Thursday, February 27, 2014

Don't Ever Sell Anything, AKA, My Fun With PicoArmor


First off, please understand these are a work in progress, not finished troops, but I was so excited by how they're turning out I felt like hanging them here to show everyone.  So, I'm starting a new project, this time in 3mm.  I know what you're thinking: Jack, you have all those beautiful (yuk yuk) 10mm armies, why on earth would you ever want to use a different scale?

Well, as it turns out, Mrs. Jack is over halfway pregnant, with another little Prince on orders to report in this summer.  What does that have to do with 10mm and 3mm armies?  Well, I could be wrong, but more than likely these developments mean I will be spending a lot less time painting and playing, and when I am playing, odds are that stepping upstairs for 3 to 5 hours to my playroom probably won't go over very well.

I don't have everything figured out exactly, but my plan is based on the very successful "drawer gaming" of my good friend, Mr. Shaun Travers.  My plan is to have a 2' x 2' playing area and two armies, assorted terrain, dice, rules, etc..., that I can play on my living room coffee table and store in a drawer of said coffee table.

I haven't figured out what I'm going to do about rules yet.  I'm pondering using my "Insurgent Commander" rules, a variation of Cold War Commander, a variation of IABSM, a variation of Chain of Command, or using my (as yet) unnamed (and unpublished) rules I was using for my "All Americans" campaign.  Knowing me, the rules will end up an amalgamation of all of them.  What I do know is the games will be modern, small (maybe a dozen stands per side), solo (as always), and 'skirmish' level, meaning one vehicle is one vehicle and one infantry stand is a 4-5 man rifle or weapons team.

Regarding the statement, "Don't Sell Anything," my very first miniatures purchase was from PicoArmor.  I bought quite a bit of modern US and USSR for some "Team Yankee"-type games, and my father and I got in quite a few games in the garage using a modification of Blitzkrieg Commander.  I then bought quite a bit of WWII stuff, and we had a few games of that.  Then I got into 10mm (I'm purposefully leaving out my first and second forays into 15mm, which cost me quite a bit of money and is sitting, uncherished in the garage), and all my Pico Armor (minus my sizeable collection of aircraft) sat in the garage.  Someone on TMP was looking for some, and so I sold off my 3mm collection.

Then the pregnancy happened and I began thinking of how to do something portable.  I started looking around in my various boxes of odds and ends and. lo and behold, I found five M-1 tanks, 10 T-72s, and 15 BTR-60s (not sure how these escaped the load I sold off).  I painted glued them to pennies, sprayed them black, then set about painting them up, and I like what I see!  Convinced I was on to something, I put in a pretty decent sized order to John at Pico Armor, and just received them in the mail today.

So, what do I have/plan to do?  Mostly a bunch of hypothetical stuff, with a tiny bit of historical thrown in.

1.  I want to do some 'what-if' stuff with a Marine 'super' MEU set during the 90s.  My very limited background is that, following the Gulf War the US military did an even greater draw-down than occurred in real-life, so there's only one USMC MEU floating around (as opposed to the usual three at any given time), so my guys will be reacting to various catastrophes, cataclysms, and earth shattering events, worldwide.   I bought tanks, AAVs, HMMWVs with TOWs and HMGs, infantry, CH-46s, a UH-1, and two AH-1s (I already have F-18s if I need them, would really like a couple AV-8s), will paint half in NATO 3-color and the other half in desert colors.  I got a bunch of T-72s, BMPs, BTRs, assorted AA/SAM/Recon/ATGM, then a few Technicals and armored cars for Third World/asymmetric to run against them, both 'green' and desert.

2.  I want to do a 'what-if' of Germany vs. USSR, not a NATO vs. Warsaw Pact, but kind of a "Germany goes it alone against its historical enemy," with Leopards, Marders, Fuchs, Gepard, etc...  Bad guys will be the 'green' Warsaw Pact equipment above.

3.  Then I decided for a little historical stuff, but still in a goofy/fun way: I bought five M-48s and five Shot-Kals (Centurions), and my plan is to play some Arab-Israeli stuff during the Yom Kippur War, with a friendly little rivalry between two Israeli platoon commanders to see who can take out more Syrian and Egyptian tanks.  I know it's goofy, but it's mine.  Bad guys will be 'desert' Warsaw Pact equipment above.

Okay, you've waited long enough, here's some pics.  Again, these aren't perfect/finished, just some test jobs I did to see if I liked the look.

A platoon of five M-1 Abrams.  I love it!  24 inches by 24 inches on the coffee table, with little tanks popping off at other little tanks, it's gonna work like a charm.

And did I mention that's 3mm!  I won't say I'm a good painter (obvious by the white showing on my ballast), but this proves I'm a much better painter than I use to be.  Sorry, just a bit too proud of myself.

Pic from the fore.  Again, you can really see the ballast that I failed to get with the paintbrush, but overall I like the effect.  I glued the minis to pennies, spray-painted the whole mess black, painted the minis, white-glued ballast on, then painted it (you can see I used different shades of green, think I like the back left one the most).

Another look.  Sorry for pics of the same stuff, I don't have that many in suitable condition for photo-ing.

A T-72 (right) and BTR-60 (left).  I like the basing, and the camo turned out great.  You can see I use a dot of light blue for windows and sensors/optics, and silver for machine guns.

Another look.

Another 'green' version of the T-72, though I haven't put the light blue or silver on this one yet.

Opposite.  Well, I actually painted up a T-72 and BTR-60 in desert colors, and I think they look pretty good, too, though I apparently didn't take any pics of them...  Don't fret, this is just my first 'WIP' set of photos, I'll get proper photos up when they're done.

Stay tuned, I'm looking to do less painting and more gaming this weekend.



  1. Jack,

    I think 2'x2' and children is becoming a worldwide phenomenon! Your 3mm are painted better than my 6mm (that I did not paint but I thought some of it is quite good). They came out extremely well. For the amount of troops you are using 2'x2' should be fine. I did find (and I think I mentioned it some blog posts), that 2' seemed a little too deep and 2' was not quite wide enough. At least for scenario replays (mostly designed for 6'x4') and converting inches to cm. Over the Christmas break I flocked a 30"x20" board (what you get reducing a 6'x4' by 2.5:1). 30" is how wide my map drawers are as well. I have not got a game in yet but soon.

    I have trouble seeing 6mm at night, although someone on another forum pointed out getting a lamp with a daylight bulb which I have now got but not tested with my 6mm. How do you even see what type a 3mm tank is from a few feet away!

    And congratulations on another baby. This is number 3? With only two, I can no longer whinge about children to you (not that I ever did). John-Grey Panda I think has 3 so you can whinge to him!

  2. "I think 2'x2' and children is becoming a worldwide phenomenon!"
    As popularized by you! You should have gotten a patent ;)

    I'm not as concerned with the length/depth issues of 2' x 2' as I'm always using my own rules anyway, but should it become an issue, I think I'll just go 3' x 2' and then I can do an easy 'halving' of everything.

    Regarding seeing the 3mm from a few feet away, that's the beauty of it, I'm not a few feet away. I'm sitting on the couch, coffee table pulled back to my knees, my mug practically pressed up against the battlespace ;) So, believe it or not, I can actually make out the different vehicles. To tell the truth, this is also aided by the fact that there are pretty much three troop types: tanks, APCs, and infantry (of course I've got a bit of AA/SAM/Recon/etc..., spread in, but not a lot).

    And thank you Sir on the congrats. Yes, this is baby number three. We may be old, but no whining! Though I'm already lamenting my future lack of sleep...


  3. You could get a 2' x 3' bulletin board and mount your figs (and terrain) on thumbtacks. When you have to put it away, just hang it on the wall.