Monday, September 16, 2013

Beneath the Lily Banners in 15mm

Ray Rousell - Back in 2010 my pal Richard suggested a joint painting project, he quite fancied the Nine Years War. Now here’s where I have to admit to knowing absolutely nothing about this great period sandwiched between the more well-known English Civil Wars and the Wars of the Spanish Succession. So a quick look online and in my pal Posties book “From Pike to Shot” and I was hooked. Richard fancied painting up the French, so my obvious choice was the English and Allies.

The problem now was what figures? What scale? and what rules?

We did consider using 6mm and 25mm but decided against both, (Of course if Warfare minis where out at the time we would have used them!!! ) So it fell back to my favourite scale, 15mm. There were several ranges out at the time including Donnington, Hallmark and Essex. We chose Essex in the end mainly for the price, which has crept up quite considerably recently. Today you can buy 2, 18 figure infantry units with pikes for just under £20, with a few spare figures left over.

One of my favourite units. Leslie’s Foot, still using William Clifton’s old flags! These are all from Essex Miniatures

So there is an alternative if either you can’t afford 25mm figures, can’t or don’t like to paint 25’s or like many gamers haven’t got the space for a decent sized tabletop to use 25’s on. As for the rules we chose BLB first edition but soon switched to the 2nd when they were released soon after we bought our figures.

We weren’t too sure how to scale down the movement charts for 15mm, you can just change the inches to cm as suggested, but after a few tests we thought the rules work perfectly as they are, using the 25mm scales for movement and ranges. It didn’t seem to notice at all that you were using the 25mm ranges for 15mm.

Essex Dutch Horse

Once again we toyed with ideas for scaling down the base sizes and in the end settled for 35mm x 30 for infantry, 40x40 for Horse and Dragoons and 30x 40 for all artillery, using 2 actual figures on the base for Battalion guns, 3 for heavies and 4 for Positional guns. All the figures were stuck to the 30x40 bases for ease.

I don’t see why you couldn’t do the same thing for 10mm or even 6mm. There are some great looking figures for these two scales as well nowadays, Pendraken and Baucus to name two make some great looking figures.

10mm models for the League of Augsburg period from Pendraken

Another great reason to go for the smaller scale figure is that if like me you’re a bit of a leadhead you can have bigger battles!! Much bigger battles!!! I’ve already got far too many units but will I ever stop? Probably not!

Editor - We would like to welcome Ray Rousell as one of our guest authors. Ray is the proprietor of a hugely successful blog called Don't throw a 1 and a partner in Battleaxe Painting Service. He has a huge collection of 15mm units for the League of Augsburg period and his blog is a great resource if you are looking for flags or uniform information, especially for the Battle of the Boyne for which he has amassed all of the units that fought around Oldbridge!


  1. Great post and its not helped me resist the pull of this period of warfare.

  2. Yes, great post Ray. Would love to see you continue to support the '15mm Movement' both from the period and the BLB perspective. I think you have really captured that space with blog style and the ambitious scale of your group's activities. Top stuff!

    1. That's the plan Barry, I'm still painting away.

  3. Good post Ray but hugely successful, his head is big enough as it is and he never mentions how me and Richard helped him and still do!

    1. Alright stroppy drawers! Keep the noise down!

  4. Admittedly Ray's head is BIG in his membership photo but I thought that was because he was eating the camera!!! I am sure he is BIG ENOUGH to share the credit around....

    1. I've scared more than a few people by posting that pic in extra large on my blog. Keeps the rats away too!

  5. Long live 15mm. A most impressive scale with figures en masse. More battle pics Ray plz.

    (I am a follower of Ray's flags too...they are very good)

  6. Cheers for the comments chaps, apart from Fran's of course!!!

  7. How many figures could you crowd onto a field if they were all 6mm?

  8. I dare you! try Alex!

    By the way, peace in Essex chaps, don't want another INGlorious Revolution down there!

  9. Humblest apologies to ALL of you Kentish men... I am a mere barbarian from the North

  10. The savings in space and money are great reasons for painting in smaller scale. However, the true artist, like myself, prefers the larger scales!

    Great post Rousell!

  11. Excellent work, Ray and others. I first bought BLB to use with my 10mm GNW stuff but when Blue Moon came out with their figs, I'm now painting those, big 15s or rather 18mms to be exact and when you join the Old Glory Army deal very nicely priced.
    Much as I love to drool..err, look at the gorgeous 28mm collections Mssrs. Hilton and other fine gentlemen have assembled, I can't go that route. There is no club so the gaming table is in my basement and 9x5 is as big as can fit. I also have to paint both sides as my friends enjoy playing but no one buys, collects, or paints this era. I simply cannot afford 28s.
    I'm close to doing up a big game with my new collection (over 500 figs painted currently) and the 2nd BLB, which I bought when it came out but have only gotten to use like once. Late October I'm also going to run a BLB game at a Midwest USA con, Rock Con.

  12. The irony as one of the LoA team that made BLB is that none of my friends will collect and paint these armies either, but will happily game with my collection (I am hoping to beat some of them into building Donnybrook forces). However, painting the 28mm models for me is just FUN. Painting the smaller scales (I have hundreds of Napoleonics and WW2 15mm) is too much like work. I just decided to take my time. I have painted 182 foot, 35 horse, 4 guns plus their crew, and 7 command models in roughly a year and a half. I could have painted many more, but my butterfly-like attention span led me to paint not one, but two 2000+ point Warhammer 40k armies last year...

    I am now two or three battalions shy of my goal for my Williamite army and the minis are on my desk. Hopefully the army will be finished before winter and I can start on my Jacobites. LOL... I might not get in a game until 2015, but I will have some fantastic armies ready when they finally take the field!

  13. A couple of us play BLB in 10mm using Pendraken figures. Everything is on 40x30mm bases, 12 Infantry, 10 Dismounted Dragoons, 6 Cavalry, 1 gun and crew or one Limber team to a base. So Infantry battalions with pikes are 48 figures on 4 bases. Looks lovely. If we have on of our bigger games there are over 1500 figures on table, perhaps closer to 2000. If we want the game speeded up we have a house rule that each base has 6 'hits'.


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