My foray into 12mm American Civil War
A while ago, probably getting on for 2 years now (OK, maybe 3) a very close friend Glenn broached the idea of doing the American Civil War, but in a ‘grand scale’. I had already stumbled into the period some years before when Mike, another close friend, had convinced me to building a division in ‘classic’ scale (or 28mm), so wasn’t completely new to the period. However the idea of being able to actually play larger battles, even on my limited gaming space, was very appealing, and so we started to investigate our options.
After discussing the relative merits of 6mm, and 15mm, we went for the compromise of 10mm and explored who did what, and for how much. Surprisingly, there are (or were then) already a few options available, including Pendraken, Old Glory, Minifigs, and Kallistra to name a few. All of these offered a fairly extensive selection of figures at reasonable prices, and most importantly were available for mail order.
After a bit of deliberation we opted for Kallistra. We liked the look of the figures, and they were offering a multi-pack deal which clinched the deal. Starting with a small purchase each we each bought ourselves enough figures for a division or so of infantry, along with associated artillery and some cavalry, as well as our all important commanders. I would start with the Union, and Glenn with the Confederates.
We hadn’t determined which rules we were going to focus on, so basing was going to need to cater to a multiple of rule sets. As such we settled on 4 infantry figures to a 20mm by 20mm square as the baseline, with the option to pair the bases for 40mm by 20mm with 8 figures on etc. Cavalry would simply be 2 cavalry to a 20mm square base. The Kallistra figures arrived with plenty of 40mm by 20mm plastic bases, so it seemed to solidify the choice. I meanwhile had ordered a large batch of steel bases from Products for Wargamers, my reasoning being that I it would facilitate by next cunning plan. Through the simple use of magnetic paper I could now create simple sabot bases suitable to whatever rules we ended up playing. It had the added benefit that I wouldn’t need to magnetise the figures, but simply line my figure box with a magnetic sheet instead.
When the figures arrived I quickly cleaned the figures for flash and visible mould lines before priming a sample batch with a white base coat. Games Workshop had released their Contrast Paints and I wanted to try those out initially, but if they didn’t work out I intended to revert back to a black undercoat and block the colours in from there. Fortunately the contrast paints were very easy to work with, with the paint seeming to ‘bleed’ into crevices, highlighting all of the detail which I would have inevitably missed. I went for a fairly simple pallet of colours to be able to paint the figures without too many complications. Within a fairly short time I had finished my four regiments of infantry, along with artillery and limbers. Feeling rather pleased with the results I then undercoated the next batch in white to repeat the process.
It was around this time that Warlord Games released their Epic ACW range. After lots of confusion and discussion the online community seemed to align that these new figures were around 12mm to 13mm tall (or there abouts). They weren’t 10mm, and they weren’t 15mm, but somewhere in between. Fortunately for myself and Glenn, we had gone with the 12mm Kallistra ACW figures which seemed to fit in rather well with this new offering (we were fortunate to be in the Goldilocks zone). So I bought a box, and what a box that was! The box was huge and contained 2,400 infantry and other figures, along with terrain and a set of the Blackpowder rules. The figures though come in strips of 10 men, designed to fit on a 60mm frontage base, so so serious consideration will need to be made as to how to integrate my existing figures and my established basing convention, with that of the newcomers. With lockdown now upon us I was sure that I would have the time to find a solution.
It was about that time that all of my progress came to an abrupt halt. We had ordered a new kitchen as seems to have been the fashion for lockdown, and it was about this time that it was delivered. Unfortunately the fitters wouldn’t be available for some months, so the dining room and conservatory became effective no-go zones whilst the kitchen was stored there. Since this is where I did my painting I would have to put it all on hold until a space for painting would become available again – I hadn’t quite appreciate just how long that would be. And so this was to be the case for many months whilst we waited for the installation to be completed. At least it gave me time to continue to explore the various rule sets which were available, and there are a lot of them available.