Sunday, 29 September 2019

Thirty Years War 6mm basing: Swedish Pike+shot

A test base of Swedish Pike+shot sitting temporarily
on Blu-Tac. Command strip forms second row of
the pikes.
I've been looking forward to receiving my first orders of Baccus 6mm figures for the Tilly's Very Bad Day Thirty Years War project, not least because I wanted to see how many figures I'd actually end up putting on a 60mm x 30mm base.

But firstly let me say that the Baccus figures are very nice and remarkably well detailed for their scale. I'm no fan of cast pikes, however, and hope that enough layers of paint and varnish will provide a little protection for them against floppy spaghetti syndrome.

First up to consider, and most importantly, were the Pike+shot units. As my friend Ian pointed out, it's good to have the pikes looking really solid and I can't see that being achieved without having them at least four deep and roughly square. (There's enough room to have five ranks but that would probably an unnecessary extravagance.)

A slightly more aerial view. For the Swedes, some figures
in Monmouth caps will be mixed in.
Historically ensigns were placed somewhere behind the front ranks. With four ranks of figures, I can have the command strip with the ensigns as the second rank.

There isn't enough room to have any supernumeries standing outside the ranks. In theory these could look good, but I think you would need vastly more figures in rank to prevent the extra figures from over-balancing them.


  1. That looks exactly spot on. I would share your concern about cast on pikes. I wonder at this scale if you would get away with cutting them down, running a dremel down the front of the figure and then gluing in a wire pike.

    It sounds a lot of work and perhaps only necessary if those you game with are not careful.

    1. Yup, just too much work and probably too difficult in 6mm. But I might attempt it to replace any breakages. It's surprising how a few sharp points gain the respect of fellow gamers!

  2. Richard,

    Neil Graber here (using wife's id). Would like to say hello - please email me at


  3. For Swedish (rather than German/other mercenaries in Swedish service) I would be tempted to drop the front rank of shot to better represent the typical formation they used.

    1. Hi Tamsin

      Thanks for that suggestion which is an interesting idea. However, I would prefer to put the same number of figures on Swedish and non-Swedish bases as they represent the same strength in real men.

      I am actually planning to distinguish pike-and-shot units NOT in Swedish service by giving them a higher proportion of pikes. They will also sport more armour. I'll be featuring these in my next post.

      The Swedes used shallower formations but these were still usually six ranks deep unless closed up to fire salvos, but the Swedes didn't always do that nor did they have a monopoly on the practice.

      In any event these depictions are just game tokens suggestive of what they represent, and it's just not possible to depict a brigade realistically with wargame figures of this size. Had I gone ahead with my original intention if using 2mm blocks, things would be a little different (but not entirely satisfactory).

      As regards German Foot in Swedish service (as opposed to allied German Foot) I am assuming they followed Swedish practice and were to all intents and purposes units of the Swedish army despite their different ethnic origin. This is in contrast to Horse of German origin who would have been Cuirassiers and Arquebusiers rather than Swedish-style Horsemen.