Thursday, July 18, 2013

More Pico Armor Fun

Soviet T-72 tank, BMP-2 APC and infantry section - and a Canadian penny
Over the past few years I have periodically dabbled in the Oddzial Osmy's 3mm tanks and troops (example here).  We have even played a game of Cold War Commander using them (back in 2008, I think, but I'm guessing - I couldn't find it on the blog, so it must have been a while).

Motor rifle company in BMP-2s
I am very impressed with the sculpting and casting quality of this range - these are really, really neat.  And the scale offers a chance to "air out" the game a little bit on the table, with engagement ranges that "look" more realistic on the table, and crowds of armour that don't crowd up.  But would this catch up with other gamers?

BMP command unit (round base), BRM recon track, and a platoon of BRDM AT launchers
When I had first purchased these figures I based them in groups, so each stand would literally represent a platoon. But the look still didn't quite work for me - I have always loved tons of tanks on the gaming table, but disliked the "hub to hub" effect this produced in terms of the look.  This happens even with the smaller size figures like 15mm (for examples, see nearly any Flames of War game).  

ZSU-23-4s - an essential for any Warsaw Pact commander
The hub-to-hub effect happens for a lot of reasons on the gaming table which I'm not going to drone on about here.  I thought 3mm might solve it, but the group bases still looked crowded...even allowing for the smaller scale, the tank platoon, for example, still looked crammed into the square base. 

Before on the right, after on the left

T-72 command base (20mm round)
There are certainly times when armoured vehicles mass on the battlefield, but generally they are quite spread out. How to get this on a reasonable sized table, while still playing with a ton of tanks?  I started to experiment with individual basing for the 3mm stuff last summer - example here.  Recently I finished another round of the figures, and re-based some of my previous stuff on individual bases, enough to get tonight's game going.

T-72 company
I think Oddzial Osmy has a devoted fan base - the range is very, very comprehensive and new stuff keeps coming out. Check out the Pico Armor online store to see for yourself. On forums like TMP, however, I have often seen the small scale panned on the grounds that the figures are impossibly small, and "might as well be paper counters".

Leopard C1 squadron
TMP door-knobs aside, 3mm will not be for everyone. For me, it is a lot of fun to work on these little tanks and troops.  It is a challenge to find the right colour shades to make the figures more visible, to shape the groundwork a little bit, etc. You can get a pile of them for a small sum, the range is unbelievably complete, and I even love that they mildly evoke counters - after all, I was a huge fan Avalon Hill games like "France 1940".  I'm also a big Cold War tank geek, so I can "see" the shape of the vehicles right away.  I'm not sure that will hold for the more casual participant.  These will probably need some labels to help with identification. 

Another view of the Leopard C1s
Will this work for gaming? We'll see tonight - we will be playing an imaginary WW3 game, using the overall Soviet invasion plot of the 1984 movie "Red Dawn", in which three Soviet army groups crossed the Bering Straight and tried to link up with a southern Communist pincer coming up from Mexico.  The Soviets are trying to pass through Brandon on their way to the states - and the Canadian Forces have a little something to say about it!


Chris Stoesen said...

Love the look of the 3mm you have. I like to play company level games in 6mm for much the reasons that you have stated. I have a bunch of airplanes from them in 1/600 and love them to the point to dumping my 1/300 aircraft. I can see how the scale would look great on the table. I may have too look into them again for some Yom Kippur War stuff.

Anonymous said...

I purchased some Desert war starter set's from them on a whim earlier this year. I was going to multi base them but after seeing yours single bases is the way to go. I also can tell by the shape what they are so I don't know what all the fuss is about.

PatG said...

Those look great. Looking forward to shots of the game.

Allison M. said...

Amazing! I suppose they might as well be paper counters... but they're not. You get to paint them and base them and all that great stuff you've done so well here.

Tabletop gaming in larger scales than this will rarely be "to scale", because modern combat happens over very large distances. Tanks generally don't engage each other at the same range as two gangs of dudes waving sharp objects, which is often all there's room for on a typical gaming table when used for 28mm. Of course it's just a game and all that but there's definitely a place for these wee guys, both for gamers and painters!

Allison M. said...

*Returns from pico armor site*

Also to be slightly unmanly for a moment... OMG THE LITTLE HELICOPTERS ARE SO CUTE!!1!!!!11!