Monday, 25 February 2019

New School Imagi-Nations - Choosing the figures

Thanks to all who commented last time. My ramblings seemed to have struck a chord with many... which is very gratifying indeed. So, on with the rationale behind our new project...

We settled down, one summer lunchtime, in our Top Secret favourite haunt (Fosseway Indie-Fencibles HQ, somewhere deep in the Cotswolds) over gammon and chips, to discuss figures.

Yes, gammon and chips… “No pineapple ring, thanks mate.”
Whoever first thought about putting a pineapple ring on top of a piece of gammon should be… well, let’s not get carried away…
Back to our storyline…

Right at the outset, we agreed that the painting of the figures is what derails most wargaming projects. Or rather, the not painting of figures.
How often has a wargamer, practically every wargamer, certainly including me, got started on a new project, a new collection, with vigour and intensity…

Then something happens.
Something gets in the way.

A new range of figures, a new shiny project, a new thought that creates the “wish I’d done it differently” moment that results in “now I need to change the figures/ change the basing/ change the painting style” moment of doubt that derails the whole thing.
So, we decided to have a lengthy planning phase.  This also allowed us to bring to fruition a few other little projects, or at least get to the point where energy and focus could be devoted to this one.

Choosing the figure range (and therefore the period to set the project in) was crucial. We wanted speed and ease of mail ordering (this would allow a ‘unit at a time’ approach, rather than having an over-facing lead mountain). We wanted single figures, separate riders/horses, and a complete range (so not a case of waiting for new releases to keep the project moving). The decision to go with the Front Rank WSS range was taken on this basis. Not only that, but they are figures we both admire, and have a penchant to paint.  

above: Vaubarian Infantry Regt 3 - Breitner 

This was also aided by the desire to set the project firmly in the horse and musket period as we feel it is most suitable for the types of games we want to play… the ubiquitous balanced forces of Horse, Foot, and Guns being the order of the day.
Now, we won’t pretend that it was easy to reach this point. Although, the period and figures were mentioned right at the outset in our conversations, we subsequently visited practically every century, perused every range of figures, and explored every avenue of possibilities to decide on our project. At one point, “sending off for a few sample figures” became, “oh dear, I seem to have ordered a whole brigade!” … and not only that, a brigade for a period we subsequently discarded! Frequent emails, meetings at our adopted HQ, and get-togethers at wargaming shows, allowed us time to make the right decision. This also allowed time for a few other existing hobby ventures to be given full attention and brought to fruitful completion before launching properly into this project. 

Above: Astrovian IR1 - Frankl

Next time, I'll talk about the countries we've settled upon and some of the other "essentials" of the new venture.


  1. Astute observations and sage advice, Phil. The Wargaming Boulevard of Broken Dreams is my preferred term for projects that stall somewhere along the way. There seemed to be quite a few about 10-12 years ago when the imaginations craze first hit following the refights of Sittangbad and Mollwitz. Not nearly as many left now as far as I can tell, which is a shame since quite a few of these had real promise.

    Best Regards,


    1. Boulevard of Broken Dreams indeed Stokes. But I think, with a bit of planning, and solid deliberation, and honesty about painting output, anyone can achieve a workable wargaming project. You're right... it is sad to see so many of the early Imagi-Blogs now lying dormant. Marie Celestes of the blogosphere.Best regards. Phil

  2. Yes, pertinent thoughts. As a solo player I really wish I'd gone with my first impulse which was to collect 10mm figures, as I'd have a full army for both sides by now in easily portable form. As it is I've stalled, with two halves of my 28mm collection on either side of the Atlantic.

    1. I'm sure you are not alone AJ. There are many who would like to start all over again. But, there's no harm in going back to your first impulse. After all, there are some lovely 10mm figures on the market. and if you started now, you'd have the two armies in no time. It doesn't have to be 25mm/28mm/30mm to be Imagi-Nations either... Best regards. Phil

  3. More sage advice Phil and I find myself never able to concentrate on one project until completion even if it is the most practical way of approaching things I guess I'm too much of a butterfly I suppose. I have managed to advance projects enough to play games with it just takes my awhile with all the bouncing around.


    1. There are many ways to "skin this particular cat" Christopher. Either go for one project and focus on getting it to game-able, or have several on the go and nudge them forward until they all become game-able. And I'm by no means a saint when it comes to completing wargaming projects, that's for sure. Best regards. Phil

  4. It has taken me an awfully long time (decades?!) to learn and accept that, as a slow painter, I should only do one project at a time but also that I'm generally happier when the butterflies are caged up and I've got that elusive focus. That's just a personal take though and power to the elbows of those wargamers who can keep more than one plate spinning. Regards Steve G

    1. Agreed Steve. I think we have got to the point where our other butterflies are in cages (for now), some rattling at the bars of those cages, some sleeping in the corner, under a blanket with just a saucer of water for company. All of them are now looking out with envy as we spend quality time on the WVS!

  5. Best wishes for the future. Congratulations too.
    Bill P.