Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Imaginations in 42mm

Ever since I read a copy of Little Wars I wanted to do a proper toy soldier game. The closest I came was a game of Shambattle (1929), using my Woodens figures.

My Shambattle game.
For a long time I've had my eye on some 42mm toy soldier style figures, produced by Irregular Miniatures for the Balkan Wars. The main reason was the picture below, which appeared in Wargames Illustrated 158 (November 2000). It was a convention game based on Little Wars.

Wargames Illustrated, issue 158, November 2000
However, I never ordered some of the figures (too busy with other wargaming projects), but a few months ago, I finally placed an order for 2 armies. Each army has 24 infantry, 4 cavalry, and a cannon.

I want to use these figures in an Imaginations setting, so I am not too worried about the correct painting schemes, but I do want each army to evoke a specific character. This process hasn't fully converged yet - I still have to come up with names etc. for my countries. My approach (which I also use for my scifi and fantasy settings) is usually bottom-up (invent things as you need them in your games), so things will fall in place.

This hasn't stopped me from starting to paint some of the figures:

Work in progress ...
Work in progress ...
As you can see, I am using different colours for the fez for various groups of figures, instead of painting them all red. Since I will use these figures for an Imagination campaign, I was looking for some ways of giving various units a different visual look, and their hat colour was an obvious candidate.

I opted for block painting - a simple painting technique without too much shading or highlighting. This suits me fine (I've never been a great painter ... ). I hope the gloss varnish will emphasize the colours, because now they still look a bit dull. The figures in the back are not green army men, but 42mm Russians/Bulgarians, the other army I ordered from Irregular. I have the habit of using an undercoat of the dominant colour, and since I want to give them green uniforms, I spray-painted them all green. It's the same reason why the Ottomans all have blue bases ;-)

As for developing the future look of my units, I am still not sure what path I will take. But I've always been a fan of the "Operette" style of military uniforms. One source of inspiration ever since I  was a kid, were the uniforms depicted in the Tintin album Ottokar's Sceptre, of which you can see a colour plate below.

Military uniforms, Ottokar's Sceptre


  1. What a splendid start- great figures and plans!

    1. "Vanished Armies " by Haswell Miller is a book which might inspire and delight you.

    2. Thanks for the tip. The book has been on my wishlist for some time.

  2. I ordered some 42mm Turks and Bulgarians myself from Irregular a while back. The Bulgarians all came with their rifles bent backwards near the body because of a weak spot, and several were broken. When I contacted the Irregular folks, they immediately sent me replacements, and stated they would be resculpting the master figure to make for a better rifle barrel. Great, great folks to deal with!

    Chris J.

    1. Yes, a few were bend, but none were broken with my batch of figures. Perhaps I already profited from the new moulds? ;-)