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, August 7, 2012

A Battle Room Truce and a Review,

I have spent some time this week, tape in hand, imagination working over time, looking for a better room layout. At its most drastic this would involve demolishing a cupboard, moving most of the bookshelves and several shelves of minis as well as turning the table 90 degrees (including all of the under table storage and which requires dis-assembly ), possibly putting it up against the wall and adding a foot. Each of the 1/2 dozen proposals so far have bumped up against the inconvenient configuration of the room so I have taken the unlikely route of trying a very minor change and leaving any more drastic action till I prove or disprove the suitability of the new location of my painting desk and its ability to handle both sculpting, assembly and painting in one location. I have a sneaking suspicion that this might involve something called "discipline" and "cleaning up after myself" so hopes aren't high but the temperature is still above average and I'm ready to do a bit of painting in the cool of the mornings, not to mention wanting to release my table of its temporary duty as staging area for "stuff" while furniture and shelves are moved.  Its only a truce though and negotiations will continue.

As long as I'm tinkering with physical reorganization, I figured I may as well do some figurative housekeeping as well. There is no doubt that I have accumulated more periods, scales and possibilities than I can do justice to and at last, it is beginning to impact on my enjoyment of the hobby. I'm not planning to shed anything else at the moment, after all, ghosts of past collections shed over the last 5 years are still urging to be reborn into new bodies, but I am planning to increase power to the shields to protect me against new temptations.

Gratuitous archive picture of some 25mm hoplites from the Greek & Persian Wars which have again made the cut and remain active.

My last attempts to deal with the situation were based on a concept of consolidation, one scale, one set of rules and so on. That hasn't worked anywhere near as well as I had hoped, in fact it has provided additonal obstacles and set me back. This time, I am looking at increased specialization and differentiation as a  way forward.

In the short term this will require dropping the illusion that I am working towards single handedly staging an 8 player game on a 6x10 table but it should increase the likelihood of getting a 2-4 player game for my 5x6 done to a consistent finish, no stand in's, one basing system for each, matching terrain, rules and scenarios. Some of these figures have been marching to war for decades without that sense of completion. I intend it as a way point though, not an end point.Some of these collections are intended to be kept small, along the lines of a game in a box; others may grow as large as they like.

One is too small, one is tooooo BIG and one is jusssttt right!  I must choose wisely!
Another archive shot.

I'll do a full summary of the active collections in a separate post but I have it down to just over a dozen  in 3.5 scales (7 x 20/OS25mm, 6 x 40mm, 1 x 54mm)  with somewhere between 8 and 10 rule sets.  In each case, I can already stage a game with each of these, but in no case would that game be as polished or as complete as I would like.  That leaves remnants of my last 15mm collection (ACW), 2x 25/30mm (ECW/18thC) and 6x 54mm (ancient, medieval, AWI, 1812, ACW, 20thC)  inactive collections in the cupboard, all capable of being hauled out for a game if the occasion arose.  Ooh that's only 23 all together, that still leaves room for the Boer War to make an even two dozen!
   
The original 25mm Strathcona Brigade, consigned to indefinite storage in the  cupboard.
(That's original as in my sculpting and home casting)

11 comments:

  1. I moved things around a couple of years ago so fully appreciate the magnitude of the task! It does sound as if you have found a good solution - at least for the moment. I must comment on your Strathcona Brigade - it is an absolute delight - are these your own castings?

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  2. They are my own, start to finish and of all the score of figures I have sculpted and cast, these are near the top in terms of my being pleased with them. I actually have 2 dozen cast up for you just as winter set in but had trouble with the muskets, I must finish that off.

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  3. I'd better give some thought to the 17thC game I have in mind...

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  4. I like the Strathconas.
    Ref the ACW figures, I'm guessing that the ones in the middle stay?

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  5. Come all this way to find myself back where I started, playing with Airfix HO scale figures!

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  6. Ross I actually work for Strathcona County here in Sherwood Park Alberta. So I have a special place in my heart for these chaps!
    Jeff

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    1. Living near Strathcona park here on Vancouver Island keeps that name in mind for me also.

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    2. The unit was suggested by the historical Strathbogie regiment. I figured Strathcona lent a Canadian air without sounding out of place.

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  7. Prioritization is always a challenge.

    Where do you have to play the games?
    Where do you have to store the parts/pieces?
    How often do you have players to game with?
    How quickly can you get into the game?
    etc, etc, etc.

    For my own part I have recently lost my game room and storage space. So that required me to be ruthless with what remained.

    1806 Prussian army = sold
    Napoleonic Austrians = sold
    Half of the Napoleonic British = sold
    Loads of tricornes in white and blue and green (for use as Austrian, Prussian and Russians) by Dixon = sold
    Fantasy armies in 25mm (must have been six of them) = sold
    Sci-Fi and modern forces, mostly for skirmish type games = sold
    whole sections of my role playing material has been sold or given away.

    I have held on to certain material, if I may share my reasoning:

    25mm Molds = all of them they are packed in milk crates and have been back in use recently
    * I can always RE-create these armies that I sold (save for the fantasy ones that were mostly commercial minis)

    Napoleonic Forces, French Russian, British = I kept more than enough to do the games I was running at the time, SHAKO along with the command and other special minis that I bought.
    * The system I use is with ferrous-magnetic metal fender washers under every mini, then I have neodymium magnets on sheet steel bases to put the units together. I spent a lot on the 'system' of sheet steel and magnets and was not prepared to release them just yet, as the flexibility is just amazing. Now with FPGA and other rules sets, I can re-configure my minis for those rules and be in action in only a few hours, with the capacity to 'go back' or switch again anytime.
    25mm Buildings = the decision to stick with the Naps made the decision to keep a majority of the buildings easy, though some of the larger ones have been sold or given away.

    So when rationalizing my collection the key elements, after storage space, were

    Scale = the most is 25mm for me, though I have kept my DBA 15mm as it is a complete system with terrain and all the troops for 3-4 six player campaigns.

    Era = Napoleonic is the bulk of the forces, though some tricornes are still in there (and with my molds I can re-make what I had before, once there is storage space again)

    Potential for game play = I have found that, with more computer games out there and other game distractions, that finding players for tabletop minis is getting harder, thus the SPEED in setup of a game is important when seeking new players, thus why I have kept my 15mm DBA materials, as it takes about 3 mins to set up a game and about 10 mins to explain and start a 6 player tournament or campaign.

    Keeping these in mind, I suggest you poll your players about what they want to 'get into' or keep playing.
    Failing their response (or if you are solo) then choose what ENERGIZES YOU. Either scale, era or play. Then pour a solid three years into that, and that ONLY.

    The commitment is tough, there will come challenges (right away with doubt, then more about 6 months later as a fresh distraction arises) AND the reward of a consistent set of games will be worth the work.

    Cheers

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  8. Murdoch, thanks for the detailed comments. I'll keep them in mind.

    I've been through the loss of space and change of circumstances before, having now about half the space I had 7 years ago. Several thousand figures have been shipped out over the last 10 years, all too many many for little more than postage, or occasionally less.

    I'm reviewing the plan I adopted 3-4 years ago partly because my choices have changed but largely because the implementation of the plan has fallen so far behind my expectation due largely to faulty planning. Essentially I underestimated or failed to accept some difficulties or over estimated my ability to deal with them. Hence a review and a new plan.

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  9. Well, I'm considering moving myself, with a resulting need to rationalize collections, so this remains a topic of interest....even if we have discussed it before. (-:

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