My Xmas present arrived recently from Front Rank in the form of enough figures for two units of mounted knights and one of light horse. I decided to start off with the daunting task of painting the first unit of mounted knights. Painting cavalry is not my favourite part of the hobby but luckily my quest to continue on this project using primarily GW contrast paints was helpful.
Tuesday, December 1, 2020
Thursday, November 19, 2020
I recently received another order from Front Rank to complete the foot troops of the Wars of the Roses project. So far, my painting and ordering schedule has worked well. For this project at least, I have begun painting as soon as an order arrives and also immediately order another batch. This way, there are always figures on the way while I'm beavering away at the current stock. One may question why I don't just order it all up front and take advantage of Front Rank discounts but there are a few legitimate reasons: first, I have a monthly hobby budget to which I try to adhere (with varying levels of success); second, Front Rank has had a limit on sizes of orders during the current apocalypse; and third, a mountain of unpainted figures can be a daunting sight. Much better for my hobby mental health to go about it in smaller increments.
So, on to the latest additions (and these complete the current plans for foot troops... I have ordered a Xmas present for myself, composed of mounted Knights and light horse).
Friday, November 13, 2020
Alongside all the WotR painting over the last few months, I decided to putter away at some terrain pieces...
Friday, November 6, 2020
Earlier this week, I received my order from Antediluvian Miniatures to flesh out my Irish contingent. I have high praise for AM... ordering to receipt, just over two weeks from the UK! Besides the AM figures, I have the previously-completed Gripping Beast kern and another 12 gallóglaich from Crusader Miniatures (currently on the painting table).
Monday, November 2, 2020
A quick overview of my progress on the Wars of the Roses project. I've painted all of the figures below since the beginning of September and it has been one of the most enjoyable painting experiences of my hobby life. I still have several units to add. Winging my way from the UK are more Front Rank billmen and MaA figures and Irish from Crusader Miniatures and Antediluvian Miniatures.
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
Amongst our group, the term bespoke has been cropping up with some frequency of late in reference to new projects and collections. But what does bespoke even mean? A quick look in my handy Oxford shows that bespoke is something that is "made for a particular customer or user." Well, that could apply to almost anything I build. It's built for me particularly, surely. But I do understand the intent of using the term in wargaming terms. And this has had me thinking about how I plan projects and what I look for in a new project.
So, an admittedly non-exhaustive list of things I think about and try to incorporate into a new project...
1) Historical Genre/Period: Horse & Musket
If I'd considered this question a couple of years ago, I would have answered differently. At that time, WWII was a major project for us and took a lot of my time and focus. But a quick calculation shows that we haven't gamed any WWII for at least 18 months! That isn't to say that we won't return to WWII (another quick calculation shows 534 28mm figures spread over eight different armies - not including vehicles) but my life-long passion in the hobby has always been Horse & Musket genres, specifically Napoleonics. Looking at the new Wars of the Roses project, this just barely scrapes the edge of Horse & Musket for me.... horses, pointy sticks and some early handguns and artillery. But my Sharp Practice and ImagiNation collections fall into the heart of the Horse & Musket period. While it's true that I like the more modern periods (WWII numbers above support that) but no matter how much effort and time I put into khaki, I always return to my first love.
2) Figure size: 28mmI have dabbled in various scales/figure sizes over my gaming life (coming up on 47 years in the hobby) but always I've returned to 28mm (or 25mm, or heroic 28mm, whatever....). And with advancing age and deteriorating eyesight, I will stick with God's Own Scale. There is a lot of appeal to the smaller scales such as 10mm (and I have a few samples from Pendraken in my pile) but the truth is my painting style fits 28mm the best and I'm too lazy to modify or re-learn techniques.
3) Project Size: semi-skirmish
What size do I want the games to be? What level of command do I want to represent in the games. Some will argue that the command level of a game is based on the basic maneuver element, be it a battalion, a company, or a section. I think the command level is based on the tabletop commander whose persona the gamer is trying to inhabit. For instance, in Chain of Command, the highest level of command is the platoon commander and the gamer is playing that part in the drama. The basic maneuver element in the game is the section or team but the command level is the platoon. In Sharp Practice, the command level is a bit more nebulous. The figure scale is not particularly defined but I've settled on one 8-figure group representing a company. Thus, most of our games include multiple "companies" and this places the command level closer to the battalion level in Napoleonic terms. Both SP & CoC I consider to be semi-skirmish games (knowing full well the somewhat ambiguous nature of the term). And this is the level I prefer the most... for the level of command decisions but also the relatively low figure count (my ImagiNations project, fielding about 1200 figures, falls squarely outside this usual preference... no defense here).
This relates directly to #1 above. One of the reasons I like Horse & Musket gaming so much is the colour (something that is absent in WWII etc... although it has a colour appeal all of it's own, I suppose). I like a colourful looking game, be it figures, terrain, or table surface (this last also has a side benefit in adding light and clarity to the figures and buildings placed on top of it).
5) Figure Basing: single-based
6) Game Paraphernalia - minimal as possible
As much as I've aspired to the "no markers/tokens" state, I know that this is practically impossible (at least for me). So what I look for now is a project that will have minimal markers/tokens on the table or tokens that are as innocuous as possible. Can the tokens be coloured or based to match the figure and terrain collection? If dice are required to track status (i.e. in SP or CoC), can we use less gaudy-coloured dice? Instead of the standard yellow, white or red dice, can we use muted greens, and blacks? Can dice cells be incorporated into the figure bases or sabots? This is a category of bespoke-ness that I am admittedly poor at executing even if it is something I often consider.
How to add labels to figure, sabot, or unit bases.? This one I haven't quite worked out but am actively considering. There are many options but none which appeal completely to me. More of this anon...
8) Figure Style - consistency
Consistency is the key here. I try to use one manufacturer for a project and barring that, sculptors with similar styles. Thus, with the War of the Roses project, I'm using primarily Front Rank figures. For the Irish contingent, I'll be using a mixture of Crusader, Antediluvian, and Saga/Gripping Beast miniatures. out of necessity. Yes, I know Perry Miniatures have all of these in the same range and with consistent style but I have my issues with Perry figures (see here).
9) Storage & Transportation
Tuesday, October 13, 2020
Who doesn't love some medieval cannons and bombards? I've added two Front Rank artillery pieces to the collection as optional units. I hummed and hawed about basing for these pieces: separate bases for the artillery pieces and the crew or all-in-one bases. I was persuaded to go for the latter...