Like many wargamers, I enjoy the spectacle of mass battles between ranked units. However, it is rather difficult to achieve those epic scenes in 28mm, at least without certain compromises.
The amount of models needed to really get the feel of a major battle often ends up conflicting with gameplay in regards to table space and maneuvre options, and there’s also the question of limited funds and hobby time – building a fully painted 28mm army suited for mass battles is expensive and time consuming, to say the least.
Because of this, I’ve become more and more attracted to the idea of trying to simulate mass battles on the tabletop with less gameplay compromise, and also without having to take a second mortgage and a few weeks off work each time I feel like starting a new project.
That’s why I recently dived head first into the wonderful world of micro armour, and purchased a 6mm Greek army from Baccus miniatures. I chose Greeks because I’ve always been fascinated by the ancient Aegean, but also because from a wargaming perspective, the Greeks have the advantage of being in constant war with each other throughout antiquity – no need to buy and paint two separate armies from the get-go.
Since I’m a proud laconophile, I started with the Spartans. Not only were they very disciplined and effective soldiers, they’re also very easy to paint. They mostly just used the lambda symbol – basically an inverted “V” which is pronounced “L” and stands for Lakedaimon, i.e. Sparta – on their shields, and preferred to dress rather uniformly.
The same can not be said about the more generic hoplites (heavy infantrymen), who all wore their own color combination and shield emblem. In ancient Greece, only relatively rich citizens could afford the weapons and armor of a hoplite, and therefore these sons of wealthy men generally liked to personalize their style a bit. Which of course looked really cool in battle, but becomes a bit of a hassle for a miniatures painter. Anyway, these units will probably serve as Athenians in my planned Peloponnesian War project.
During this war, Greek military tactics gradually shifted away from the almost exclusive use of heavy infantry, and light skirmish infantrymen – known as Peltasts – became more common. The troop type originated in Thrace, and since I like the idea of wild, semi-barbarian woodsmen rushing the ordered, civilized ranks of central Greece, I painted them as Thracians.
I also got a unit of Psiloi, or straight up skirmishers. These guys wore basically no armor and functioned mainly as distractions on the battlefield.
And of course, generals. Can’t really go to war without them, can you? This Spartan general has two bodyguards and his own base, so he’s probably someone important – perhaps even a king? According to tradition, the full Spartan host could only be mustered under the command of one of the two kings, even though this rarely happened.
And here are all the micro Greeks so far: Spartans, generic hoplites, and peltasts, plus some auxilia hoplites. This will of course function well as one combined Greek army, but I will expand it with more troops in order to fight some Greeks vs Greeks battles.
I still got a lot of unpainted models from my Baccus order, including Hippeis (cavalry), so stay tuned for future updates on the exploits of really, really small metal men!