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

Thursday, July 17, 2014

August 4th is Approaching, Mouldalization has Begun!

The "Great War" as it was once often called, was my grandfather's war. (And as John Hurt reminds us things can be terrible and still be great.) I am determined not to let the Centennial pass unremarked.  The first thing that came to mind was a landscaped table full of 100's of 1/72nd figures but then I blinked and came back to reality. A smaller 1/72nd Square Brigadier game  using Airfix WWI figures to celebrate their 50th  Anniversary seemed the best and most logical choice. So that was out.

I have mentioned before that going through the war did not take the shine off my grandfather's  Britain's toy soldiers so somehow that seemed to point to a way that is already before me, glossy homecast 40mm Toy Soldiers. It is perhaps a shame, or possibly given circumstances, lucky, that the Zinn Brigade figures are a smallish 40mm and not very comfortable when mixed with Irregular or Little Britons (update: having taken a few samples out of the cupboard the difference is less than I thought, more a matter of hat size than height) or even the old B and W ranges when one can lay hands on them but their 1900 Prussian molds make a good start for a toy German army for 1914. The perfectionist would modify them slightly but I'n going to use as many as possible straight out of the mold. The British will be more problematic and its not yet decided whether to do some new masters and make molds or just convert enough figures, one at a time.

The prototypes, hurried up in 2012 and waiting ever since.


The thought of a Little Wars or Captain Sach's game was appealing in a sentimental way but not realistic. Instead, I am going to go for something a little more New School with units of 4 infantry, 3 cavalry or 1 gun and crew, possibly on a base or on a grid. The initial scenario will be Hasty Blocking Position from Programmed Scenarios. The BEF will field 6 companies of infantry, an MG, a  battery and 2 Squadrons of cavalry. The Germans will attack with  8 infantry, 3 cavalry, an MG, and a battery. Add in an HQ for each side and I will need a total of 54 infantry, 15 cavalry, 2 MG with crew, 8 gunners, 2 guns and 6 staff figures. Well, I have 3 infantry done already....

The results of today's casting session. Looks pretty desperate for the BEF. Maybe I should deploy some zouaves?



18 comments:

  1. Hmm, yes - looks like the Schlieffen Plan is going well!

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  2. Ross Mac,

    What a great idea ... and I love the 40mm-scale figures. Just right for the period and very like the style of toy soldiers on sale in 1914.

    As to rules ... have you thought of using MEMOIR '14, a First World War variant of MEMOIR '44?

    I look forward to seeing the completed armies and the anniversary battle.

    All the best,

    Bob

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    1. Thanks Bob, It'll be interesting to see what I get done and whether or not it stops there.

      I'm not familiar with the WWI adaptation of Memoir, I should look it up. I was including the possibility of a WWI adaptatopn of Battle Cry as well as my Square Brigadier but I'm not sure I'll be using a grid. The 40's are too big for my 3" hex sheet and there would be considerable work to finish a grid with terrain on my enlarged table.

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  3. And so it begins...

    A defining moment in the race to war. I must get my hat plastics in the dishwasher post haste. Rather less nice looking figures than yours, however. I am looking forward to seeing the painted armies.

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    1. John, It does, Aux Armes citoyens!

      I imagine your 1/72 will be more accurate and quite attractive when done. It was a near run thing as to ordering some of those Zvezda Germans.

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  4. I must admit I see the attraction of a game using homecast armies, I was considering Prince August 54mm toy soldiers as a Blue vs Red army. I look forward to seeing your armies develop.

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    1. Matt, I heartily endorse the 40mm Zinnbrigade molds available from the Berlin Zinnfiguren website. Easily done up as red and blue and despite my comment, it is quite easy to supplement with a few bits from Irregular or Spencer Smith although the Scruby 40mm ACW are a better fit.

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  5. Just remember to keep the right wing strong.

    Best regards,

    Chris

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  6. I look forward to reading more of this excellent idea...

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    1. I'm beginning to expect that it will preoccupy for much of the next month at least.

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    1. It has indeed. Be a while before the PPCLIgets here though.

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  8. Hi

    How much smaller are the than the Irregular figures ?

    Do you have a comparison photo ?

    Thanks

    Mark

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    1. Mark, having taken a few out of the cupboard for the 1st timr in ages I find that I have very much overstated the case and need to fix the post. Any variation in height is well within the range of human variation. Its more a difference in style and that the Zinnbrigade figures are slighter with smaller heads. They would be fine together. I'll see about a photo comparison this week.

      Maybe I won't bother making my own machine guns after all.

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  9. If you can keep it limited, that looks like fun. I wish I could imagine getting that painted within a few weeks, but it's not in the cards this summer...

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