2mm is a curious scale. On first sight it should have all the advantages I seek: Easy to paint, affordable to build huge forces and/or portray masses of men, easy to store, good scale to play big games on small tables. A while back I bought more than enough kit from Irregular Miniatures to build a French and a British army for 2×2 Napoleonics. With everything done they went into storage for several month. I was not happy with the look of the armies at all. When I look at a base up close (while painting) they are fine. When towering over the battlefield they are tiny blackish blotches.
This battle report will showcase the issue with photography that is deliberately not up close but more like I see the table and would photograph in 6mm scale.
The game started with a tied initiative roll, which meant that half the armies would start on the field rather than only a quarter. The rest trickles in as reinforcements turn by turn as is usual in 2×2 Napoleonics.
The French are on the left and the British on the right. Only a red blotch or two on the left indicates this. Green felt in the center represents woods as I currently have no 2mm scale woods.
Here is another view from the French side. This is immediately after they received enough reinforcements to form a battle line.
Some time later the British have formed a line between the woods and hill with some light troops in support occupying the wooded area. The French have numerical superiority for now and decide to assault along the entire line. British fire and subsequent melees will beat the French back with losses and disrupted troops.
The usual touch of smoke markers look nice but you cannot imagine how fiddly it is in 2mm. I wished for a pincer at one point. I’m not getting old, the scale is to small, I assure you!
Several turns later French losses and disruptions are not getting better. The British have problems of their own. They are not getting their units unpinned for a counter attack.
Side Note – Pinning
2×2 Napoleonics has a very interesting mechanic. Firing with an infantry unit gets it pinned. This prevents moving and the commander has to establish order to get them going again. This is rather difficult, impossible even, if the enemy is still close by. A nice representation of the protracted firefights of the period and the difficulty to get troops moving again in the noise and smoke of the situation.
This is from the end of the battle with a lot to unpack. In the bottom left corner British light cavalry is beaten back by French heavies. In the center both sides attack and defend but the British attack is more successful and manages to rout a unit. In the top right a French infantry unit pursued their routing enemies a bit to far. Completely out of position the unit will shortly be blasted by artillery and musketry from three sides, scoring the game winning kill for the British.
The images look better to me now than it looked when playing. Still it is difficult to read the battle as units are too small to identify them. The battlefield also looks rather sparsely populated which is in part due to single block basing. Brighter colors and more densely based troops will probably help the look. Maybe even a tiny flag on the corner of a base. This way it can be identified from top.
In terms of basing I whipped up the following example:
These are 40mm by 30mm bases which give more room for blocks and formations. Irregular also sells blocks in column formation which would make more options possible. In Volley & Bayonet this formation would be a French infantry Corps of three Divisions, each with three Regiments (barring commanders and cavalry/artillery assets). In Blücher, a base would probably a brigade. For Age of Eagles these bases do not work due to their size. In Bloody Big Battles they might work as they are a bit bigger but also represent 1000 men each. In games like Black Powder I would use one base as a Regiment and either have replacement bases to depict formations or use counters.
What do you think?
15 thoughts on “2mm Peninsular Bash – 2×2 Napoleonics”
Use rules where one base = at least a brigade. My 2mm miniatures are based for DBN using the 15mm base sizing – 40x20mm for line infantry
Cram as many 2mm troops as you can onto a base. There are nowhere near enough on yours. 10x 48 man three rank Irregular bases is barely a regiment at 1 figure = 1 man
Paint them in really bright colours. If you need to tone them down use an ink wash.
Irregular produce infantry squares – BG29
Use close order castings for all your cavalry
Use 6mm trees. Model trees are always too small for their stated scale.
If you have a resin 3D printer there are a lot of stl. files for 2mm figures and buildings.
I have some 2mm but they are just too small. I found 6mm on 40x20mm bases to be bearable but no smaller please. Do use tweezers 🤣 Save yourself the hassle.
Try scenic bases, flags and brighter colours. I can play Blücher and my bases are easy to identify. https://amsterdamwar.game.blog/2020/12/13/tutorial-painting-basing-2mm-napoleonics-for-portable-blucher-wargaming/
And ignore the twits who decide that because they don’t like 2mm it’s a source of hilarity.
After half a century in the hobby I have thousands of 25/28 Napoleonics. I love 2mm, nothing else gives an impression of troops en masse. And with failing eyesight, they’re darn easier to paint than hyper detailed heroic 28s. 🙂
Haha. Yeah, I play with wooden blocks occasionally, I have no problem with other people not liking my hobby stuff. Do you have photos somewhere of your 2mm armies? I’m very interested in the look you are describing.
Nice to see this wonderful little ruleset get some attention. I am a big fan of it for ease and ‘feel’. 2×2 has some intricate little things going on below the surface.
I can echo what others have said. With 2mm you have to crank up the colors’ brightness as high as it will go. My boys are mounted on 1-inch square bases, and I just cram them on in various geometries to help distinguish them by unit type.
Here’s a post with some shots and more detail:
First, thanks for the naps reviews and the 2×2 Naps playtests – they look very interesting.
Yeah, I agree with your assessment on 2mm – the physical limitations are too significant.
I tried 6mm ACW and found it frustrating, sold them all off pretty easily, however. Interestingly, the 6mm micro-scale GHQ infantry I find very easy to deal with. But no smaller.
For me, the quick to paint up horse and musket project is 10mm, especially the older sculpts like Scruby’s. Those are big enough that you can see them even from a few feet away and identify them as French or Austrians, but they paint up super quick in the older style that is sort of back in style – simple block painting, perhaps a quick wash to seal them and shade them a bit, then glossy coat. The Irregular 10mm Marlburough line is perfect for this, and I have Scruby Naps I got from my old game club – love them.
In 2mm, they just look like blobs to me. I followed the links other put here, and while they were a bit better, they are still only identifiable as army guys because I know what I’m looking at. To me, it is a type of realism that doesn’t interest – miniatures is about the presentation, else just play chess or use boardgames counters. But note that boardgames are much prettier than they used to be.
Amos Burke in the Neil Thomas wargame FB page did amazing things with small figs:
It’s truly amazing, and I think that is more the effect I’d be looking for if going smaller.
Will be looking forward to more 2×2 Naps!
Thank you for your comment Alex. I understand your sentiments about 6mm. As I only have a small kitchen table I’m relatively close to my 6mm miniatures and that is one of the reasons the scale works for me. But I find 10-15mm a very appealing scale.
I don’t have a Facebook account (conscious decision) so I can’t see the image but I regularly game with Command & Colors blocks or colored cubes as well as miniatures and I find these better than 2mm as well.
Currently I’m working on big formations of ancients in 2mm though. There the look works much better for me with a base of 5000+ men. I will post some results soonish.
Maybe if you keep holding the 2mm blocks / units out at arms length you will be able to get the effect you want at 3 feet. That’s what I did when I was working on the 6mm.
With the 2×2 Naps, I note that the scale is **about** 1″ is 100 yards. But the units are a Regiment or so, which would be 150-300 yards wide fighting. Also, visually, they look very small compared to table size and distance. Am thinking of 2-3″ frontage for my units [I have both base sizes unpainted that I use to try out rules].
Any thoughts on the frontages from your playtesting? Best, Alex
Well, groundscale and troop scale are usually quite fuddled in my experience. But I used doubled frontage with 2×2 Napoleonics and it was fine, mostly. As firing is measured from the center of the edge, bigger base width will eventually be a problem though. One unit can shoot on another’s flank (front center to closest point) but the flanked unit cannot turn and shoot as it is now too far away. As units often cannot move this is effectively disengaging by turning, which is not as intented in the rules. You can circumvent this problem by using the same unit width and length.
Yeah, that will be an issue – sounds like a square unit will solve it, however.
There is a modifier for “shooting out of flank or rear” which I take to mean shooting out of a flank or rear side, so measuring from the center of that side.
Alternately, I have used a “Regardless of measurements, units are always mutually in range” rule, as well as a “just measure the closest points between the units” rule.
At this level / scale, Range should only be an issue for Artillery.
Alan L posted in 2mm wargaming IO group – I like how his 2mm table looks, and it shows how skillfully he has blended the bases with the table and created a great impression of a battlefield from a “birds-eye view”.
What I’m learning from this is that 2mm is a terrain project with matching bases, and little blocks of colored metal to inform you what you’re looking at.
This is the reverse of how I think about miniatures in 15mm and such – I see them as figures that need bases and terrain. Very Interesting!
A very nice picture. Probably one of the best I have seen in that scale. Though, good pictures always tell their story from a perspective and this one is no exception. The angle is low and the the table is close which makes for a good picture and discernible action. Standing in front of the table with many more units would look entirely different I suppose. Still, beautiful stuff.