Saturday, 22 February 2014

In praise of the non elite

Bluebear Jeff left a comment on my blog recently  ( How refreshing to see a battle with mostly "ordinary" troops as opposed to so many that feature elite troops. Bravo for you, sir. ) commending me for using such troops. For many years I have favoured the under dog or the under equipped in my games.The Duchy of Tradgardland is one such force.As I look back  I recall with affection my 1/300 2pdr armourd tanks and Italian tankettes not to mention Sassanid levies.Not battle winners but such a joy to play with. I guess that is one of the reasons I so enjoy  a VBCW too. In 25mm I have my long held onto Danish army of 1807 awaiting painting. In fact I so loved the illustration ( found in a book bought on my first visit to Copenhagen) below-
that I commissioned a figure, based on the above, from a chap who was Eagle Miniatures at the time and a dentist who sculpted in his spare time.I have the figures here as I type. It is still in production as is the other Danish infantryman of 1807 I had made for me too. They are great sculpts and one day (!!!) they will grace my table finished.
So let's raise a glass to all the irregular/untrained,E class/militia etc etc figures in our wargames armies who give us all such fun/frustration/challenge on the games table.Now do tell us about your favourites...


  1. Absolutely! That's exactly why I have inordinate numbers of LDV/Home Guard, colonial volunteers, Provincials, Fencibles, and Corps of Invalids types on my shelves. I feel a personality affinity with them!

  2. Alan

    I think I may have a 25mm Danish Napoleonic period army stashed away in my lead pile somewhere. Or maybe they are Swedish, gosh I can't remember now.

    I'm frightened to hunt them out as I would probably want to paint them.

    I had notes on regimental info and standards and such. I wonder if I still have them somewhere too!


  3. Why thank you, sir for quoting me. I too enjoy the challenge of running what most consider "inferior" troops . . . although such may well have been the majority in a great many armies.

    -- Jeff

  4. "We are but warriors for the working-day;
    Our gayness and our gilt are all besmirch'd
    With rainy marching in the painful field;
    There's not a piece of feather in our host--"

  5. Drat that man Kinch, with his demmed erudition, he beat me to the quote again.
    I heartily concur, good Duke, I am very fond of the lesser troops, and very rarely put elites on my tabletop for the reasons you've mentioned.
    Among my collection of "warriors for the working-day", I have to mention my own famed "Turkish love slaves" which form part of my C18th Ottoman army. Originally sculpted, possibly, as Cossacks for the Essex 25mm renaissance range, and purchased as part of someone's collection, I always enjoy seeing them trudge their way into battle, more in the hopes of loot than for any other reason. I still recall watching them catch the flanks of three regiments of elite Prussian grenadiers, each in line behind the other, and bundling them all off the table. It's a significant part of the wargaming happy place I go to sometimes.

  6. I love the short little seaman's kilt on these guys.

    Never been an elite guy on the tabletop, infantry rather than tanks, ragged scots spearmen rather than armoured knight etc but amongst my favorite were my raggedy Les Bleus in their striped pants with big patches, untrained but enthusiastic marching across the table singing La Marseilleuse.

  7. Elite troops have their place in the line of battle, but I agree, it's much more fun and challenging to make the most of the ordinary troops.

  8. Is it just the way the picture came out or is he wearing a plaid shirt (tunic/jacket?)?
    As for the "little guys", I just played a game of halflings trying to fight off a raiding pack of gnolls (I'll write up a report soon-ish); does that count?
    I like colorful/characterful figures/units, whether elites or ordinary troops or militia. I do have a few American Revolution militia that I like (and have used as militia in my ImagiNation games).
    It can be quite satisfying to have some of the ordinary guys perform above and beyond expectations in a game.

  9. Delightful illustration, Alan. I had the opportunity to play the 1813 Prussians against more experienced French allies in a recent game and have to say it was a real pleasure. The army was entirely composed of Landwehr and Reserve battalions and a mix of experienced and inexperienced cavalry. They were brittle and clumsy units but strong in terms of number and they filled the space they need to. So long as I could keep everyone close and supported they did all right. It made for a good and thoughtful game and in any case the scenario had other victory conditions than bloody slaughter.