Friday 14 October 2011

Solving The Great Conundrum

As a long-time war games butterfly it will probably come as no surprise that I am now actively considering taking the plunge and painting some figures again after having renounced forever doing the same a short while ago. I should point out that I remain very much committed to the block project and indeed, this will be the major part of my land based gaming going forward, certainly for the forseeable future in any event. However, and I am as surprised by this as anybody else, I really feel the urge to paint some figures again. This has come about primarily because of gaining my new den and the limitless horizons it offers to my imagination but I suspect the real reason lies much deeper. To be frank I have always enjoyed using model soldiers for games but in recent years have become very jaded with the whole business - primarily due in part to the sheer quality of most modern figures and my inability to do them justice with a paint brush. I have a rather curious outlook on such things as figures etc and how they are used. I much prefer to see a pair of armies of a similar standard of paint job and detail of casting engaged in battle than one of a 'Golden Demon' quality force taking on a hastily knocked up Minifigs S range bring and buy special.

Similarly, I am not a huge fan of diorama quality terrain. Terrain for me should be functional and fit for purpose naturally, but my own taste lies between such high quality  sculpted scenery and the pencilled terrain and books under a cloth approach. Using Hexon in many ways ensures that terrain is to a degree stylised in any event and this is fine for my purposes.

Games set in the rarefied atmosphere of show quality, superbly painted armies and diorama styled terrain are for me hugely inspirational rather than aspirational. I fully appreciate the skill demonstrated by such practitioners but can never hope to emulate the same. All credit though to those that can produce such games, thereby showcasing what can be achieved with the application of enthusiasm, hard work and talent.

Coming back then, to my own peculiar outlook, I feel very much as though for the first time in an absolute age I want to tackle something meaningful and longstanding. I am not talking about massive armies of hundreds of figures - nor am I looking at DBA or skirmish sized forces. As you would probably have expected this 'idea', project, call it what you like, will certainly not be a mainstream set up - such things are usually an anathema to me! It will most certainly be a long haul idea - simply because I have no wish to batter myself with unrealistic self imposed deadlines.

As you would have no doubt have surmised I do have a plan in mind for this. However, certain pre-requisites will need to be satisfied before I take the plunge and even then, the 'plunge' will be more like stepping in a pool rather than a leap into space. The idea I have is based on a succession of bite sized chunks - each of which is freestanding or can be used as a part of the whole. This has the attraction of being able to be picked up or put down at leisure which is an important consideration for my somewhat fickle nature. The main pre-requisite concerns the painting itself. I have in mind a particular technique to use and should this work then the whole project becomes viable - and this is coming from a notoriously slow painter!

I should point out that this 'grand design' is certainly not a new one - as near as I can recall this first saw the light of day around ten years ago - but several things have conspired recently to make it, if not a certainty, then at the very least a distinct possibility.

Potentially this could be an enormous undertaking but with sufficient diversity to ensure that it would never be dull. It would not suit everybody but as it falls very much under the remit of being a personal mission this is of little importance. I would be looking at providing all sides in any event and neccessity would very much require me to do so, for reasons which will become obvious in due course.

I will divulge the nature of this beast in time - subject to the aforementioned pre-requisite -  but suffice it to say that whilst the subject matter will certainly come as no surprise,  the method of execution may well do so!


Steve-the-Wargamer said...

You and I are as one I think - one of the reasons why I eschew the "delights" of Wargames Illustrated,Miniature Wargames - I found in the end it was demotivating rather than the other way round... I'm not a good painter, but I can knock out a good'ish wargame standard.... you're project sounds excellent - small steps - one unit at a time - painting each sides units alternately so that you always have matched sides starting with small engagements... that was how my Spanish Succession project built up..... which reminds me, I need to pick up a paintbrush too!

Scott Mac said...

"Games set in the rarefied atmosphere of show quality, superbly painted armies and diorama styled terrain are for me hugely inspirational rather than aspirational."

Well said indeed! I feel the same. I sometimes wish I had more time and money to spend on exquisite terrain, but given the low number of actual gaming sessions, it has yet to become a priority. Functional and representative will suffice for now.

David Crook said...

Hi Steve,

My problem has always been that my imagination runs ahead of my painting speed/ability and so stepping back and taking it a step at a time makes a good deal of sense - it is only a pity it has taken me some 35 years to realise It

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Scott Mac,

Very true about the low number of gaming sessions - I want to get in at least one game a month going forward and in order to do so I need to be able to set up quickly. Although I am now able to leave a game in situ I do not have the time to carry out a modelling master class on terrain or figures. I am happy to leave that to thems that do though!

All the best,