Originally I was not going to write this post until after a couple of conditions had been met. The conditions (actually only one I can think of) were that the figures for this latest piece of insanity should be painted. However, as the idea that has resulted from this has really got my creative juices flowing I thought that perhaps getting this out in the open would be a good thing.
During our visit to Basildon yesterday SWMBO and I happened to swing past Wilkinsons - the general store. I always make a point of checking out the 'toy section' in this particular store simply because you never know what might turn up that could be useful. As an aside I also make sure that whenever we visit Pound Shops or similar I also have a good look around for the same reason.
Whilst on this search I happened to find something that is certainly of profound value to me and, I suspect, many other gamers predisposed to battles involving larger scale figures.
Meanwhile, back in the early 1970's....
In the early days of the Airfix 1/32nd plastic figures a very good gaming friend and i used to fight battles using these figures in the garden. We also used to be able to buy individual figures as the toy shop we used routinely opened boxes to sell the figures as needed. I had a Russian army and my friend had the jackbooted Germans. We excavated real trenches and used the overgrown lawn for jungle actions (very useful on the Eastern front....). The figures initially were unpainted but we did slap some paint on some of the for the later battles. We actually used Charles Grant's Battle for the rules but with the ranges and move distances doubled. The games were enormous fun but we never got around to taking it indoors.
....and then back to the future....
Wilkinson's are selling bags of 50 'Army Men' scaled at around 42 to 45 mm tall and cast in typical tan and green plastic (I should mention that the plastic is hard - not the usual soft polythene) for 25p. That means for £1 you can get 200 figures. That's right - 200 FIGURES!!!!
OK, Foundry they ain't but for that money and quantity I am really not bothered! The figures can best be described as generic 20th century types but significantly there are two bolt action rifle figures and a 'normal' smg type. They are also harder than the usual plastic used and, at the size mentioned, can readily make use of the 42mm range of equipment available from Irregular Miniatures.
What are the implications of this then? Well for one thing, the prospect of some generic 20th century armies looms large - especially of an 'imagi-nation' variety. My immediate thought was for those two old adversaries - Fezia and Rusland. Suddenly the Middle East project has taken on a whole new shape - rather the Caucasus end has.
Vehicles to go with these figures could be a challenge simply due to the scale. Irregular have a small number available but being in metal would work out rather expensive when needed in quantity. My feeling would be use something akin to the concept of the cartoon warship - vehicles with a modest table footprint but with an exaggerated vertical profile. Generic vehicles would be the order of the day - I am thinking of what I call the Hollywood effect - you know the sort of thing, M48s disguised as Panzers - so I am expecting that some carefully modified and painted 'toys' might be the answer or even some basic scratch builds.
As far as rules are concerned I am spoiled for choice and at this stage am not really them much in the way of serious thought - the only thing that should be taken as read is that hexes will feature in one shape or form.
For the record, I went back to the ship and purchased another 12 packets and so now have a plastic mountain of some 800 figures requiring attention. For £4 that must rate as one of the bargains of the century!