Thursday, May 14, 2009

Rice again?


I know some of you following this blog are going to hate me for this.

I recently came across an old post on TMP regarding armies made from rice. That's right, you heard it! Rice! It got me thinking again. I would be cool to find a way to make this work. Not only from the viewpoint of how cheap and quick it is but also the massed look that can be achieved and the fact that no one is really doing it that well. So, although I have no room in my calendar with additional projects, I thought I would give it a little bash.

Starting now there is a new label in this blog called "Rice Armies". I will endeavour to add an update each week to this category and fully detail my journey on this project so others desiring to do the same can get the right information and contribute to how it turns out.

As usual feel free to add any comments or suggestions to these posts. I'm hoping a couple of you will come along with me on your own rice projects so we can all input ideas and suggestions and make something that inspires people all over.


To begin with I am going to work on Napoleonic French Infantry battalions as those are what I am most familiar with. Then if this works okay I may try building armies for the invasion of Russia in 1812 or AWI or ACW for all of them. He He.


After checking out a lot of different rice in the local grocery store, I settled on standard long grain rice. A majority of those in the packet are quite long and narrow thus almost resembling a fit man standing 6 foot tool at the attention pose. Well almost!


Basing is the first thing to work on. I decided to work with the basing in Empire V as the measurements are very historical and realistic in their calculations when compared to research I have done over the years. I decided I wanted to try to get the 3 ranks or 2 ranks with 1 or 2 bases per company to show the full workings of battalions and regiments in these periods. Working with the basing for 15mm figures from Empire should allow me to put 3 ranks of about 10 rice men on each base. This should look really good. All I have to do now is build one and see if this base is good or should be halved to allow for road column movement as 1 company wide columns on a road look strange.


A while back I looked at using balsawood sections to replicate battalions and companies for quick cheap armies to be able to game with without spending much time and money building massive armies. With the lack of detail on wood, I chose simple colour schemes to show differing nations and troops types. A little more detailed than simply blue for french and red for british and black for prussian and green for russian.

For French I chose medium blue top half with white bottom half for Line Infantry and medium blue bottom half for Light Infantry. I could also play around with red and yellow or green on top for the elite companies. This will be something to play around with as I go.

British would be red top half with medium grey bottom for Infantry while white bottoms for Guard Infantry and green bottoms for Scottish kilted Infantry.

Prussians would be a midnight blue top with light gray bottoms for Line Infantry, white bottoms for Reserve Infantry and blue and black top 3/4 with grey bottom 1/2 for Landwehr.

Obviously this system would need some work to cover cavalry and some minor regiments and formations that could be used without compromising other nations. Maybe a small letter or colour on the back to show the overall nation such as blue for french or red for british or so on.

Painting would be minute but being able to "build" a rank at a time would help this process be a quick and easy process that could be done en masse.


To build these ranks I thought I might find way to be able to glue rice side by side standing up in 1 rank at a time and then paint the ranks and then add the ranks to a base of 2 or 3 at a time.

This is basically my very 1st step. Can this be done easily to make the whole project quick and easy?


Cavalry using rice has always eluded me as to how this can be done. In my mind, I can picture placing 1 rice laying down painted brown with 1/2 a rice glued on top standing up. Strange looking horse though. Playing around with this then I came up with the idea of 1 rice glued laying down but 30 degrees up at one end. Another rice is placed on top of the bottom end of the 1st and is standing up but slightly leaning forward. Another thing I would have to try 1st before proceeding.


What about artillery? Here I thought of the idea to put 1 rice laying down perpendicular to the front with another rice laying down across it but slightly further back. Looking down it would look like a religious cross having a small section pointing forward but up and a larger section facing back and toward the ground. Then add a few upright rice around for the crew. Another model to test out before proceeding.


So to go any further, I need to:

1. Produce 1 rank of infantry rice ready to paint.
2. Produce a prototype cavalry model.
3. Produce a prototype artillery model.
4. Settle on a colour system for the whole project, not just 1 nation or type.
5. Build prototype units of each arm fully painted and based for review and comment.



OttoMunoz said...

ha it seems ridiculous and yet so interesting to try at the same time!

I mean one you make thousands of figs in 2mm rice grains!



Kenneth Van Pelt said...

Following with interest your rice army project.
I saw the TMP thread and now I am into hair roller armies.
I do have a nice horse idea. When I get photos of enough painted I will post on TMP in the rice thread.

Lions Den Wargame club.

David said...

How does the hair roller armies works. I cant imagine it.

Anonymous said...

Long Grain Rice! Feh! How unrealistic! Anyone who know anything about Napoleonics would use Basmati.

norm, the original rice army guy said...

Happened to come across this, really cool to see that someone else has also started building rice armies. Have you continued with this project? Would love to see some pictures of the finished army!

War Depot said...

No Norm.

I really struggled with how fiddly it all was and the horse and artillery were not real good so I moved back to my original 2mm lead idea and then while testing mass ideas, moved back to my original original 6mm armies but with 1:15 troop ratios instead of 1:60. They look really good. Take a look under the label "6mm".