Friday, May 30, 2014

Do I really model 3mm at 1:1?

The answer is "yes and no" or "sort of". Let me explain....

Let's take one of my units at random to use as an example: this East German T-55 battalion for a motor rifle regiment:

A WarPac armored battalion in reality would have been 3 companies of 12 tanks each, which I do model at 1:1. Where I fudge a bit is the command stands. Each company stand, which I model individually, should be one tank and a 5 ton truck. The battalion command stand actually should have a UAZ-469, a BTR-60PB, a BRDM-2, and a tank. Rather crowded! The staff vehicles add nothing as far as combat value goes. They would just add atmosphere and "pretty up" the command stands. 

Before I started 3mm, I settled on a stand size that allowed me to model whole platoons on a single stand, as well as a smaller size for command. No matter what era or scale you game in, there's always going to be a balance that has to be struck between realism and playability (not to mention storability and affordability). Modeling every last staff and maintenance vehicle would add quite a lot of time, expense, and eat up a lot more space on stands. Command stands could no longer be smaller (and thus more easily picked out on the tabletop) than platoon stands. So, I elected to "edit" the command stands a bit. 

Years ago, when I used to be a rabid 15mm ACW gamer, I used a system (that many gamers use) to easily differentiate what level of command a given stand was, i.e. brigade, division, corps, etc. It was the number of figures on the stand. One for regimental command, two for brigade, etc. With 3mm, there are an absolute throng of command stands on the table and at 4-6ft away, it's a bit of a task to remember where your battalion or brigade commander is. So I've decided to go back and rework my command stands in the ACW style.

From now on, I'll have one vehicle for company level, two for battalion, and three for regiment/brigade. I don't foresee ever needing a divisional commander, but if I do, it'll get four. One of the main chores of 3mm wargaming is keeping straight what everything is and what goes with what. This will ease the burden, even if only a bit. So this weekend, I'm painting up the few extra Land Rovers and UAZ-469's I'll need and squirreling them onto my battalion command stands. I'll also need to order some 1/600 Mungas from Shapeways to add to my West German command stands.

More as the weekend passes. 


  1. Now that looks like a battalion! Representing command stands at any scale can be a problem but certainly more so at the smaller scales. One of pet hates (and its only a personal pet hate) is the use of labels on bases to represent units, commands etc. It destroys the aesthetic for me. I try to stay away from labeling or even colour markings on bases. Okay many games now use markers, or dice to represent casualties etc, that clutter the games table, but that I can except. I just do not want to paint a blue line on the back of a base to represent a command unit etc. Your approach is the one I would take.

    1. I agree. The two things that irritate me most are large labels on bases and table clutter. Tiny colored dots on base edges I can handle, but not an encyclopedia taking up half the base!

  2. I base 1 fig = 1 platoon, but the trick I use for command stands, SHORAD and recon units is to use round bases instead of square. It sets them apart pretty readily without breaking up the aesthetic. I like your 1:1 basing in 3mm, I seriously considered trying that route but I already have so many 1/285 GHQ figs that I didn't want to start over.

    1. Do but I did and start a different time frame. This is my first modern NATO v WarPac