Tuesday 12 March 2019

A Vivid Imagi-Nation(s)

The great figure sort out of Eric's lead mountain continues and the constituent parts are gradually being sorted into some kind of order. I picked up a couple of hundred plastic grip top bags to help with bagging up some of the figures as well as some other bits and pieces to help with storage. I will need to replace some of the crates Bill used as they have taken a royal battering and in many cases would not survive another move. One of the ongoing problems I am experiencing concerns the small, square blue Hinchliffe boxes. Eric used hundreds of these for his units but they are so old that when you take the lid off the four corner tabs that hold the box together immediately fall off. The house was littered with small brown tabs - the glue had long since dried out - but luckily the lids are not so afflicted and can be used to, in effect, hold the box together.

I really need to get out more....

The Minifigs component of Eric's collection is quite large and extremely diverse. Every army in this collection has a contingent of these figures - some more than others - but on their own would be insufficient to produce much beyond a good sized Portable Wargame/DBA inspired force. For me this is perfect as my ideal size of army tops out at around the 150 models mark. Despite the quantity of figures present there are some notable omissions - artillery being the main culprit as there are very few guns in this collection. Eric has a massive painted artillery park and so Bill and I concluded that Eric would have been happy to have used his existing collection and merely replaced the gunners with more modern figures.

Needless to say I have been pondering what to do with such a varied and diverse collection. My plan originally was to replicate a number of forces for the 1700 to 1720 period in the Balkans with Venice, Austria, Turkey and Russia being the combatants. This has a lot of appeal and is a nice alternative to the more usual War of the Spanish Succession. However, there are a couple of problems with this idea in that whilst it would have been easy to tackle using the modern ranges of figures in Eric's collection, the Minifigs portion does not have quite the same degree of historical coverage.

The solution I am fast heading towards is to use the Minifigs collection as the basis for something set in the region but on an imagi-nation footing. You may recall that this was something I was considering for the mid 19th century following my visit to Corfu last year. All I would be doing would be taking the timescale back 150 years give or take.

As mentioned previously, Eric had organised a pair of imagi-nation forces - the Electorate of Bustenberg and the Kingdom of Umbriago. The former was very Germanic flavoured - at least the unit names are - although the figures Eric used ranged from British Napoleonic Heavy Dragoons, French Guard Horse Artillery and Revolutionary era Bicorne wearing infantry to Spanish Napoleonic Grenadiers. The latter was Italian inspired - I rather liked the Hussars de Borgia - although the figures for the infantry are largely Minifigs English Seven Year War.

It would be unforgivable if these armies never saw the light of day and so I am obliged to do something with them in some fashion. I have decided to produce them both but using solely the Minifigs portion of Eric's collection rather than the figures he earmarked (especially those for Bustenberg which appear to a fusion of Hinchliffe and Essex). I shall retain the unit names for each side and for their respective historical counterparts I shall look to Austria and Venice for inspiration and ideas.

To round out the idea of course the imagi-nation versions of  Russia and Turkey will need to be considered (and indeed, I am doing just that) but I am also going to factor in the Grand Duchy of Artois and the Electorate of Kronenbourg in due course. There are more than sufficient figures to cover these armies as long as the sizes are kept manageable. Although my army standard size is around 150 pieces all in, the actual on table fighting portion would typically be roughly around a hundred figures per side, often less.

The armies will be organised with the Portable Napoleonic Wargame in mind as these need minimal alteration to suit the earlier and besides, they are a cracking set of rules!

The main aim of this expansive project is to make the maximum use of  the Minifigs portion of Eric's collection and from a cost perspective I want to have to purchase as little as possible to complete the armies. There is no doubt it will be good to see these table top veterans taking to the field and I hope that in doing so it will help to preserve elements of Eric's legacy and to acknowledge the debt that I, and many others owe him.


Adelaide Gamer said...

Sounds like a plan, falling together...

David Crook said...

Hi Adelaide Gamer,

There are many attractions along the path I am considering and for the first time in a long time I have a really positive feeling about the undertaking - it is almost like this project was somehow destined to land on my doorstep!

Time will tell though.

All the best,


Paul O'G said...

Wonderful! Lovely to see years of dreaming and planning coming together so nicely!

David Crook said...

Hi Paul,

There is a saying something along the lines of 'a watched kettle never boils' - of course it does, eventually but you can kind of see where I am coming from with this.

Over the years I have had many ideas but this particular one - 18th century imagi-nations - has stayed with me and in truth has only ever needed an opportunity to chnage into a reality. Making use of a whole pile of figures that would ordinarily be unloved and certainly unwanted by the mainstream is a great way to tackle this idea. The fact that they belonged to one of most influential gaming figures from the formative years of my wargaming odyssey is very much the icing on the cake.

I hope that I will be able to honour Eric's legacy in doing so.

You cannot escape your destiny....

All the best,