Tuesday, 5 April 2011

In Serious Terraining....

Despite my wargaming career spanning over 35 years my collection of models is really very small. Over the years I have owned and parted with a number of good sized armies from various periods and have probably shifted several unpainted lead mountains worth of figures. I am guilty of having a short attention span (which is why my ACW naval collection has surprised many people, myself included!) usually and so 'things' drift in and out of my collection like a rolling tide of enthusiasm. I feel as though I am (at last) mellowing in this tendency - hence my preference for small projects that have more chnace of being realised that the great sprawling epics of yesteryear. You know the scenario - 'this bag of 300 unpainted XYZ figures for the war of ABC will be really easy to paint blah, blah, blah and so on and so forth (if you are one of those that can manage that kind of effort then you have my deepest admiration and respect!). It has taken a while and much experimentation (and not a few blind alleys) but I now know pretty much what I can do and how I can best achieve it. My terrain collection has also followed a similar pattern although thankfully not to quite such extreme lengths. I have owned substantial amounts of terrain over the years with portability being the major consideration. This is why the Hexon was such a big deal for me as it was putting the proverbial 'line in the sand' in as far as my terrain aspirations were concerned. In a sense it is a new school solution to an old school problem - seeing a wargame that looks like a game rather than a mobile diorama. I am not keen on super detailed figures and terrain - mainly because I lack the time and inclination to bother attempting such mobile dioramas. I should stress that I have the utmost admiration for those that do go down that path but it is not me. My own collection and those still being planned will be heavily stylised and very 'old school' to look at. In addition to plainly painted figures (a touch of black in the varnish or perhaps even some of that new fangled army painter being my sole concession to modern artistic techniques!) my terrain will be of a similar standard. The 'Town in a Bag' buildings will suffice for most things I am planning; be it the Balkan Wars, WW2 or for use with the Command and Colours Napoleonic Blocks. They are ideal for use with the Hexon terrain tiles and as most of my games now involve a grid of some kind that is not a problem. For hills I intend stacking some of the individual Hexon tiles where needed and waterways and roads will be that old standby of cut felt strips. That leaves me with the old chestnut (no pun intended!) of trees, hedges and walls and how best to represent them. The ideal solution for me would be to find a supply of the trees, hedges and walls from the range that used to be available many years ago from, if I remember correctly, Bellona or even Hornby - the model railway people. I am really not sure of the manufacturer but the trees came in three types - pine trees, poplars and a large bushy deciduous type. These consisted of a trunk and 'layers' of foliage - the whole being made from polythene - that you stacked together. The walls came with some corner sections and were moulded in grey whilst the hedgerows were in green, again, all in polythene. These are quite stylised looking but very 'old school' and I am sure that many gamers of a certain age will remember them. With my preference for a simpler visual look these would fit in very nicely as much of the currently available kit is way too 'realistic' for this admittedly abstract approach. With this thought in mind I shall need to trawl the bring and buys and probably Ebay as these items are my preferred choice for my terrain and I am pretty certain they are no longer available. Failing that, should anybody have any of these items and be willing to sell/trade them please get in touch and lets talk quantities etc. You would be helping to make an old school gamer very happy!

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