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Ever since I bought my first wargames magazine (back in the early 70s), I’ve been fascinated with the idea of converting board wargames to miniature wargames. It was a convergence of influences that prompted me to give this a go with C&C Ancients. First there’s Henry Hyde’s excellent Battlegames Magazine, with plentiful articles on painting 6mm figures; and there was Henry’s blog about playing C&C with miniatures. Of course, Peter Barry of Baccus 6mm Miniatures also gave me a nudge in that direction, with his inviting website and excellent miniatures (and service, too). So it was with some reservations, but a lot of encouragement, that this 50-something gamer picked up some long neglected brushes to paint two 6mm armies. What follows is a report, of sort, of the project, and I hope to add some insight into painting 6mm figures.
Why C&C:A with 6mm miniatures? Well, there’s not a good reason except I used to paint larger figures (15’s, 25’s and 30’s) back in the day and I kind of missed painting figures, which I find very relaxing. Ancient battles were frequently fought on plains, so very little terrain would be needed. In fact, I could just use the board that came with the game. Now al I needed was to decide on the scale of miniatures. After looking around and considering 15, 10 and 6mm scales, I decided on 6mm. I wanted to create units, not place four 15mm miniatures and call it a unit. I also thought, that having not painted in a while, 6mm would be a good way to reintroduce myself to that part of the hobby. It would be something different, something exciting. And let’s face it, a unit of 16 miniatures looks so much better than a unit of 4.
Well, the miniatures arrived and I thought, “Gad, they’re tiny.” I didn’t know if I could do it, I mean, how do you even hold the things to paint them? Solution: mount them on the head of nails and place the nails into a 4x4 with holes drilled into it. This made them very easy to handle, and I just a slight twist of the fingers could flip the figures to their back side. (See photo section of my blog). Another thing I discovered was that Peter Barry was right: They’re very fast to paint. Here’s the thing I didn’t understand: When you paint 15mm+ figures, you paint the figures. But when you paint 6mm figures, you’re painting a UNIT, not a single figure. So you go for the “mass effect.” (Again, see my blog for the photographs) Now I’m not a brilliant painter, but these figures (and taking some of Barry’s good advice on using brighter colors) made me look brilliant. I also got a lot of help from Baccus’ basing kit. It’s worth the money, trust me. I’ve always been hopeless at basing, and though I’m still not great at it, I’m learning. I pretty much used DBA 1.1 basing sizes for 15mm; I wanted to use these miniatures for both games, and I wanted the command stands to be distinct, so I used an idea that I saw in an article by Phillip Sabin in WI some years ago.
I did however have some problems. Something I didn’t expect was how fragile 6mm figures are.... I had a lot of breakage (which was seemly compensated by the number of figures sent to me). There were problems with figures that weren’t fully cast, and at that scale, it’s not always easy to see until you’ve primed them and are ready to put brush to figure. The latter two problems were very frustrating, and I started to prime and paint a “mulligan” strip to use when a figure broke or wasn’t fully formed. I wished that I had used thicker stands for basing, since you don’t want to move the units by grasping the stands by the miniatures.
All that said, I’m really happy with the results. If I already didn’t have ACW and Napoleonics in 15mm, I’d buy some 6mm for the job. And I just spent a bunch of money on Baccus 6mm British colonial stuff with the hopes of using Science vs. Pluck rules, or even some rules of my own device. I’m chuffed about doing Zama on a 2x4 foot table, and I really like the way they turned out. I'm sure I'll be using Baccus to add to these armies, once I've had a rest from painting ancients.
Overall, I’d recommend anyone give it a go, and I’d recommend Baccus 6mm and Battlegames Magazine. You will not be disappointed with the quality of both the magazine and the amazing 6mm figures.