I have to admit, this isn't my original idea but comes from a picture post on Bob Cordery's blog as originally done by David Crook. And despite the cotent of the last few posts (and this one) I do game with toy soldiers sometimes honest...
A set of imitation-Jenga tiles from Argos. Normally £4.99 but when I picked them up this evening there was a "2 puzzles for £8" offer on so I got two and so only paid £4 each.
OK, so what's this for? Basically these are to knock up a set of two differently coloured armies for home gaming where I don't have the space for full-on figures, and for map-type games the aesthetic of which owes a lot to the "red army/blue army" lead blocks of the original C19th Kriegsspiel.
Each block is 75mm x 25mm x 15mm and each set has 51 of the things. One of them is stamped/branded with a manufacturer identifier but it should be easy to paint the other side or just chuck that one. There's absolutely no way I'm going to use expensive model paint on these, so a shopping expedition for cheapo craft acrylic will be needed.
My current plan is for one block to represent an infantry "unit" where what exactly that unit represents (company, battalion, brigade, division etc.) depends upon the scale of the game and the ruleset being used. Cavalry will be two glued together for a 75mm x 50mm footprint, probably painted in two colours (red and white, blue and white) with a diagonal join in the colours - i.e. the traditional cavalry map symbol.
Artillery probably one block with two little cannon symbols drawn on with black marker pen. Skirmishers from two blocks acting in tandem (150mm x 25mm) with the usual "dot" skirmish line map symbol.
Generals are a bit trickier, but maybe a block sawn in half (if the razor saw will take it) with a flag, or perhaps bite the bullet and go for proper 15mm figures.
It strikes me that I could play Black Powder using these blocks. Normally, lacking the epic-sized wargames tables that the Perrys have and the large 20-30 strong 28mm units that they use, we scale down. For our 15mm ACW, we convert inches to centimetres and play with a unit frontage of three 40mm bases. These means that the unit is 120mm wide and the basic 12" move gets taken down to 120mm. I've also seen ACW done with units 150mm wide and half-inches used so that a basic move becomes 6" which is near enough 150mm as makes no difference. Over in Darkest Nottingham, it appears that the authors use units about 240-250mm or wider for a 12" move.
So, it appears that when scaling BP down if you ensure that you are roughly in the ballpark of one move ≈ one infantry frontage you are OK. Happily 75mm is half the 150mm/half-inch scaling mentioned above. In other words, I could adopt a "quarter-inch" scale where all measurements are measured in inches but at 25% of their original value and get away with it. A simple 2'x3' area on the dining table then becomes the equivalent of 8'x12' "Perry/Priestley/Johnson/Stallard" scale.