Help support TMP

"Big armies with tiny figures! 3mm anyone? (with photos)." Topic

28 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

Please do not use bad language on the forums.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Ancients Gallery Message Board

Back to the Wargaming in the United Kingdom Message Board

Areas of Interest


Featured Hobby News Article

Featured Recent Link

Featured Ruleset

Featured Showcase Article

Sumerian Chariots in 6mm

Remember back in 2005, when I promised pictures of those Sumerian chariot stands in 6mm?

Featured Profile Article

Instant Mix Epoxy

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian learns to pay attention to all of the details when buying two-part epoxy...

Current Poll

1,024 hits since 10 Jul 2023
©1994-2023 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

TMP logo


Please sign in to your membership account, or, if you are not yet a member, please sign up for your free membership account.
grambo11 Jul 2023 8:44 a.m. PST

So, I like DBA rules, good old first edition, but I wanted something that looked more like an ancient army when composed of the basic 12 elements. Then I discovered 3mm figures (by Magister Militum UK) and have not looked back since. I have just finished army number 6 Macedonian Late Successor. All are on standard DBA bases of 40mm frontage and get the best paint job that I can give them so they stand a bit of close scrutiny.! Here are a few random photos of armies so far.

Hope you enjoy the photos.








Grattan54 Supporting Member of TMP11 Jul 2023 9:08 a.m. PST

Well first, there is no way I could paint those small figures as well as you have done. Kudos to you. Second, they really do look like armies. Nice job!

BrockLanders11 Jul 2023 9:12 a.m. PST

Love the massed effect. Don't think I'll go lower than 10 mm for ancients but those armies look great

DisasterWargamer Supporting Member of TMP11 Jul 2023 9:46 a.m. PST

Well done – can see how it gives a new more visual appeal to rules like DBx

Personal logo BobTYW Supporting Member of TMP11 Jul 2023 9:58 a.m. PST

Outstanding paint job. Mass look fantastic. I can only go down to about 10mm myself. The eyes are not what they used to be.


Martin Rapier11 Jul 2023 10:13 a.m. PST

Very good, they look fabulous. I'm a bit less generous with my 2mm stuff on bases.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP11 Jul 2023 10:30 a.m. PST

I started a 3mm Naps side project. I painted 600 infantry and about 50 cavalry last week. I like the look. My infantry have approx 100 figs per stand.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP11 Jul 2023 10:53 a.m. PST

Admirable! Those people look like a phalanx!

My efforts along those lines have been 2mm on 2"x1" bases for ECW, so each element contained two pike & shot battalia and a supporting gun and 6mm Ancients with 16 hoplites on a 40mm frontage. It takes seriously small scale to give DBA elements mass effect.

Royston Papworth11 Jul 2023 11:46 a.m. PST

Nice paint job.

Two issues for me are..

Height is barely more than a cardboard counter.

The figures are very regimented, they look perfect for Romans or Hoplites, no so good for a German or Celtic warband

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP11 Jul 2023 12:36 p.m. PST

They look superb!

JMcCarroll11 Jul 2023 1:05 p.m. PST

They look great! My eyes will only allow me to go to 6mm as the smallest.

John Leahy Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Jul 2023 4:04 p.m. PST

There are Barbarian troops you can print that are not in an ordered unit.Cav, Light infantry, warbands, etc, I own a bunch.



bobspruster11 Jul 2023 4:31 p.m. PST

Awesome looking armies! I'm very tempted to try France '40 in 3 mill.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP11 Jul 2023 4:39 p.m. PST

I've been tempted in the past by Irregular's 2mm line as a way to make a "pocket" game with big armies. But I wound up sticking with 10mm (though I do have some 6mm Baccus armies in the queue … way back in the queue…)

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP11 Jul 2023 6:54 p.m. PST

Beautiful and impressive work!

Tgerritsen Supporting Member of TMP11 Jul 2023 8:08 p.m. PST

Holy moly those look great.

grambo12 Jul 2023 12:30 a.m. PST

Thanks for all the supportive comments. I should point out that this is intended as very much a stand alone kind of portable/travel project which will feature a 2' square board that folds down in 4 sections plus numerous terrain items and all fully textured to match the basing style. You could play it down the pub or on a weekend break etc!

The point re the barbarian bases looking too regimented I would just point to my Spanish (Celt Iberian) army the bulk of which are 6 bases of Warband not which I have crammed 48 figures per base in an irregular style (pic below) I think the mass of almost 300 figures is quite pleasing on the eye and contrasts nicely with the light troops in very loose order on the 4 skirmish bases. You usually see 3 or 4 figures in 15mm representing a warband base for example :)

Certainly not for everyone I know but I do appreciate all of the comments.

That Celt Iberian warband mass again!


Michael May12 Jul 2023 9:18 a.m. PST


kodiakblair12 Jul 2023 1:31 p.m. PST

@Royston Papworth

"Height is barely more than a cardboard counter."

It's 3mm from feet to eyes. Add 1mm for the figure base, 1mm for the element base and another 1mm for headgear; 5mm in total.

Industry standard for cardboard tiles is 1.5mm


I've saw photos of your armies quite a few times now, they never fail to impress. You're a master with a brush :-)

grambo13 Jul 2023 12:44 a.m. PST


Thank you for the kind comments :)

You are correct about the overall height and I can comfortably pick up each base with no damage done.


Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP13 Jul 2023 3:28 a.m. PST

Lee, you're not lookin' back in the least but straight ahead!

I've been eyeing Magister Militum's Rennaissance 3mm for doing the ECW with. From my angle, Mark Backhouse got me interested in the smaller scale stuff, with his Strength & Honour unit articles, and now you've shown what is achievable here for DBA, and for that real battlefield look.

Cutting edge application Lee, and, we can do new collections or periods with smaller storage footprints.

Keep us abreast as you continue to march forward!

oldbob13 Jul 2023 9:55 a.m. PST

I've painted 10mm, never anything smaller, you sir have done a great job.

Personal logo McKinstry Supporting Member of TMP Fezian13 Jul 2023 10:44 a.m. PST

Brilliant work that has produced really impressive armies.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP13 Jul 2023 5:41 p.m. PST

Parzival, give it a try! A few words of advice:
1. Buy two army packs per side. The cost is still minimal, and you don't want to be a couple of bases short.
2. White prime, wash, drybrush and detail.
3. Remember your stands still have to be big enough to handle. I figure about 3/4" or 20mm minimum.
4. Usually, stand removal is your best bet. If you have to record damage, use fewer larger stands.
Great things are possible.

grambo14 Jul 2023 12:03 a.m. PST

Once again I appreciate the words of support and encouragement, I wanted to try and do something a bit different with this little project.

FlyXwire – Many thanks :) I did have a shot at the 3mm ECW range – couple of photos for you – but decided to abandon it and stick with Ancients. I used a 60mm x 25mm base and again managed to cram a lot of 3mm's on there to represent an entire regiment of foot or horse. Magister Militum figures again.






Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP14 Jul 2023 3:57 a.m. PST

Lee, saving these pics now – inspirational.

Thanks so much!

grambo15 Jul 2023 12:37 a.m. PST


Glad they are of use to you :) The command figures took a bit of work as the cast on flag was far too small so I filed it right down and glued a paper flag over it and once dry covered it with superglue before painting!

2mm is also worth a look, the Irregular Miniatures blocks are excellent too. Blog link to 2mm ECW post below for you but couple of example photos here. I did later texture the bases to improve the look.




picture texting-around-with-2mm-blocks.html"link

Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP15 Jul 2023 3:52 a.m. PST

Lee, thanks for the additional info here and the link to your blog.

Sometimes, it's just as important seeing a pic of that raw bag of figures sitting on the work bench (as we consider putting together a new project) then, with such positive results achieved!

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.