Tuesday, 4 February 2014
Seems like Christmas was about ten minutes ago and now we’ve got half term looming. I know time seems to telescope as you get older, but it’s been an odd year so far. I’m sure the poor sods in the flooded areas of the UK, and especially the Somerset Levels, don’t think time’s gone quickly and there a probably a few in Central Europe and America too who wish the year would speed up a bit. On to wargaming though as that’s what you’ve come to read about (I think).
What seems to me to be a significant part of the blogosphere I frequent is in a painting frenzy as a result of the Painting Challenge and the output (and quality) is disturbing to an idle sod like me. However, I’ve been slowly knocking figures out as times permitted and I’m quietly plodding along. Just sent off the final batch of figures for the Bloggers for Charity game (see above right) which should be at some of the shows this year crewed by a team of stalwarts. I did a couple of sets, so I remembered to click off a few (bloody awful) shots of the final batch before they went off to James Brewerton for basing – I’m sure they won’t mind. They’re ‘Galloping Major’ American (New York) Provincials for the FIW. There’s not too much uniform information on them and what there is is conflicting, so their uniforms are a ‘best guess’ with the core command in the more formal dark green and the rest in more of a green drab shade (copied from the re-enactor photos):
As I understand it, the figures used in the demo game will be auctioned off at the end of the season, so keep your eye out for some cracking little figures which have been put together – the bulk were generously donated by AW Miniatures. I also did some British regulars and the colours for this unit were given to me by Grahame Black of GMBDesigns, so thanks to him too.
Any of you who know me (that narrows it down a bit!) will be familiar with my space/time issues. Over Christmas I was ruminating over this and came up with a pretty damn’ good idea. I’m a fan of Louis XIV’s wars (hangover from school) and I’ve got the makings of a WSS French army in the offing. They’re virtually all Ebor 28mm figures which take time to paint and space to use and I’ve for lots of stuff to plough my way through in any case. While staring at the TV watching one of those interminable Christmas ‘specials’ I had a small epiphany. It didn’t actually stain anything, but it did set me along a track to a solution for one period: I are going to do a couple of Nine Years’ War armies in 10mm
Now, although I’m a confirmed 28mm man (with leanings towards 15mm – on the verge of collapse really) I’m a fan of teeny (10mm) figures because I particularly like the Pendraken and Kallistra sculpts and also some of the teeny weeny (6mm) figures (because, although I think most of the sculpts are just budgie grit (stand fast Bacchus/Heroics and GHQ/CinC), they have definite applications such as late C19th and WWII – particularly the North Africa campaign). The 10mm approach provides super quick painting, nice figures and small playing area.
I’ve got some reservations with what I call small scale figures (that’ll probably include 28mm one day!) in that they’re fast approaching the situation when you might as well be using counters on a map. Those really small, sub 6mm ranges just bemuse me. So, figure size is important to me because I like toy soldiers and tanks (and ships, but don’t tell Mal Wright!) and I certainly like to see them. Like all gamers, I’m biased and I know what I want a game to look like but this is moderated by considerations of available space and time. We’re mostly walking contradictions, so I’ll volunteer as an example.
I like figures
I’m a reasonable painter
I have an eye for colour
I can model to a reasonable standard
I have some disposable income after home, family, mistress, gambling, drink and drugs
I have access to a 10’x6’ or 12’x5’ board
Time restrictions (do you know how little R&R a house elf gets?)
Space restrictions (unless for a specific exercise)
No fixed abode for a painting table
I’m easily distracted
I like books
I like films
I spend too much time thinking (you’d never guess though)
This is supposed to be recreation, not time as a galley slave
(Typically, there are more negatives than positives.)
This simple comparison is further complicated by my view of what I want to represent and how I’d prefer to do it. I’ve got my evolved preferences: WWII ought to be 6mm or skirmish; Napoleonics really ought to be grand tactical in 6mm, but 15mm is my comfort zone; I’d rather paint 28mm, but 15mm is less effort (and often better sculpts) and so it goes. There’s also the hidden governor in that I eschew clubs nowadays so I haven’t got the discipline of club mores to impose their demands. So, like a little wargaming butterfly (you think?), I can go where my fancy takes me. This is not a recommended approach.
Anyway, I think where I started a while ago was to say that 10mm seems to be a quick fix for my 9YW aspirations and my desire for more frequent games. The Pendraken figures are nice, quick to get on the table (I hope!) and good value. Overall, the scheme will suit my aesthetic requirements and, if I get the bug, it can easily be expanded to include bigger armies and bigger games with minimal outlay and effort. Of course, I’ve got to paint and base the little buggers yet.
However, ignore all that because I’ve got some ACW zouaves to paint and plenty of ECW stuff on the blocks. It never ends . . . .