Hello and Happy New Year.
One of the last two games of 2022 for me was a game of Sharp Practice with my friend and podcast partner James at his place. Besides the pleasure of spending time with an old friend, there was the thrill of playing with James’ 28mm kit, which he has been assiduously assembling and painting for the last two years along with our mutual friend Scott. While Scott has been focusing on the French, James has done Bavarians, Russians, and is now working on Austrians and Prussians.
Here is the force of invading Bavarians that we assembled for this skirmish on the steppes of Russia. The figures are a mix of metal (including Front Rank) and various plastics including HAT.
And the defending Russians, which I took.
It’s hard not to be tempted by how attractive these units are. James is a decent, workmanlike painter who has a knack for turning out figures that are wargaming standard, in large numbers, and in fairly short time. When he wants to he can kick it up a notch, as with the Russian officer in the centre, on his prancing horse waving his expensive hat. The overall effect is very impressive.
On the tabletop, these figures are paired with some fine scenery. As with the figures, James aims for a wargaming standard with his scenics, but the overall effect, as with these Russian houses, is quite pleasant.
Likewise this MDF church (Our Lady of Cabbages) is nicely presented with a scratch built fence, and the unfortunate billiard ball dome will be replaced by a nice 3D printed spire for future battles.
Here’s one shot of the battle, which went badly for me. We advanced from the long ends of the table, and spilt the village, where my light infantry was slowly evicted by the better fire of the Bavarian rifle-armed jaegers. I foolishly led with my weakest infantry formation (bottom left) which were ripped apart by James’ grenadiers. James has an intuitive grasp of Sharp Practice and used the order cards to best effect, seizing several extra moves/volleys for his grenadiers. The only real success I had was a cavalry victory as our light horse basically cancelled each other’s out of the game.
As readers of this blog now, I made the decision a decade ago to do Napoleonics in 6mm and I have not regretted that decision. However, all this is building up to the confession that this period in 25/28mm is hopelessly infectious. The figures are just so much more dramatic in the larger scales, which reward painting and uniform details in ways that 6mm can’t. It’s like comparing an impressionist painting (6mm) with a romantic but realist painting such as Lady Butler (28mm). The big scale wins in the close ups. That being said, I am firmly convinced that 28mm for Napoleonics works best with larger skirmish games. For battles of a brigade on up, I’ll take 6mm any day.
But, I still feel the need to paint a force in 28mm! So here’s the likely solution. Piano Wargames, a very clever fellow named Lucas, has been labouring away for some years now on the troops of minor German states, and has just wrapped up a very successful Kickstarter focusing on the Tyrolean Revolt, which will feature rebels, Bavarians, and Austrians. The KS offers .STL files as well as metal figures, and I’ve decided that it will be a good opportunity to use my limited 3D printing prowess to do some of these rarer figures for James (and I get to play with them from time to time, so win win).
Since my experience with printing 28mm figures is minor, I thought I’d practice by ordering some of Lucas’ files already on his webstore, in this case, six light infantry figures from the Duchy of Wurttemberg, which would themselves be the basis of a nice little Sharp Practice force, since they can fight as French against Russians or Austrians until, as invariably happened, they turn coats and fight against the French towards the end of the Napoleonic period.
I had a devil of a time getting the pre-supported files to print, for some reason known only to my Elegoo Mars2 printer, but when I decided to print the unsupported figures, I was fairly successful, though there are some minor flaws in some prints. Still, I now have enough to print and to see if 28mm is as seductive as it appears to be. Wish me luck.