Thursday, December 6, 2012

Scale Creep

There's nothing like a few  hours of highway driving in light traffic and good weather for growing good, small, ideas into monsters. Last Sunday I was thinking about a small project to let me use some existing toy soldiers  and unpainted castings, this morning I found myself confirming that between existing figures, molds and Dorset Toy Soldiers that I could build everything I would need for several campaigns and found myself double checking unit sizes in Big Wars and wondering if I should be planning armies so that two portable units made a big wars unit. It took finding the unpainted RHA limber horses bought nearly 15 years ago, a good head shake and grabbing a few 40's off the shelf to bring me back to reality. (The RHA limber would stretch about a foot once assembled, a little big for a 30" wide board.....)

Ivan, my first born. The first figure that I sculpted and cast from scratch. I only painted one since the 54mm Crimean project went on hold but it would be easy if dangerous to spit out 3 dozen.

One problem of course is that HG Wells and most boys of the day used what they had and didn't bother worrying about things like which ACW figures could be converted to Russo-Turkish War Russians  or whether or not Guards in Bearskins and tunics should be seen fighting enemies in Khaki or Crimean Era Russians whereas I'm still fighting decades of conditioning that games should at least have historical uniforms and plausible opponents. It didn't take long, especially after I once again started to browse Dorset's seductive lists, for this expanding idea of resurrecting 54mm armies to start duplicating campaigns I have in mind for my 40mm Faraway and Oberhilse armies. It never takes long to remind myself why I downsized but it seems that I do need reminding now and then. After all, I didn't stop because I couldn't get what I want or that I stopped wanting it, I merely recognized that I couldn't do everything and that slightly smaller fit my space better.

So, I have decided to clamp down on the sudden revival of the idea of adding a few hundred 54mm Toy Soldier armies, have reaffirmed my intention to refurbish existing figures and add as few new ones as possible to make a small Red vs Blue set up. To avoid serious thought about Crimean, Russo-Turkish, Plains War US or Boer War 54mm armies right now, I will stick to Red vs Blue using largely if not entirely British forces for both sides. (for now...)

Cavalry units will be 2 figures, infantry 4. I would prefer 3 and 6 but while they just fit, it is too crowded especially if there is any terrain, and there is no room for an attached commander.

Red's Army will consist of:  General with escort
Guards Brigade with Brigadier and 3 units (4 figures each):  Grenadier, Coldstream and Scots Guards
Highland Brigade with Brigadier and 3 units, Black Watch, Gordon's and either Argyle's or Ross-shire's
Fusilier Brigade with Brigadier and 3 units, Royal, Scots and Welch Fusiliers (well I have extra Guardsmen which will be close enough for this even if the Bearskins aren't quite right)
Heavy Brigade: Brigadier and 2 units, Scots Greys and an as yet to be determined Dragoon or Life Guard Squadron. (These are all bare castings at the moment, waiting for conversion.)
Light Brigade: Brigadier and 2 units. To be determined. possibly 16th Lancers and NWMP
2 guns. The crews will be problematic to make it fit the red theme. The NWMP manned one gun in the
Riel Rebellion and that may be of use, the other may be manned by gunners in blue or by Guards.
1 MG
Pipe Band

Blue's Army will consist of a similar force but with:
Naval Brigade
Volunteer Brigade (composition and uniforms tbd possible grey )
Rifle Brigade  (only 2 units so far, 3rd tbd)
Hussar Brigade
Lancer Brigade
Royal Horse Artillery gun
Royal Foot Artillery gun
1 MG
Field Hospital

In the mean time, I have become increasingly unsure how often I will be able to play upstairs so I have decided to back down from my decision to try to keep card table and full table armies separate and will try a small 40mm Faraway and Oberhilse card table game this weekend before they fade from my mind.

40 mm figures trying out the first grid prototype in March 2011


  1. I must say Ivan is pretty darn good!So is the Dorset catalogue (I should not have clicked on the link)

  2. Hi Ross,
    I must have missed something -- what is keeping you from playing upstairs?

    Congrats on resisting the 54mm megagame bug.


    1. Sorry, I expressed that poorly.

      In winter family responsibilities require me to spend more time downstairs. There is no reason why I can't play upstairs an hour here and an hour there as well as the occasional Saturday game but most of the time would be shared with my painting time. Last year I moved my painting desk downstairs for the winter. This year I've decided to do some card table gaming downstairs instead. Of course today it was decided we should put a Christmas tree right where I'm planning to play....

  3. That's some powerful self control you have there Sir.

  4. Absolutely. Of course I'm forced to disguise it by lining the walls and filling the cupboards with toy soldiers.

  5. I think it is highly irresponsible to link to the Dorset website, as it could cause the persistently feckless to waste half an hour daydreaming, before getting a grip on themselves...

    Shouldn't there be some sort of blog warning system :-)

  6. I don't quite know whether to be impressed or disappointed at your self control! The Dorset list is a potentially very dangerous document - I already had a print of it....

    1. Just remember, "Believe nothing until you hear the official denial"

    2. You probably deserve extra points fo "avoiding serious thoughts about...Boer War 54mm armies..." I wish I could manage that...

    3. I find it hard to have serious thoughts about 54mm toy soldier anything, they tend to be playful, dreamful thoughts rather than serious ones, even when buckets of money and time are involved.

  7. Whatever you do don`t buy any Indian troops - that`s a very slippery slope. Take it from one who knows!