Friday 4 December 2015

Many options...

I've had my notebook out again... And that spells danger...

Actually, in all seriousness, I had become a bit bored and stale in Wargaming terms, and felt that whilst tickling along with my 18th century Pils-Holstein project was all well and good, because I am outsourcing most of the painting, I wasn't really engaged enough with the hobby.
Having had a pretty busy year on other fronts, that didn't matter too much. But I've been missing the escapism and creativity and artistry that the hobby offers.

So I've been dabbling, and painting a few Austrian (aka Astrovian) infantry, as I mentioned on a previous post, and there will be more about progress with them soon...

So, whilst regular readers will know that I firmly encourage a focused approach, I've also been looking at what to do as a "side-project" in 2016. Something small, limited in number of figures, and with no particular objectives other than as a passing fancy.
For the past 3-4 months I've been considering the options.
Right on cue, I also bought the latest wargames magazines, and therein I'm treated to even more ideas!!

Time to make a shortlist, I think ...
So, in no particular order... (Some of these will raise an eyebrow amongst those who think they know me!)

1. Pils-Holstein 1676: The North Star / Copplestone 1672 range is a delight, and I've painted a few in the past. BUT... more figures required for this than I really want to do. And it could be considered a bit close to the main project anyway. Perhaps need something totally different?
2. Pils-Holstein 1716: Front Rank WSS range... ditto all of the comments above.
3. ECW: I'm enjoying my re-enactment involvement so much that it was inevitable that this would feature as an option.
4. Medieval / HYW:  see my notes a couple of posts ago... And I'm getting chance to visit the Agincourt diorama at The Tower of London in a couple of weeks too.
5. Middle Earth:  some of the wonderful little Vendel figures... Not too fantasy-ish. My mind's eye view of Tolkein's world, which is very much Anglo-Saxon with a little magic thrown in.
6. Colonial/NW Frontier: I've done it in the past, but felt I never really did it justice, and sold it all off. The recent sad news about Larry Brom had me sifting through the rules pile for my copy of TSATF...
7. VSF: but no Martian walkers though... that's a step too far. I'm more thinking along the lines of some escapades in Victorian England with the odd steam contraption thrown in.
8. Back of Beyond.  the Stuart Asquith article in November WI has a lot to answer for. Having not been in touch with Stuart for some years, I penned him a note and we recently spoke on the phone. Blame him if I take this route!

Actually, I've already chosen the probable outcome here, but your thoughts and advice are welcome...
Particularly interested in your thoughts on rules suggestions for any of the above, and even figure ranges, and websites/blogs to visit to add extra distraction and inspiration...

Santa is going to receive quite a little list...


  1. Hello Phil,

    It all sounds very good. Not really a Tolkien or fantasy man myself, but that particular option sounds very interesting especially given the Anglo-Saxon angle. You might consider the rules for combat presented in the old book Fantasy Wargaming (1981) by Bruce Galloway. The book's entire premis is in providing a foundation for 'fantasy' gaming that is more firmly grounded in the real world of the Dark and Middle Ages. It's an interesting read. I believe the late Bruce Qearrie was part of Galoway's gaming group at one point, which may, or may not raise a few red flags rules-wise.

    Best Regards,


  2. Hello Phil

    Very interesting list of options; choosing just one must have been difficult. My choice would perhaps settle on the NW Frontier. Plenty of opportunities for small scale skirmish actions and also, if you venture into the 20th century a few armoured cars/aircraft could feature. Plus the chance to create some 'back stories' for the participants.



  3. Hey Phil,

    If you settle on either the Hundred Year's War or Middle Earth options, you might want to consider the Osprey rule sets Lion Rampant or Dragon Rampant. Since they focus on Skirmish level fights, you don't need hundreds of castings. Gives you a chance to "stick your toe in the water", and see if you like the feel of the period. Besides, you can always expand at a later date.

    All The Best,


  4. Being purely selfish, I would suggest North West Frontier or the ECW. I am intrigued why you would go back to it considering you have done it before - but I would love to see more. I've always been interested in the Hundred Years War and love the look, but when I've seen it played they seem pretty boring games.

    Mind you, anything you paint Phil will be spectacular and will be a joy to follow.


  5. An interesting list, Phil.

    If Pils-Holstein 1676 or 1716 is a fancy, what about low level skirmishes using Barry Hilton's "Donnybrook" rules. This requires few figures, and allows for a level of characterisation...perhaps the background of the later conflicts could be "explained" by games in this setting.

    As far as back of beyond goes, I played in a participation game several years ago run by a mate at a Games Day that was a "great hoot"! He used either Howard Whitehouse of Chris Peers rules to run gamers through a big game hunt in the Victorian era.... on a good sized table with a large papiermache volcano in the middle. Figures were Foundry & Brian Ansell mix and the "game" was plastic Dinosaurs, especially those wonderful Schleich models... and the hunters were very much also the hunted. We all had a ball! There is a lot of scope with the current Pulp Fiction figures being produced, and "Lost World" scenarios are not the only ones.

    Cheers, Rohan.

  6. Phil, have you considered Pils Holstein Middle Ages? Lots of little barons with their small 'armies'beating each other up. Lots of pretty heraldry - and a chance to expand the mythos of Pils Holstein.

  7. Thank you for all your comments, suggestions, and ideas.
    Much appreciated.
    With some of the options it's like opening up a room to a new hobby. There are so many manufacturers, so many ranges, that I haven't even looked at before, and so many rule sets too. It has made me realise what a baffling array the total newbie to our hobby is faced with.
    Keep the suggestions coming...

  8. I would suggest your middle earth concept - with its anglo-saxon basis. You have the opportunity for good small games, and you can grow it larger as you need. Plenty of options for figures including plastic ranges.

    I wandered off in the same direction having been inspired by my childhood favourite - Noggin the Nog. I've had lots of great games - see my blog the Nothelm Chronicle -



  9. From my experience, Phil, the best choice for you in terms of re-energizing you is something very stylistically different from your main project.

    So you should look for something that will play in a very different manner than your "lineal warfare" style. . . . You want a bit of a change to re-energize you.

    Now while there are a number of such choices on your list, if it were me, I would build some SMALL forces for the Northwest Frontier. Remember you want something different and limited in scope. Also, unless you prefer something else, TSATF is a very enjoyable rule set.

    Besides, think of the fun you could have with turbans.

    -- Jeff

  10. ECW and 'Donnybrook', of course, Phil! What else do you think I'd suggest! ;o)

    On a more realistic note, I'm going to try 'Lion Rampant' out next year, once my Donnybrook 1650 project is finished. Some 100 Years War forces, using old-school Citadel/Foundry castings for the earlier Crecy/ Poitiers era. That might be a possibility? Whatever it is, I'm sure your choice will bring you lots of fun. If you fancy meeting up for a game of Donnybrook ECW sometime next spring, let me know. We'll have the expanded and 'final' version at May's 'new' Partizan as well.

    Best wishes

  11. 1676 sounds exciting and the uniforms could have so much potential for lovely looking units.

  12. Forgot to mention I have two forces of Vendel miniatures on their way from the USA for Dragon Rampant. The figures are indeed very evocative and could be added to from Gripping Beast etc for a unique take on Middle Earth...

  13. North west frontier Phil or you could do the Pils -Holstein expedition to the Americas in the 1740s ( a little bit of Musket and Tomahawk)


  14. More suggestions, Phil, that just popped into my head as I woke a few hours ago. Empress Miniatures and their Jazz age stuff I think- Google Paul Hicks North West Frontier and have a look what comes up. Not seen them in the flesh, but they look stunning, and Hicksy's stuff is always nice.

    As for Dark ages/ Saxons etc. I can heartily recommend the ranges from (was Musketeer Miniatures) now Footsore, sculpted by Bill Thornhill. I picked up some of their Saxons a few years back, and they're lovely. Real heft to them, 28s as opposed to 25s, but not heroic, just 'solid'. Beautiful, accurate detailing, with an eye to current archaeological and historic thinking in terms of kit and fighting styles! Love 'em.

    Hope you have fun browsing the net- always nice to look at new toys!


  15. Loving these ideas and suggestions. Lots of great advice and food for thought.
    All these options do have so much merit.
    Andy, we must definitely get a game with your 1650 skirmish. Enjoyed seeing it at Partizan, and looking forward to May at the new venue.
    Already, my notebook is filling with ideas for all the above, and I've gone to parts of the web that I never knew about in wargames terms, finding lots of new stuff. Thank you for all the links...
    I think I've decided... That's the subject for another post though...

  16. Just in case you somehow never visited it, certainly one of the most inspirational wargaming websites was the "Major General's" Colonial website. It is no longer online, but via "the Wayback Machine" you can still explore it:

    Of particular interest to many are the links to "how to" build various terrain pieces, boats, buildings, etc.

    -- Jeff

  17. Oh yes Jeff... I've been spending a LOT of time on that site. So enticing...

  18. Claymore Castings have intrigued me for quite awhile now. I'd like to see what kind of a project that you could develop with those ( 1300s Scots and English).


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