Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Basing Suggestions for O8's 3mm ACW Figures

The excellent "Steel on Sand" blog has beat me to reviewing O8's beautiful  3mm American Civil War figures. I'm still awaiting my order in Rio de Janeiro, but you can see them laid out in comparison to other microscale figures over there.

The one problem with these figs, as the SoS review points out, is that the command stand has its flags offset from the center. This isn't an issue if you base your figs on 40mm or 60mm wide bases, but if you, like me, base microscale on 20-30mm wide bases, having the flags removed from the center of the line might irritate your anal retentiveness.

To complicate things, O8 uses an aluminum-based alloy which is incredibly strong, but brittle, making it very hard to cut. Also, the infantry bases are not "pre-grooved", which would allow one to snap them into component figures with ease. I thus plan on using a Dremel tool with a cutting wheel to chop mine up. Still, no sense in making more cuts than one needs, neh?

With that in mind, I offer the following basing schemes for O8's ACW figures:

Note that by cutting the strips up, one can easily change the mix of headgear in the regiment, giving the Union more kepis and fewer hats and the Confederates the opposite. Personally, I think I'm going to go with the last option. I've displayed it here showing only the Good Guys, but obviously a Slaveocrat regiment can also be done up in this fashion. The advantage of this way of doing things is that it allows one to play at the tactical scale (150 men per stand) and move the commander and standards about as the number of units in the regiment increases or decreases. Additionally, it saves on skirmishers, who are now properly detatched from the main line and don't need to be represented twice. Also, with a 3x3 centimeter sabot, one can set up a brigade, as shown, and handily play Volley & Bayonet or other army-level systems.

One final basing idea, not shown above, gets rid of another small problem with the O8 figs at the cost of a lot of extra work. ACW units marched at 24 inches per file, but O8 has the troops at about 30 inches per file. If one were to seperately cut out every figure, one could probably get a historically correct spacing (with the cut taking out the excess metal) and could place 15 files on a 30cm wide base. With a Dremel, such cutting won't be a problem. The real chore would be hiding all the jagged edges and gaps when flocking.

I'm probably going to try one or two regiments like this (as well as another couple of regiments using skirmish figures) just to see how it looks, but it seems like too much work for it to be worth doing it for all the units.


  1. An amazing and in depth piece of work there, giving a really professional set of possible solutions - has to be the definitive approach with the strips as they come - I think you should copyright it asap, before we all start copying it!
    Just a shame you seem to be supporting those Liberty-hating Yankee Carpetbaggers, though!

  2. One thing you'll find dremelling these is they'll get incredibly hot... I found this when I used a dremel to cut apart some WW2 infantry, mortars, etc. Not a big deal when doing a couple, but a few packs becomes pretty wearing.

    But I'm Keen to see how it transpires! This scale for ACW intrigues me - I love it for WW2 gaming so I'm sure it'll be great for other periods

  3. I dremeled some WWII stuff, too, Richard and you're right: they heat up fast! Still, I think I can just groove these and then snip´them off. We'll have to see.

  4. I was able to separate the command stand using a pair of side-cutters, despite the lack of notches. It's easier to do with the notches, but other than a couple of standard bearers who need to be re-attached to their feet (through a careless cut), it was pretty quick. My big tip is to make the cut with your free hand cupped around the stand, the little buggers fly off if you aren't careful!

  5. Thad sez:

    Those are my two main issues with cutting up O8 figs, CJR. Having used a thin-nosed wire clippers on WWII stands several times, I found that I had too many lost troops due to breakage at the feet. I also spent too much time crawling about the floor looking for impromptu skydivers.

    That's why I figure I'm going to try the dremel this time.

    You're right, however: if I were planning only on making the one cut in the middle of the stand, I'd probably go with the wire-cutter route.

    I want to see if I can get the troops down to a more realistic frontage, however. If I can do that with adding only 5-10 minutes per regiment, it'd be great!.

    We'll see if that's feasible, however.

  6. I somehow just got hipped to the 3mm thing from an ad on TMP. I ordered the sampler from pico-minis today and I can't wait to get my hands on it. I'm thinking about using the suckers for 1:1 Black powder games, maybe with some rules changes to represent various levels of command. It's time for some hot 1:1 corps-on-corps action!!!!

  7. You seem to know little or nothing regarding the civil war if you refer to the CSA troops as traitor infantry and slave holding. Most CSA troops never even owned slaves, that was reserved for the wealthy southerner. And to call them traitors? That is very insulting to the thousands of CSA troops who fought and died for what they believed in. That would be like judging Brazil's population as a whole to be drug dealers who supply the world with 85% of its cocaine. Not very fair is it? Please read a book before you post next time. You have just convinced me to delete this blog from my list and I will be recommending that all of my friends do the same. To allow such foolishness to be posted in the first place is ridiculous! And just to put it out there, I live in Northern USA and I don't know a single person who feels that way so why should you?

    1. I mean, they did commit the classic definition of treason though. As in literally treason.

  8. And by the way, Brazil is a shit hole and people like you are the reason!