Using miniatures with the Lock n Load Tactical
Lock ‘n Load Tactical has a wide range of maps and units available for players to create their own scenarios and situations. The rules can also be used to play games using miniatures and terrain to make your Lock ‘n Load Tactical games pop to life on your table. Al Davis has kindly offered to describe how he has built game boards to use with his collection of miniatures and the LnLT rules.
A little history
As a hobbyist building model tanks was a pleasure. My first set of terrain was plaster buildings using Linka molds and an O.D. army blanket. The miniatures were 1/72nd scale and I used a tape measure for firing and movement. Lichen was glued to a twig, then mounted on a base and that was a tree. If the twig keeps breaking it became a brush or a hedge. The army blanket then was hexed out. With a Tee Square, 60 degree 3” hexes were laid out with a pencil and the hex was highlighted with a magic marker.
Later I switched to Roco 1/87th scale models to play on a new 2.5 hex system laid out on sheets of 1” thick Styrofoam boards. It worked well and I had over 30 boards made. After selling that set the next scale I used was 1/200 Skywave miniatures to play on a 3” hex set. Each tile was hand crafted on a piece of 1/8″ wood veneer with interlocking hex connectors. That set is now in Australia.
A table for Lock ‘n Load Tactical
I created my new system for Lock ‘n Load Tactical using sheets of painted sheet metal and drew a 4’ hex grid. Each sheet is sheared off to a few inches over the size of a map (42” x 50”). Several stock maps were taken to the local print shop and printed out so that each hex was 3.85” across the flat.
With your printed map you have two choices. You can either roll out the map, add some terrain and miniatures, and starting playing. The last time I printed a map it cost about $35 US. Alternatively, you could take the printed map and cut out the terrain hexes (woods, buildings, roads etc) and then glue those to 4″ metal hexes.
Printing out the maps and cutting them into hexes will save you money when you are creating your gaming table. Careful selection of maps to print should give you a set of hexes that can be used to create almost any map from Lock ‘n Load Tactical. For my table, I added a thin magnetic strip to the edges to make the hexes adhere better. If you print from multiple maps you may get duplicate hex references (the identifying numbers on each hex) on your table. These can be easily removed though if you want.
During gameplay, LOS is checked on the printed Lock ‘n Load Tactical map. When moving models on the table a bit of grace is allowed as a person can’t see all the possible lines of fire in the same way you can on the flat maps. We allow some back-tracking while enemy units move. Also be aware that your own units can ‘hide’ behind a building or a clump of terrain and be forgotten about during the game. I’ve played some games and found units that sat out the entire battle carefully nestled behind some woods.
I would be remiss not to mention the LnL X-maps. The hexes are 1 3/8 “across the flat. With a minimal investment in Micro Armor, a few Monopoly hotels (Swap meets, yard sales and thrift stores) a bag of Lichen and Elmer’s glue a very good set of miniature terrain could be made.
The minis are I use are 15mm scale. Houses and large building are 3D printed. The 15mm paper buildings I have collected have mostly been replaced with printed ones. The chimneys have a magnet on top. A small colored metal disc (one side red the other black) is placed to show what type of construction the building is. The trees are resin cast for the most part with rare earth magnets in the base. This keeps the trees from becoming Ents and moving around the table. One tree on a base is light woods, three trees on a base represents heavy woods. Stores with plastic plants, such as a pet store, make a great resource for brush and low crops.
You may now be wondering how to place counters on the bases that have infantry. I follow the details in the art work of the game and so MMC have 2 figures on a base and and Half Squads and SMC have one figure. Being a retired sheet metal worker all the bases are sheet metal bent a 45 degree angle to hold the counters. If you have access to a 3D printer you could also print out stands for the infantry. All counters have 2 rare earth magnets under the counter art work on a blank counter.
The pictures above show how to reduce a MMC to a Half Squad with a LMG. All INF and S/W have a rare earth magnet to quickly change from one type to another. The overview picture shows the 3.85″ paper hexes placed inside the hex grid on the sheet metal.
Why did I make five different sets? With each set improvements were made as I learned more about creating terrain. From using a tape measure and a protractor to determine movement, hexes worked out better. From cloth maps which included chewed up corners from the mice to Styrofoam maps pre-made to match the maps made setup easier. From Styrofoam to single tiles with terrain and looked more like a train set up. Train shops are great places for terrain. From tiles to interlocking tile holders made the map one large piece. When my game room was built bigger tiles were in order as I had more space. The switch was made from 3” to 4” and 1/200 to 15mm miniatures. The larger scale also helped with failing eyesight.
One of the issues with converting board games to miniatures is not only the scale, but the way the terrain on the map is scaled to the figures. 15mm miniatures are created at a 1/100 scale. Each hex in Lock ‘n Load Tactical is 50 meters or 54.68 yards. A Panther tank without gun is 6.87 meters, a 15mm Panther is 65mm and the 4” hex is 101.6 mm. So the Panther is slightly over half the size of the hex which means that 15mm miniatures are giants on 4” hexes.
I like to build game tables that are pleasing to the eye and let some scale differences to slide by. A person needs to see what looks right to their eye and what works best with your game room set up. When I build my buildings an infantry figure is measured and that will determine the height of the building without a roof. This probably isn’t accurate in terms of scale but it is what I think looks best and that is really the aim. To create a gaming table that looks good to you and provides you with a fun gaming experience.