15mm French Force for 1940. All miniatures are by Peter Pig and Skytrex | Per at Roll a One
As promised, this is our final installment of our foray into the France 1940 campaign and how to game it out on the tabletop. This time, we’ll be discussing the two more popular scales, 15mm and 6mm. These scales are usually used for larger engagements, such as battalion and above, but 15mm can also be a cost-effective option for skirmish gaming as well.
This won’t be an exhaustive list, as there’s a ton of both manufacturers out there, but here are the more prolific manufacturers in both scales to give you a starting point for this campaign.
The 15mm market has, to put it mildly, a lot to choose from. In the UK, you have Peter Pig, whose World War II offerings in their Range 8 is simply prolific. They have almost all the armies you need, including German, British, French, and Dutch (sorry, no Belgians). That said, I will more than attest to the sculpting quality and personality of Peter Pig’s offerings, and they have a nice range of armor and artillery to fill out your needs for all of the listed armies. Typically, the figures are priced at 3.50 GBP, which translates to about $5 a pack for eight figures. Vehicles and guns cost more, but I haven’t seen them priced more than 6-7 GBP or $10 (and that’s usually for the late war monsters). Trust me. This is a bargain for figures that are well-sculpted, have personality, and come in a complete range, and are true 15mm! (Some ranges suffer from what is called “scale creep” where their 15mm is more like 18mm!) If you start and end with Peter Pig, you can’t go wrong.
More 15mm Peter Pig, this time, some of their German offerings | Per at Roll a One
Other 15mm options are just as diverse but be careful. As I said, scale creep is an issue, and not all 15mm are compatible with one another. Old Glory Miniatures offers some British, French, and Germans for the period, and they’re approximately the same size as Peter Pig, but I tend to prefer the former as I find Old Glory figures a lot of work cleaning up. But you get a lot for your money. Fifty figure packs for $18 gets you a ton of miniatures, and if you’re doing, say, Command Decision, Fistful of TOWs III, or Battlefront, you’re going to need them. And tanks and guns are the same, with the vehicles being sold in packs of three and the guns in six, with the crews sold separately. In a companion line, True North, you can find those Belgians and Dutch, as well as additional items for your French and German armies (I used to own some of their Hungarians, and they were a good, serviceable sculpt).
Images of the Old Glory German Riflemen pack | Old Glory Miniatures Website
There are also Essex Miniatures in the UK, which have a small range covering the British, French, and Germans. I’ve not seen any for myself, but the sculpts look serviceable and would probably fit in well with Peter Pig. That said, they’re a touch more expensive than Peter Pig’s offerings and are only infantry figures. No guns or armor to speak of.
Then, there’s the huge elephant in the room. I’m speaking of Battlefront/Flames of War. Now, I have mixed feelings about Battlefront and its products. Heck, I use some of them from time to time, mostly their paints and painting books. But I will say this about their 15mm. It’s chunkier than Peter Pig and a hair taller. Now if you put them in separate units well away from each other on a table, you should be ok, but it will be noticed if you mix them. That said, the line does carry British, Germans, and French. You’ll just have to figure out which Germans and British packs work well for 1940.
Some of those Battlefront French I mentioned | All Miniatures Great and Small Blog
There’s a ton of plastic options out there for your vehicle options, such as Zvezda, and PSC, though I would say Zvezda probably has more of the early war options than PSC does. However, these are more oriented towards the Eastern Front.
6mm or Micro Armor used to be the province of either mid- to late-World War II or “Soviet Sunday Drives to the Rhine” aka a Third World War that never happened (thankfully), with the occasional foray into Arab Israeli wars. That’s changed in recent years, and I am happy to say we’ve seen quite a few items for 1940 in 6mm hit the tables. I recommend this blog I found for those doing the campaign in 6mm. It’s got a lot of helpful hints and ideas! It’s even got an associated YouTube channel, and he’s got his own rules set too? Pretty cool.
The grandaddy of 6mm, GHQ, has a nice selection of British, French, and Germans for 1940. While they lack Belgians and Dutch, you can go one of two routes, either a) Find them from another manufacturer, or b) improvise. The infantry at this scale is so small that a simple paint job will make Romanians look like Dutch, and the French look like Belgians. GHQ is a bit pricy at almost $12 for a pack of (usually) five models, but you get some nice sculpts.
There are also quite a few options from the UK, with Adler Miniatures having a small but very affordable infantry line, and of course, Scotia and Heroics and Ros with their offerings. Also, they have dedicated lines of Belgians for the period, but sadly, no infantry to go with it.
6mm Char B1 Heavy Tank | GHQ website.
I hope this article series has been helpful and is a launching point to get you started in perhaps gaming out the events of 1940. Perhaps you could succeed where the Allies failed? In any case, remember the cardinal rule of wargaming: Have Fun!
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(This article is credited to Jason Weiser. Jason is a long-time wargamer with published works in the Journal of the Society of Twentieth Century Wargamers; Miniature Wargames Magazine; and Wargames, Strategy, and Soldier.)