Monday, 15 January 2018

Thirty Years War in 2mm: Nördlingen 1634


Following on from my last post, focusing on a regiment of Flemish Horse in 25mm, I thought I’d post some pictures of their 2mm counterparts. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s “spectacles on” time again here at Roundwood Towers as we delve again into the oddly compelling world of 2mm micro-miniatures.


For new followers to this Blog, it might help to let you know that in 2016 I started a project trying to replicate on the tabletop key battles of the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). Rather than collecting an army in a larger scale (such as 28mm or 15mm), I went for the smallest generally used wargames scale – being 2mm.

This is not quite as insane as it sounds (and, yes dear readers, I am aware of just how insane it does sound). Key elements of the thinking behind choosing the 2mm scale were to create a wargame focused on re-creating iconic 17th Century battles in a manageable space, and in a compressed time period (so you could easily play a game in an evening). The 2mm scale enables whole armies to be recreated quickly, with one unit base equating to a whole formation (battalion, regiment, tercio or brigade of foot; squadron or regiment of horse; battery of artillery; and so on). The scale of the units then hopefully allows the chance to test out multiple Spanish tercios against Swedish brigades, allows to add commanded musketeers into the line, and lets the players deploy multiple lines of infantry and horse on each side (as at Lützen, Rocroi and many other battles). Hopefully, the recreation of the battle then focuses on tactical contrasts, and far less on individual unit formations.


I set out more of the thought process behind the scale choice in a couple of earlier posts on this Blog (HERE and HERE). Suffice to say its now 2018, and I’m still very much enamored of the potential afforded by 2mm, in addition to being captivated by the possibilities of modelling their micro-world.




After collecting armies for the battle of Lützen in 1632, the next additions are based around the Spanish army of the Cardinal-Infante which made the long march through Italy and Germany to be present at the battle of Nördlingen in 1634. Here I've painted some German horse, Spanish demi-lancers, a party of Croat scouts or vedettes, some Spanish commanded shot and (to balance things out) some Swedish and Finnish scouting horse. The command bases are the Cardinal-Infante, and the Count of Fuensaldaña, one of the Spanish-Imperial commanders of the later Thirty Years War.


The figure bases are colour coded for ease of recognition on a snowy tabletop - blue for Swedes, Black for Germans and deep (Hapsburg) red for the Spanish. This works really well in practice, and helps with a section in the rules we’re writing relating to allied contingents. One of the things which conceals the nationality of the troops from an opponent on the table is to ensure that the colour coding is limited to the rear of the figure bases. 

I've experimented with some 1mm snow 'flock', which is quite fun. It's really like a fine dusting of miniature cotton, but makes quite convincing show, which would be decent 'slush' in a larger scale. I added the labels for the commanders from a printed PowerPoint file, trimmed and glued on with PVA.





I thought the 1mm snow definitely added something, but was fiddly to apply.  An optional extra, but far from essential. 

I've also started painting up some larger terrain items, including this small town which I've tried to render in a Flemish or North German brick effect.  The town was very kindly sent to me by wargaming chum, and very good friend, Matt Moran.  Thanks again Matt for your great generosity!





I've really enjoyed making terrain in 2mm (not least because its so easy to finish whole towns in an evening).  The 'world-building' aspect of this scale is just as addictive as in larger scales. 

Next up will be some more larger scale terrain and figures from Laarden, 1688, along with a couple of book reviews.  Have a great start to the week, everyone!

13 comments:

  1. They are so freaking tiny but you make them look sooooo good!

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    1. They are indeed freaking tiny, but also strangely addictive!

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  2. I do find your foray into 2mm wargaming highly interesting Sidney! You definitely get that ‚army‘ look as compared to larger scales. I might have to give it a try one day myself.

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    1. It would never be my main scale for wargaming, Nick. And it's a strange thing to do - painting micro-miniatures for grand, sweeping battles. But it is strangely addictive, a lot of fun, an a real contrast to working on 25/28mm figures. And you definitely, on the tabletop, get that impression of sclae. Your flanks become a great deal more vulnerable, for starters!

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  3. Great work here.
    Good to see that I am not the only one who sometimes paints my magnifier :)

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  4. Lovely work, Sid! I especially like the vedettes. The dusting of snow really sets the bases off very nicely. I'm hoping to have the Protestants for Breitenfeld (1631) done in the next week or so. Trying for something autumnal for basing. It's a hard balance between keeping the figures distinct and portraying some nature of the season. With a little luck I should be able to bring them along for a game during our next visit!

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    1. Thanks Curt! I can't wait to see your autumnal basing for the Breitenfeld forces. I had the same dilemma regarding basing 2mm figures. I thought green basing didn't work, mainly as the figure blocks got lost in the colour. Sand and dry earth tones work well, as (I think) does snow. But I could certainly see earthen tones with hints of ochre and some grass clumps working well. Did I mentioned that you can get 1mm grass as well as 1mm snow? (you can!)

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  5. Wow 2mm! or 2mm aaaaah!. I'm struggling to see 28mm, never mind 2mm. Looks interesting though, basing working well.

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  6. Excellent stuff, and really great to see. You've really worked wonders with this 2mm stuff - I particularly like the different-shaped bases and labels to quickly distinguish command stands etc.

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    1. Hi Ed! We found that having different sized bases for the formations really helped players distinguish at a glance what the troops were. Arranging the fugire blocks in formations on the bases also helped with distinguishing unit type, as well as nationalist (tercio, German brigade, Swedish brigade, caracole cavalry, and so on).

      Having the leaders on larger bases (the 40mm command bases in the photos are both for senior commanders, not brigade commanders) really helps players check at a glance where their commanders are in the field. I'm toying with additional bases to mark where a leader is attached to a unit (leading forward in melee, with resulting morale bonuses, and therefore less able to influence higher commands).

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  7. Hello Sidney
    I have just commenced 2mm Thirty Years War and would appreciate any advice re painting and any thoughts around rules, bearing in mind that I game pretty much exclusively solo. ?

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