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Mittwoch, 18. August 2021

10mm Overview: Commanders, Cannon and Companions!


Heyhey, in this article I'll chat a bit about the less numerous, but no less vital aspects to a Thirty Years War army: Commanders, Artillery and All The Rest.


Most wargames rules will require you to have commanders on table (and if you don't, it's nice to have them, right?). I base my commanders on 2 pence coins. In recent years I started running out of them, so for the latest few command bases I use 25mm round bases. Same size really.

Some of them are supposed to depict a specific leader (like the second from the left above being Tilly), some get names during the painting process just so I got some historical reference and then there's a few who are just generic commanders. I do paint each of them to lean towards one certain army, either imperial/catholic or protestant/swedish, just so they get a bit of identity.

Given how my command bases aren't extremely large I'll fit three figures tops on there. Feel free to add a flag or not. As I use the commanders pretty flexibly though I kept most without flags.

Dodo von Innhausen-Knyphausen. I like the guy, so I took some care to depict him studying a plan, since historically he was an experienced, reliable commander and among the cooler heads in Gustav Adolph's direct surroundings.

Count Isolani, a generic guy who I always call Count von Reinach and Octavio Piccolomini (probably riding across Imperial lines at Lützen, keeping things together)

On these bases, I mix figures together as seen fit. As mentioned in prior 10mm Overviews for this period, I freely mix Old Glory, Pendraken and Irregular (these in particular of course are useful for commander bases, be it for runners, lifeguard, musicians, and so on).

..offer a dedicated Generals pack with 10 figures for GBP 8.00. I never got that pack, so I wouldn't know what they look like (no photos on their website). I suspect they're perfectly nice, but I don't know about their variety of poses. 

Offer 8 individual generals for the period (including figures for historical figures for the English Civil War) at  55p a piece, the Polish general from the 16th century Polish range comes in packs of 2, Polish Command (either mounted or on foot) is 4 figures each. 

Offer five dedicated commander figures (including Montrose, Prince Rupert, Boy, etc.) at 44p a piece. I didn't get these either, but I tend to very often use generic officer figures and add some more adorned equipment. I could well see using these though for depicting a particularly well-fed commander.

Offer one mounted general/officer figure for 44p. I'm sure it's a nice figure, but I prefer using Pendraken figures for the generals themselves and add special Irregular figures for lifeguards, musicians, etc around them. This is where this range excels.


The artillery arm was barely a part of the army at all during the Thirty Years War. It was more handimen and engineers attached to the army, handling and working the guns. Widely Gustav Adolph is famed for turning the artillery into a military arm (as with every single other innovation of the time).

In general I put light guns on 40x20mm bases, (medium) field guns are on 40x40mm bases. I don't glue the guns down, so I can switch them and depict guns getting captured and - if need be - limbered up and carried off elsewhere. Not that this was common practice during that time.

Above you can see my first light guns I did in 2012. The limbers which came with the guns (not sure they still do) are on separate 40x20mm bases. Later I added two more medium guns, and finally in 2019 I got some more artillery:

Now that was a fun situation, as I got to work with Pendraken's, Old Glory's and Lancer Miniatures' (a new range, introduced in 2017 I think) medium guns. Great for direct comparison.

Old Glory's offering in terms of artillery is a bit unique in that you buy guns (packs of 12) and crew (packs of 50) separately. That may look like much on paper if you're not used to collecting big armies, but actually it's not that much. Especially if you collect both sides, that's 6 guns per side. Depending on what they depict in your battles that ranges from 'just enough' to 'that'll suffice, thank you'.

The gun crews are pretty neat figures, coming in four or five different poses (still, I converted a little when I put together my guns).

Spanish guns at the eve of the battle of Fleurus 1622

Cost per gun/crewman/limber: 133.33p/16p/266.6666p
Variants available: 3 (light, medium, heavy)
Prettiness: Excellent.
Convenience: 4 piece guns (two wheels, main part, barrel). Assembly is a breeze.
Notes: Actually, these were my favourite medium guns out of the three products I tried. Something about them just appealed to me the most. Nice wheels.

Pendraken's English Civil War range features the usual light & medium guns (no heavies, but you can get them elsewhere), plus a heavy siege mortar. On top of that their 16th Century Poles range also has medium and heavy guns and a heavy mortar, all with crews in Polish clothes. Speaking of crews: each pack comes with 2 guns, 8 crew and 2 limbers. So very much an all-in-one deal. I especially like the number of crewmen and the addition of the limbers. We all need limbers, it's as simple as that. And we're very reluctant to buy them separately, as I know from experience.

One more thing: Pendraken got a pack of artillery equipment! 18 pieces per pack. Speaking from experience as someone who made a lot of artillery equipment from green stuff, this may be worth the investment.

Cost per gun (incl. 4 crewmen and limber): 250p
Variants available: 3 (plus Poles, plus Scots)
Prettiness: Excellent.
Convenience: 4 piece guns (two wheels, main part, barrel). Assembly is a breeze.
Notes: A really good package. Still, I'd suggest getting a pack of OG guns as well and a pack of crew and mix crews around a bit, just so you get some variety. Somehow I'm okay with single-pose cavalry, but each gun having the same crewmen looking the same somehow bugs me. :-D Maybe I'm just weird. 

Lancer Miniatures' gun range (heh) is a bit different from the competition once more: They got medium and heavy guns, but no light guns! At least no regular ones. To make up for that they got a Frame Gun, and a two-barrelled leather-barrelled gun. The 'leather gun' of course being a bit of an oddity, and thus a favourite. And as far as I know it's pretty certain that they didn't see any use beyond Gustav Adolph's war in Poland. 

At the centre you can see why I don't glue down guns to their bases.
 Just grab'em and put them behind a limber for moving them around.

Anyway, each of the medium or heavy guns comes with three crew. The frame gun and leather gun comes with 2 crewmen each. Again, the crew's a fair bit chunkier than the usual Pendraken and OG lads, but will work just fine.

Cost per gun (incl. 2 or 3 crewmen): 61p (light) / 78p (medium/heavy)
Variants available: 4 
Prettiness: Excellent. On the crew it's a matter of personal taste again. I like them.
Convenience: 4 piece guns (two wheels, main part, barrel). Assembly is a breeze.
Notes: Chunky boys! Being able to get single guns is very, very convenient.

So yeah, as I said above: Ich mixed all three. Even the Lancer crews fit in with the others pretty okay. The guns look perfectly fine next to each other, and even work very well for the period, in which artillery was far from standardized and usually thrown together based on what commanders were able to nick from the enemy.

...what else?

Camp Followers / Train

When playing large battles a big factor will be a camp or a baggage train. Even in this size of figures a camp would be pretty huge on the table. At some point I'd love to play the battle of Alte Veste, which had Gustav Adolph attack Wallenstein's fortified camp (biggest field camp to date).

But for now I'm good with baggage trains for each army. Because those are a pretty important thing in most scenarios. So I built a couple of train bases.

So I took some wagons, some horses and oxen to pull them, and looked what figures I could use for civilians and so on.

My collection consisting being for wargaming, of course I was woefully short on women. I couldn't even find suitable 10mm figures at first, so I had to sculpt two women and two kids to at least make it look a bit like there's woman and children with the train. 

I was overjoyed when I found out that Irregular Miniatures sold 10mm sheep! So I added a base with two guys (converted artilleryman and converted cossack raider) herding some sheep and a cow along.

One of the figures I sculpted is a lady of ill reputation. Hence the red dress. Also, she's waving and calling out to a dashing cavalyman, and shows some leg.

By now Pendraken released a very nice set of civilians for their English Civil War range:

Oh well. My train still got finished, and I really like these bases. Incredibly useful too.

Casualty Markers

Another thing I thought I'd need at some point was casualty markers. Some games will require them, others won't. Some people don't like putting counters on the table, so I thought I'd make these tokens to avoid that.

So I took some figures, converted them with a little green stuff, so they look like the fell over.

Back then (2013) no other fitting casualty figures were available commercially, so I made these, made a silicone mould and cast up a few sets (for private use of course. Nobody I knew then would have been interested in 10mm early-to-mid 17th century casualty markers. :-D). 

A short while later Pendraken came out with their own casualty markers sets!

Deep in my heart I like to think that me posting my markers on the internet led to these getting produced. But then again, there aren't that many different looks for that sort of stuff or how to make them. ;-)

Anyway, you can get these in packs of 5 (mounted) or 10 (infantry) for GBP 1.85 from Pendraken.

Right, I think that covers the miniatures side of my 10mm Thirty Years War collection. I hope that this little series of articles - niche as they may be - was helpful or even inspiring to you. I love 10mm as a figures size. It's really handy for battles and just fun to work with.  Back in 2012, when I started collecting them (they were my entry into historical wargaming too!) for weeks I was pondering which size to go with. I ended up with 10mm due to my love for GW's Warmaster range and considerations concerning space, money, time and so on. Haven't looked back since to be honest. And my little armies have been featured in multiple publications so far, so that's nice too.

Let me know if you'd like to see more articles in this style, in which I chat about my own collections, and how they came to be, while trying to focus on actually conveying interesting info that's useful to you. ;-)

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