EXERT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)

"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."

-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Setting the scene

One of the curses of gaming in a fictional setting of my own devising is that I can't flip open a book to look up answers when a question crops up. I'm forced to exercise the little grey cells to work on a back story that will hang together, provide me with the sort of games I want to play, tell me what the troops look like and be consistent with past games and blog posts.   Luckily it turns out this mental work is also a joy as well as good for my mental health as the far boundary of middle age slowly creeps ever closer.

Having read enough to get excited about the visual and tactical possibilities of Boer War, GSW and East Africa, the Caucasus and the Mexican Revolution, I have continued to read until I have some sort of handle on the downsides of each as well as the scope of trying to do them all. Falling back on the Atlantica plans laid out a few years ago, it is now my job to figure out what I am willing to do in terms of painting, how many simultaneous campaigns I think I can handle or which I might want to delay to do in serial fashion and how to tie it in to past "history".

The slaughter of modern civilized warfare in Southern Atlantica.

Looking back at what I've done during the last 15 years and 5 years and how much of what was planned didn't get done, inclines me to a tighter focus than trying to do everything. The goal is to have unlimited gaming potential and armies which are table ready sooner while capable of having tidbits added later, almost to infinity. No problem.

South of the mountains we find wars between 2 equivalent, modern, settled countries of Oberhilse and Faraway which puts things on a North American if not European footing. I see no reason that cannot continue into the 20th Century. North of the mountains we have a patchwork including a relatively advanced "native" state, which has yet to appear directly, and a mix of various native and colonial tribes and states which have been involved in various games. My initial instinct was to fight 3 wars, a Boer like war against Oerberg, an Irregular colonial war against the native Atlanticans and their allies the descendents of the mixed blood Brethren of the Coast and a regular war against the native state but it makes more sense to me to combine the first two and leave the last item to an indefinite future. This would meet established pseudo history while combining 3 interests, the Metis rebellions, the Boer Wars and  US dabbling in Mexico as well as allowing me to include aspects of other colonial sideshow campaigns. It doesn't leave much room for cossacks but as long as I have some wild horsemen and some shaggy caps I'll be ok.

Native  Atlanticans from the mid-19th century. One doesn't see naked spearmen anymore but the others remain fairly similar but with modern rifles. (Archive shot from2012)

I'll have to work on some socio-political bits but we know roughly what the Oerberg and Dene forces will look like, with the latter being a bit modernized from their last appearance. The Faraway troops will require choices since they will be homemade. My first instinct was to stay with my idea of WWI British troops in tropical kit but on reflection it doesn't quite fit and is a bit too limiting for the glacial rate at which I sculpt and make molds. Instead I have seized on something that will allow historical units if desired while keeping that Canadian flavour that I like to add. In Blandford's Infantry Uniforms Vol 2 is a plate labelled Pacific Railway Militia. I haven't been able to find out much of anything about them but from Steele's memoirs I believe they were formed largely with a view to quelling civil disobedience more than anything,  but, close enough. They wear drab uniforms with slouch hats turned up, high gaiters (easily painted as puttees) and bandoliers. They would not look out of  place anywhere from the Riel Rebellion to the Boer War to some parts of WWI or South America and something one could have pictured Britain's doing. Of course he could also be painted with a scarlet or dark blue tunic or be easily made into an armed civilian.

That's where I will start, perhaps with extra head in Wolseley pith helmet for conversions.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Looking ahead to the winter of 2014/15

Since the painting desk is now empty and I'm still in a quiet space hobby wise I thought I'd look ahead to the winter and next year.

One for Grampa de Solla who fought through the Great War in the RHA. 

I'm finally starting to accept that the last 15 years of exploration and speculation have come to a natural end. For now there are 2 major collections/campaigns that will get the bulk of my attention in terms of painting and background inventing. The updated version of my renewed, 40 year old, 25mm Medieval/Fantasy campaign is being covered on my Gathering of Hosts blog. The focus here will be my early 20thC  Atlantican campaigns beginning with the war in Oerberg.

The Opening Shots of the Oerberg War.

This is a planned concentration though, not a monopoly. I have some Elastolin Gensdarmes and Landsknecht arquebusiers several years over due and with the NQSYW coming to Huzzah in May, and new Prince August molds available, I hope to add a new regiment before then. I also want to pursue tidying up existing collections to achieve a unified look for each. When it comes to games on the table I expect to retain the usual variety as the mood takes me.

The real priority for the rest of this year though, will be the finishing the reorganization and clean up of my games room including shelves and cupboard. (Not to mention  some new and improved lighting!)


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Adventures of Prince Michael: Episode 15

Episode 15: The Hector Memorial Tourney

At last the big day arrives. Picts, Britons and the Count's
Roman garrison are all there but there is not a Saxon
in sight. It is agreed  that one champion from each
party will vie for each prize.  The Count posts 

extra sentries and declares the games open. The 
1st event is a rock toss. A Pict from
above the Wall has the mightiest toss.

The Javelin Race is a crowd favorite.
The soldiers race around an oval marked
by barrels. When the first runner
 reaches the finish line a horn blows
and all runners must throw. The farthest
javelin wins. One of Michael's Valdurians
makes it to the line and out throws the rest.

Archery is always popular. The archers prepare for a 4th round
 but there is a Bull. The Picts again win the trophy.
At last the knights take the field. In the first 
match Prince Michael and the Palentine Knight 
draw but  Buidhe soon unseats the Earl's knight.
Prince Michael now faces Buidhe but breaks his spear
 on the first pass. On the 2nd pass he unseats him
and takes the prize.

The day ends with the Melee, a free for all. When the dust settles,
the disciplined soldiers from the wall hold the field!

Before the overall winner can be announced, there is a stir and an alarm sounds. From the woods dashes a Red Rider, hawk in hand, riding for her life as huge arrows fall around her. As knights and soldiers grab their weapons and run to assist, two tall, strange horsemen appear briefly on the edge of the woods then disappear whence they came. Who are they? Who is the Woman in Red and why were they chasing her?

Next Episode: The Crimson Queen

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Coming soon: A New Prince Michael Adventure: The Tourney

Many ancient societies celebrated the deaths of kings and heroes with public ceremonies and games. In the Iliad the Achaen and Trojan games are said to last 12 days and consist of various competitions, races, athletic events and non-lethal duels. I don't have the figures or desire to play Greek athletic events for 12 days but the Irish also held such games as late as early medieval days and that's close enough to King Arthur and Prince Valiant for me.
A crowd gathers beyond The Wall to watch Sir Robin and Dearg Mor.
 So, funeral games for King Hector are being proclaimed throughout the land. Count Hubert has declared a truce so Briton, Roman, Saxon and Pict may all participate. There will be races, spear throwing, archery and of course jousting. For simplicity I am just going to use Medieval Mayhem for races, shooting matches and jousts.

Finally, thank you to all those who sent or left comments and condolences. I have decided not to answer each one individually but I appreciate each of them.