Wednesday 23 June 2021

The Wild, Wild West….

A box full of Old West goodies….

….don’t take my word for it - check out the contents!

There it is in all its glory.

The very first Western gunfight games I took part in were back on the Isle of Sheppey during the early to mid 1970s. The rules we used were the Old West Skirmish Set by Messrs. Blake, Curtis and Colwill (I believe they were the worthies involved) and the scale was 54mm. For figures we used a variety of Timpo and Britains figures with a few conversions thrown in for good measure. I still wince at the memory of when my newly finished conversion - loosely based on the character of Manalito from the TV series The High Chaparall - lasted until the second game turn when he was shot and suffered a serious leg wound, thus effectively rendering him ‘hors de combat’ for he remainder of the game!

When I joined the Newham Wargames Club after moving to London there was still a healthy dose of Old West games being fought but the move to using Once Upon a Time in the West certainly dampened my enthusiasm. The rules seemed very complex and although there were some very nice touches I found them to be a little more complex than I would have preferred.

Fast forward to SEEMS and gunfights have been fought on numerous occasions using a variety of rules and with 28mm now being the preferred scale. 

I have mentioned in the blog wanting to tackle some skirmish level games and so when I saw the above starter set I was very tempted. Everything one needed to start gaming in the box - that seems to be the way of the world these days - and at an attractive price (£40).  Over the course of last weekend I finally succumbed and so the package arrived on Monday morning (first class service by Great Escape Games I have to say). I am really pleased with this, in fact so pleased that I order some additional figures and a copy of the campaign supplement which arrived this morning! I now have 21 x 28mm metal gunfighters of various sorts to paint, a blacksmiths shop to assemble (produced by 4Ground and it is a lovely model) and ideas for some Old West games in my head. 

The basic idea is that players have a gang of around 6 to 10 models and the game is card activated. Regardless of how the rules work - and they seem very ‘slick’ indeed - I also have A Fistful of Lead to use so I am well served as far as game systems are concerned.

The thing I am really looking forward to though is painting the figures - they are really lovely castings!

As far as buildings are concerned there is a bewildering variety to choose from at all levels of budget. I only need a few and to be honest I am very tempted to build them myself,

In the meantime though, I have to get a further order in to Warbases as I rather messed up the last one as I had forgotten to get a number of essential pieces for the remaining models.

Onwards and upwards though and so I shall make a point of catching up on some Westerns during my daily commute which starts on 5th July.


Heisler said...

Welcome back to the ranch!

The Jolly Broom Man said...

So that’s what you’ve been up to! Looks terrific…better practise your quick draw!

Khusru said...

Very nice. I bought the Tombstone Tinderbox from LWTV. About the same price except for the postage, and it is 15mm with 30 figures plus free cows!
Not my preferred period by a long shot. Thought I'd try it and may give it away later.

alastair said...

I've just assembled a load of buildings and picked up the new Great Escape plastic Gunfighters for a similar project. I like Fistful of Lead but it would be interesting to hear what you think of Dead Man's Hand as these are tempting me.

Steve J. said...

I've never had any interest in Wild West games, despite my old club playing the Warhammer Historical rules, the name of which escapes me. Your comment about converting a figure took me back to my Airfix Friar Tuck becoming a cleric in D&D. No conversions, other than a 'fantasy' paint job, but still have fond memories

TamsinP said...

A very good start to your Wild West gaming collection. :)

ps, while you are placing your order with Warbases, do not, I repeat, do not accidentally slip onto the "Cactus Creek" pages in their buildings range. ;)

David Crook said...

Hello there Heisier,

Many thanks old chap!

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi there Jolly Broom Man,

This is intended to be one of those small skirmish side hustles I have been banging on about - and we all know where those particular rabbit holes sometimes lead….

Seriously though, my plan for skirmish level set ups means no more than 50 figures all in and I really want to stick to that if I can!

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Khusru,

I will take a look at that set - it sounds interesting. Peter Pig have a huge range of 15mm Wild West types in their ‘Hey, You in the Jail!’ System.

To be honest I would not say that it is a period I am interested in per se but it is a good excuse for some gaming that I know is a lot of fun. There is a cinematic feel to it which is usually over the top, unrealistic but action packed and exciting.

Besides, it is about time I painted some 28mm figures!

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Alastair,

I was tempted by the plastic gunfighters but really wanted the convenience of metals. A Fistful of Lead is great fun and I have a couple of other rule options I can use. The chaps at SEEMS were giving DMH a run out at the club last night and it looked very positive. Sadly I had to head away at short notice so was unable to take part or see how it played out.

Torn on the buildings front - I would like to build my own but am thinking that buying a selection will be a better option although I do not intend getting very many - no more than half a dozen.

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Steve J,

Western gunfights are a change for me and I do not have a single book that could be described as research material for the genre. It is all about the Hollywood interpretation playing out on the table top.

My 54mm gunfighter started life as a Timpo US Infantryman - I added flares to his trousers, a plasticine waistcoat and sash, a rifle and pistol and the obligatory sombrero. He looked pretty impressive right up until the moment he was shot….

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi TamsinP,

I saw some lovely painted examples of the base game figures at the club last night - way better than anything I can do - but I am really looking forward to painting them. They are lovely castings for sure and the service from Great Escape Games is top class.

Too late re Warbases but thanks for the warning - my wallet would have been grateful!

All the best,


Aly Morrison said...

A splendid acquisition David…

I have played the game a couple of times and it is jolly good fun…

All the best. Aly

David Crook said...

Hello there Aly,

The chaps at he club were giving it a spin last night and it certainly looked good. I am fairly relaxed abut the rules I shall be using so for now the important thing is to get the figures painted.

For my planned skirmish level games I have set myself a limit of no more than 50 figures all in so there is some leeway with the current figures I have for Deadman’s Hand.

I am certainly impressed with the quality of the product and of the service from Great Escape Games.

All the best,


Elenderil said...

I have very happy memories of Sunday nights playing the western skirmish games back in the mid 70's. Like you we used 54mm Britain's figures. The abiding memory is of a game where my character is sat at a table in the saloon with two of the opposition sitting opposite and I have slowly drawn my Le Mat and selected the shotgun barrel without them noticing. At which point the current Mrs Elenderil (she was the prospective Mrs E at the time) wandered up to the game looked at my character card and innocently asked "why is your man called Dangerous Dan Le mat?" Needless to say my two opponent's chairs went flying, pistols were drawn and it didn't end well for Dangerous Dan. Moral of the story..don't be so bloody obvious when naming a character!

David Crook said...

Hello there Elenderil,

Ah, the old Le Mat shotgun trick! I recall a game from the cellar days were a character whom had been seriously wounded spent the entire game crawling towards a crashed stagecoach and when he reached it fired the shotgun barrel in through the window wounding the two occupants!

There then followed a heated discussion about whether or not his injuries would have enabled him to actually do that as it involved a degree of climbing….No one thought to question this beforehand and indeed, the figure was constantly being mocked for its slow progress across the table right up until it pulled the trigger - it was certainly taken seriously then!

I am glad the faux pas of the then prospective Mrs E did not compromise your future together!

All the best,