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Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Blucher in 2mm

A post on Facebook way back at the start of lock-down has prompted me to revisit Sam Mustafa's Blucher rules.

I bought the book on the back of a Meeples & Miniatures show and was very impressed with the production values and what seemed an easy to learn system.

This led me to by the 100 Day's card set to go with the rules, but this is as far as I got. I didn't actually get around to playing the rules and they've languished on the shelf ever since (nothing new there then?).

A post from a member of our local club looking for Blucher opponents, led me to get them back out once again.

I think the problem for me has been, whilst I like the cards, I really would like to play this with figures, but on a smaller table than the 75mm frontage cards would permit.

At this point I remembered my Irregular Miniatures 2mm Napoleonic's that I'd based for use with Black Powder. These are all on 20x20mm mdf squares so I can place them in any formation I needed (i.e. Line, Column etc.). What if I could somehow mount these on bases suitable for Blucher?

My Irregular Miniatures 2mm Napoleonic collection, together with terrain pieces.
I think that Sally 4th produce a nice range of pre-cut mdf Blucher shaped bases (with centre point and fire arcs) in a variety of frontages. These would be great, but how could I temporarily affix my 2mm bases? An how much would the 50+ bases cost me!?

At the time, whilst I was 3D printing tanks like they were going out of fashion, I hadn't yet discovered the art of 3D design. Now to say I have now discovered this skill is a bit of a stretch of the imagination, I have now managed to create some basic designs, and my Blitzkreig Commander infantry bases got me thinking.

I found a basic Blucher base on Thingiverse and took that as my starting point. Firstly I scaled it down to a 50mm frontage. This would enable a game to be played on a 4 foot by 3 foot table which would be perfect for me.

I then increased the depth of the base to allow me to let in a recess that was the depth of an mdf base  that was 40 x 20mm.

I added to this a centre point marker, two raised areas for info to be added and a recessed hole to take a 7mm die to mark the base' "ELAN".

Printing them 4 at a time - 2 infantry & 2 Cavalry bases
I printed out version 1 (see above) and realised that it was still too thin (the mdf bases stood proud of the sabot base), that the raised ares perhaps weren't the best ideas and that I'd left the one edge of the die recess too thin so it didn't print.

A quick redesign and I printed out version 2. This time I'd added the movement allowances as embossed letters. This looked fine until I noticed that in the process of rescaling to 50mm frontage I'd lost the 45' angles from the front edge. They were more like 70'!

One more redesign and I was there! The MkIII version was just right. A quick spray of Army Painter Khaki and a dry-brush of white & Yellow paint and I was there.

Now what other bases would I need?

  • Line Infantry (Move 2-1, max Elan 6)
  • Guard/Elite Infantry (Move 2-1, max Elan 8)
  • Foot artillery (Move 2-1, Shots 5,4,4,3,2,2)
  • Horse Artillery (Move 3-1, Shots 5,4,4,3,2,2)
  • Light Cavalry (Move 4-2, max Elan 6)
  • Heavy/Elite Cavalry (Move 4-2, max Elan 8)
  • There is also a potential for "Guard Artillery" with shots of 6,5,5,4,3,3
So I set about designing all the options. 

For Guard/Elite bases I inlet 2 die recesses. This would allow a starting point of a 1 on one die and 6 on another for an Elan of 7.

Infantry bases; Top Guards with 2 die and bottom Line with 1 die.
For artillery I opted to go with number holes and a movable peg (cut down nail) to indicate shot use.

Rather than try and cram the unit name onto the base as well as their "traits" I went down the roster route with each corp given a colour and each brigade a number. To identify individual bases I then simply use a self-adhesive circular sticker with the brigade number written on it to identify the base.
Artillery; Top foot artillery with 2-1 move and bottom horse artillery with 3-1 move.
The next thing to tackle was the question of hidden movement. In the card game the cards are turned over and only revealed after they move or fire and at first I thought I might print out some dedicated counters for this purpose. Then I had a brainwave! Why don't I just turn these sabot bases over!

I first added a centre point and then printed out appropriate flags and laminated them before cutting to size to fit the backs of the bases. I attached them to the bases with double sided tape and there you go. 

Cavalry; Top Heavy or Elite Cavalry with 2 die and below light cavalry with 1 die.
These can be moved around the battlefield until they are identified, then turned over and the figure bases and die can be added.

Lastly I turned my attention to gaming aids I'd need. I printed up two measuring sticks marked in base widths (BW) for movement, firing etc. Then a couple of  BW x BW squares to use to define the areas in front of bases for close combat etc. and finally a couple of dozen "Prepared" tokens to indicate when brigades have gone into square formation.

Self-adhesive, laminated flags added to the rear of the bases for hidden movement.
Not everything went entirely to plan.....most problems can simply be explained by the simple term "Tolerances".

I designed my dice holes around some green 7mm dice I already had from my BKC project. Then I ordered Red & Blue (appropriately) dice from the same supplier. The blue dice are spot on 7mm but some of the red ones are 7.1mm - so are a rather tight fit.

Playing Aids; movement stick, combat idicator, prepared tokens and a built up area template.
Most of my figures date back some years and the bases are from the era before laser cutting. Therefore they measure something like 19.8-19.9mm square. I had to make up some new bases to create a few extra units and my laser cut mdf bases are exactly 20x20mm! I therefore had to make some new sabot bases with enlarged recesses to suit.

Now these are completed I'm looking forward to giving them a run out when the club is allowed to open once again.

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