Tuesday, June 05, 2012

A little more time...

My second unit of Wangwana freedmen finished today

For various reasons I have had very little time for painting over the last few months but, hopefully, I should be able to do more going forward.  I've spent a lot of time working on winning a new contract which I now have so that will enable me to add to the lead pile for the next year or so!  I've had a bit more time for painting in the last few days because of the Bank Holiday and have managed to finish another unit for my Zambezi Campaign.  Still, I have painted less than fifty figures so far this year so need to up the output again.  There won't be much more this week as I am off to Boston where I really will have to resist the lure of the American War of Independence on my return!

Fife & Drum's AWI British

That said, I am sorely tempted by the wonderfully elegant 30mm figures by Fife & Drum miniatures showcased in this month's Battlegames, which was given away free with Miniature Wargames. Sculpted by Richard Ansell, in his typically anatomically correct style, the range will, of course, be less comprehensive than the Perry figures for Foundry and Perry Miniatures.  However, they look so nice that maybe a couple of small skirmish forces wouldn't be a bad idea and the fact that they will be a smaller range may be a good thing! The pictures of them make them look more like 40mm figures and show how distorted most 28mm figures are; something which has always offended my artistic sensibilities!

I haven't bought Battlegames for some time but the decision by Atlantic Publishers, its new owners, to give it away free was sensible as I had forgotten what a good magazine it is.  The feature on the Two Fat Lardies (I still hate the name) approach to writing rules was fascinating and I also liked the look of the smuggler's scenario.  I'll have to start buying it again and also pick up some of the back numbers I have missed.

Many other people have commented on the fact that Warhammer Historical have stopped trading and there have been many discussions as to the reasons for this. Arrogance towards the customer seems to be the main one which is obviously (but not to Games Workshop) not a sensible way to retain loyalty from retail customers.  

As to the rules themselves they got me back into wargaming partly because they adopted the visual style of the top magazines.  I remember when wargames rules were just copied typewritten sheets with hand-stapled covers.  I need visual stimulation to get me interested in painting and the Warhammer Historical provided just that.  Their approach has had a major influence on the presentation of wargames rules ever since, although some will say that the resultant high cost of these full colour volumes was been a negative. WAB was a revelation to me when I first saw it.  Indeed, my first wargame against opponents since 1981 was a WAB Saxons and Vikings game at Guildford against Mike Lewis of Black Hat miniatures.

Even though I am not a rules monkey there were still some things I didn't like about WAB and these were mainly to do with the look of the game; principally that units tended to be 4 deep square (or near as) blocks, whatever their historical formation may have been.  This was especially the case for Romans whose units tended to be small.  I wanted more linear looking units and thought that WAB 2 had solved this as it made the maximum rank bonus limited to 3 instead of 4 ranks in total.  Unfortunately, WAB 2 had so many other problems with it that it essentially killed it off as a game.  People started looking for other options, not finding them and so writing them; hence the slew of new ancients rules of late.  I've just found a space on my shelves for War & Conquest which looks set to fill the gap left by WAB.

One set of rules I did like was Warhammer ECW.  We played these at Guildford several times and we thought they worked well and had some period flavour too.  Nevertheless I have just bought the new Pike and Shotte rules from Warlord Games.

Interestingly prices on eBay and other places such as Caliver Books are seeing the more recent Warhammer Historical games, such as Kampfgruppe Normandy, now selling for more than their original selling price.    I'm still trying to obtain a copy of the WW1 Over the Top supplement. Although I will keep playing some of the games it does mean, sadly, that none of the promised future supplements (covering WW1 in Africa, for example) will see the light of day.

Copplestone 18mm fantasy are next

My next figures under way are some more 18mm Copplestone Castings fantasy.  He has released quite a few more packs since I bought the first three but I am being good and won't buy any new ones until I finish the ones I have!

Foundry Baluchi swordsmen

I have also now assembled and based a unit of Warlord's Natal Native Infantry for the Zulu Wars and, also on the Darkest Africa theme, have my next unit for the Zambezi campaign, some Baluchis, ready for undercoating. 



  1. Nice unit of freedmen. Nice skin tones there for the dark flesh.

    AWI, hmm another potential 'Black Powder rules' period to collect for, though for me doesn't appeal strongly... perhaps because the Brits lost!? ;-)

    Interestingly, it got drawn back into wargaming, after a long hiatus, thanks in part to WAB, in some ways shame to see an 'old friend' go... though perhaps now replaced by better rules sets? But they certainly set the standard way back when, in terms is quality and visual appeal of their rulebooks & supplements.

    I admire your ability to 'not buy that next pack till these are done'... I'm hopeless; afflicted by the 'oooh shiney' disease ;-)

  2. Yes, but the Copplestone figures are the only ones I am disciplined about!