Having played a couple of games of Age of Eagles and Black Powder last year, I found myself pouring over my handful of Napoleonics books again, going through the possibilities for opening a second front. Back when I began the Peninsular in 28mm - six years ago - I entertained the idea of expanding in to Central Europe (toying with Bavaria as an idea); still being some way off the armies I envisaged for Spain however, and space and time ever the premium, 28mm would not be a swift option and so regrettably was discarded. But then within the local clubs there are healthy numbers of 15mm players.
15mm of course is quicker and arguably easier to paint, easier to store, carry and everything. But they've never held my attention in the same way as those inch tall gentlemen of character. Still, sometimes the sensible option should be taken, if compromise allows you to indulge. So long and the short of it is I decided on 15mm, hoping that if I picked wisely I could get a presentable army on the table swiftly and for a fair price.
So who to pick?
A quick survey of the books to hand drew me to the Austrian army. The core of the army wears a nice simple uniform, but there are plenty of characterful units within them too. So that would help. Obviously, they fought in many many battles against the French, and in many of the classic campaigns. So they would never be short an opponent; which also helps. I should add, that partly as a result of the scale, the intention was to begin with a gaming force, not a recreation of any specific campaign. I can expand on accurate dispositions and history as I learn.
Thus Austria, 1809 seemed to be a fair choice. Now, models?
I didn't wish to break the bank, and had even looked at previous points at various second hand models, but the quality of the painting was either not too good or so good the price was out of the question. Pricing up a small force from Essex miniatures soon came to over £80. Eventually I turned to a company I hadn't used in nearly twenty years; Warrior Miniatures.
Warrior are one of the cheapest manufacturers of metal miniatures out there, and they've been going for some forty years. Some of their product is defiantly old school, both in style and quality, but other items stand up well against their peers. And certainly it is hard to beat them on price. I ordered a pair of their 15mm Austrian Army starter packs, at the princely sum of £18 a pop:
|A pile of lead and bonus bits|
|An Essex miniature on the left of three Warrior Austrians|
With enough additional models to make a couple of units of Hussars and some more modern artillery mentioned in the previous post, the whole order came to under £50. And as if that wasn't good enough, the whole lot was sent post-free in a matter of a couple of days. I really can't recommend Warrior's service highly enough, and if you pick the right ranges you can only be happy with the results.
So now I have around 240 of the little blighters to push up the painting queue. A major new project saying I'm certainly back into my wargaming mojo. However it's not the only new arrival and other projects are about to begin.
There has been an awakening...have you felt it?