2D Miniatures for Tabletop Wargaming

Tabletop wargaming is such a fun and satisfying hobby. Whether its for historical settings or fantasy and sci-fi, the hobby is rich, full of wonderful artistic people, and an excellent way to spend an evening in good company. From working out a particular force or battle to hobby towards, gathering the necessary miniatures, painting them up, and then seeing them in action on a table, there’s enjoyment to be had at every stage of the journey.

Unfortunately, miniatures are expensive, painting is time consuming, and the required space is generally quite extreme. From the relatively doable 4′ by 4′ up through the standard 6′ by 4′ to whatever Black Powder tries to get you to play on (I don’t have a 12′ by 8′ table Warlord, be kind!), Setting up a home gaming space can be daunting.

Wargame the Spanish Armada by Andy Callan & Peter Dennis

Alternatives to Buying Miniatures at Retail

There have been some excellent innovations in 3D printing, allowing for relatively inexpensive options for many of the most popular settings, but even that can be out of reach for many.

So I’m here to write about another alternative that I don’t believe gets the same attention as pewter, plastic, and resin do. Paper! There is really no less expensive way to get a fully functioning army on a table than paper miniatures. Now I know that paper miniatures might conjure images of crudely drawn stick figures or a rectangle with the word “Rhino” written on it, but with the right tools, the work of excellent artists, and some spare time, you can have a full tabletop ready to game in an evening or two of listening to your favourite podcast (Ahem! Episode 6: No One Seems To Know What Professional Wargames Are).

Scissors, Glue, a Printer, and time: all you need to get started with 2D tabletop wargaming.

Paper Miniatures You Say? Surely You Jest?

When done correctly, paper miniatures can be absolutely stunning, as I hope some of the better done images in this article suggest. The requirements are also dirt cheap. A pair of decent scissors from your local scissor dispensary, some cheap glue, and a colour printer.

My Favourite Historical Paper Miniatures

For historicals, I love the work of Hellion & Company’s Paper Soldiers Line. Most are illustrated by legendary artist Peter Dennis. If you’ve read any Osprey books, there’s a good chance you’ve seen his work. I had the pleasure of meeting him at a convention early in 2020. He had brought his paper ancients and they were simply stunning. Stunning to the point that I immediately went to the Hellion & Co. booth and bought one of the books myself.

The miniatures can be scanned and printed or, in the case of the book I purchased, cut directly from the pages. I’d recommend going the printing route so there’s always the potential for backups. Although if you’re a little more forward thinking than I was, there are purchasable PDFs on their site which are obviously easier to print.

My Favourite Fantasy Paper Miniatures

In terms of fantasy miniatures, I’m mostly be exposed to the art of One Page Rule’s Patreon miniatures, but I love them. (Again, full disclosure, I’ve done some comission work for OPR). The art style is fun and cartoony and the optional black border makes for easier cut jobs. The campaign I wrote, Darkness Within, pits humans against vampires and their undead minions. I don’t have any miniatures for either army and so I decided to go the 2D route. It’s been incredibly easy to print off two of each sheet and go to town, creating enough for a small skirmish within a day.

There are plenty of other artists out there and a quick troll through wargamesvault reveals dozens of free and paid paper miniatures. Finding an artist or company whose work you enjoy and want to support is another fun part of this avenue of the hobby.

Maybe not the prettiest scissor job, but the first step towards a full army. Now to base her and cut out her hordes of undead.
  • Joe Fonseca

Warhammer Rising Part 2: Mustering, Planning, & Points Counting

Last time on the blog I announced my intention to fix my old Warhammer Fantasy High Elves and get them ready for Age of Fantasy: Regiments. I’ve finally sat down and given the whole set a good once over, sorting out exactly what I have that fits with the ruleset and what kind of work lies before me.

Full Disclosure: I have been commissioned to write narrative work for One Page Rules. I don’t receive anything from people using the site or downloading anything, nor have I been asked to write this. I just honestly love the system and wish more people would find it!

From Warhammer 7th Ed. to One Page Rules

When I put this army together and partially painted it as a bright eyed and easily distracted youngster, the name of everyone’s game was Warhammer Fantasy Battles, 7th Edition. As we go through each until, you’ll see what kind of havoc that set wreaked on unit composition loadouts.

Thankfully some years back I was given the opportunity to review the excellent One Page Rules, which started life as a way to play Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40k without the massive and unnecessary rules bloat. I absolutely fell in the love with the system, and thankfully so did my regular wargaming group. Rules wise, we’ve since switched wholesale away from old man Warhammer and into One Page Rules.

I seriously recommend checking OPR out if you’re interested in a tactically interesting but rules-light version of the Warhammer classics.

High Elves: How Many Points Do I Have?

As a first step to this daunting task, I went looking through the OPR High Elves Army list (itself only one page, thankfully) and tried to sort out exactly what I have that fits with the army. I’m specifically gearing this army towards the Age of Fantasy: Regiments game so that I can keep the feeling of the old games alive. I’ve always been more of a fan of squared off regiments than free moving units. All the point values and unit rules I’m using are freely available here under ‘Army Books.’

Princes & Mages: High Elf Royalty

The Leadership of any army is a good place to start. At some point, too distant to remember, I acquired the High Elves from the Island of Blood starter set. No doubt I had hoped to put this project in motion much earlier, but time makes fools of us all. No matter. The second best time is now, right?

First off I’ve got a pristine and unpainted Elf Prince on Griffon with Lance. That comes out to 175 points and should be a formidable force on the battlefield. Since he’s going to end up a centerpiece, I’m going to leave the painting to my much more talented wife (Detailed look at her amazing Nurgle Chaos Army coming soon!)

Beside that is a High Elf Prince on Horse, also with a lance. The discerning can see my young self’s attempt a freehanding an owl on the shield. I believe I’ll keep that exactly as is after regluing. the plastic has held up quite well so very few touchups are needed.

Next is the Island of Blood Mage, a beautiful sculpt and again untouched. He comes to 60 points with Level 2 Magic. Will be shoving him towards my wife’s paintbrush too!

Lastly, and the most funny, is my attempt at pulling one over on Games Workshop. The kit that came with the Prince on Horse could either create a mounted or foot version, but not both. Butchering a Dark Elf Spearman got me this abomination. I’m going to run him as a Phoenix Prince, with no upgrades for 70 points.

Infantry and Elite Forces

The core of any force is the infantry. In Warhammer 7th Ed. that means bringing out literally the least amount of basic soldiers you could get away with. My Spearmen were organized in a unit of 15 which allowed every spearman to fight to the front, striking first.

In Age of Fantasy Spearmen are classed as Warriors and come in groups of 10. I’d love to be able to run 20, which means fixing up a few of the unpainted models in the back. A block of 20 with spears will hold their own and only come in at 285 points. If I manage to find a pile more Spearmen somewhere, I’d love to put together a second unit, but I’m not counting on it.

Archers work best as small units that add activations and long range, in my experience. So I’ve broken down my Archers into units of 5 without any command. These come in at 195 points total.

Also from Island of Blood, Sword Masters become Elites, with a full command come in at 185 points. The Seaguard are now simply Guardians, and they thankfully max out at 10 per unit, so they’re going to become the core of my ranged force. They come in at 185 points as well. Bows are expensive.

Elites with Lion Cloaks (My weirdly untouched White Lions) operate the same way as Sword Masters with Lion Cloaks adding stealth for some protection from ranged attacks. These lovely models seriously need some paint. They’ll be in a unit of 10 unless I can find 5 more somewhere. They come in at 205 points.

Cavalry, Artillery, & Chariots

The Island of Blood Light Cavalry are in as good shape as the rest of the set, so there’s nothing to do but paint them. They’ll cost 135 points for all the goodies like bows and lances. My SIlver Helms, on the other hand, suffered from Warhammer 7th Ed. It was easy enough to throw a character in alongside 6 horsemen and call it a day. Thankfully Age of Fantasy keeps everything to the same frontage, so Heavy Cavalry units will come in 5 or 10 strong. As I have 6 painted and only needing minor repair out of 8 total, they’re going to function as a unit of 5 until I can find some extras. At 5 strong they cost 155 points. At 10 they’re 260.

Chariots are good fun, and Having 3 running around the battlefield rarely gets old. As you can see, they’re in quite different states of disrepair. They might be one of the first projects I work on, as long as I can find a proper chariot base for the second Lion Chariot. They come to 170 each for the Lions, and 150 for the Horse Chariot.

Finally we get to the artillery. I have 2 Bolt Throwers, one of which is modeled with extra shots and the other without. Taking one of each costs 85 and 55 points. They’re definitely useful and small enough, so they might find the painting table after the chariots are fixed.

Conclusion: I’ve Got My Work Cut Out For Me

That was a lot to cover, but I’m glad I went through the effort of sorting them out. With every unit on the table filled out, I’ve got myself over 3,000 points for Age of Fantasy: Regiments. Now I’ve got a goal to hopefully have everything done and painted by the time restrictions are lifted and everyone is vaccinated. Time to get to work!

Warhammer Rising Part 1: A Classic High Elf Build for One Page Rules

We haven’t really talked very much about tabletop miniature content on Let’s Talk About Wargames, but we really should be. I started my wargaming career as a bright eyed youngster along two paths. One was dreamily watching Shogun: Total War‘s armies march about at 20FPS on the family Windows 98. The other was staring into the display cabinets at the local Games Workshop.

Tabletop wargaming is every bit as integral to the wider hobby as the other avenues of play, but the amount of time, effort, space, and money requried to make good on it might put some interested players off of the whole thing.

Getting Started with Tabletop Wargames?

Luckily there are some individuals and groups putting in the effort to make tabletop gaming more accessible. I’d particularly like to shout out the following:

Little Wars TV have been working to make historical tabletop wargaming easy to dive into with tutorial builds, a free ‘Dark Ages’ skirmish ruleset, and a series of excellent battle reports with historical commentary.

One Page Rules offers a myriad of fantasy and science fiction rulesets that fit on a single page, are easy to play, and remain model-agnostic. (Full Disclosure- I have been previously commissioned to write Narrative campaigns for OPR. Something I was eager to do because I love the system so much)

A Horror Unearthed: Unpainted Minis!

My wife and I recently helped my parents clean up their storage space and made a troubling discovery. Our Warhammer miniatures, which we had put away at the end of Undergrad and were believed lost to time and space, were just hanging out this whole time down in the basement.

Sacha’s army of Nurgle Chaos Warriors was almost perfectly intact and as beautifully painted as I remembered. My Orcs and Goblins were in a similar state, though less well done and less complete (there are always more goblins to paint).

Beneath them both, however, were the remnants of my high school High Elf army. Realizing that we don’t already have enough projects on the go (we do) Sacha and I decided that we were going to work on building, repairing, and painting this army to conform to One Page Rules’ Age of Fantasy: Regiments, which for my money is the best fantasy miniature game modeled after the classic Warhammer Fantasy.

High Elves Always Have a Plan

So how to go about doing it? Well first things first, we need to figure out exactly what we have as it lines up with Age of Fantasy: Regiments. From there we’ll need to know what models we need to acquire or remove to create properly sized units.

Then we need to get building and fixing. A lot of damage happened to these poor guys as they languished in boxes. I’m primarily the builder here, and Sacha is the excellent painter. Once we know what is what, it’s time to go through and glue, pin, greens tuff, and magnetize everybody. I’ll probably post some mini tutorials on these topics as I tackle them, with pictures.

The last step, once everyone is put together, is painting them up. Sacha has taken on the task of painting the monsters, heroes, and other big flashy stuff, and I’m going to be handling the rank and file.

More to Come: Historical and Fantasy Tabletop Game Coverage

As we work through this project, I’ll be posting regular updates and starting to trickle out more content related to tabletop miniature wargames, both historical, fantasy, and sci-fi. There’s a lot to cover but I’m a big fan (and more importantly a glutton for punishment.)

See you along the way!

Joe