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

Monday, June 15, 2015

Uhoh! A disturbing New Thought, best go lie down.

The problem really is those twin miniature wargaming demons: a sentimental attachment to favorite old figures and a desire to do at least a little of everything. The symptoms are that my room is overflowing with figures that get used too rarely, I don't get to play enough games of anything to really get a handle on rules etc or to make progress on playing campaigns and I end up painting figures I need for a game rather than figures I just want to paint. Most suggested solutions for this sort of problem tend to involve horrific things like discipline, self denial and so on that just lessen one's options and the variety of games that can be played. The other day a thought came to me, a drastic, horrible, thought that might ease the pressure a bit while still allowing me to do all the things I want. It does eventually involve the horrible, nasty business of letting go of "things" though so there is still hope that the solution will fail.



It started with a tabletop battle last month which appeared on my Gathering of Hosts blog and involved my 40mm 16thC Anglo Scots armies and a set of fantasy battle rules, which Rob Dean and I am working on, based on Morschasuer's Shock Era rules.  I was reminded how much I love these armies, which include not only a handful of toy knights which I first played with 50 years ago but also my first units of original figures. I was also reminded how rarely they see the table top these days.

After Huzzah my brain received some more material when I discovered that some Reaper Bones fantasy figures that I got from Rob were a better fit for my 40mm Elastolin Prince Valiant figures than for my OS 25mm armies. The Elastolins are another favorite collection that rarely gets out.

A Merten 40mm court lady and a Reaper 28mm something nasty.


Then, on Friday night, I was watching an early episode of Game of Thrones and found myself thinking not only that the whole deadly mix of alliance by marriage, betrayal, murder and revolt sounded a lot like Scottish history, but that the Northern armies in Sallets and Jacks look like early 16th C border horse. hmm

On Saturday morning as I was painting some 40mm Centaurs for a Prince Valiant game I found myself thinking that my 25mm fantasy campaign could easily be fought out with 40mm figures replacing my 25 ones. This would allow me to essentially replace my 25mm fantasy campaign, 40mm Prince Valiant games and my Rough Wooing 16th games with a single 40mm fantasy project using the revived Valdurian setting from the 25's and the 40mm figures.

Elastolin Vikings looking as fantasy-ish as you please pretending to be a leader and 2 elements of Warband for a Comitatus game a few years ago.
Since I have never really established exactly where Prince Michael's adventures take place they can easily be fitted into the northwest of the Midlands. They can be joined by various knights, pikemen and archers to defend the Midlands. The Turks and other Easterners that I have been wanting to paint for ages, along with various monsters, would become the troops of the Great King. The Picts, Highlanders, Centaurs and the like become the Men of the West while my almost unused Prince August Viking & Saxon moulds along with Elastolin Vikings, Normans and Huns become the Northern Confederation leaving the Landsknechts and puffier English to defend the Empire. Since the new rules combine "1 standard base is a unit" troops along with individual characters, I can even retain the capability to have some Prince Michael adventures that don't include battles.  Its perfect!

Scots using the Rough Wooing rules, also derived from Morschauser and meant for battles, while escorting a civilian convoy past some English Border Horse in 2009.

Well, except the bit about what happens to my old and "new" OS 25's?  Well, for now, they are hurting no one and can stay on the shelf. I can even paint some up when and if I get the urge but after the initial rush of nostalgic excitement, I'm finding that I just don't enjoy painting the 25's as much as I used to. To finish the project I need to paint a few hundred more 25's and I especially don't enjoy painting masses of 25's as much as doing a few 40's. Times and I have changed. However, an idea is not proven by thought and it will take some games at various levels, using temporary bases for the Prince Valiant figures before I make any big decisions on this one.




19 comments:

  1. Go with your heart, Ross. You prefer 40mm anyway -- so go with it. For now the 25s can take up the "shelf duty" that so many of your favorite figures have had to endure for several years.

    Don't you love it when a plan comes together?


    -- Jeff

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    1. ahh but my heart is torn as so often Jeff. This will be good if it comes together though!

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  2. It does make combining armies for a convention a little more difficult...

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    1. Not necessarily, as long as the basing is compatible. The 16th C armies would not be affected, I just wouldn't bring any lizardmen or centaurs to storm Boulogne. For the 25's I'd be quite happy to keep a strong contingent of my old Minifig Rohirrim and some Garrison S&S figures etc, for an expedition every couple of years. It would just mean a swap as to which of my collections get most of my time and attention.

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    2. Ah! Yes, I wasn't worried about the lizard men vs landsknechts aspect as much as I was that the classic 25s were about to go to auction...

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  3. Discipline is over rated! :-)

    Hopefully, before too long, I'll be soloing your rules for the 28mm Perry ACW Plastics I received today...

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  4. The problem really is those twin miniature wargaming demons: a sentimental attachment to favorite old figures and a desire to do at least a little of everything-
    These demons plague me too!
    Go with your heart and keep the others for when you want a change of game/scale.
    Alan

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    1. There is a long queue of figures waiting to be sold so they are safe for a few years yet.

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    2. There is a long queue of figures waiting to be sold so they are safe for a few years yet.

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  5. Seek out other players for each of the scales, eras, games that you wish to play.

    This will serve as the impetus to stick with the ones that you enjoy most.

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    1. Tried that approach for 40 years. Made some good friends and played many good games in many periods and scales.

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    2. Tried that approach for 40 years. Made some good friends and played many good games in many periods and scales.

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  6. Your "symptoms" resonate with me. So, the question is, how to treat them? I like to paint figures, but only if they are ones I enjoy. So I paint the ones I like and then try to fit them into games and scenarios. I think the clue to your treatment lies in your statement that you "don't enjoy painting masses of 25's as much as doing a few 40's".
    Have fun!

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    1. Thanks. I used to like painting just about anything and painted just about every day when I could. I seem to be slowing down.

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    2. Thanks. I used to like painting just about anything and painted just about every day when I could. I seem to be slowing down.

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  7. Hi Ross:
    I would echo the "follow your heart" crowd, but also note that there is merit in pursuing several widely different eras and genres, because (at least I find, and I am guilty of this sin), there is always something to take up when something starts to seem stale. Or maybe that is my functional ADHD talking.
    I think you're onto something with the Reaper figures. 40mm is the new 25mm, it seems.
    Finally, I'm glad I'm not the only war gamer watching Game of Thrones. Is it just me, or do the battle scenes really suck? Watching Stannis' army get obliterated, like watching his army wipe out the Wildings at the end of the last season, was terribly dissatisfying. Though there are lots of ideas for a Borders/Midlands game with fantasy elements. Mongols vs Heavy Chivalry vs Border Reivers? Sure!

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    1. I am certainly in no danger of lacking diversity. So far most of the battles I've seen take place largely off screen, rather Shakespeare-ish. Only seen 1 episode each of seasons 4 & 5 so far but picked up season 4 DVD at the flea market at Huzzah.

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  8. On the bright side - at least you have a dedicated room where you can set out a game, play it a bit, nick off somewhere to fiddle about with lunch, a trip to the shops, whatever, return, play a move or two, take the dog for a walk and so on.

    Could be worse. You could be afflicted with the desire to play, shall we say, Colenso and not have the facilities to do it.

    Greg

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