Tuesday, 16 August 2016

The Joys of Starting a New Project.

The Joys of Starting a New Project.
There can be few things in life... within the hobby, quite so exciting, quite so emotionally rewarding and thrillingly sublime, as starting a new project: a new genre, and an entirely new era. From the conception of the idea in our heads, the first fertile sparks of imagination, the growing seeds of interest, and then the eventual overwhelming wave of euphoria which crashes through our senses, as our minds become flooded with the deep driving desire to pursue this new passion with feverous ardour. Of course, this is the dangerous stage! So keen are we to `make a start` that without thinking, with excited shaking hands and dangerously vulnerable credit card (wielded in our childlike hobbyist hands) we can all too easily go off the rails at this stage... buy the first thing we see, and regret our hasty impetuousness a little while later. What we actually need to be doing is working out: “What scale do I want to do this in... do they even make figures and terrain for this thing.. in the scale I want to collect and play in?” If it’s a historical subject we need to s-l-o-w down and think very clearly. It’s all well and good wanting to buy a couple of those amazing King Tigers for your half imagined World War Two Games, all those table top battles playing out in your head, and scenes from the classic movie “The Battle of the Bulge” replaying in your head, as Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel surveys his new tank command and all those super Jagdpanzer IV`s and Tiger II`s! But hey, that’s no good to you at all unless you plan to play games set in December 1944 until the end of the war several months later in 45. Soooo collecting models just because they fit firmly in your head as `mega cool` at the time, might not necessarily be the most sensible choice you can make.  Or if you really want to play a game of Doctor Who set squarely in the time of the 3rd Doctor, it probably wouldn`t be such a good idea to buy an Amy Pond miniature to be his assistant.
 No, once the euphoria of choosing a new subject has been made, the initial excitement... not exactly worn off.... but contained in manageable `padded` cells of controlled confinement; this is probably the time to think, think, then think again, about how exactly you want to go about making a start on your new hobby project.
...and that’s another thing (to digress just for a tiny second. I promise to be good and not go on and on), probably one of the main reasons why we tend, as gamers and collectors, to have such `butterfly` minds is because starting a new project, or buying an entirely new game, is such fun: extremely exciting and addictively attractive. We want that rush... that high... over and over, and so we buy more and more stuff. Doesn’t even matter if it gets used, or the project actually sees fruition and gets finished, it’s that initial  RUSH we are looking for: and boy oh boy, there sure are enough game companies out there only too happy to oblige us and take our money. But I put it to you, if you actually go about this right, you CAN enjoy that rush in a different and far wiser way. Buy a project, but enjoy that project, enjoy the long term approach, and plan your purchases wisely. Think to yourself, I need this and I need that, because then I have enough of these guys to do this with them! So effectively, you watch your regiments of soldiers grow, maturely, from section, to platoon, to company, to battalion. Or in fantasy terms, you collect the base set... paint it all up and play lots of games with it. THEN you buy the first expansion and you add that to what you already have, because now you can play this... and this with the (by now) slightly bigger collection. See? adding as you go. So this way you get to enjoy the rush of each new purchase you buy, which enhances your game as you go along (and even more importantly, you stick to a project and see it finished, enjoying every mile stone along the way). Don`t just BUY EVERYTHING in one go, or you sure as `eggs is eggs` will soon be looking for an entirely new `quick fix` rush, which will see your once wonderful collection lost in the sad crash pile of yesterdays interests.
See, told you I would make the digress short *grins*
For me, this new project thing has never been more relevant (to me) than it is right now. Long ago, I collected for one of my driving long term passions. The French Indian War and The American War of Independence. Both these wars pretty much bled into one another: so as one ended... the other one started... out of the ashes of the one before it. Another interesting consequence of all this world continental history is that, out of this rose the French Revolution, and ultimately the decades long bloodbath that would become known as the Napoleonic Wars.
Anyway, I always wanted to do this as part of the hobby, inspired and egged on by films such as: “North West Passage” and  “The Last of the Mohicans” and  “Revolution”  and “The Patriot”...  and to an extent, the old 60`s black and white TV series like “Roger`s Rangers” and “Davy Crocket”. But I made a big mistake. Thinking I could play bigger and better games if I collected 15mm miniatures, I went ahead and did just this. I collected four entire armies: British (and Hessian), Colonial Americans, French, and Native Indians..... and know what, I painted them all in their entirety (with an amazing amount of help from Hils). Took us both an entire summer, and then all the proceeding winter, and up to Easter the following year, but WE DID IT. Played quite a few games with them too, but my poor heart was sinking fast. I knew in my heart of hearts the scale was wrong, the second I put them on the table and played the first game... too small. I was losing personality and the sheer grandeur that was meant to be there. 18th century wargaming and skirmish is all about colour, pomp, glory, trumpets and drums, larger than life personalities, and..... all this was lost. 15mm is fine, utterly grand (they call it `the grand old scale` after all) if you want to play mass battles all the time, depicted from a bird’s eye view.
But try to recreate the ballroom scenes, the flowing dresses of the beautiful women, the servants in their finery: the coaches in their dashing silver and gold leaf, and the huntsmen in their dashing livery: all this was sadly lost to me, at that poor diminutive scale. And I wished, oh how I wished I had done all this in 28mm scale, the scale I knew in my uttermost soul that I should have collected in. But all was not lost, my daughter`s boyfriend was absolutely crazy about this era.. especially the French Indian War (i.e. Last of the Mohicans) and when I passed the lot over to him, he thought he had died and gone to gaming heaven. To my absolute delight, he has continued to enjoy this gift since the day he received it.. and they must be one of the most played with collections since the existence of metal hehe.
Well, now its two years down the road: and the thought of collecting this genre has once again been filling my head (did the thought ever truly go away I wonder): but doing it RIGHT this time round. But how?
Well, going against all that I said about collecting a bit at a time; I have recently been utterly glamoured by something tantalising, which I accidentally spied on line a while ago. I hold by my earlier words about collecting a bit at a time: but I also know myself very well, and I know I possess great willpower. If I decide to do something, I stick at that thing until I have achieved my goal... and probably far, far beyond that point too. When I was a kid, I saw a band playing and I wanted to be those guys on stage. We all did, all my friends and me. Difference is, they all went home and forgot about it. I saved for a guitar (by working all summer holidays while I was off school)... and I bought myself that guitar: and then I sat  in my bedroom - day after day, hour after hour, week after week, after month after year, after year.... slogging, until I got to be good (I ended up as a pro session musician in my later life). So in the same vein, I know that, if I buy something for my games, I will finished the project and I will enjoy playing games with those finished miniatures, and carve myself my own tiny slice of gaming heaven.
Warlord Games is the culprit. They sell two box games: one box for each side, and the boxes are complete... I mean e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g you could possibly want to play my desired period in history (as well as all my precious “what if” scenarios playing around in my mind). Two boxes *gulp* pretty pricey. But currently on at a very special low discount price. And so I asked `her` the all important question. First I took her up breakfast in bed (naturally... I was in full grovel mode), and then I complemented her on her hair (good call, she had just had it dyed... pheeew), and when I deemed the time right, I struck with all the precision of a gilded rose, upon a feathered pillow of a maiden`s boudoir. 
“I saw something amazing earlier” I began.
“mmhmmm?”  she never once broke eye contact with her food.
“Yeah I saw this amazing deal on Warlord Games website.” I started to feel my rhythm now and was preparing to launch into full spiel.
But she broke my stride and cut right to the chase. She simply asked: “How much?”
“Well” I began, slightly put off by this, and began that universal sucking in sound normally reserved for the elite guild of dodgy motor car mechanics, when you go to ask how much the car will cost to get fixed.
“...we`re looking at... my entire Christmas present as a super early package.” I hastily added: “and my Birthday present too.”
She looked up from her food, and stared me in the eye, with those big green speckled pools of hers: “How much” she asked again; and I told her, expecting to see the condemned look of  `no` slip across her brow, like a dark heavy laden cloud of fated doom.
“Okay” she said. And looked back to her food.
Stunned silence, and “THANK YOUUUuuuu” traipsing out of my mouth, and a dozen promises of things I will do which (and I have no doubt) she will remember in fine detail... in triplicate, as the coming few weeks come to pass.

But yeah I`m walking on a cloud today, planning my purchase and watching you tube videos all about it: unboxing, reviews, batreps, the lot, and the more I study, the more I long to get started.
This, to me, is not a new subject. But a fine tuning and adjustment, to get back on track, with a hobby subject I lost sight of for a couple of years.

And I`m utterly delighted to have found my way again, on  (what could oh so easily have been) the thorny path of regret. Only for me, It’s become a sweet case of wooohoooo - ROCK ON GAMING!!!!!
Article by Stephen Gilbert.


  1. What an interesting article, Steve. Of course I did know you were especially interested in this period of history but I didn't know what your plans were for gaming it. Now all is clear. Warlord Games are one of my favourite gaming companies and from what little I know of this period, I think you made a wise choice in opting for their range of figures. I wish you every success with this new (or should that be, revisited?) venture of yours.

    No disrespect to Hil, but her response of "how much?" is so typical of a woman. Or a parent. My father always wanted to know the price of anything we bought. I dunno why he did. It was just one of his foibles. Still , you were lucky she gave you the green light to go ahead. You are lucky to have such an understanding woman.

    Please keep us up to date with your progress and hopefully we won't have to wait too long for a batrep or two... or more!

    1. Thank you Bryan. Yes this one has been dear to me a long time now but I kept in close to my chest. I wasn't even sure if I would ever be able to recover from my original scale mistake. I always figured it would cost way above my budget to replace all I once had in 15mm, but now aiming for 28mm. But Warlord games does two things I absolutely love. 1) they concentrate on plastics, my absolutely favourite medium (If not resin): and 2) they have an absolutely awesome (and growing) range of COMPLETE armies in a box... at prices you just can`t say no to.

      Yeah Hils amazed me by her "yes, okay" and yes you ARE right, her first words always are: "How much" hahahaaha, just as you say.

      Expect lots of Last of the Mohicans type batreps over the coming months ^^.

    2. I`m the official wicked witch of the west who usually says "no" "no" and "NO" to him *grins* But just once in a while I like to be unpredictable and say the opposite.

      Actually, he`s been an absolute angel lately and well deserves a nice treat. This is totally his thing, and I can see many hundreds hours of solo gaming coming from this hehe. He usually runs everything for everyone, and always gives his time to make sure everyone else is happy. This is his, and just for once... it should all be about him. He deserves it xxx

    3. I must be wicked witch of the east then :)))

  2. I have a question for you, Steve. What are you doing for scenery? I noticed a few buildings by 4Ground in the Battle Set photo. Indeed I have one of them myself - the Settler's Cabin, which I bought for my Wild West games. They are pricey but there's no denying the quality of them.

    1. oh God, you have the cabin.... I`m sooooo jealous lol. Actually I plan to buy 4Ground stuff as soon as I can afford it (but I don`t dare for a while or herself probably literally would string me up for sure).
      These are my immediate 4Ground wish list (I know it won’t bore you to show you, as you like this stuff too).









      Aren’t they sublimely beautiful Bryan. I know you love 4Ground, as much as I do. I shall be buying some as soon as I can. I just hope I manage to get all the ones I want as 4Ground have this annoying habit of having something one month, and the next, it’s no longer available “sold out”. They much make batches on heir machine sand when they`re all sold out, that’s it... gone

    2. and aagain in English

      ...... on their machines and when they`re all sold out, that’s it: gone

  3. When you write thee impassioned articles about things that matter to you, I truly understand your passion for your games. This is really interesting Stevie, and I think is relevant to anyone wanting to start (as you call it) a new project.

  4. That last one on your list - the settler's log timber cabin - is the one I have. It was the first 4Ground MDF Wild West building I bought. Although technically it is for an earlier period (the period you're covering) it still works very well in an 1870's - 1880's Wild West setting. I can tell you, it's a cracking little model and not badly priced either.

    1. Ooo that last one looks straight out of Last of the Mohicans. A colonial homestead `mountain man` cabin. So aka 1754/63 -ish. Tiny bit early for Wild West but then again, not really. They built things to last back then, and certainly I can imagine the sheriff heading into the hills after a wanted fugitive, coming across and checking out an old deserted cabin... just like that one.

      4 Ground made nothing BUT cracking models :)))

  5. Absolutely cracking article Stevie. I really REALLY get where you are coming from, especially as I am embarking on a new `project` myself. Well.. the planning stage of it at least. In my case, I still have to find a way to make it happen for myself, which means finding a way to buy the figures I need to play a Blakes 7 game hehe: and then there’s the rules which is doubly hard, as I have my mind set on 7TV to run it.. yea I know, I don’t make things easy for myself do I hehe. But it’s nice to dream anyway. I do envy you (in totally the best sort of way), not because you are getting nice things.. I am so happy for you for that. No, I am envious because you are at the stage I was at a few weeks ago when I was at the initial euphoria stage, and I know how amazing that feeling is. If I could bottle it, I think it would be worth a fortune as a hobby aphrodisiac.

    After playing that mega Last of the Mohican style rpg you ran for us last year, I can see already (just from the range of figures you show in the pictures) that this looks set to be, not only a cool wargaming subject for you to enjoy à la solitaire mode, which I know you love: but also will contain simply oodles of thematic narrative, and looks set to become a real story driven thing, am I right?

    What rules did you use for that btw?

    Now I know why I saw you painting Daniel Day Lewis`s Hawkeye character and his friends earlier in the week. I didn t even know you had those.

    Enjoy it Stevie, if you need a hand painting just let me know.

  6. Thank you hun, you are kind.

    Yes, the games I play with this pretty lot from now on will be very narrative based; whether wargame, skirmish or/and rpc.

    The rules I used to run the rpg you played in were my own: which I called “A Colonial Affair” which I suppose were a little bit like “Colonial Gothic” in tone and style (but not so pro American biased, which annoyed the hell out of me). Oh have so many plans for this... I`m sooooo excited. I`m like a child waiting for Christmas Day. I have to wait until tomorrow morning to place my order *rubs hands together with glee*

  7. {{Now I know why I saw you painting Daniel Day Lewis`s Hawkeye character and his friends earlier in the week. I didn t even know you had those.}}

    Strangely, on an impulse, because I couldn't help myself, I bought the Last of the Mohicans personality set about a year ago... as an aside while I ordered something else. I`m so glad I did, because now I have something very special to paint while I wait for my big order to arrive in the post. Check them out below:


  8. Of course, you do realise, if I am wise.... I still have to (and should) paint and finish my two English Civil War Battalia, Ordinance, and my Dragoon troop, before I even think of making a start on these new lads hehe.

  9. I thought they were nearly all done?

  10. *chuckles* they are. I just enjoyed making you panic.

    Worked didn`t it ^^

  11. Duh! I`m slow.

    and you`re a bad, bad man.

  12. I looked at this set at Salute this year at the Warlord stand. The minis are to the usual Warlord standard ie excellent! what a great period as well. Enjoy the anticipation and total immersion into this project. Like Bryan I look forward to seeing batreps of small skirmishes leading to larger battles as you dive further and further into the genre.

    Ps I know very well those conversations with missus Gobbo, the nervous shuffling of feet, the downplay of cost, the promise of it being Xmas, birthday and every other holiday you can think of present.....

    1. Hi Andy. Hey that would have been cool to have seen it on display at Salute. Sadly I missed that show entirely otherwise, indeed, I might well have been hard pressed to come away without a couple of those sets under my arm (wondering how an earth I was going to get them in my suitcase for the flight home).

      The fun part of a new project is just that isn't it my friend: starting with those ever so small skirmishes, as the first of your troops reach readiness to do battle on the table; and then they gradually get bigger and bigger as more and more little guys get primed, painted and varnished. This is how it is, even now, with my zulu/redcoat gaming.

      Lol you sure DO know how it is don`t you. Missus G and Missus Gobbo would probably have a lovely natter about our...erm.. unfortunate gaming `habits` if they ever got together hahhaaha.

  13. A very interesting and timely article, Steve, as I have just started dipping a toe into a new project myself - which is complete different to anything I've done before. However, in true Jez fashion, I'm doing it all myself - writing a set of rules, building the miniatures and utilising terrain and bases I already have. This weekend's post will explain more...and assign blame. ;-)

  14. Hi Jez, hey, you got me interested now and wondering what this new magnum opus of yours might be.... or should that be magnificent octopus!!! (God I miss Black Adder).

    Keep us posted, and cool, a new set of rules huh: sounds good bud.

  15. Well, I wouldn't call it a magnificent octopus, but it has a certain degree of cunning about it = like a fox who just failed to get a First at Cambridge. As for the rules, they almost wrote themselves, which always signifies things are going well and the first 'figure' I cobbled together last night is pretty damn cool. All shall be revealed come week's end...

  16. oh you cad, Sir.... you can`t leave us in suspenders like that. I wanna know what it is now.... tell us, tell us, tell us... huh, huh, huh????

    "Does it have to be this way, Jes.... that we have to tell your family you walked over a sharp cattle grid wearing a very heavy hat?"


  17. Order Placed: now its awaiting game.

    ...... least I have my last of the Mohicans personality set to paint while I wait. Now the big struggle begins for me (as I don`t want to fluctuate between French Indian War and the American War of Independence too much, nor do I really ideally wish to lump it all under The Seven Year War. I bloody adore the Film Last of the Mohicans (however inaccurate it may be) and this conflict has the advantage that the British are still considered the good guys (come to AID the British colonists in America) against the `bad` Indians and the French: but here`s the rub: the later War of Independence has all the big exciting battles. French Indian War tends to be all about long sieges; which.. meh... end of the day m-i-g-h-t be fun too. Sadly the Brits are always portrayed as the out and our rotters and heinous bad guys during (what the Americans like to call “The American Revolution”), and I will have my work cut out trying to `re-educate` on that one lol.

    However (it’s alright.... the crazy and enthused talk to myself is almost over lol) if I play the War of Independence then I can bring my sails of glory into the mix, and include sailing ship battles to my project, Ooo, nice thought!!!!

    That`s the problem, soon to have a single set of miniatures which (in their unpainted state) easily double up for either topic uuuugh!!!! Choices, choices.

    Then again, I still haven’t entirely ruled out going all Imagi-Nation and playing it out as an almost “what if” state of affairs: mixing history with my own style of `low` fantasy.... hell it’s what the film makers do all the time anyway: as most war movies are usually about as close to the truth Margaret Thatcher was to political correctness lol *cough* sorry, I`ll rephrase that. War films tend to be about a close to being historically accurate as Peter Jackson`s The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings films are to the proper books.. even though I love those films, they`re just wrong on so many levels hahaha.

  18. a very cool you tube video: worth watching.


  19. Demands and threats? Shame on you! But at least I'll be spared...The codling grinder.

  20. Looking at the Warlord Games site I notice something that made me curious. You mention possibly playing French and Indian War (aka Last of the Mohicans style) or then again you might play the American Revolution which, if I remember my history rightly, came about 13 or so years after: but here`s my confusion Stevie. The figures are different. Warlord games FIW figures are different from the AWI ones that you have ordered. Am I missing something here?

  21. VERY good point and well spotted tar`.

    Yessssssss, you are technically spot on. Warlord games do indeed do their own range of French & Indian War British and French (as well as a tantalisingly large range of indigenous Iroquois tribesmen, women, and generic family scenes); and yes they have a very nice, typical mid 18th century look to them. Up until very recently (and I do mean very recent) it had been very hard to get decent mid 18th century French & Indian War miniatures.... and certainly, if you could track down a source, it’s been extremely challenging (verging on impossible) to `flesh out` a complete army of these pieces. As a result, many gamers.... perhaps all until the last half decade, have tended to choose the next best thing... i.e. American War of Independence miniatures – and painted slightly differently; which have been more readily available for the enthusiast to hunt down and buy. Now, these are not perfect, but they are almost so. Enough to fool almost everyone`s eye, and as there are not many experts in this `fringe area` period of history, especially in the war gaming field, there are very few could spot the differences... although placed side by side, you WOULD see it. Depends if you are a gaming purist, if so: yes the incompatibilities are enough to bug you. If you are just someone who enjoys the period and wants a good game, then no, the differences in the uniforms and style of dress are negligible.

    The differences are so small in fact, that I would count the similarities first. 1) my new American War of Independence the American Loyalists, could nicely double up as the French, or painted green and white (not blue and white) would do nicely as British Colonial Militia. The Indians can stay the same throughout either war, for the most part. As for the Brits: well, there are differences, but again you could quite easily get away with using American War of Independence guys to represent French and Indian War soldiers.

    Here are the actual differences:

    French first (French Indian War)


    Now the Americans which, painted in white, can double up as French for American War of Independence... OR can be painted in green to represent British Colonial Militia.


    2) Many of the personalities (generals) of the two wars fought in both wars, as they followed one another with only a small gap in between.

    3) I think in reality, there would have been a time of crossover anyway, as uniforms change slightly with time, for many years I think you might well have seen old uniforms and new side by side one another from regiment to regiment.

    Really good question Tar` and thank you for asking it.

  22. Is there a historical period you don't know about? I don't know how you have learned so much in a lifetime lol.

  23. *chuckles*

    Well, for me it`s like the way other people might learn all about Dungeons and Dragons, or Warhammer, Warhammer 40K, Pathfinder, Age of Sigmar, Arkham Horror, Talisman, G.U.R.P.S. ATZ, Space Hulk, Starship Troopers, Star Frontiers, Traveller, Traveller 2300, CELTOS, Malifo, Masquerade the Vampire, CHILL, and a dozen other things. For me, I just do the same thing, only I like history, so learn all I can about it.

    Oh, I don’t know so much about Egyptians, and even less about Ancient Warfare before the Roman era (except for the Greek Peloponnesian War, and early Sparta).

  24. yeah but you learn all that fantasy, and science fiction, and horror stuff AS WELL.

    1. Face it, Hil, Steve's a genius! ;-)

    2. yes Bryan, but he still can`t find anything in the kitchen cupboard and constantly needs Hil to go look for him.

    3. hmmmmm, maybe that earns me a Blue Peter Badge?

  25. Thanks Stevie, I looked and I do see what you mean now. Without actually checking and referring to both - back and forward quickly to make comparisons, you really WOULD (if painted right) accept one into your visual psyche just as readily as the other, wouldn't you. Most amazing really. So your slightly later stuff really will double up wont it.

    The best of both worlds, yummy.

  26. Yes tar` hun, you are right. But I don’t think I shall be doing that too much though. I really want to create a self contained sandbox campaign which I can base my games out of, and to do that I need to stick to one main theme (not saying I won’t deviate from time to time.. the odd skirmish game set in the time of Hawkeye for example) . I will most likely play AWI using A Touch of Madness maps, characters, and possibly the cards, as a perfect backdrop.

    And Hil, only reason I can’t find anything is `cos you keep tidying and putting things away some place `safe` hahahahaha.

    *gives her a big loving cuddle*

  27. ooops tar` said that, not Hils.