Miniatures: The Basics

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By Richard Moore

If you have ever seen a miniature wargame going on then it is a pretty spectacular sight. There are hundreds of well-painted figures battling it out on a table top that has been transformed by trees and buildings into a historical arena of death.

And then there is the challenge of people testing their military skills against each other in a clash of minds, tactics and abilities.

To an interested onlooker it is fascinating, but daunting. So how do you start in the hobby of wargaming with miniatures?

If you are a Napoleonic fan then the first choice is easy - that of what historical period you'll build your army around. Mind you, you then have to make the choice of which actual army to build.

The French were involved in all of the battles so they would be a good starting point - and the Austrians are pretty popular as their opponents. Some folk don't like the British so much as they are very strong units and are very hard to beat. Still ... there's a challenge.

Uniforms did vary throughout the Napoleonic Wars so give that a bit of thought and pick your favourite uniform style, but do keep in mind you'll want to find similarly-dated opponents.

Next up you need to work out which rules to play. This is tough because there are dozens of different sets out there. The best bet is to find out where your closest wargames club is and head along there for a few meetings. Talk to players about their favourite rules - but remember you will be playing them so the rules have to be as simple or as complex as you want. Web chatrooms are also a good place to judge the playability of miniatures rules.

Okay you've picked your nationality and your rules, so the next choice should be to which figures to go for. There are masses of manufacturers of varying qualities so here are some views on what are regarded as being the best figures around.

You now know the type of metal soldiers you want so the next question is do you buy and paint your own figures, or else go for professionally painted soldiers. There are pros and cons to both that you can check out here and we have an expert give tips if you decide to do your own.

Once your miniature army is all painted and ready it is time to create some table-top terrain - make it yourself or buy professionally cast and painted work - and then get stuck into refighting your favourite battle.



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