Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wargaming on the cheap: 1/72 plastic soldiers

A couple weeks ago I picked up a big pile of 1/72 scale plastic medieval soldiers and cavalry on eBay for $5. I've dabbled in 1/72 scale figs before, primarily for WWII wargaming, but these guys look pretty sharp (and the price was definitely right). Check out my preliminary color schemes above. I could drop another $30, I think, and get all the miniatures I'll ever need.Link

So that's got me thinking about rulesets for medieval wargaming. I don't necessarily want to do full-on ancients, because I'm not interested in the historical stuff whatsoever. That rules out De Bellis Antiquitatis, but I'm still keen to take a look at Hordes of the Things, the fantasy spinoff ruleset.

But really, I think my search is at an end, because I just found out yesterday that Games Workshop's Warmaster rulebook is available free on the Web. While the magic stuff and esoteric races probably won't hold much interest for me right now, I think Warmaster's core mechanic is fantastic. It really reflects the ebb and flow of battle on a strategic scale, and it doesn't bog down with tactical minutia (which is better handled by other rule systems). Instead, it's a clean-flowing game that simulates the movement of hundreds of troops on a battlefield.

Plus it's free.

And while it's designed for 10mm scale gaming, I'm guessing it'll scale up just fine for 1/72 (which is 20mm in scale). And I've got a fair collection of terrain for my kitchen table.

What I'd really like to do is use this ruleset to play out some grand battles in George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire setting—his books were full of such clashes. To that end, I'll be painting up my 1/72 dudes in generic-looking paint schemes that might pass for the noble Houses of Martin's Westeros.


Michael S/Chgowiz said...

HOTT is very adaptable to all fantasy or even doing ancient historical style battles (no magic/gods/fliers).

I may have to check out Warmaster - especially since it has an ancients edition as well.

Patrick W. Rollens said...

If you want the rulebook, I'd download it now, as GW has a tendency to reshuffle their various Web sites often, so I'm not sure how long this link will be active! :)

Chad Thorson said...

I like the 1/72 scale plastics, although they are harder to paint. I usually prim them with a little white pvc glue, water and a tiny bit of paint just for color. They also tend to get bent and it's hard to get them to bend back.

But overall they're very detailed and very cheap!

Patrick W. Rollens said...

@Atom: That's exactly what I did with these guys...brushed them with watered down PVA glue, then sprayed 'em brown, then picked out a few details in bold colors. I probably spent more time on the bases than on the actual miniatures. :)

Anonymous said...

eBay aside, I've found that any 1/72 plastic minis are still priced at about $2 each. I was hoping to see something in the $1 range. Am I missing something?

Patrick W. Rollens said...

@1d30: Not sure where you're looking...most online retailers will sell a box of 30+ infantry dudes for less than $10. Check out this example from the War Store.

Retail, this shouldn't be more than $15 at a hobby shop.