Monday, 30 September 2013

The onward march of thousands of tiny feet - 220 BC 6mm Hail Caesar.

Will o' the Wisp, redistributed from HERE
Talk of 6mm ancients mayhem has been hotting up here in Northern Ireland. This, for me, is great news as 6mm is always a scale that has appealed to me but has been as illusive as a will o' the wisp. I bought a few pieces from Rapier miniatures a while back to decorate my 15mm scale temple, and then only recently got my act together and painted and based some of the spares and really liked the result.

So it looks like next year's project will be to build a 6mm ancients army. We are focusing on the Hail Caesar rules set for now, although the flexible approach to basing and unit sizes mean that the figures will be able to be used in other games as well if needed.

After a bit of chat back and forwards, the ever popular late third century BC Mediterranean was chosen as the theme, roughly pinpointed around 220 BC. That date historically gives a bunch of exciting options for armies, with lots of young rulers who have not yet proven their worth such as the Scipio brothers, Hannibal Barca, Philip V of Macedon, Antiochos III in Asia, Ptolemy IV in Egypt, plus Spanish, Celtiberian, Celts, Germans, Thracians, Skythians, Greek leagues (Aitolian and Achaian), Nabis of Sparta, Pergamon, Pontos, Galatians, Seleukid pretenders (Achaios and Molon), Parthians, Armenians, Greco-Baktrians, Indians, Arab nomads, Nabataeans, Numidians etc etc. A really interesting period.

Like the Pirates Code, the Hail Caesar army lists are clearly defined more as guidelines than gospel. This is something I really like because it allows thems with the smarts to justify changing the army lists is historical justifications are found, and thems what love being rules-lawyers can't do anything about it. However, as guidelines, the following army lists are provided in the Biblical and Classical supplement to the rules and would be feasible for our setting. Most of these nominal armies were of course often (or usually) in a state of civil/tribal war as well as against outsiders, so there is no huger problem if multiple players want the same little chaps.

Skythian p.26
Thracian p.35
Samnite p.36
Mauryan Indians p.38
Syracusan p.39
Gauls p.42
Illyrian p.43
Hellenistic Greek p.50
Baktrian Greek p.51
Carthaginian p.52
Republican Rome p.53
Galatians p.55
Parthians p.56
Numidians p.57
Meroitic Kushite p.58
Spanish p.59
Later Macedonian p.60
Seleukid p.61
Ptolemaic p.62
Celtiberian p.65
Artaxiad Armenian p.70

Used carefully, the following extra-chronological lists could be used to extrapolate reasonable lists for the period for the same region:
Arab Raiders p.12 - with the inclusion of light and medium cavalry
Mithridatic Pontic p.72 - not taking any imitation legionaries

Being me, I couldn't pass up the chance the play the Seleukids, so Antioch, here we come again! There are a couple of historical inconsistencies with the Seleukid list, but that's nothing a little doctoring can't fix. For instance, there is no option for camels in the Seleukid list (two of the three known Seleukid OOBs included thousands of the buggers!) but they are an option for the Ptolemies and Marian Romans. I'd be damned if there is evidence to back that up, so I'll fielding the camels from the Ptolemaic list. Vive le' HC army-list-are-just-guidelines approach!

To convert the 28mm scale rules to 6mm figures, we have agreed on the following basics:
All measurements changed from inches to centimetres.
Small units to have a width of 40mm (expanding to up to 80mm for open order skirmishers)
Regular sized units will have a width of 80mm
Large units will have a width of 160mm

To maintain an easily adaptable system, all my bases will be 40mm wide, sabotted together for regular units - I don't plan on taking large units. Except for skirmishers who will be based on two 40x20mm bases per unit, all other bases will have a depth of 40mm. I'll have either pike phalanxes or irregular non-Greek contingents, on foot, both of who look better on deep bases, and either little wedges of heavy horse or scatters of irregular light horse, so again, the deeper bases allow for flavour.

After a little experimenting I have come up with the following rule of thumb regarding figure numbers per unit.
Skirmishers - 10 (small unit skirmishing)
Light infantry - 15 (small unit) or 30 (regular unit)
Medium infantry - 48 (regular unit)
Pikemen - 96 (or perhaps 84 plus officers and standards)
Light cavalry - 7 (small unit)
Heavy cavalry - 20 (regular unit)
Elephants - 2 plus four skirmishing escorts
Divisional commanders - 2 (based on a 1p coin)
Antiochos III - 3 or 4 (based on a 2p coin)

Of course, 6mm Seleukids also give me the opportunity to whip out my old tiny city and let it feel the synthetic grass under foot once more.

Finally, below are a couple of comparison shot showing a Baccus 6mm Successor war elephant (on the left) next to his equivalent from Rapier (naturally, on the right). There is a bit of a different in size, although not too great. The Baccus elephant has three crew plus the mahout while the Rapier only has two plus the mahout. Both have their own unique charms, but I see no problem basing them together. The last shot shows how they will sit on the base. I will post painted examples when there is good enough weather to spray undercoat them.

1 comment:

  1. Well, that's definitely not my scale but I'll follow this closely as 6mm for sure makes for an impressive sized army on the table.