A Tale of Two Armies - Building a 2mm Force

Our recent Talavera game was a huge success, but a correspondingly huge amount of work.  Our focus has been almost exclusively on gaming and rules-writing, so I thought I'd relax last night by building some 2mm Austrians from Irregular Miniatures, for a planed game of the Battle of Lobositz, 1756.

This is actually quite a complicated process.  To recreate accurately the ratios involved, I have calculated that:
  • 1 infantry base = 1 battalion = (about) 8 - 900 men
  • 1 cavalry base = 4-5 squadrons = 8 - 900 men
  • 1 artillery base = 15 - 20 guns
I then had to find an army list and translate them into numbers of figures.  This also involved approximating the many different types of unit into a couple of available figure types at 2mm.  For instance, grenadiers and line infantry can be easily represented by the same generic infantry block (with some judicious painting to set them apart), but different cavalry types have to be incorporated.  Almost no two cavalry units were the same, which was frustrating.

I notice that most of my posts are just nice shots of the finished miniatures.  I thought I'd show you round my War Room so you can see 'under the hood' as it were.

The armies, as supplied.  This lot cost £25, which seems like a lot for two bags.  However, when you have them all based individually and ready for battle, it really does present a formidable sight that makes it all worthwhile.  I'd advise you to look at the pictures from our 2mm Talavera game if you doubt this.

Some of the research for the Austrian army.  It's a complicated process translating real armies into wargames figures.
Tonight, the basing begins.  With Yes Minister on the computer in the background, and half a bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape to keep me going, I'll be sure to make it through to the finish in one go.
I count myself extremely fortunate to have a wargames room, and yet I only seem to have about six square inches to work on.  The models requre very little cleaning, it's mostly flash which needs removing from the underside, so they can sit on these small MDF bases.
It begins...
And it ends!  After only about 35 mins, the whole lot are cleaned and based up.  I also chopped up some cavalry bases to make individual mounted figures (brigade commanders) and double mounted figures (division commanders).
There we have it.  Perhaps not the most exciting post, but I hope an interesting one.  I'm fascinated to see how other people do their bread and butter wargaming and building, as well as the glorious battles which are the end goal for us all.



  1. Fun to see that come together. It is hard to translate historical units to realistic tabletop armies for games. With (loosely) researched army lists in Flames of War I was able to make a decent effort at creating both my 1944 4th Canadian army and El Alamien Desert Rats Motor company, but those were not anywhere near as loyal to actual OoB's that you are working by.

    Always impressed with the level of detail you put into your projects Ed!

    1. Thanks mate. Reading through the comments here that seems to be a reccuring theme. I never really thought of it like that - I just love history, and decoding/uncovering what 'really' happened is part of the fun. Even when it's frustrating.

      I suppose there's a point at which I throw down the pencil and say 'it'll do', like everyone, perhaps my point is slightly further along.

  2. Great to see your process, never invested in any figures that small, though I do use 1/600th for air combat. They are tempting....



    1. Thank you Pete. Playing 2mm is a real eye-opener (pun fully intended), but it isn't for everyone. It's not the scale of the models which is so different - it's the scale of the games.

      What supplier do you use for 1/600 air combat? I'm currently on the lookout for those sorts of models.

  3. So teeny tiny. Echoing what Dai said, I find it most interesting the depth historical gamers go to to understand who/what was present in a specific battle/period, and then accurately attempt to recreate that. I'm not sure I'd have the stamina for that!

    Also, "I count myself extremely fortunate to have a wargames room, and yet I only seem to have about six square inches to work on." The struggle is real my friend!

    1. Thanks mate. Yes, as I said to Dai it's not everyone's cup of tea, and even I stop and guess at some point. Most of the work has usually already been done for me, it's just getting it from the book to the tabletop.

      The sense of import when you step up to the table and face a shadow of the problems which beset a real historical commander, and then get to attack them in your own way, is incredible. Much as I love and still play sci-fi games, this is probably the reason why I've 'gone historical'.

      Haha, space and time - our two greatest enemies. Glad to hear it isn't just me...

  4. Very cool - I love the attention to detail you're putting into it, and I feel your pain on the workspace. It seems that though the hobby loft is some 20'x10', I'm lucky to have the space of a cutting mat to actually work on. Hah!

    1. Thank you! I really am enjoying flexing my research muscles over the otherwise quiet Christmas period. I'll be sure to keep people posted with pictures of the painting.

  5. Ed, this looks to be a wonderful project! There's so much to enjoy about the 2mm scale - including the ability to plan and scale whole armies in one go. For just £25, you have two complete and viable armies, the ability to re-fight a classic and iconic battle, and the knowledge that painting the figures will not take all year.

    Fantastic work - can't wait to see where you get to with this!

    1. Thanks Sidney! I find your 2mm posts very inspiring, the basing in particular has spurred me to up my game. Is it just me, or is 2mm game enjoying a bit of a revival? When I first started, no-one had even heard of the figures, but now I have loads of friends who are interested, and a couple of bloggers as well.


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