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, October 23, 2016

More Rough Than Ready

But as ready as they are going to get.

Very naive, toy-like, yes? (He asked disingenuously.)

Actually, I think the naive appearance of the buildings fits rather well as an accompaniment to the shiny toy soldier finish on the semi-flat home cast figures.  
Of course rather than being naive by intent, what they really reflect is what a klutz I am and always have been at precision work whether real or toy, how tedious I find terrain construction and how little discipline I have. I did try to cut, fold and draw straight and make all the pieces traced from the same template end up being the same size and shape (don't ask), did intend to include more details like chimney's and shutters etc and the latter at least could be retrofitted but experience tells me that these will serve me happily as is for a decade or more.

Nine buildings to hide them...
I did a quick check and at the rough scale of the game, my old farmhouse would occupy about one square inch. These are a bit more than three by a bit less than four or about the area covered by my house, woodshed, garden shed, garden, lawn, and the old hay barn on the far side of the little stream.  My neighbours would be about eight to twelve inches away but in New France they would have been much closer though not quite cheek by jowl.

I'm not sure how many houses were in the particular village that was involved in the skirmish that inspired my scenario but on a full sized 6x10 table for a small village on the river front and another in the second "rank" along a road parallel to the river, I could probably  have found room for more than a dozen houses, barns and so on but these nine buildings will be just about right for my scenario, setting the scene and providing objectives without overwhelming the game.

If I can harden my resolve, I'll make more of the board fences which along with the clay covered houses help reinforce that "this ain't the  Pennsylvania frontier". I'd forgotten that there were a number of these fences in Louisburg which just goes to show that its been too long since I was last there. I'm not actually sure that I've been back since the Grand Encampment in 1999.  I may need to plan an outing next year, after all, once the rest of the Prince August SYW French and British molds arrive, I expect to be staging a series of fictional campaigns around opposing British and French forts in a more populous Acadia/New Scotland.

21 comments:

  1. Your buildings look good and I think 'under scale' is better from 'over scale' , Tony

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely agree on underscale vs figures and over vs ground scale. Part of me wanted to add sheds etc but the result would have been too cluttered.

      Delete
  2. I'll second that. Your buildings look super!

    Best Regards,

    Stokes

    ReplyDelete
  3. I agree; they look just fine, and always opt for a smaller footprint whenever feasible!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes smaller foot print and uncluttered to avoid having the focus shift.

      Delete
  4. The older I get, the more I feel that 'naive is good', and underscale is, too. For some reason, simplicity on the war games table is the more appealing and engaging, however much I can admire, at some loftier level, the more elaborate table presentations.

    To enlarge on this a little, the is a chap in Christchurch I know of (but have never met) who has built up an enormous collection of ACW plastic figures (Airfix, ESCI, REvell etc) specifically for a huge game of Gettysburg. That is his sole and whole war games project, I'm told.

    But he doesn't want to paint these thousands of figures. If I were to offer advice, I'd suggest he spray paint the whole lot blue and grey - he could leave the figures already self coloured - and mount them on bases painted green. If horsemen are to be present (Farnsworth's Brigade, say) the horses could be spray painted black or brown; generals' horses white. I am convinced in my own mind that they would present exactly the massed spectacle he wants to achieve.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would remind me so much of a Marx playset tgat it would give me an itch. But the merest touches of paint flesh and pants and equipment to suggest detail, like the old miniature master piece sets, would do. You could do 20 figures in a leisurely quarter hour

      Delete
  5. I too would say a big "Aye" to underscale and naive also. Having recently tried ( and that is the word) to do some fancy,grown-up scenic bases for fantasy, I was left wondering why I bothered.Simpler anytime I feel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed although I suspect naive terain goes best with naive figures.

      Delete
  6. Ross,
    Your Buildings look just right to suit your Figures- Well done! Regards. KEV.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I like the way you have made naïve a good thing to be. These buildings are terrific - they have a primitive look to them which is very New France. Could easily pass for Grand Pre or Louisbourg. Like you I get very impatient doing precision work, and always put things on the wrong way, or just lose interest in fiddly bits.
    Bravo, sir.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Mike. I confess that their usefulness in an Acadian setting was in my mind when looking at design options.

      Delete
  8. Fantastic looking buildings...and useful!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Dear Ross,
    The fact is that they are supposed to look like toys - that's what they are, after all. Are they functional? does the person looking at them get the sense of a rough and ready settlement on the not-quite-frontier? the answer to both questions is a resounding "yes." Until people actually go about the process you've undertaken to build a village which is serviceable on the table top, there should be no criticism. Well done as usual!
    Jerry

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jerry, I haven't had any criticism apart from where I chided myself for small errors that made my life more difficult. But I did get criticism, I think I would almost rather have it from some who who has never done any (and can thus be ignored).

      Anyway, they will be on table a week from Friday night at Fall In. As long as we get players and they have fun the aim will be achieved.

      Delete
    2. Argh that was supposed to say "But IF I did "

      Delete
  10. Having just invested a lot of time in producing 2 buildings about this size, I am impressed with your productivity and also with your results. You can always add shingles and such later if you are inclined. My advice if you want to "square" up your lines is use a square to draw up your cut and a steel ruler to make the cut along. Looks Great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jeff, I actually spent time removing shingles from an old building. I find that too much detail easily destroys part of the illusion on a distant village.

      As for the steel rule and square, along with measure twice etc, yeah I use all that, what can I say, its a special knack.

      Delete