Friday, 9 September 2016

An Unboxing Ritual.. of Sorts

.... but what the heck, its either that or no photos for this end-of-the-week article. So just imagine I`m doing Jaba the Hutt impersonations and you`ll be alright - man, the camera never lies does it *chuckles*
Okay, this is a follow up to my earlier thread about my new “Liberty or Death” big box collectors set for the French Indian Wars and The American War of Independence (also called The Seven Year War, or The American Revolution... depending which side of the pond you live on).
When last I wrote, I had just placed my order and was pacing a hole in the carpet, impatiently waiting with baited breath for posty to deliver the whole thing (by crane) to my door. True to form with Warlord Games, the box arrived a few days later, and yeah.. it was pretty huge. Okay, it didn’t really need a crane to lift it into the house, but it was big enough alright.
My mind was doing cartwheels and my thoughts were careening with ideas and imaginations (culled from a dozen books and documentaries I had pored over all week, waiting for the thing to be delivered.
Yeah that`s me... in my minds eye. Hero of the age dashing through the forests ready for action.
This one, I had decided... this project was going to be all inspiring: dedicatedly focussed and enduring. Too long I have been piddling about with various subjects, and I felt I had no single thing upon which I could focus my hobby passion. Yeah I suppose you could say I feel the same way about Super Dungeon Explore: but that’s fantasy, and at fifty four years of age, I sometimes feel that`s not enough to sink my intellect into (do I want to be a sixty year old man and have nothing to show for my hobby except a bunch of elves, dwarves, goblins and wizards.. not really)? My 28mm Zulu figures and campaign is a serious subject of course, but this is now seasoned and well entrenched in my head and already played lots on the game table.. so is familiar and well used... an `old friend` as it were. Besides which, it is a small war which could only ever have had a single result: the utter annihilation of a way of life and the disintegration of a entire people (ultimately leading to the travesty of modern South Africa. Not, I fear, one of Britain`s finest hours). But no, this thing with the American Wars was fresh and vibrant to me. A new start in the hobby. Not a new historical subject for me, no I have been a student of this epoch for many years, and like my other historical interests, transposing it all to the table was, I suppose, destined to be an eventual inevitability.
Hilary, big baggy smock/jumper: putting on her headband, heading out to do some gardening "hey Stevie" she calls out: "Looks like Postman is here... maybe it`s your parcel?"

So yeah, my mind had been playing with thought of (and replaying  scenes from) “The Last of the Mohicans” and  “The Patriot” and  “Sons of Liberty” and “Poldark” and various History Channel documentaries I have recently been devouring, like “How Britain Lost America” and “The French and Indian Wars” and “The Destruction of a  People” (a thesis on the Seminole Indians). Heck.. I even went out of period.. went decidedly mope-y.. and reread “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee” and once again realised just what a lot we have to answer for in the world, and what a travesty it is that barely one person in ten thousand even knows that a Seminole is, or an Iroquois, or a Huron, let alone the travesties committed on the Ottawa or the Chikasaw (American settlers dashing out the brains of child slaves... ten year old girls and boys, if they were no use further use for work).
But yeah, there you have it. I wanted a new subject to entertain the little grey cells. Something worthy of a lifetime`s devotion to study and knowledge. I wanted to combine my passion for wargaming, role playing, table top skirmish and boardgames with a real life understanding of history... to make it live and breath before me on the gaming table, and enrich my life with all encompassing interest and focussed dedication..... with room for lots of role play added in there, and not a small bit of macabre as well.
The Wendigo

For sure thing, early American Colonial history is full of the weird and fascinating, and one need not `invent` too much fantasy in order to be utterly wow`ed by the supposed horrors of those times: American Colonial folk myths and ghost stories are decidedly creepy and make me shudder, even at the retelling of them... from the Jersey Devil and Mother Leeds  from the Pine Barrens of the Jersey Flats, to the lone Forest Wendigo and the terrifying Marsh Creepers (Zombies). Then we have the macabre Founding Fathers and their highly strange astrological Masonic rituals, the Miskatonic (almost Lovecraftian) fatalism of nature as practised by the indigenous Delaware, and the plenitudes of beauty to be found within the Shamanistic (Witches) sacrifices of young female virgins (a residual trace left from the Mayan cultures)... all leaves me breathless *shudders*

Perhaps an actual photograph of the real Jersey Devil?

So yeah, my enthusiasm is at a zenith right now. Actually, within five days of receiving my “Liberty or Death” boxed set, I had assembled so many buildings, fences, and miniatures, that I was going to write a small skirmish game for the blog... to show a game being played, literally on the heels of my earlier article when I was still only waiting for the stuff to arrive. But alas, it wasn’t my turn to `have a go` and others wanted to write so I had to wait my turn hehe.

But anyway, here at least is my belated un-boxing ritual.
Once again, I apologise for the quality of the photos, and my ugly mug. Hil took most of these at the time of opening, and we never had a chance to check them over until now. So we`re kind stuck with what we have.
Anyway, here goes.
Love at first sight.
I look more dazed than excited.
The ritual... slitting open with a knife.
Ooo! It`s shiny.
Mine... all mine.... my Precious!!!
"Look Hils.. look."
 Yes dear, its lovely"
"Yeah but, just loooook"
*now resigned to the fact I was going to enthuse for the next hour at least... she removes her hairband and prepares to indulge my non stop prattle*
So many figures to paint... mmmmm. Already worked it out thoroughly in my head, and will stick to it. 3 a day, four days a week: 12 a week = 48 a month. That`s 382 figures fully finished in eight months time. Easy job! Wont even cut into my other project time.

Next day... most the terrain and building s are assembled and fully based.
I really love this Block House Fort
For some reason lots of zombies seem to be attracted to this large building.
A bonus to assembling American Colonial houses of the day (despite common belief) most the buildings of the time were treated, but unpainted wood. Makes my job that much easier too.

Just so many sprues... I think about 40 of them: roughly ten multi pose figures to assemble on each of the sprues. And sooo many extra weapons and bits and pieces.
And so... immediately down to the first batch of panting.
Day one!
Day Two!
Hils sits and prepares dinner, listening to me babble on in an endless stream of non stop words.
"Wow, there`s some depth to that box"... "yes dear" she encourages.
These are the really simple but highly cool set of skirmish rues  will be using to play with, for now... until I have enough assembled painted and bases to make a full wargame. Innovative, smooth, and oh such fun. Ideal for solo play too, mmmmm yum.
And here's the whole lot painted... heck,  wish. No, here`s me in ten months time wooohooo!!!
Wish me luck ^^

Video Link Review (Below)
 Article by Steve


  1. I know exactly how you feel. The same emotions and delight is coursing through me with my two new hobby projects as well. My Blakes 7 retro sci-fi romps and adventures (so much scenery to make. As I want to make it all myself rather than buy it. It seems somehow more fitting to reproduce all the scenery by hand, just like they did for the series all those years back... “The Liberator” transporter bracelets made from cardboard and bits of colour foil, high tech med kits made out of portable plastic picnic cool boxes, and Orac the mega computer.. a clear plastic box with some flashing fairy light in it). And of course, my love affair with HeroClix, of which I have barely scratched the surface of all the game delights and pleasures still to come in that field of interest.. more on that another time.

    Yes, I totally understand your excitement and enthusiasm for your wonderful new huge box of figures and terrain. I always think a big box like that is not just the sum of all its parts. It’s so much more isn’t it, it’s all the things you can DO with that amount, which leaps beyond the confines of a single box: it’s the stuff in your head, sparked by the imagination and joy such a box of delights can offer. THATS the true value.

    I think it’s also true, you get what you pay for. Yes there’s massive merit in making it all for yourself, by hand, as so many amazing guys here already do. But there are times when it simply has to be done. Pay... what was it - £175 pounds? And sure, you can gasp and go “no way” but think for a moment. If you smoked, drank down the pub, gambled a regular flutter on the dogs or horses, or had some expensive hobby like, wind surfing, boat fishing... motor cars (making your own kit car) etc, you would be spending a l-o-t more (most modellers spend more without even realising it, just by careless spending on their hobby.. and go “I can`t afford this big stuff, but actually they could, if they chose to). Like I said, you get what you pay for, and if you had been frugal here, and bought a few bits and pieces and muddled through, you would not now be sitting with a set which contains.. what... (tries to remember the books) General Gage`s British Line Infantry, Mont Calm`s elite French Line Infantry, Colonial Loyalist and Patriot Frontiersmen and Colonial Militia, Minuteman, Rangers, Buck Skin Irregulars and Armed Civilians, Forest Indians, Cannon, Gun Gabions, Hessian Mercenaries, Block Fort, Houses, Snake Fencing, Officers and sundries, and you even have a delightful personality figure of Molly Pitcher (even if she didn’t exist, and is only a figment of the imagination, she still inspires me as a wonderfully brave and loyal woman). All this, and more: Homesteaders, and Roy Rogers, and I think I even saw you have some Wood Indian zombies there as well hehe, did you make/convert those yourself? All in all, you haven`t just bought a nice very expensive box set. You have bought yourself many years of happiness, at the price you paid, I think that`s good and cheap value for money.

    Thank you for a really enjoyable post, and for sharing your passion for your new project. I for one enjoyed it immeasurably.


    1. Hi hun, and thank you for such interesting and heart felt comments. Yes I am in absolute heaven with this one. Like you with your B7 and your Clix. You know what its like don`t you, to focus with all your might on one of maybe two things within the hobby, and devote a lot of time sticking to these things with tenacious spirit. Its hard at times, as the butterfly mentality in us all, makes us want to do it ALL, and all at once as well, and we simply cant can we, not if we want to do it properly; and doing it properly is perhaps the fundamental key to enjoying all we do.

      Your B7 is coming on nicely, and I look forward greatly to seeing the start of the new comic book style narrative campaign you have planned for us. Though I know you are busy for a while so it wont be any time soon I doubt. Likewise I hope to see you get back into your Clix again very soon, and delight us with the further antics of... well, what ever you surprise us with next.

    2. {{and I think I even saw you have some Wood Indian zombies there as well hehe, did you make/convert those yourself?}}

      Ooh sorry tar` I missed this one earlier. you assed a question:

      Bit of both really hun. Some I converted.. most actually. A couple I bought from Warlord Games very small FIW range (a single blister pack actually).

  2. You look like you`re having the time of your life with this. I`m so glad. Enjoy every moment of it. I very much enjoyed reading your unboxing antics and your delight comes across clearly. I personally think you made the right decision in getting this for yourself, the evidence is there, clearly. But you agonised over whether to or not for ages. You did good.

    See you in twelve days. Don`t get so carried away painting it all, you forget to pick me up from the airport *smiles sweetly*

    Hil xx

    1. Thanks love. You are right, I am loving every moment of this. Hurry home soon,


      *hugssss and stuff*

  3. and TINY ANNOUNCEMENT (sorry to hijack your thread Stevie.. but kinda relevant to the next article, going up after the week end.

    I will NOT be de-basing my Xlix. I have finally and firmly decided. Instead I will be using my lovely collection, as is: and using my new, hot off the press - well almost finished, and soon ready to be given a snazzy new updated finished look... "Clix Redux" rules. Which will at last redress (what I hope is) all the former issues many people had with the official game. A total makeover - by yours truly.

    1. I am VERY intrigued by this. I'm so looking forward to seeing your rules makeover. Make it happen soon, Tarot!

    2. Oh lots to look forward to then Bryan. Soon, soon, soooon.

  4. Ooo so you`re keeping your Heroclix as they are, on their bases. You know, I`m all for customising miniatures, and inventing own `self made` figures. But you know what (I`d never have said it before, and would have supported you in all you do) yet in this one single case, I think you have made a good call. NOT to debunk or belittle ANY one else’s cool re-basing of their own respective custom collections, but I know you... and I know just how much you love your Clickys. I think, for you, you may have regretted the decision to slice them up, one day. Maybe not today, or next month, but one day. You love everything about the figures, the click of the bases as you turn the dials, even down to the `clink, clink` of the plastic stack tokens you love so much. You`d miss those words “I’m clearing” as you remove the chips from under the basses at the beginning of the turn, and the veritable stack of them you always play with, absentmindedly, as you think of your next move.

    No hun, you did good.. And I don’t think you will regret this move. You have so many special personality figures now, And all those stats on the bases MEANS something to you; I know they does.

    Good for you tar`. I`m glad you came to your own decision in the end, ON your own, and not made for you by others. I have watched Bryan too, do just like me... stayed silent and let you come to you own peace of mind with this one.

  5. I totally agree with Stevie. For you, this was a good call.

    1. THANK YOU. That means a lot.

  6. Great article, Steve. I am sure every gamer is the same. The thrill of opening a big box of goodies just can't be beaten. I've had a good few moments like this myself, most recently with my Battle Systems Urban Terrain sets.

    I'm sorry to say that this is a period of history I am not at all familiar with but so what? It's your pet project and it clearly means so much to you. So, just have fun with it all. Make and paint the figures and scenery and play lots of games. If some of your games end up as batreps then all the better. You'll hear no complaints from me if you do.

    I'm really delighted for you and I share your pleasure.

    1. Thank you Bryan, yes so agree. watching fellow gamers get caught up I their enthusiasm is fun, and can even be quite infectious too. I find that if you dig and delve into a thing, often you find (to your utter surprise) you discover an interest in the subject yourself. That's why I watch lots of documentaries on Sky... its given me interests I`d never normally even have considered.

    2. ....may we soon expect an unboxing article for all your Battle Systems Urban Terrain sets?

    3. Yes, Steve. Most definitely! Maybe not all in one post but I'm sure you wouldn't mind a series of posts on the subject. There is a lot of ground to cover (pun definitely intended!).

  7. I forgot to add, cool looking zombie horde! :-)

  8. that was my doing, he put them in the cabinet and I sort of, moved some of his zombies about a bit when he wasn't looking *grins*

  9. I noticed ^^

    seemed the building was only being attacked by "Fatties" and "Runners" I guess the "Walkers" were caching up.

    1. Look again, Steve. There are definitely some Walkers lurking in the foreground - males and females. ;-)

    2. Oooo you`re right, so there are... must be some aspiring "runners" among them.... but my GOD the horde of "walkers" coming up behind are a big ugly crowd.


      But seriously, I bet this get`s your attention Bryan. *whispers discretely* there are zombies in my Colonial games, hanging out in the mists, miles from anywhere (often restless dead from long part battles in the ancient forests), and these are the half rumoured bane and terror of the more remote homesteaders, cut off from all civilisation, sometimes by miles and miles and miles of almost impenetrable mountains, high breathtakingly beautiful, wild forest and lakes... and no roads to speak of for equally as far, just the odd trackers trail.... easy to get lost in without an Indian guide, or a mountain man and his pack mule passing by. This is PRE Wild West, and boy is it wild.

      Yeah those homesteaders have it tough. Indian burial grounds, old cursed land and long forgotten graveyards. No telling what the farmers might dig up next... more than potatoes that`s for sure.

      See, I use my games for more than just re-playing history: this is imagi-nation territory. And its Colonial Gothic, pre-wild west style hehe. I think you will be pleasantly surprised with my first (planned) battle report for this lot.... yes, we`re talking zombies ^^

    3. Cool! You have my full attention now. Sits back and eagerly waits!

  10. hehe I know, that was just before you drove to the airport wasn't it. I wish you`d have had time (while he wasn't looking) to have the whole horde attacking all over the building hehehe.

  11. Wow! That's a whole heck of a lot of goodies, exciting times. Steve I would love to see more of your painted figs as and when you do them, I know this blog is mostly about the passion of gaming and different styles and all of that lovely Gucci stuff that you don't get on a lot of other blogs but please, please do a couple of posts on your paint choices and how they came out ;-)

  12. Hi mate,


    Tar`s gonna do a Clixy thing next (after the week end I think... Tuesday maybe), the I will do a tasty weird, slightly macabre batrep with some of my new `toys` on display, how's that bud hehe? Keep you posted, and cheers for the comment Andy :)

    1. Looking forward to it and Tar's " Clixy thing"

      Good times ahead....(tbf all of the posts on this blog are good)

  13. you are way too kind.

    But appreciated bud... likewise, likewise mate.

  14. Very entertaining article, Steve. I can see that this is definitely a labour of love. of course, what struck me was the picture of the wendigo. I likes me a bit of dark horror injected into just about anything I do, so the fact that there will be monsters is music to my ears. I know Reaper does a wendigo, but I think that the Darkson Designs one is probably a bit closer to what I think it should look like. There was a company/kickstarter which dealt with pre-Colonial indians and their myths - can't remember the name, annoyingly, but there were several cool beasties from Native American myth and legend (like the Deer Woman). I'll have to see if I can find it...

    1. hi bud.... yeah I think the North American continent set in these times is just crying out to be explored, especially the more macabre and monstrous elements. Most of them are of course, taken from the woodland Indians (who in turn inherited their beliefs from the Mayans.. even the Aztecs and Incas to a tiny degree), and so you have this amazing hotch-potch of strange and wonderful (and downright terrifying) critters, demons, ghosts, vampires, were creatures, shape-shifters, boogies and a sheer plethora of unusual monsters... any of which will enhance a game no end.

      Then you have the Inuit, and their beliefs are just off the wall. But strangely familiar to the Norse Vikings in scarily similar ways. Like their custom that you never say hello to a stranger if you meet them of the ice... it just might be one of `the others` and when entering an unknown village, you stand in plain view for ages to allow everyone to see you re human and not a demon. Fascinating stuff. I actually spent time way up in the arctic, a place called Igloolik (where the temperature was in the minus 50`s... minus 57 to 63 at one point I was there). Some of the tales the old women would tell... my GOD, scary or what.

    2. Now if you even find a 28mm mini of the Jersey Devil or/and Mother Leeds... PLEASEEEE let me know.

    3. There was a company that did a Jersey Devil - Crunch Waffle Enterprises, possibly? - but it wasn't very good - more of a Minotaur with wings. But of course, what you really need is one of these:

      You'll need to scroll down past the He-Man figures...

  15. Aha! Found it!

  16. Oh VERY nice, this is an impressive collection of pieces, and the price is nicely competitive for what is included in even the $50 pledge.

    I looked for the wendigo and sure enough, there he was... but I`m not taken by the sculpt though, it doesn't seem right to me somehow, what do you think Jeremy?

    I could certainly use all of these, especially in a more French Indian War (last of the Mohicans) type setting. *chuckles* only problem is, I have just about everything included in this kick starter already (not from this company of course), in fact I`m sure I have about %90 of them in my collection already(my monster collection alone must run into nearly five hundred models at this stage).

    However, this sorely tempted me for at least ten minutes.... THANK you for showing me. I will miss this one (be strong... be strong), but please do show me any more links like this if you ever come across them. Another time I may well go mad and click `YES` lol.

  17. Glad to be of service, Steve. I'mean assuming you'very seen Reaper's jackalopes? And Newline Designs do juvenile hodags.

  18. Glad to be of service, Steve. I'mean assuming you'very seen Reaper's jackalopes? And Newline Designs do juvenile hodags.

  19. ooooh you tempt me... you tempt me.

  20. Looks awesome, Ive just tried last week a 'Musket and Tomahawk' little battle, and this period is always a fantastic moment for me...Wonderful post and pctures Stephen!

  21. Thanks Phil: Yeah Musket and Tomahawk is a great system (I really like the way it uses the cards) and one I`d certainly love to give a try. I have a PDF of the rules but have not played a game of it. I`m happy with my Song of Drums and Tomahawks... but I am also keen to try out Donnybrook as well, though I suspect the results may be a little too `bloody` (too high a casualty rate) to suit my needs.

    Check out the link below to read another AWI article Phil.