Let There Be….1/180!

I suppose that anyone who is likely to read this (except all the critters who want to help me – for a nominal price –make the blog more attractive to search engines) are probably already familiar with the various scales available to wargammers. I have been in the hobby off and on for a good forty years but hardly ever in a social way. If it were not for the internet and the few magazines (electronic now) that I subscribe to I would be much like Jon Snow – knowing nothing! It was only after trying some War of the Roses figures from Pendraken that I totally got the allure of 10mm.

As I began to seriously consider the switch I quickly found a blog that expressed not only the joy of our hobby but the grandeur of 1/180 (10mm) scale. Aart Brouwer the author of the blog sadly passed away before I discovered his delightful work but his wife has maintained the blog on line and you can still read his many excellent articles. One of the most interesting is a featured one: God’s Own Scale which discusses the creation of the Waterloo battlefield model in 1836, a model still on display at the National Army Museum, London. The Waterloo model has a ground scale of 1/600 (108 inches to the mile) and a vertical scale of 1/180 giving a very realistic and pleasing impression of the whole as if it were truly part of creation. At the moment I am using a 1″ x 1″ checkered table cloth (which captures the grandeur of a sandwich shop!)  to help figure out some final things about the rules – but the terrain will come.

25 to 10 comparison IIThese pictures show some of my first ECW figures (25mm) which are roughly forty-five years old. Some will recognize them as members of the original Minifig range from the early 1970’s. They are placed between the 10mm converging lines of Montrose’s Irish Brigade and Tuillibardine’s government infantry assembled at Tippermore, all of which are brand new.

I love the 25’s. They are like old friends that have accompanied me across a lifetime and have stood toe-to-toe against countless foe. Such wonderful detail (not that I could paint it very well) and such marvelous heft like nicely balanced chess pieces. Yet – the problem is obvious – they need space – a lot of space! And no matter how they are based you can’t get the sense of tightly packed ranks. Then there is the problem of vertical scale in the terrain. To get even a modest hill looking right it has to be many inches high.
25 to 10 comparison

I have – at most – 80” by 60” (a little over 6½ by 5 feet) to use as a playing surface. It was very difficult to re-fight even small battles of two to three thousand men per side using 25mm (even with reduced figure numbers which further spoiled the look-and-feel).. So to do what I want to do (study and re-fight historic battles) 10mm really became necessary to any hope of approximating the actual ground scale.

There are other advantages to 10mm, most have been discussed at length across the hobby world – cost – speed of painting – storage – and sheer weight (you have to carry these things around after all!),for I am – and have mostly been – a “lead” purist. But there is a final reason that I have not seen mentioned – it’s like the old days again! While the range is growing the selection is still somewhat limited so you have to adapt and improvise – just like the earliest days of Airfix! It’s like being young again (with a few more resources – and – uh – poorer eyesight!).

A final note. I use a horizontal scale of 6” equal about 100 yards (~1/600) so when using terrain features things should look pretty good! That’s the hope at least!

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