As I said in the last blog post, I want to get at least some figures to put on the table for scale and to check the overall ‘feel’ of the terrain. Whilst I want to eventually use this table for all manner of eras and battles, I should focus on one to start with. Part of me is tempted to get a DBA Early Imperial Roman army going, but given I’m basing my builds on some Crossfire scenarios, WW2 infantry seem like the obvious choice.
But what infantry? There are three main questions I should answer:
- What forces?
- What manufacturer?
- How many (and how to base)?
Well, the German Heer are pretty obvious to have on one side. Whilst their uniforms varied throughout the war, in 6mm hopefully most of those differences will fade away, and they can just be “the guys in grey”. That should be versatile enough for me, and there’s a nice simple 6mm painting tutorial on YouTube to follow.
On the other side it feels like British are the natural counterpart, being a Brit myself. The uniforms don’t change much throughout the war, but should I go for typical “brown uniforms & green helmets” of NWE or an 8th Army style “shorts & Kahki”, given my Italian inspiration…? I’ll have to ponder that.
For now, let’s focus on trying out the Germans.
There are a bunch of manufacturers that do 6mm. I was tempted to just order a small pack from everywhere so I could compare them all directly, but the P&P costs quickly swamped the actual costs of the minutures, and felt wasteful. This old blog post from 2008 was useful for making a decision, as were several threads on TMP   .
Given I’m a crappy painter, I decided that the larger figures would be easiest, so that narrowed it down to Alder, Baccus and GHQ. GHQ were simply too expensive for me, but I liked Baccus (and they do all eras, so I can get my Romans from them as well). But then, given COVID and lockdowns, it seemed that they were struggling to get them out. And there was something that just appealed to me about the animated poses and big heads of Adler, (I mean, look at these Adler US troops!) so that’s what I’ve settled on (at least to try first).
How Many and Basing
In the the small Crossfire scenarios I’m using for terrain inspiration, it’s based around one or two platoons of riflemen (1 Platoon Commander and 3 Rifle Squads) plus support elements
Crossfire uses 1¼” square bases for squads (and half-width for command elements). I’m a metric guy, so that’s close enough to 30mm for me. But how many figures to a base? With 15mm figures they suggest 3 figures to a rifle squad, and 1 for a PC base. But that’s too sparse to represent a full squad for me, so should I double the number of figures? 6 for a rifle squad, and 2 for a platoon command?
That’s good, but there’s also Flames of War, a 15mm WW2 wargame, which seems to work with fireteams of 3-5 men on a base (for a 1:1 figure-man scale). The “team” base size is 2x1¼” and the “command” size is 1¼x1”. Switching from inches makes a team base size 20x12mm and a command base 12x10mm, both of which are far too fiddly for me.
I’ve also found someone playing 6mm moderns using 1.5” x ¾” bases for tanks, 1” x ¾” for infantry, ¾” x ½” for small teams, and 1” square for large teams. Regarding infantry, that would be around 25x20mm for a squad and 20x12mm for a command unit. Yet another player uses 40x20 or 20x20mm infantry bases. So there’s no standard conversion it looks like.
I like the idea of being able to adapt Flames of War rules at some point, and I like the idea of going for a 1:1 basing size. And looking at what this guy did with his 6mm US troops, I think I’m going to go with this plan for my WW2 forces, and hope that’s adaptable to other rulesets:
Rifle Squad (or Team if I’m “zooming in a bit”): 5 figures on a 30x30mm base (although I could be persuaded to go to 25x25mm basing instead). This could include an LMG & loader to represent the “gun section” (although this doesn’t have any mechanical difference in Crossfire, as MG bases are meant to be tripod-mounted HMG teams, it seems). Thats means it’s a 1 figure = 2 men for typical usage, but it’s possible to switch to 1:1 and deploy in fire teams for other rule sets. (German Squad Tactics & Organization in World War 2 is interesting here).
The Platoon Command section would have been 6 men according to Battle Order, but a PC base in Flames of War looks to be 3 figures on a smaller base. I’m thinking 2 though?
It turns out Adler’s website is dreadful! I would honestly offer to redo their site for free, as it’s so clunky to use and order from. The polar opposite of Baccus. But I’ve put in an order for some basic German Infantry (G3) via email eventually, so let’s see how they turn out “in the flesh”.
I’ve also ordered a few 30x30mm and 15x30mm laser-cut 2mm MDF sheets for basing from eBay to try all this out with.