Some Miniature Math

Right now, I’m in the middle of building a helipad out of sci-fi Hirst Arts bricks.  It’s slow going, but I’ll post some WIP soon.

In the meantime, I picked up Ancient and Medieval Wargaming by Neil Thomas at Half Price Books recently (a gem of a find for that store).  I like his rules for their simplicity and ease of instruction, but I began to wonder what it would take to build a AMW army.  So, as a bit of an intellectual exercise, a little “Miniature Math.”

Let’s build a Hundred Years War miniature army (in theory).  In AMW, that means:

3 Units of Men at Arms: 3 units * 4 bases * 4 minis/base = 48 minis

3 Units of Archers: 3*4*4=48 minis

1 Unit of Billmen: 1*4*4=16 minis

I Unit of Hobilars: 1*3*4=12 minis

That’s a total of 124 miniatures: 112 infantry and 12 cavalry.  In terms of monetary cost, I’m going to see about doing it three ways: Games Workshop (the Bretonnian line), Old Glory Miniatures, and Zvezda plastics.  Why just these three?  Because I’m sure that you could buy them all from Wargames Foundry and drop $200 on the army, but for a game that a) I haven’t played before, and b) don’t have an opponent, I’m not willing to drop that kind of cash on it.  So, three ways of buying it, broken down by company:

Games Workshop (Bretonnians)

48 Men at Arms could be made with five of their “Empire State Troops” box sets: 5*$22=$110

48 Archers could be made with three of their “Peasant Archers” box sets: 3*$35=105

16 Billmen could be made with one of the “Men at Arms” box set: $35

12 Hobilars could be made with two of the “Knights of the Realm” box sets (giving your four extra): 2*$35=$70

Total Cost: $320  Ouch.  That’s three Nintendo DS Lites.  And the Men At Arms don’t even look right.  

Old Glory Miniatures

The one unit of billmen is causing me trouble, and I may consider just going with two units of Hobilars instead.  Old Glory sells the infantryy minis in units of 30–not good if I need 48.

48 Men at arms could be bags of 30 Dismounted Men at Arms: 2*$30=$60

48 Archers could be two bags of 30 English Longbow: 2*$30=$60

24 Hobilars require three bags of 10 Knights: 3*$35=$105

Total Cost: $225.  That’s two DS’s, which at least is movement in the right direction…

Zvezda Plastics

Admittedly a smaller scale, but let’s see how the cost works out.

One box of the English Knights gets you 12 Knights and 21 Dismounted Knights: $15

One box of the English Infantry gets you 15 archers, 9 Billmen, 12 Men at Arms and 3 Command figures.  I’ll get four of them to give me 45 archers (plus three command for the 48), 36 Billmen, and 48 Men at Arms (with another 9 Command figures): cost 4*$10=$40.

It’s an odd arrangment, but I end up spending $55.   I know that painting soft plastic is difficult and I’ve sacrificed detail, but I’d be paying a quarter of what I’d pay for Old Glory, plus get roughly the figures I need.  Heck, I could buy a French army for them to battle and still come out one DS ahead.


  1. I guess here’s the question: knowing that you may not get to play said army/game, is it more important for you to have a force or two you’ve built up cheaply so you’re ready if interest spikes and/or you can run an event at the FLGS, or would you rather paint/model figures that please you, and even if you don’t play with your dollies you’ve had fun putting the figs together and painting them?

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