28mm wargaming with 15mm buildings

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Justin Penwith
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28mm wargaming with 15mm buildings

Post by Justin Penwith » Sat Jun 23, 2012 8:31 pm

Hopefully I did not sucker you into thinking I have pictures for you to look at...at least, I do not as yet.

However, I have been thinking that 28mm buildings really, at least to my eye, look out of place next to a battalion of 12 figures which represent somewhere between 500-1000 men. Since I am already suspending disbelief were I to use a 28mm building, why not, I am thinking, just go with a smaller scale for the buildings, in order to represent the AREA the buildings are taking up, say in a village.

As I am preparing my imagi-nation campaign, set in the 1708 Low Countries, I expect to have a large number of the battles with at least one, to possibly three or four villages present on the table. Were I to limit the village "footprint" to 12" square, that does not really leave me a lot of space for several buildings, and then enough space for 3-6 (or even 9-12) stands of figures.

Thus, I am very nearly coming to the conclusion that 15mm buildings would be the way to go, as this leaves me plenty of room for troops, and I get more than one or two buildings to represent a "village".

Has anyone else done this? If so, how did it look to your eye?

Any thoughts or comments on my intent?

I plan on building everything out of scratch, as I am not in a position to purchase the buildings, but I do have plenty of wood and the proper tools.
I am a wargamer; I wargame. I paint wargaming miniatures and, every so often, I blog about it at : http://royalistroundhead.blogspot.com/
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Emir of Askaristan
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Re: 28mm wargaming with 15mm buildings

Post by Emir of Askaristan » Sun Jun 24, 2012 9:26 am

Interesting post.
I've had several discussions with my wargaming buddies about the size of buildings and the "scale" of the game being played.

My thoughts are that for large scale battles with 28mm figs it's almost better to play with smaller than 28mm buildings - 20mm being probably around the correct size. My thinking, like yours, is that otherwise even small villages and hamlets end up taking up too much space on the table or being reduced to a single house.

Using 20mm buildings seems to fix that problem. We've played a few games like this using the excellent Pegasus and Italeri plastic Russian and Italian buildings.I'm not sure however that this would work using 15mm buildings however.
Since as you are scratch building then what I'd suggest is that you build the whole village at an abstract scale. Build a row of houses with narrow frontages, If your campaign is in the low countries your buildings will be gable end on to the street, so they're narrow anyway. As villages and towns run along roads build both sides of a street, the street being just wide enough to accommodate your troops.

Just some ideas I've had hope they help.

The emir
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Duke of Plaza-Toro
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Re: 28mm wargaming with 15mm buildings

Post by Duke of Plaza-Toro » Sun Jun 24, 2012 2:50 pm

A lot of commercially available 28mm buildings (if 'true scale' - for want of a better description) do take up too much table space, unless 1:1 skirmish gaming is the bag you're into. However, like His Highness the Emir, I think employing 15mm buildings with 28mm figures might be a scale drop too far. I have shoehorned a few 15mm structures into my 20mm World War Two scenery collection without much pain, but putting 15mm buildings alongside 28mm figures starts to border on the comical (at least to my eye). A 15mm door next to a 28mm figure makes the building look like a rabbit hutch.

With a relatively recent return to 28mm gaming this is a problem I have been musing over myself, and I've found myself especially drawn to the look of the 'Old School Gaming' buildings of Charles Grant - perpetuated (of course) by C S Grant and the likes of Phil Olley's classic wargames projects.

For some the original Grant approach might be a little too plain in appearance (simple windows / doors painted on etc) or the lift off shell to reveal a 'ruin' underneath not to everyone's requirements, but it's the proportions of the models that attracted my eye. There's something very pleasing about them even though they are under-scaled for 28mm figures to keep them in line with tabletop 'building regulations'. And for those wishing to construct more elaborate looking models (but based on the same Grant principal) there's nothing to stop you. Check out some of Phil Olly's fine architectural efforts for his Sittingbad recreation here (scroll down to the bottom of the page) - http://www.classicwargaming.blogspot.co ... fight.html

Or here's an example of Phi's work -

Image

Judging from these pictures and those illustrated in the Grants' writings - single buildings need not have a tabletop footprint of more than 80 to 100mm square and could be as little as 50 to 60mm if you don't plan to put figure bases inside them.

I am currently sketching out a few simple ideas for 'test' buildings along these lines, for construction in both foam core board and cork floor tile to see how they turn out. I'm told (I've not tried this yet...) that the key is to make your ground floor doors and first floor ceiling height at least look as if a 28mm man might be able to walk through them without bending themselves completely double! Apparently so long as the ground floor looks plausible alongside the figures then that will be enough to please the viewer's eye - while any upper storey above this can then be compressed / squashed down quite a lot to keep the overall height reasonable but without distorting the overall appearance of the building too much.

I suppose these are caricature buildings really, but with a bit of effort they can look the part, and three or four of them put together will pass for a good sized village without turning half your wargames table into something resembling the Manhattan skyline!

Well... that's the theory. If I finally take the plunge with this blog of my own I keep tip-toeing around, I might post the results in a few weeks.

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DPT
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Justin Penwith
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Re: 28mm wargaming with 15mm buildings

Post by Justin Penwith » Sun Jun 24, 2012 11:24 pm

Gents,

Thank you for your replies. I have much more to ponder and consider, but I am also looking for additional feedback, especially if someone has a photo depicting 28mm troops on a table with 15mm buildings.

I only have a single 28mm building from MBA and none at 15mm, unfortunately.

I may well "stylize" my villages, something similar to what Grand Armee does with 4"x 4" squares, using 4x4, 8x8,12x12, and 16x16 sized bases (mirroring the BUA sizes in BLB2), with essentially a facade surrounding the base, with some other buildings spread out, on the larger sized bases.

I am still pondering, so I am probably going to post this problem over at TMP and see what the rowdy crowd has to say.

:)
I am a wargamer; I wargame. I paint wargaming miniatures and, every so often, I blog about it at : http://royalistroundhead.blogspot.com/
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obriendavid
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Re: 28mm wargaming with 15mm buildings

Post by obriendavid » Mon Jun 25, 2012 10:38 am

I've never used 15mm buildings with 28mm figures but we regularily use 20mm buildings with 28mm figures, you can see some of them being used on my blog.
http://davestoybox.blogspot.co.uk/2012/ ... ekend.html
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Re: 28mm wargaming with 15mm buildings

Post by Justin Penwith » Mon Jun 25, 2012 11:01 am

@obriendavid

Those do seem to work out well with WWII, certainly. Thank you for sharing the blog, which I am now following.
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Re: 28mm wargaming with 15mm buildings

Post by kiwipeterh » Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:54 am

We trialled 15mm buildings with 28mm buildings a few years ago. I've posted a picture on my old website at:

http://web.mac.com/nataliendpeter/Site/ ... h28mm.html

but get in quick as Apple will cease to host sites such as this at a minute before midnight on 30 June 2012 Pacific Daylight Time.

For my money I would shoot for 20mm buildings with 28mm figures ... but that hardly seems to be unique advice around here. :D

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Re: 28mm wargaming with 15mm buildings

Post by Justin Penwith » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:37 pm

Thank you for that picture.

While 20mm may be the consensus for most of the respondents here, the 15mm wouldn't look too bad, especially when based together.

The footprint I am using for the four sizes of settlements (which are from BLB2, but the size of the footprint is my own idea) a single 25mm building would not leave any room for the troops, unless I used only single buildings on even the larger settlement bases.

While several, or even many, would argue that I could place troops inside the buildings, at the scale of BLB2, I find that a bit clunky. If each stand were a company or even a half-company, I could be more inclined do put the troops in buildings, but not at three stands to a battalion.

We did use 28mm buildings on the tabletop during a club game, that I put on, last summer. We had six buildings and they really just took over the 4" wide table. They were individually large enough that I had to spread them out a bit, taking up about 12" x 12" for three buildings...I left enough room between them for two stands of cavalry in line (based on 2" bases per stand), not that cavalry fought in the village, but so that they could use a road and move through.

I just did not like the look of it or even the feel of it....probably just in the minority with this, but I am trying to find a median where everything feels right more than looks right.

Who makes 20mm buildings for ECW/WSS?
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Re: 28mm wargaming with 15mm buildings

Post by Duke of Plaza-Toro » Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:11 am

Justin Penwith wrote: Who makes 20mm buildings for ECW/WSS?
No one I can think of Justin - not specifically for that period.

Some of the German made model railway HO-OO buildings are 'old world' enough to do the job if you can track them down. I seem to recall Dave Brown having some very nice Bavarian looking ones in some early magazine articles covering scenarios for his General de Brigade Naps rules. However, the German stuff can be a bit pricey and can still be quite large in terms of its table top 'footprint' so I'm not sure you'd gain very much. Besides, I thought you said you were going to build from scratch?

I have to say I'm now not entirely sure I can picture the look that you are trying to achieve. The spread of about three buildings you describe in your game, over a roughly one foot square area, sounds about right to me for a modest 28mm village (with perhaps the odd yard / walled garden attached to them - where you could locate the larger multi-figure bases from your three base battalions without having to place them inside the actual buildings).

I'd respectfully draw your attention back to the picture I posted earlier of Phil Olly's building. Forget about the 'lift off' aspect to it (a bit of a red herring), I included that particular shot mainly because the figures and the human hand give some idea of the size / proportions. Just consider the model building itself. I'd estimate that the frontage of that model's base is little more than 4 inches. That's not very big (at least in the eye of this beholder :D ) and in theory you could line up six similar sized models, in say two rows of three, in only about a square foot of table space.

To my mind that would represent some fairly heavily developed table-top real estate without dominating the whole gaming space with the models, but I accept this is all a matter of personal visual aesthetics.

DPT
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Re: 28mm wargaming with 15mm buildings

Post by Justin Penwith » Thu Jun 28, 2012 7:34 am

Yes, I do plan on building things by scratch, but seeing a visual, of such a model would be most helpful....especially if a chap owned one and could tell me the dimensions...or were I able to find them on company website..etc.

The point of describing the villages in the previous battle was that I really could not make them any smaller, not and have room for the troops assigned to defend them (the tops of the buildings we used did not come off). Granted, that battle was using the BLB1st rules and not 2nd, with the expanded rules for BUAs.

Still, I am wanting a village to "look" like a village, especially as I expect to have varying sizes of BUAs on the same battlefield at times.

I also might add that since we gamers already have scale out of whack (or most of us do) with trees and hills, it is not too much of a stretch to do the same with buildings. The visual telltales of models being taller than some buildings, especially in the case of cavalry, and most certainly taller than the doors will throw things off, but honestly, do we gamers really pay that close attention to doorways and windows when our figures are attacking or defending?

Of course, as I mentioned before, were this about skirmish gaming, 28mm would be the only real option.

I harken back to memories nearly twenty years ago at a convention game...
"those three buildings represent three different villages, which can be garrisoned by a brigade in each." Since we were using 36 figure battalions...well, my interest level in the game waned rather quickly.

I do appreciate your continuing feedback!
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Re: 28mm wargaming with 15mm buildings

Post by Duke of Plaza-Toro » Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:29 pm

Justin Penwith wrote: I also might add that since we gamers already have scale out of whack (or most of us do) with trees and hills, it is not too much of a stretch to do the same with buildings. The visual telltales of models being taller than some buildings, especially in the case of cavalry, and most certainly taller than the doors will throw things off, but honestly, do we gamers really pay that close attention to doorways and windows when our figures are attacking or defending?
Well, it would bother me - but that's just me!

I take your point about how we all readily accept the distortions of hill and tree heights in our games, but to my eye a 28mm figure standing next to a tiny building door that he'll have to be a contortionist to get through just doesn't look right. I don't mind if doors and windows look a little undersized, but I do expect them to look plausible.
Justin Penwith wrote: I do appreciate your continuing feedback!
No worries. It sounded as if you were wrestling with a similar problem of scale /size and aesthetics that I've been recently thinking about, so I thought I'd chip in. I'm only sorry I don't yet have any examples to show you of what I'm rambling on about. Still considering my real estate options in my head!

DPT
In enterprise of martial kind, When there was any fighting, He led his regiment from behind -
He found it less exciting.

http://worldcrisisinminiature.wordpress.com/
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