Army Boxes 6: Irregular Miniatures 6mm Battlepacks – France, 1940 | Print |  E-mail
Written by Don MacVittie   
Wednesday, 28 May 2008


The completed contents of the package.

The Battle of France was the first real test of German vs. British might, fought in a lightning series of battles, many believe that it didn't have to turn out the way it did. Here's your chance to grab some armies and find out.

We don’t get much chance to order from Irregular Miniatures. For our own use, we generally order from US companies due to exchange and shipping rates, and our reviews just haven’t meshed well with the lines that Irregular produces. When we went out to Irregulars’ Website to order vehicles for our 6mm Early War Armor and 15mm ACW reviews, we noticed that they sell something called “Battle Sets” for both genres and scales. We ordered one of each.

The 6mm Battle Sets are a very cool idea – you give them a theater, year, and nationalities, and they send you two custom armies and a set of simple rules. Everything you need to play, not just “you could play with…” like some vendors do, but “everything you need for a rousing game”.


A different view, notice the size of each army.

 

So when we placed our order, we opted to risk ordering a Battle Set instead of just the tanks we needed. Indeed, since you can’t specify specific tanks (you probably could if you were nice, we didn’t try because the deal is well documented and doesn’t say “and you can choose your tanks!”), we took the risk that we would not get the tanks we needed for our micro-armor review. But we wanted to check out the Battle Sets. We ordered France, 1940, German and British.

They came as one bag per army, with each bag filled with smaller bags – one for armor, one for infantry, one for artillery, and one for aircraft. The packaging is nothing special, but you’re not buying miniatures for the packaging, so who cares?


The complete British Army.

 


The Complete German Army.

 

Quantitative Differences.

The armies we received are not the same exact size. In fact, the German army came with 28 stands of four figures each, while the British came with 20 stands of four figures each. The German force came with 12 tanks and two AT guns, the British with 12 tanks and three AT guns. The British army has four UCs, a command car, quad tows for the AT guns, a command (staff) car, and a heavy truck for the HMG unit. The German army has a command Kubelwagen and halftrack tows for the two AT guns. About the only thing missing from either army is the Sdkfz 251, which would have been cool, but there’s enough here it wasn’t necessary.


The British armor


The British AT


British Infantry Stands 


British Air Support


British Scout Squadron – UCs


British Command Car and Support Transport.


The German Armor


German AT and Artillery.


German Infantry 


German planes
 

Qualitative Differences.

The armies we received certainly weren’t matched in firepower either, though neither side has significantly better weaponry overall.

Both forces came with two planes, but the quality of the British planes – in terms of the plane they represent - was definitely higher than that of the Germans. One of the Germans was a Messerschmitt Bf 109 – nice enough – but the other is a biplane. We believe it is a Henschel HS123, which would pin this army as a unit from the 6th army, since they had the only surviving close support unit equipped with this plane in the invasion of the low countries. The British get what appear to be a Hurricane and a Spitfire – both suitable to the time, and since most rulesets don’t differentiate air attack too much by plane, it’s probably fine that these are the planes chosen – but just for the record, if we had to be in one or the other for a dogfight, it certainly would not be the Henschel. 

The AT guns provided for the British force are all 6 pdr. The Germans have what a single AT gun – a PaK 36 – and a 10.5 cm IeFH 18 artillery piece. Considering the significant difference in number of infantry stands, these differences probably all balance out well.

The Figures

Honestly, when we first started with these figures we were unimpressed. Micro-armor is tiny, and difficult to cast up well, but GHQ and CinC have set a standard that other vendors must aspire to if they wish to remain competitive. Compared to those vendors, these were a bit over-flashed and under-detailed. 




The British Armor - The whit stringy items on there are artifacts introduced during dullcoating. 


The British AT Unit


The Staff Car

 



British Infantry Samples

 



British Planes


British Support Figures 

But as we went through and painted them, we remembered that most detail is lost at three feet away, and when the figures are about the size of the head of a 28mm miniature, detail requirements go down.

Those of us who play together regularly run the gamut where WWII Micro-armor is concerned. The Ninja is happy with three cans of spray paint – light gray for the Germans, Green for the Americans, and desert yellow for the British. The WebMistress is a fan of flesh on hands and face of each figure, and The GM is a stickler for trying to paint everything the artist put into the figure. Since The GM (that’s me!) did this review, they’re mostly done, but even then the web-gear that is on most of these miniatures is not painted. 1:300th of a two or three inch belt is… Not visible at anything more than a few inches away - particularly not with a dark uniform and a black belt.

So the figures are mostly “good enough” – with a few rough ones and a few gems. We’ve only seen one GHQ miniature that we thought fell apart on detail – the German heavy mortar team in this review. There are several cases where a little creative thinking is required with these figures. Some of them are as bad as the GHQ mortars in that review. But most are just soldiers, sculpted up to a satisfactory standard, and as we mentioned, a couple – like the LMGs for both sides – look pretty darned good. The planes are actually very nice, as you can tell from the pictures, while the armor and AT guns are definitely passable, though not the nicest on the market. Again, they’re 6mm, not 1:35th armor, and you can clearly tell what each is just by looking at it. The Kubelwagen and the Staff car both have a bit of really hard to remove flash on them, and as you can see from the pictures, though we thought we had it all cleaned up, we discovered that we did not when the paint went on. Since it’s two vehicles and the impact at arms-length is minimal, we didn’t bother starting over on them.



German Armor

 


German AT and Artillery


German Infantry with support Mortar


German LMG Team



German Air Support

 


German MG Platoon


German MMG Teams 

One of the dangers of 6mm miniatures and a high resolution camera is that you might look at images like the German LMG team and go “Yuck! Those are ugly!” Trust us, they’re not. Our picture is at least 4x the size of the original, so you’re not likely to see that level of detail.

Comparisons

Since these models will be in a couple of upcoming reviews – one of them an early war micro-armor comparative – we don’t want to get too into the details of comparison, but we’ll give you some ideas of where these will mix and match. Note that Irregular sells their figures as “6 mm” without reference to scale, while GHQ sells theirs as 1:285th



Some of it is paintjob, but you can see the infantry is more bulky than GHQ

Note that we think these armies look fine if your army is 100% Irregular, any commentary here is not meant to be comparative, but rather to help you figure out what goes with Irregular well. 


Yet the armor is a little smaller than GHQ

These figures and models will go okay with SDD and Skytrex, though Skytrex is stretching it. We don’t recommend placing them in the same army as GHQ or CinC because of qualitative differences. 


And yet, the further away you get, the less obvious the difference.

Note that the infantry are close in height to GHQ infantry, but are noticeably bulkier than GHQ, so that might cause you some compatibility issues also. This is not so bad that we wouldn’t use… say Irregular infantry with GHQ support weapons or vice versa, just wouldn’t mix them in the same unit. 

Rules

The rules that come with the figures are kind of simple, but usable. They’re better than some companies give away with their miniatures, indeed, better than most give away with their miniatures, but there are better and/or more complete rulesets out there, and chances are if you’re looking at these miniatures, you own one of them.

These rules cover WWII to the present, and group things together rather broadly – equating all medium tanks to roughly the same attack and defense values, for example. They’d be suitable for a gift to someone without a set of rules in the space, but most wargamers will ditch them for their favorite fare. We know that we did not pull them out and use them the minute these miniatures were done – we have plenty of 6mm rule sets to choose from. 

In short, a nice touch but for Wargames @ Nordalia readers they’re not likely necessary.

Summary

Frankly, we find this army box to be worth the cost. They’re not perfect, but at 6mm we don’t think that’s such a huge deal. And frankly, we received 44 4-man stands of figures that we cut in half to make 88 stands, 24 tanks, 4 airplanes, 4 Universal Carriers, 4 AT guns/artillery pieces, and a smattering of transport, all for £ 24. You’re going to be hard set to beat that price. You cannot put together the armor presented in this article for that price from most vendors. And looking at the overview pictures, you can see that they are nice enough after painting. We intend to use ours in future wargames, and we certainly have a range of options to choose from. 


From the front.

 

UK Sourcing

Irregular Miniatures

£ 24

 

US Sourcing

silver eagle wargames supplies

$60.00

 

These figures were primed with Armory black primer, painted with Vallejo paints, and finished with Armory Dullcoat. Decals on German planes are leftover BF decals. We did not have appropriately sized British Roundels, so we're holding off on painting them.

 

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