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

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Upstairs, downstairs, in my Lady's chamber.

Well, maybe I won't play wargames in her chamber but the puzzle has been solved and I am on my way again to be able to play upstairs, downstairs and outside on a summer's day.

A conundrum that has been befuddling me since November of 2012, how to play upstairs and downstairs and have both 40mm/1/72nd toy soldiers from the same era without duplication, has just been resolved, and in a good way. Amazing what inspiration you can find in a Junkyard and in a Hermit's closet.
A quick swap and my 1/72nd forces once again include Guards, band and colour party, and Foreign Legion. Not sure when I last saw my old ones, might be more than 40 years. These ones have not been repainted or even touched up, just quickly based up Battle Cry style to see how they look on the card table gridded board.


Seeing the Wargame Hermit's 15mm traditional style toy soldiers based on Peter Laing conversions got me thinking about the old Airfix Guards. Why I'm not sure since I've been planning to do 40mm ones to replace my actual old Britain's but it did and next thing you know I now have a bunch plus some Foreign Legion. I just have been  unsure what to do with them. Given the few hundred ACW figures on hand, the obvious answer was to go the British involvement in the ACW route but that treads so closely on the Atlantica Red vs Blue heels that I didn't want to go there. I especially didn't want to go there since it is shaping up more as a middle school historical wargame project than as a game of toy soldiers.

The Atlantica campaign as also been losing its 'playing toy soldiers' feel again despite glossy paint jobs and a fictional setting. OK, apparently I enjoy the game of toy soldier thing now and then but not quite as much in its purest form (as in firing matchsticks) nor as my main thing. So the first question to be resolved was what to do with the ACW (Airfix Conundrum Wargame)? Ditch them? Nope. Change my mind again and put Atlantica and the Warof 1812 back to single figures skirmishes? Nah, can't seem to stay there. Do the same thing with both and the heck with it? Seems counter productive. Find some way to differentiate even if using the same rules? Maybe. I started off by comparing a brigade of each.
Two brigades both of 3 regiments each roughly 4" wide. 36 x 40mm figures vs 54 x 20mm ones.Yeah the little guys look a tiny bit more like a line and could fit better into realistic  terrain if  I were going to make it but wargame wise they are replaceable, same foot print in terms of grid squares occupied, same size of battle. Not the answer.

The possibility of using small units of the smaller figures on the small downstairs grid (ie the 2012 Plan B before receiving a generous donation of painted figures more than doubling my armies) crossed my mind but that would only use a quarter of the existing armies without touching the ones still in the cupboard awaiting refurbishment. So I turned my mind to ground scale and last year's Picket's Charge game. Here there was promise, if I were to skip the grid and go with brigades at a 1 stand=300 men ratio, I could easily find myself able to fight all of Gettysburg on a 5x10 table in my garage in a few years or any number of corps sized actions upstairs. There is something worth doing separately but not much room for those Guardsmen.

Then I looked at the village posts on Norman's Junkyard Planet blog and a little later at the latest post on the Stronghold Rebuilt. Aha!  I had thought of using my 20mm Boers on the little table but it didn't seem roomy enough for the veldt, and I have been trying to figure a way to squeeze in some European style towns and villages into an Atlantica setting, as well as a way to rescue my version of a card table game. There it is in a nutshell! I have  some Guardsmen and all sorts of excess painted and unpainted 1/72nd plastic figures and know where to get more if needed plus matching metals. Each army only needs around 50-60 figures to build all the units to handle any CS Grant Teaser including the occasional unit of engineers etc.. It just needs a new  fictional background.

Suddenly I am left with plans for fewer than 12 collections, including both major and minor, all under way and with built in scope for handling any butterflies that may alight without upsetting any apple carts. Lovely!


In the meantime, Crysler's Farm has been fought once again but that's another post.



1 comment:

  1. Stimulating discussion of your ideas ,plans and possibilities Ross. I am really taken with the idea of Airfix Guards and Little Wars in the same sentence . I popped ove rto planet junkyard and subscribed and have been following th eHermit for a little time now. I am reading your blog 6.15 am prior to going for the train in ten minutes. You have given me much interest to ponder upon on the journey- and not for the first time I may add...

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