Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A New Madness - 1:1 scale ACW in 3mm

First, sorry for posting stuff that is unfinished but I just received these in the mail and I wanted to take a few shots and write a few lines about them. If you look above you'll see a 400-man American Civil War regiment, in 3mm, arrayed in line at 1:1 scale. I know I'm as mad as a March hare but I find the look of this amazing. Ever since I've been gaming with miniatures I've always wanted to see 19th century formations as they would have actually been deployed in the field and with these 3mm castings it can effectively be done. 

Even on a largish 5x8 table these units will be huge. This regiment in line takes up approximately 45 cm (18"), so a brigade-level action is about the limit, I think. Nonetheless, the good news is that with gaming the American Civil War there were many engagements fought at this lower level. 

These 3mm castings are from PicoArmour which I believe sources their stock from Oddzial Osmy in Poland. While barely discernable, these little guys actually do look like ACW infantry, cavalry and artillery. Of course these models are meant to be seen in a mass, not as individuals, and in this I think they are a great success. 

When you look at this unit you can really appreciate how hard it must have been to keep any level of command and control over these formations. Just think that this is an 'average-sized' battle-worn regiment. Some of the green Federal formations, fresh from the recruiting depots, would have easily been twice this size. In looking at this I can understand why good NCO's and junior officers were so highly valued as the Colonel would have only a limited effect in the center of these strung-out formations - especially if you compounded the problem with the sound and chaos of battle.

Each 20mm 'strip' has 8 figures and so my 'My Mad Plan' is to set four of them up in two ranks on 20(d) x 40(w) bases. This way a standard-sized ACW regiment of 400 men will require about 12 bases (48 strips).  A pack of 15 strips only costs around $4.00 so this project is as cheap as chips. I picked up enough to do (in 1:1 scale) two brigades of infantry, a couple regiments of cavalry, horse holders, officers/flunkies and two artillery batteries. I know, its pretty esoteric but it should look neat on the table. I'll follow-up when I get a unit painted and based. Ah, another project to add to the list...


  1. That IS madness! I've been getting rid of all my 15's because I'm about done with the (really) small stuff. Good luck to you though! ;-)

    What about terrain and buildings? That should be another interesting challenge for this scale.


  2. I love the idea but it's still mad but good mad.

  3. It's a grand idea - I got one of the sample sets of the 3mm minis and they are very well done given the size. I had the daft idea of matching them with my 1/600 scale ironclads but the project wandered off into the lead plie wilderness

    I shall watch your progress with great interest.


  4. Very nice Curt, it is amazing how big he unit is. What I really like tough is that free standing piece of terrain they have been placed on, did you do this yourself.


  5. That is a huge! For me 15mm is as small as I go, but I'm still curious to see where you take this.


  6. Yeah, this whole caper is a little bonkers, I know. I find that gaming in these smaller scales encourages a totally different aesthetic to the tabletop. Instead of the detail and nuance of the figures and uniforms it is the mass and grandeur of the formations and landscape that you are trying to capture. I find this shift in perspective quite appealing actually.

    @John - The piece of terrain they are set-up on is a garden variety blue-insulation hill which I've embellished with Liquitex gel, bits of gravel and few shades of brown/tan craft paint. I find it breaks up the uniform 'greeness' of the flocking.

  7. Dude - the madness makes it awesome! Can't wait to see in painted up. I have painted Pico Armour stuff and it's great.

    I've been tempted to try something along this level of madness with moderns... Either the Fulda Gap-what if-type thing or the Golan Heights from 73, where the tanks are 1 to 1...but I'll see how things go with the 6mm sci fi skirmish first.

  8. This little unit is huge...I'll be watching this with interest as I like the massed look as well. And I thought I was mad when I just bought 10mm stuff.

  9. Does each individual have a name?; "Poor Sergeant Murphy's bit the dust", or "there goes Trooper Smith":-D

    Thinking about painting this scale makes my head hurt! Good luck!

  10. Thanks for the words of encouragement, guys. This will be assembly-line painting in its most stripped down form. I'm thinking I'll block paint the basics, shade with Army Painter and then pick out a few highlights. I'll probably spend a bit of time to get the flags right as they will be the focal-point of the units. Again, at this scale the eye is drawn to the larger perspective, seeing the mass of the formations, not the detail.



Thanks for your comment! As long as you're not a spam droid I'll have it up on the blog soon. :)