Thursday, January 28, 2021

Brand New, Warlord "Epic" scale ACW minis

beautifully cast in a strong gray plastic

       When I picked up my copy of Wargames Illustrated from my local Brick&Mortar I found sealed in the bag a sprue of the new 13.5mm (?) size ACW minis from Warlord. I had heard of these and was interested in how a "block casting" of figures would appear in the flesh. Honestly I'm impressed, the figures are grouped together well, the casting and detail work is excellent and the idea of being able to crank out large number of troops in easy to handle blocks is very appealing. In effect they have reproduced in plastic the Paperboys cut-out soldiers (minus all that folding, gluing and scissors!)

        Frankly I'm puzzled, this is clearly the result of a lot of thought and work on the part of the sculptor and the casting company so why on God's earth would you make them in 13.5mm????? Warlord has gotten into a rut of making off-scale games but when you are bringing an innovative product into a VERY well established period the last thing that you want to be is the odd-man-out. This product won't penetrate the 18mm, 15mm, 12mm or 10mm markets; ACW is already over-served for sizes/scales. If the accompanying rules are a breakthrough players will just use existing armies. I can't see gamers pitching huge existing collections just on a whim because the minis are nice. 

        So this is a Hit and a Miss; a Hit on the quality and innovation and a Miss on trying to carve out some weird niche market in an already overcrowded scene.

the detail is superb, the troops are at close-order drill and look the part

the breakdown of parts for the cannon is brilliant

the casting is nearly perfection, no flash and I had to look carefully to see the mold-lines

even the back of the figures are crisply detailed

       If Warlord had brought these out in any established scale they would have had a breakthrough level concept. No more fiddling with basing hundreds of tiny figures, never again having to deal with the corner figures on base getting bent inward (and eventually snapping off) by clumsy-fingered friends, significantly lower cost-per-figure and a great-looking product. Once again Warlord's fetish for odd sizes/scales has taken something that could have been a real asset and turned it into a likeable but awkward anomaly.

         Very Nice, but unless you are just starting out and are going to be playing against another newby who is also starting from scratch this seems to be a dead-end.


  1. 13.5mm..very odd. Why not 20mm or so they would fit alongside 1/72nd?Or..15mm and save on plastic?
    Still, they look ok and I also like the way the guns are constructed.

    1. There is a lot to like here, but they won't mix well with 15mm and they tower over 10mm, they might go with the larger 12s. Warlord does have a "thing" for odd scales

    2. What you say is true, but that is also true for 6mm figures and 28mm. People will go with what they like, and if they like these figures enough, they will still buy them, even if they do not match what else they have.

      For that reason, I judge them by their appearance on the tabletop alone. Will they look good and reasonably be recognized as ACW figures, yes they certainly do and will.

      Are they 100% accurate, nope, not a bit. The hats are wrong, the musket positions are inconsistent and really the wrong pose, but they will rank up and, again, at a distance, those won't matter so much.

      The spokes of the cannon wheels are the most "off', but I really am not looking at that when pushing troops around the table.

      Were these for display purposes only, I'd probably pass. But then, I'd only buy 28mm or 54mm, for that.

      However, being able to play right out of the box, after easy assembly, has a lot going for it.

      Where I balk a little is the planned release of resin models to fill in the rest of the range. In these cases, I'll likely use Kallistra's miniature range.

  2. Except, there's really no expectation that someone with a large collection of 15mm will suddenly buy into Warlord's Epic Battles miniatures, either.

    While I do have some smallish amounts of 6mm, 10mm, and 28mm ACW figures, I'd never planned on creating large armies for them, but instead intended them for specific projects.

    Now, though, Warlord has caused me to invest in the army box, and I look forward to adding to that with a pair of brigade boxes, and then the additional units of zouaves, cavalry, and whatever else. I'm going to add to that with Kallistra's 12mm figures, where there remain gaps in the line.

    I think if these figures were much larger, their flaws (the various ahistorical nits that I will not pick here) would be more pronounced and the "buttons and cuffs" folks would have even more fodder to use against the figures.

    For a painted troops viewed from a table distance, they look good. 20 figures a base is a much better density (and weight!) than the 6-8 15mm figures that one might cram onto a base. So, there is certainly an appeal from the point of looking at a mass of troops.

    So, for myself and several friends that do have larger 15mm collections, we simply don't care about the scale difference and each of us plans on making purchases (I've already done so, as mentioned).

    Also, I am more apt to let my students handle these as part of an after school club, but would never let them touch the metal figures that I own.

    1. I do like the troop density that this portrays, real soldiers tried to maneuver in formations like that, and the larger headcount helps suspend the disbelief. Having seen photos of ACW soldiers in the field I don't put much stock in the "buttons and piping" crowd's arguments about the wrong jacket or hat. At two feet distance these will look superb. I have a few hundred 28mm ACW for skirmish games, and my friend has around 10K 15mm for larger games, so I don't see either of us buying into this product line at all. My greatest warning would be that you should grab all the items that you want right away; Warlord has had a habit of slow resupply/project abandonment in the past. If I was starting from scratch I would certainly consider this product.

    2. I've a few thousand 6mm figures, and about 200 in 28mm. I traded or sold all of my 15mm, during the 2008 recession. I then bought Kallistra's 10/12mm, but never finished that project, but now I probably will use them with Warlord's Epic Battles.

      I've got the army box pre-ordered, but if that is all I ever get from them, I am fine with that, although I plan to purchase more. The Kallistra will work with these just fine and the number of figures from the army box will be a good-sized pair of armies.

  3. They really do look quite nice, but I also think the choice to make them in an odd scale is an epic fail. In the end, only Warlord will really know how it works out.

  4. I do like the look of the troops being shoulder to shoulder. But I have enough 18mm ACW already that going to a different scale doesn’t tempt me much. 😀

  5. Smacking my head... Not another stupid scale. Why, as we know if these don't sell Warlord will been them sadly.