You may think that 2mm is a ridiculous scale. In this scale, a man is 2mm tall. You may think that figures would be little more than blobs of lead, and that distinguishing one unit from another at that scale would require a microscope. In fact, the scale has its advantages, and although I do not use it much, I am on this page going to try to sell the idea of 2mm scale to you.

All the figures you see on this page were supplied to me by Irregular Miniatures.

2mm scale elephants, with battery for scale.

Here you see some rather cute 2mm scale elephants. Tradition demands that I photograph these next to a coin, but experience has told me that the international nature of the internet means that coins are not always very helpful. Instead, I have used the head of an AA size battery. Typically, you need two of these to power a Walkman. The figures are small, but they are quite clearly elephants.

Line of 2mm scale legionaries.

A friend was incredulous when I told him of my 2mm figures, and he bet me fifty pence that it would be impossible to paint belts and designs on the banners of such tiny objects. I won my money. Here you see a block of Roman legionaries, complete with banner that quite clearly says "SPQR" on it. True, actual Romans didn't go into battle with such banners, but I've read plenty of Asterix books, and liked the idea, and the challenge. I wrote the letters on with a technical drawing pen.

2mm legionaries, with painted belts.

The same figures, from behind. The actual technique for painting the belts was to undercoat the figures brown (I almost never use black) and to paint the armour either side of the belts a dark silver, leaving the undercoat showing for the belts and baldrics.

2mm hoplites, in close up.

These hoplites were a particularly good moulding to show the way that a blobby mass in close up looks quite effective from further away. The spear points are fat blobs painted silver, and the spears held over-arm are just suggested by the occasional horizontal line.

2mm hoplites, wider shot

From further away, you see the effect a fair bit better. On the left is a mounted commander, in the middle are four blocks of hoplites, twenty men to a base, and in front is a skirmish screen (slightly out of focus).

2mm light cavalry, on ruler.

The gradations you see on the ruler are in millimetres in front and tenths of an inch behind. These are light cavalry. The horses include one that is a very reddish brown. On a larger figure this colour would look silly, but outlandish colours suit this scale. You need to pick strongly contrasting colours in order to pick out details and distinguish one figure from the next.

2mm pike block.

This is a model of a pike block. The mass in the middle of the model represents the raised pikes, and around the edge you see the men. The block is five ranks deep, and you can see a suggestion of men and pikes within the block, which is very effective from a distance. Here I have used black as an undercoat. The spear points (silver) and shafts (light brown) are not painted on, nor dry-brushed on, but something in between - sort of "moist brushing".

2mm scale pikes, life size.

On your screen you should see now the same pike block, but at something like life-size. The resolution of your screen will not allow you to see much detail. Interestingly, I have had to increase the contrast of the photograph to make it look right. Part of what makes this interesting is that when painting smaller figures, you will find that a greater degree of contrast is helpful. Choosing subtly varying shades is a bit of a waste of time.

2mm camels

What are these? You should be able to tell. They are camels, with riders, of course. I think that the points of light are not glinting bare metal, but sunlight bouncing off glossy varnish. The figures have a thin coat of matt varnish on top, but this wears off with handling.

2mm scale elephants, in battle.

Here we see those elephants we saw earlier, in battle.

2mm cataphracts and more pikes.

Cataphracts - fully armoured riders and horses, drawn up for battle in front of smaller pike blocks. I think that these pike blocks were sculpted with the early musketry period in mind, but I'm using them here as ancient period pikes. Note that the banners make the units distinguishable, as well as the uniforms.

In the background, you can see some 2mm scale forests. Though they look quite good, I do not much rate these as wargaming terrain, as troops have to stand on them rather than in them.

I think you'll agree that from these photographs I have proven the case that units can be distinguished, and so battles may be fought. One use for this scale is battle during rail journeys. A battle can be played on a small table, using a sheet of A4 paper as a battlefield, with the terrain drawn on. Another use I have for these figures is alongside my tiny (about 15mm long) trireme figures (ancient Greek galleys). They are not quite in scale with the triremes, but do not look silly next to them. They allow me to play games in which ships have to land troops to capture islands, ports, or whatever. I don't know how long my eyesight will be good enough to paint any more of these figures, mind.