Tuesday, May 23, 2023

I am a man of extremes

In addition to my love for the 54mm figures, I also love the 6mm and under crowd (although I've never had anything more than a sample pack's worth).

I have been toying with the idea of an Imagi-nations campaign set in Italy in the 1790s, between two Italian states, perhaps with French, Austrian, Prussian, and other involvement. I have no Horse & Musket era forces and thought that theater/time period might be a fun one to start with.

However, I have little time and even less money to start a new project.

As a long time member of the punk scene, I have a predisposition to appreciating D.I.Y. approaches to just about everything (not surgery though!). Hair roller armies and granny grate armies have always appealed to me aesthetically, perhaps do to the D.I.Y. ethos that surrounds them.

Given recent austerity measures I put into place and the subsequent freeze on purchasing any new figures, it seemed like a good reason to try my hand at "granny grate" figures.(The granny grate was already on hand, and costs around a $1.00 USD so I'm not too put out to acquire more if need be)

Here is a test unit based on the Sardinians to prove the concept.

Obligatory close up of the chaotic/impressionistic paint job. Yes, I tried to paint the lace on their hats.

The base was scavenged - and had dried glue on it that messed with the paint's ability to cover in one coat and frankly I was excited and impatient to see the result. 

Perhaps it does the figures no good to be on a sloppy base, but I can see the potential.

A company? A battalion? All I know is that it's 36 "figures" and looks the part.

The Prussian blue paint is not untenable, but is a bit dark, even over a white base, and so an experiment with a lighter shade might be worthwhile. 

Although I based 36, I painted 48. Total time was something like 20 minutes including time for the paint to dry.

The greater effort is cutting the figures out.

I made an effort to remove a small v-shaped wedge between the figures to enhance the differentiation, but at a distance, it's arguably not noticeable. The other issue is the height of the head. 

I was doing this roughly without a ruler. I think in the future I'd aim for a specific height or the head section. It's a small thing (pun intended) but it might help to prevent excessive numbers of giraffe-necks or the appearance of someone with their shoulders hunched over their ears.

Again though, those issues are not really noticeable at gaming distance, but I know they are there!

Experimenting with cavalry and the "Van Pelt" cut is next.


  1. I think this is a terrific project!

    1. Now if only I knew anything at all about the period beyond a wikipedia article! Time to do some reading I think.

  2. They say one is never too old to learn. I had to go digging for a translation of 'granny grate' though the reference to hair roller made your objective clear.

    From my perspective, I'm with the modern pagan saying which is something like "An it not hurt others, do as you will" . There was a time I could paint rank markings on 6mm figs. Now I struggle painting 20s so go for it. A good size for small tables as well and a good outlet for creative urges.

    1. Fortunately, plastic mesh/granny grate has no details, so painting is basically an impression of a figure. I feel less guilty for sloppy painting because I can't see it anyway! I

  3. Variety is the spice of life John and I see that you are embracing it! I used to like 6mm figs but with my old eyes they are too tiny for me now, 10mm is as small as I can go! I think that your Prussian blue is spot on, I believe that it was that dark. Lots of advantages to 6mm, you can have huge battles right on your kitchen table, quick painting, cheap costs, etc. Have fun!

    1. Thanks, Brad! Real 6mm figures are a good deal chunkier and probably easier to see as individuals, but harder to paint with all that detail. I find the plastic mesh gives an impression of a mass of people, but being free of detail, is very forgiving. At least in this one test I've done!

  4. Wonderfully inventive and they look perfect as a massed unit. All that in 20 minutes? Amazing!!
    I look forward to seeing those cavalry.

    1. Thank you, James! I have been clearing other projects out of my "someday" queue to justify starting on this sooner rather than later. Hopefully sometime soon I'll do a test run of the cavalry.