Definitely a no-brainer in terms of my ongoing interest in Sci Fi stuff as I have coveted a copy of this since its was first announced!
I mentioned last year that I was keen to get some games in this year whilst readying further projects. By far and away the largest of my planned projects is the Samurai in one form or another. It whatever shape I finally settle on for this - I am exploring a number of options - it will definitely be a slow burner so I have a couple of contingency plans in place for some smaller ‘quick win’ style undertakings.
I want to paint some figures and for me this is quite a big deal. You could be forgiven for thinking that starting off painting something so potentially tricky as 28mm Samurai may be a step too far for someone that has not painted a single figure for over fifteen years - and you would be right! I need to do something to cut my teeth on so simpler stuff would be the way to hone my technique (which is still firmly rooted in Humbrol enamels circa 1972). I have a few ideas to dabble in and none of these involve water!
Circulating in the Foreground
Xenos Rampant/Stargrave/Galactic Heroes (From the ‘Fistful of Lead’ stable - I enjoy Sci Fi skirmishes and it is a genre I have had a lot of fun with in the past. There are a myriad of figures available in all manner of mediums and scales although for me 28mm works best. I have a pile of figures for the old board game Impact that feature human and dinosaur/reptilian infantry and support weapons that are ready painted. The figures are made of a rubbery resin material - not unlike that used for the old Axis and Allies: War at Sea 1:1800th scale WW2 ships - and would certainly need a better paint job so I may attempt to refurbish these. It will cost next to nothing and will give me some valuable practise.
Battle Suit Alpha/Gamma Wolves - An extension of my fondness for Sci Fi extends to the use of ‘Mechs as there is a lot of fun fighting with large stompy fighting machines! I have a selection of yet-to-be-assembled plastic ‘mechs from the game Heavy Gear Blitz - roughly a dozen or so - that could easily be put together to use with the above rules although I would need to think about some scenery for them to fight over (the same applies to the 28mm figures).
Anything Starship related - This is probably the last on the list of Sci Fi ideas to mess about with. The main reason is that for the most part it is a little close to naval gaming and I am trying to ease off of that for a while! Having said that I do have a couple of ideas to play around with - one rather novel in my opinion - but this is unlikely to be anytime soon.
RCW and Russo Polish War - Hmm, this is an interesting one. Both of these would be ideal Portable Wargame material but in truth I do not feel that at present I have sufficient knowledge of either to run with it in a meaningful way. I have sufficient material to read up on and given the scale and complexity of both it would be worth spending some time on research as in both cases operations were far from straightforward in terms of execution and the forces used. Having said that the board game Strike of the Eagle is crying out for some TLC and as this was going to form the basis for anything figure related I may well stick my toe in the water in some figure related fashion.
The Default Option
It never ceases to amaze me how certain periods of military history can become so ingrained in a wargamers DNA that they can be left for long periods of time and then revisited without breaking into a sweat. They are almost like a pair of comfy slippers in that immersing oneself in them again little or no effort - neither does moving on from them because they are always there. In my case this tends to be Napoleonics - actually the 18th century and Napoleonic period if I am being accurate - or WW1 or WW2.
At the present time I am more likely to be looking at matters horse and musket related but more from the direction of playing out scenarios than looking at specific campaigns. My blocks armies allow a degree of anonymity in terms of the forces being depicted - this is the classic ‘army red vs army blue’ Kriegspiel style approach - so just playing out some games using them without tying them to any specific campaign may be just the ticket to satisfy my immediate need to get in some games without all the research preamble one would usually undertake. I have a substantial number of scenarios to try out of varying sizes so it would simply be a case of picking what I fancy and setting it. The rules of choice would be the Portable Wargame in one form or another and I would look to use the pre printed and laminated map sheets I have from Axis and Allies: The Miniatures Game. These I have used on many occasions and they are a quick and easy way to set a game up - which is just what I want at present.
Small, Large Scale Ideas
Over recent years there has been what appears to be a huge upsurge in gaming using very small scale figures - I am thinking of 3mm and 2mm. There are some quite fantastic models available in these diminutive scales - from individual figures to blocks of troops. ‘Lee over on his blog has produced some quite exquisite looking Romans for a DBA project he has on the go and the level of detail he has achieved is unbelievable. This is a great scale for having units that look like, well, units. Serried ranks of foot and horse really work for rules in the DBA or Portable Wargame stables as one may only have a dozen or less units BUT they look solid and visually ‘right’ in the way that a calling a dozen figures a battalion does not.
I have often flirted with these smaller scale types and indeed, have a selection of blocks from the Peter Pig ACW Hammerin’ Iron range but as yet have done little with them. Flags may be an issue but I am sure something could be done.
Aside from commercially available figures there is always the old standby of making one’s own kit and if I learned anything from the ACW ship building it is that anything is possible with a little imagination. One of the numerous FaceBook groups I belong to - Super Cheap Wargaming - has a gentleman by the name of Will Coster amongst its members. Well, Will has been busy scratch building units for the 30 Years War using Balsa wood and card and they look simply lovely. He followed up his original post with some information about how he made them and needless to say it has gotten me thinking - not for the 30 Years War though! He very kindly gave his permission for me to use some of his pictures so here we are.