Monday, 3 September 2012

New Kit on the Block


You could be forgiven for thinking that I must be absolutely sick of the sight of wooden blocks, or rather the labelling of the same. Up to a point you would be right – especially in the case of my own home made versions. For me the issue has always been around cutting them out (this only applies to my own labels – mercifully the C and C versions are die cut) as this is both very tedious and time consuming. The end result though in terms of the uses I have found for these blocks has more than made up for the time taken.

One of the issues I faced when designing the labels for my home grown armies concerned the style of the symbols I was using for the different unit types. Infantry and cavalry are very simple and use the usual cross or single diagonal line for infantry and cavalry although originally I used an aerial view of a cannon for the artillery marker. When I first undertook this project I carefully designed stylised versions of tanks, trucks, armoured cars and such like using MS Paint with varying degrees of success. I am now not convinced that this was the most effective approach as using the conventional military symbols looks far better. I suppose that if you are going to use illustrations on blocks then you need to use decent ones or not use them at all! Certainly the map symbols are easier to draft and I am sure that most students of military history, board gamers or war gamers will be familiar with them so identification should not be a problem.

Taking all this into consideration the task that I am now left with is to replace the existing artillery labels with the conventional ‘spot’ symbol and then to prepare the blocks for the machine guns, mortars and anti-tank guns. These labels are ready to be stuck to the blocks but I have yet to draft the vehicular types although they should be pretty straightforward – especially if the type being represented is armoured in some fashion and so merely needs an oval applied to the existing designs.

Once this final task has been completed the entire block set up will offer me a whole range of viable period options and will look something like this:

      Command and Colours Ancients – anything from 500BC to 500AD
      Command and Colours Napoleonics – that is a no brainer! Currently British, French, Portuguese and Spanish
      1700 to 1945 – sets in 6 colours – red, blue, green, grey, brown and olive

For the record this little lot represents something in the region of some 5,000 or so blocks – which, aside from being a monumental effort to have produced should keep even me occupied for some time to come!

I am probably not going to use blocks as the solution for my naval games – other than perhaps as hidden units or task force markers – as painting the models is not too much of a problem, even for me. The 1/4800th scale models will present few difficulties and if I can ever get the enthusiasm back for the ACW scratch builds neither would they. Hopefully my recent acquisition of the Yaquinto Boardgame: Ironclads may serve to give me the inspiration to go for the final push over the line with the assortment of paddle steamers I have outstanding from this particular project.

4 comments:

Chasseur said...

Yes a dilemma for me too as I ponder how I'll label my blocks. I am thinking more of standard military symbols myself. Still pondering ... Jeff

David Crook said...

Hi Jeff,

I think that using the standard military symbols does give a certain 'high level' feel to the game - rather it makes you view your units a little more dispassionately and more like a commander. Using them in conjunction with 3D terrain adds to the 'moving map' image.

I will be keen to see your label results when ready - what have you used for the blocks?

All the best,

DC

Chasseur said...

I made custom blocks out of M.D.F. and modeled somewhat from the Ideal behind Napoleon`s Triumph. However I will label them somewhat differently . I want them to be universal as they are staged to fight a Biblical campaign I am in the process of setting up. I thought about taking a marker to label, then thought about painting straight on with airbrush and stencil. Still working out the logistics on the latter ideal. Pictures should be up on my blog in the next couple of weeks!
Jeff

David Crook said...

Hi Jeff,

I shall look forward to that! Anyone using blocks get a vote from me.

All the best,

DC