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Starter Army

Updated: Aug 14, 2023

Gamers often buy figures and vehicles and then wonder what ruleset to use with them. This could get the cart before the horse since the rules may best suit a certain scale or "basing" (single figures or units of several figures on a stand). You can use single figures or multi-figure stands for the three World War II rulesets we sell.

An important consideration is if other wargamers in your area have already started collecting a certain scale. You should consider whether they'd like you to fill out a particular nation's army for local games.

Multi-figure stands

For small scales, 3mm-12mm, one would find it easier to have multi-figure stands. Tractics has Team Fire rules. Each squad of about ten soldiers has two teams. One need not put exactly ten figures on the two stands. It's more important to distinguish between the rifle-only and Light Machinegun teams. Usually, the latter figures are lying down, so they are easy to identify. The following quote comes from Mike Reese:

If going with multi-figure bases, it is common for each squad (9-12 soldiers) to be split into two or three team stands: typically 4-5 riflemen, including the squad leader with an SMG or rifle on one team base, and 3-4 figures on the other team base with a light machine gun or automatic rifle (All LMG teams including a BAR team have two men, a gunner, and loader. MG-34 or 42 for Germans, BAR for US Army or Bren Gun for the British or the Russians a DP-27 LMG). Russians may have a 2 team squad of four men, each armed with SMG.
US Army, US Marines, US Paratroops, and German Paratroop or Pioneer squads have three 4-man teams (German Para and Pioneer: one Rifle team and two LMG teams with two riflemen and two MG34 or 42. For US Paras, one team is an LMG team plus two riflemen) all others two 4-5 man teams. German Panzergrenadier squads have two teams: a Leader team with the squad leader (SMG), two riflemen, a 2-man LMG, and a 2-man LMG team plus two riflemen.
Note: Russians can have one 3-man LMG stand and a Rifle stand of 6-7 figures. Russian squads move as two teams, with each stand touching. All other nationalities' squads can move in teams with normal distances per the rules between stands.

Click this link for more detailed Orders Of Battle.

Assuming you need help with choosing an army figure scale*, allow me to suggest four possibilities:

  1. If you are a great modeler with a big table (4x8', 5x9', or even larger is better), 20mm is a good choice.

  2. If your model skills are modest, on a budget, or have a smaller table (3x5 or 4x6'), 10mm or 12mm is good.

  3. If you fall somewhere between #1 & #2, 15mm is a popular scale and a good compromise.

  4. Micro-armor, 6mm, is another option for those tight on space. GHQ is a popular option.

15mm & 20mm

Many companies have 15mm or 20mm, like Plastic Soldier Co., an English brand from companies like Hobby Bunker. I have heard of others like Military Model Depot in Michigan.

10mm & 12mm

Victrix's 12mm World War II Starter Package is a great starting point. You get many infantry figures, support weapons, and four 1944 tanks for the British and Germans, plus some decals! You will likely want to buy more tanks, with six vehicles to a box in a few other types. There are some nice reviews of Victrix minis on Goonhammer Infantry and tanks here.

The problem with Victrix is that their variety of types is limited. So, I suggest filling in with Pendraken's 10mm line (click for UK, US). You might ask, "Won't the 12mm be 20% larger than the 10mm?" And maybe not quite. Pendraken says their line is 1:150 scale. Victrix may be 1:144. But remember, wargame companies' scale descriptions are usually not quite accurate! You can try a small order to compare. Matching the height precisely is unimportant, but the "look and feel" of how the figures compare is a matter of taste.

Other options for filling out your vehicle and gun types are 12mm from Anschluss or Magister Militum. I suggest 3D printing services: Chris Parker's Day of Battle POD sells 3-packs of vehicles; Shapeways mostly has figures. Or, if you have a 3D printer, check out Wargaming 3D and their licensed printers.

Even though a bit smaller, N-scale (1:160) model railroad terrain should work well enough.

More tips and recommendations

One can join a Facebook group for experienced recommendations. Search for groups like 6mm Wargaming (tiny scales), Historical Wargaming Miniatures (all scales), or Tractics. The group members are likely to give you great suggestions.

I will post other suggestions for getting started in WWII wargaming: Combat Rules and More Than Just The Armies.

*Scale can mean different things, so I wrote a Wargame Campaign blog post on the ground, representative, and unit scales.

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