I have had a 3D printer hobbyist CAD design a new BB playing piece and a new DD playing piece.
The BB is based on the WW1 UK Iron Duke modified for appearance. It is, certainly, better looking than the original BB design. Additionally, I (we) used a depiction of a WW1 US 4 stacker DD to make a modified DD playing piece for A&A WW1. The rationale that the Sub replaces the need for a DD just doesn’t ‘cut it’ (make sense). Most of the colour filaments used to 3D print these units are a good match to the original playing piece colours. I will post pictures of these as I have assistance doing so.
Finding Good After-Market Pieces
If anybody knows of any other options, please add!
HBG produces a nice range of high-quality pieces in 1:72 scale. In some cases, you can even download house rules to use along with them. They are my first stop for custom pieces.
FMG produces a few unique sculpts, including a terrific set of high-quality units for Italy in the 1:72 scale. Their major products can be purchased via HBG, although most are currently out-of-stock. I’ve had trouble with the FMG website and have been unable to purchase anything direct.
TableTactics offers a good variety of expansion sets in 1:72 scale, although most aren’t up to the quality standards of either HBG or FMG. Some of their more interesting sets (the “Central Powers” variant for A&A) are out-of-stock. I’m also not a fan of the markers they use to denote infantry (stands topped by a particular weapon), but they do seem to have some unique sculpts for armor, and I have purchased the Italian and German sets. I think that TableTactics pieces are best if you’re looking for late-war and post-war additions to your games of Risk or A&A, in which case they offer some great stuff, albeit in a limited range of colors.
Shapeways has some great 3d-printed commanders, capital markers, and naval items for sale at good prices. You’ll have to paint them if you want any kind of color differentiation.
Other Games with Pieces that can be Repurposed
War! includes a large quantity of terrific, in-scale pieces from the 1800’s that can double as WW1 era, colonial, and neutral troops. The game also includes a number of moulded infrastructure counters, including ports, railroads, schools, and fortifications. The units come in sprues, and it is quite a process to get them out. Colors won’t be consistent with A&A.
Attack! has in-scale infantry, tanks, and aircraft that may suit for neutrals. The tanks are a good approximation of an inter-war model. A hard-to-find expansion adds naval units. Again, the units come in sprues. Obviously, colors won’t be consistent with A&A.
H�T makes some unpainted WW1 and WW2 infantry and cavalry in 1:72 scale. Partial assembly is required for certain pieces, but most can be clipped off the spruce and painted up, or else put directly into play. Colors won’t be consistent with A&A. Usually brown or grey.
Xeno Games produced low-quality A&A expansions. Some of their house rules are now incorporated into A&A. Their games usually give you many sets of sprues that provide a small helping each of the unit types that shipped with the original 1982 version of A&A. You also get one submarine pen and one factory per color. The colors vary wildly from muted wines to bright, tropical hues depending on which of the many Xeno Games sets you get but are inconsistent with those of the original game.
Tides of Iron I think that the infantry, which come in squads, can be repurposed. The vehicles are much too big. Some useful cardboard markets. Probably not worth the cost.
Memoir 44 offers infantry in about the right size, along with various cardboard chits that may be of interest. The artillery may also be to your standards, but the vehicles are probably just slightly too large for A&A scale.
The Attack! naval units are way too small. I use the subs as mini subs and the destroyers as coastal defense boats. The battleships are about the length of some A&A destroyers but wider. The aircraft carriers are about the same length and width as A&A destroyers. The Attack! carriers don’t even work as escort carriers. They have tiny bumps representing planes on them so you’ll never get an A&A plane to stay in place on the deck for long.
Otherwise spot on with everything else I’m aware of. Oh yeah. The Attack! red is close enough to work with the red Japanese units IMHO.
I want to get colored ships, but I don’t know of any viable alternatives to the (very expensive) Attack Expansion. Xeno Games stuff is also increasingly hard to find.
The consignment store at GenCon (which I attend annually) has a lot of old boardgames to rifle through, and last year I was lucky enough to find both World at War and Pacific at War there.
I have gone to Panzerschliffe and liked the result, but I don’t paint.
Couldn’t find the subs on Thegamecrafter.com.
I did purchase Eagle Games’s “Civilization” boardgame for the cavalry. Unfortunately, they are Industrial Age units. At best, they can be used as German or Austrian Uhlans.
I checked rolcogames.com and they have the same subs as the game crafter. Rolco says the subs are 1". I also recently ordered Risk 2042 from fairplaygames.com for $15 along with some other stuff. I want to try the hummers from the Risk 2042 set as armored cars. If you’re thinking about adding armored cars into your forces I’ll let you know how these work out for me.
PS the subs are on this page https://www.thegamecrafter.com/parts
Armored cars are tricky. I have some from HBG. If I remember correctly, the examples from Risk 2042 are small, but you may find them suitable.
The reason I say “tricky” is that, once you get past the WW1 era, armored cars don’t comprise enough of an independent fighting arm to justify appearing on most A&A maps. A&A simulates corps- and army-level maneuver. Occasionally, single-division corps, such as British and ANZAC units in the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia.
I used special rules that reflect the use of armored cars in a scouting role. They allow the attacker to re-roll one die during combat so long as they are present in the attacking or defending force. Up to three armored cars can be used in this manner during a single combat phase.
During the WW1 era, machine guns, artillery, and armored cars are significant enough to merit inclusion, I think, because there might be very few even at a divisional level.
I like your re roll idea. I think I’m going with scouting ahead/blitzing. If you don’t want to use a tank to blitz into a territory scout it with an armored car. Then mech inf and mech arty can follow through the “blitzed” territory and into the territory occupied by the armored car.
Have you thought about old Risk pieces for cavalry or are they from too far back in the timeline?
The pieces aren’t in the correct scale. The best options for cavalry that I’ve seen thus far are either the uhlan-looking pieces from Eagle Games’s old “Civilization” boardgame, or else the cavalry from War!: Imperialism, which are probably slightly too big.
I hear that HBG is actually making cavalry pieces.
The Eagle Games infantry tends to be 1/72 so it’s already a touch big for A&A. The infantry I use from Attack! is noticeably larger than the HO scale A&A grunts. The cavalry in War! is 1/72 as well. They would dwarf everything but the infantry. Imagine tanks sharing the battlefield with horses that can trample them.
Then again with the direction things are moving those cavalry might fit right in with any possible new editions. The pieces have been getting bigger.
I’m about to try out HaT infantry, which are 1:72. I thought AA infantry were in 1:72.
My first A&A game had 1/72 figures in it I bought from a hobby shop. The Japanese and Germans ran out of infantry a lot. That’s when I figured out A&A infantry must be on HO scale. That’s 1/87. I’ve never measured one to verify the scale. FCS. Now that I’m on it I’ll have to measure one and figure the scale. I’m OCD like that.
A Japanese infantry is 21 mm. 1776÷21=84.6 That makes him 1/85 scale technically speaking.
Here’s a link to the price guide for East & West. You can buy expansion armies in 4 of the 5 original A&A colors there. The pieces are the generic ones you find in Classic. They have added destroyers and nation specific AAA though.
I have opened my Airfix and find that, although the base/pedestal is shorter, the pieces are of a height with those produced by HBG. I’d feel comfortable using them on my board. My big concern is that the plastic is very soft, and some pieces so finely molded that you’re almost certainly looking at damage-in-storage, if not straight out of the box. They can also be a pain to cut cleanly from sprues, resulting in damaged to pieces during removal.
HaT pieces are in much harder plastic – so hard, it’s brittle. They are noticeably beefier than Airfix pieces in the same scale, but about as tall. I got a Serbian WW1 pack.
Waterloo 1815 miniatures in 1:72 scale are taller, also brittle, and beefier still, but are also acceptable. Sprues for special molds (e.g., machine gunners) are fiddly, creating risk of damage to pieces during clipping.