3D-Printing an Austrian Village

For the last three months, I’ve been experimenting with my 6mm napoleonic project. I’ve played a number of games, first with DBN, then with an increasing number of modifications. More on that some other time.

When preparing the terrain, I realised that there were no 6mm buildings that would fit my requirements. As I did a bit of research on rural structures, I wanted my models to conform to the historical types. A couple of years ago, even before I got a 3D printer, I taught myself a bit of CAD, so I decided to try my hand at desigining 3D models. It turned out that it is not too complicated, as 6mm buildings don’t need that many details, and that I even enjoy it.

Austrian Grenzer moving into a village.

As others might be interested in those buildings, I’ve decided to put them up for sale on wargaming3d.com. So, for the princely sum of $4.50, you can purchase a set of stl files for 11 buildings: a large church, modeled after the Aspern church, a small church or chapel, a granary, modeled after the Essling granary, six rural houses, a traditional barn and a windmill. The windmill has no sails, as this would be too fiddly to print at this scale – I recommend using strips of thin cardboard.

The buildings are intended for 2mm to 6mm scales. For my 6mm games, I reduce them to 80% size, as I prefer them to have a smaller footprint. All my test prints have been with a resin printer (Anycubic Photon), I can’t say how they would turn out with a FDM printer, but I guess details will be lost.

They would fit from around 1700 up to 1945 for Austria and Bavaria.

I hope you like them and maybe even consider getting a pack for your own games from here: https://www.wargaming3d.com/product/2mm-6mm-austrian-village-buildings/

New Side Project – 6mm Napoleonics

I’ve been toying with the idea of 6mm wargaming for a long time. I like the scale and what is being done by the very lively community surrounding it. And although I’m a dyed-in-the-wool skirmish gamer, once every two years or so, I feel a slight inkling to try big battles. However, normally two things put me off: the huge amount of work involved in painting the large number of figures and the impression that big battles are nothing more than a line-up of densely crowded figures.

Recently, several events conspired to prompt me to finally take the plunge: First, I read the article “Go Big or Go Home” by Sam Mustafa (in Wargames Illustrated 408), where he enumerates the fundamental problems of big battle napoleonic rules and basically argues that it is impossible to write such rules without huge amounts of compromise and abstraction. I found this really liberating!

Secondly, I discovered the napoleonic games of a French club, Jeux d’Histoire du Ponant (JHP). They played a number of 1809 scenarios (which is how I found them), and their games look very different from what I expect when I think about big battle napoleonics: There are comparatively few units on a large table, with plenty of space to manoeuvre and room on the flanks.

French approaching Ebelsberg in a game by JHP. Source: https://jhp29.blogspot.com/2018/02/la-fuite-debelsberg.html

I contacted them and they were kind enough to share information about their games – a huge thank you to YannD and Denis! They mainly play DBN, but also use Blücher. Blücher has been on my radar because my mates Sigur and Virago have a Blücher project going on. DBN was new to me but it might be just what I am looking for. I realised that I want to use rules that are easy to learn and remember, as I’m probably not going to play this as often as, say, Sharp Practice.

The third and final straw was the discovery of the 3D-files offered by MCminiatures. As I’m a bit on a budget at the moment, I can’t afford a metal 6mm army (which is even more expensive now because of post-Brexit customs) and other 3D files I have seen are also rather pricy. MCminiatures are not only low-priced, but they also come in strips and therefore give a real impression of mass. I like how they look, and the strips fit perfectly on 6mm bases, which incidentally is what JHP uses (and which can easily be used for DBN and Blücher). The range is comprehensive and Marco told me that more is to come. I’m especially keen on the baggage wagons he has promised.

I guess you can see the pieces falling into place! I fired up my 3D printer and made some test figures. It still amazes me that nice looking figures come out of this cheap machine – it feels like living in a sci-fi world… 

Austrian Landwehr, with a hodge-podge of others behind.

My painting approach is very basic. I’m glad I did 2mm figures some time ago, so the whole “paint as a unit, not as individuals”-approach is nothing new to me and is made even easier by the strips. The figures are quite detailed and with more patience and time, one could certainly get more out of them. However, I want to get them on the table soon and I also have some terrain to make, so I’m restricting painting to the basics. Let’s see how they look when properly based.

Gettysburg Battle Day

Some time ago, I proposed a Gettysburg Battle Day to the local wargaming community. Inspired by the yearly Battle Day of the Society of Ancients, the idea was to present different games, all of which dealt in one way or another with the Battle of Gettysburg. The aim was to get different perspectives on the battle, not only from the time and area chosen for the scenario, but also from the different rule sets.

To my great joy, many people were interested in participating, so yesterday a bunch of wargamers assembled at the club for the event. When I arrived (a bit late, admittedly, as I had to finish some stuff for my scenario – I was late with preparations this time), the games were already in full swing.

Virago and Sigur had prepared a Longstreet scenario dealing with the arrival of Howard’s XI Corps on the first day of the battle. Following historical events, the game ended with a Confederate victory.

The guys from Tabletop Wien West had three games running. Their main game used Kugelhagel for a scenario dealing with the fighting at Culp’s Hill. As always, they had a very busy table with a lively crowd.

Additionally, they had a Kugelhagel solo game and a game of Battlecry set up.

Nikfu and James had set up a game of Pickett’s Charge, a set of rules that I’m very interested in.

I had prepared a scenario for the skirmishing around Bliss Farm, using Sharp Practice. At the beginning, the farm buildings were occupied by Stephan’s Confederate skirmishers. I managed to drive them out, but the Rebel reinforcements arrived before I could consolidate my position and after a brief struggle, they retook the barn, at which point my Force Morale collapsed.

Finally, a group of people around Helim and Slowik had a game of Altar of Freedom using 6mm figures. They portrayed the whole battle on one 6’x4′ table and it looked spectacular! I fell completely in love with those figures and the way they were presented. This is how a big battle should look like, with mass formations and enough space for manoeuvring. Another great thing about this set-up was that it tied together the other games – you could identify on this table the spots the other games depicted.

I’m happy that the Gettysburg Battle Day was a huge success. Everybody was enthusiastic and all had invested considerable time and effort in their games. For me, it was great to meet friends, to play an exciting game of Sharp Practice and to see other perspectives on the battle. But most of all, it was a very inspiring day which gave me many ideas about how to develop my ACW gaming.

Visiting a Vauban Fortress

We’ve been living near some of the most spectacular Vauban fortresses for years and never managed to make the trip. However, the fascinating series of articles on Gravelines by Henry Hyde in Miniature Wargames finally inspired me to rent a car. K. was willing to come along, so shortly before we moved house, we headed for Neuf-Brisach, which is considered to be Vauban’s master piece.

Aerial image of Neuf-Brisach.
Aerial image of Neuf-Brisach.

While the fortress was planned by Vauban, the construction was overseen by Tarade. It was built ex nihilo on a flat piece of ground from 1698-1708. The reason for its existence was the loss of the old fortress of Breisach, which is located on the other side of the Rhine, after the War of the League of Augsburg.

Apart from one futile attempt by the Austrians to take the town in 1743, it was never besieged. However, it did play an important function in the system of fortification that surrounded France like a chain and that served the French well up until the napoleonic period.

Map of Neuf-Brisach.
Map of Neuf-Brisach.

For today’s visitors, the appeal of Neuf-Brisach is its good state of preservation. Walking around the town, one can see all the different elements of a Vauban fortress – a fascinating way to get a feeling for the dimensions.

I’ll just share some photos from our trip, for a detailed description of all the different elements of such a fortress have a look at Henry’s articles.


The Porte de Colmar.
The Porte de Colmar.



Views from the ditch.

A ravelin.
A ravelin.

Tunnel through a hornwork.
Tunnel through a hornwork.

View along the covered way.
View along the covered way.

There is also a small museum where you can find maps, documents and a couple of weapons. The main attractions are the three models: One old plan relief, a modern model and one for the kids to play with.

Neuf-Brisach is well worth a visit if you are around, and if not, why not look if there is a Vauban fortress in your vicinity?

Of course, such a trip may make you want to have such a structure on the tabletop. If you don’t have the Sun King’s money to spend, wargaming with a Vauban fortress is probably better suited for the smaller scales. Irregular Miniatures offers elements for building a fort or a fortress in 2mm as well as in 6mm. JR Miniatures and Stone Mountain Miniatures offer complete sets in 15mm, while Total Battle Miniatures makes elements for building a fort.

Less expensive is the paper kit by PaperTerrain, which is available in different sizes, even in 28mm if you feel up to it. However, the cheapest variant is building one from scratch – the Age of Eagles webpage has a good tutorial.