units.
That was the purpose behind the elaborate uniforms anyway yes?
If one must have markers to tell cuirassiers from Dragoons from CaC then might as well save the time and pain of painting these items that are too small and just play a nice board game.
A cardboard play pc with a 3D flag will give almost the same thing.
My limit was ACW with Grey on one side and blue on the other… but changed to 10mm at the last minute though.
Sorry, I do not agree mfg of 2/3mm was a good direction to go for figure play, especially for 7 yr, AWI & NAPs!

Fredloan15 Jan 2019 4:05 p.m. PST

I'd go blind playing with 2-3mm figures. 6mm would be the bare minimum but, I like the ABs

repaint15 Jan 2019 4:16 p.m. PST

labels work well for me. This is what I do for WWII:


forwardmarchstudios15 Jan 2019 7:33 p.m. PST

I'd recommend my eBases. I'm working on some rules for my 2mm range that'll use these. They work with 2mm, 3mm, and even 6mm.

See an entire refight of the Katzbach with O8 miniatures and my bases here:



My bases are also free to download if you follow the link. Just print out and laminate and you're ready to go.

von Schwartz15 Jan 2019 8:08 p.m. PST

Used to game micro-armour but my club was doing 15mm and some 25mm Napoleonic. I chose the 15mm because the guys doing 25s didn't get into the shop much. Good thing too, my eyes started going to hell around 40 and have gone from a 1.50 to a 2.50 in the intervening years and I currently use a 3.00 or higher for painting. Now 25s were an option but no one in my group were doing 25s or 28s so, there ya have it. I tried some Biblical Libyans in 25, I generally suck at painting so that experiment did not end well.

Scott MacPhee20 Jan 2019 7:44 p.m. PST

I can tell the difference. link


forwardmarchstudios20 Jan 2019 9:05 p.m. PST

Looking good!

freecloud21 Jan 2019 5:30 a.m. PST

I can barely see to paint my 6mm, never mind 3mm!

I think some armies are easier than others, to tell apart. I deliberately did all my Russian line in greatcoats, but Jaegers in green to tell them apart.

Cuirassiers are white, Dragoons are Green and Hussars are colourful. We also only use caissons for the horse artillery so you can see who they are.

Also agree with colour code the back base strip for info, also the flags help (if you are Russian, anyway – others not so much I guess).

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Jan 2019 5:34 a.m. PST

For those with good enough eyesight to see them, all power to you. But for me, the manufacturers of 3mm or 2mm figures might as well label their products: "Small metal lumps we are calling French Infantry, Small metal lumps we are calling British Infantry, etc." :)

von Schwartz21 Jan 2019 6:00 p.m. PST

Agree 100% with Scott, "wait till you get old sonny", he said as he tottered on his cane.

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