Monday 22 March 2010

WW1, Patton, Rock Soup and Collection Culling

After having acquired all the early WW1 15mm models anybody could feasibly need I now find myself in a certain degree of a funk as this whole project has come about in completely the opposite way to how I usually approach these things. As a rule I tend to follow General Patton’s well known ‘Rock Soup’ method when tackling projects i.e. I acquire a few books and read up on the subject a little (this is very low intensity!); then perhaps add a set of rules or two and then finally the models. The soup analogy is that when pouring Rock Soup you will first see the liquid splashing in the plate but in a fairly low key and unobtrusive fashion – then comes the lump of the rock which crashes into the middle and pushes everything else aside. In Patton’s case that would be using small reconnaissance units to feel their way into the enemy position and then the rock in the shape of all manner of armoured goodness would batter its way in.

In my case I find myself unusually bereft of reading material and references for the early days of WW1 despite having played numerous games over the years set in early 1914. I will need uniform details and some campaign histories; perhaps with some actual accounts if possible. I am well prepared to acquire a few titles to support the collection and will have a look around to see what is available. Most of my WW1 book collection at present covers the Middle East so everywhere else will be virgin territory. I am convinced I could raid Osprey for a few ideas and will ensure that the boot sales I visit are properly checked out for any WW1 related items. I must confess that rummaging around in bookshops (both old and new) is a 'not-so-guilty' pleasure of mine and so this should keep me (and my wallet) occupied for a while!

The WW1 and Balkans Wars projects have also served to crystallise my interests to an extent and so it raises the issue of realigning my collection to focus on those periods that are realistically viable. There are a number of periods that I have invested in (usually meaning I have a couple of books and rules on the period in question) that are not going to see the light of day any time soon and so a collection cull will inevitably be necessary. I am prone to doing this from time to time for a number of reasons – the main one being limitations of space. By trimming extraneous periods it also means that I can focus on the priorities without distraction. Such culling also serves to raise funds to support the next project on the agenda as the proceeds can then be cunningly reinvested!

I have yet to decide exactly what periods or projects to trim but will have ample opportunity to consider this in due course as I shall be relocating my ‘office’ at home into my son’s bedroom as he has rather obligingly moved out! The new room is larger and has a better layout than my existing ‘office’ and so I will be able to, at last, add a further bookcase. As the room is at the back of the house facing west it means that the light is far better late in the day which will help with my painting considerably (it certainly needs it!). The room needs decorating but this will be an easy task and all I will need to do then is a run to Ikea for the shelving units etc.

This in itself is another project; albeit of a 1:1 nature!


Steve said...

Don't forget the cheap option of Google Books - whilst they don't scan whole Osprey's they do have a useful selection and can help cut down purchases to a manageable level.

David Crook said...

Hi Steve,

Thats a good wheeze and one I shall certainly check out! the figures are pretty basic and so I am fast coming to the conclusion that a 'dip' approach may be the preferred option.

All the best,


El Grego said...

Part of the fun of a new project is the research; unfortunately I have the problem of not getting past the research phase!

In a related issue, I was unable to find another copy of the WW1 Med book. But, there are other branches of Half Price Books in this area so we will try again on the week-end.

David Crook said...

Hi EG, With me the research is the easy part - it is painting models I struggle with!

Many thanks re your efforts on the book front - much appreciated.

All the best,


Paul O'G said...

The times Ive sold things off Ive always ended up regretting it. I always seem to come back to projects later on and pick them up again. Might take years and storage is a problem, but thats me.

David Crook said...

Hi Tas, That is so true but in my case I really should know better! There are several periods I keep coming back to so logic clearly dictates they are the ones I should pursue..........;-)

All the best,


SteelonSand said...

Hi Ogre, now don't let us down after all that anticipation and green eyed envy at you acquiring such a large collection - you've got to see it through, if only for your Follower's sakes!

Sounds really good about the new 'office'; codename: Gentlemen's Games Room, shame you had to turf out the offspring to get it...! :-)

If you're looking for research material, have you ever dealt with Naval and Military Press?
They do reprints of unit histories/ obscure research into this period as a specialty; definitely worth looking through their extensive catalogue:

happy hunting!

David Crook said...

Hi SoS,

Have no fear - the WW1 collection is most certainly here to stay! It does need a lot of work though to bring it up to speed. I need to concentrate on a lot fewer things and it is easier for me to do it if the temptation or inspiration is not sitting and staring at me from a bookcase! Offspring number one left of his own accord and taking over his old room will be adequate recompense for all the hours of babysitting we will no doubt be roped into once our new grandson arrives next month!

I have seen the book people you have mentioned and very inspiring they are as well. It is a company I have earmarked for research fodder in due course - once the funding has been topped up after the cull!

There is some 2mm in the mix as well - VSF Land Ironclads.

All the best,


El Grego said...

Well Ogre, after repeated attempts, I was unable to find another copy of the WW1 Med book. It was only at the third HalfPrice books store that we visited that we figured out how the places work - the stores, along with a large selection of remaindered books, accept books from customers for trade/cash and I must have found a book that another had traded in.

I will keep looking however, but it does seem like a rare find.

David Crook said...

Hi EG,

Many thanks for your efforts in trying to track this down for me - I will try and see what I can find from this end.

Looks a great read though and I am hugely envious!!