Saturday, October 9, 2010

Too many irons in the fire

The sluggard's craving will be the death of him,
because his hands refuse to work.
Proverbs 21:25

Wargamers are like kids in a candy shop—at least most of the gamers I know are. Everything looks good and we want it all. Now. In massive quantities. Thank you.

If you're a well-disciplined and focused painter—like Bill Stewart or Kevin Smyth—your throughput can inspire awe. If you're not well-disciplined and focused—like, er, me—things tend to pile up.

I'm looking around at all the projects I have in progress and I'm a bit dismayed by it all. No sooner do I get well underway with a new project than a newer new project tempts me away (Ooh, look, a shiny thing!). The result is a daunting number of projects that sit round partially painted. Currently on the painting table (in no particular order of priority):

  • 28mm Sassanid Persians - I have several A and A Miniatures figures that I bought years ago to go along with my A and A 3rd Century Romans. My approach to these figures is that no two will be alike. That means that assembly-line painting techniques just won't work. Each horse and rider is done separately. I can do some things in batches, such as paint all the brown horses at once, but past that, the horse furniture and caparisons/barding is all separate. I tackle this project in fits and starts, but it's been stalled for much longer than it's been active.
  • 28mm Ancients skirmish - I posted a while ago about my playing the never-published De Bellis Velitus (DBV) ancient skirmish rules that Phil Barker drafted about 20 years ago as a companion to his De Bellis Antiquitatis (DBA) rules. After that playtest, I got busy mounting a number of 28mm Foundry Greeks on the 30mm x 40mm bases I've adopted for DBV. The Greeks were originally intended for use with a home-grown set of rules by Bryan Booker called Warriors of Antiquity, but I've lost my copy, the rules are no longer available, and Bryan Booker has fallen off the face of the earth, alas. I then thought about using them for a grid-based game that was a revival of a set of rules I played in the 70s, but I figured I may never attract other players to it. So DBV it is. I'm just a bit stymied on the momentous question of painting the hoplite shields using simple designs and solid colors or to "cheat" and use Little Big Men shield transfers.
  • 28mm late 17th century - Back in the early 80s, my gaming friends in San Jose and I got together on gaming the late 17th century using the Gush Renaissance rules and using the new Dixon League of Augsburg figures sculpted by Mark Copplestone. With the release last year of a new late 17th c. range, Glory of the Sun, covering the era of 1660 – 1675, Bill Stewart, Doug Hamm, Rich Knapton, and I got excited enough to start a new project using the Beneath the Lily Banners rules. However, Copplestone stalled after his first release of the range. Figures for guns and horse were to be forthcoming, but after a long delay the rumor was that Copplestone had found a "real job" and wouldn't be completing the range. The new rumor is that the old rumor is false, but no new figures seem to be forthcoming. As it is, I'm partly through two infantry regiments, but out of steam because I'm not sure if there's any point...
  • 15mm WW2 Germans - This is only partially a stalled project because I've been painting WW2 figures on and off for 15 years and I have a large collection of painted Germans and Russians for use with the Kampfgruppe Commander rules that we play. However, the only German infantry I have painted are a couple battalions of late-war SS in camouflage. I bought a large number of Peter Pig late war German infantry to be painted as Wehrmacht infantry ca. 1943-45. The total figures will provide about four infantry battalions, several 75mm PAK 40 guns, 81mm and 120mm mortars, and several tripod-mounted MG42s.
  • 1:600th scale ironclads - Kevin Smyth and I got hyped up on naval wargaming for the ironclad era a long, long time ago. We started with 1:1200th Lyzard's Grin figures, but soon switched to the exquisite range of Thoroughbred 1:600 models. I have dozens completed, but there's always more to do. For the longest time I pined away for Toby Barret (Mr. Thoroughbred) to do a model of the USS Choctaw. Now that he's released it, and that I have the model in hand, it's just sat there waiting for me to do something with it. I also have several of Toby's later models that include other ships I've wanted for a long time.
  • 28mm Punic War - I posted a long while ago about starting my 28mm Carthaginian army for Field of Glory. I have a lot of prep work done—about 100 figures cleaned and primed, with may partially painted. Like the Sassanid Persian project, I want each warband type figure and Lybian hoplite to be unique. So, there's a lot of work painting figures one at a time. It's gone on so long, that I'm not even sure I still want to use them for FoG. (I have been thinking recently of scaling the project down and use the circa-1976 Legion rules by Al Margolis.)
  • 15mm Parthians - I started this project using Peter Pig's range of Parthians as a new 15mm Field of Glory army. As with other armies of barbarians, I want each figure to be unique. It's slow going. I haven't played FoG for a while now, so the impetus to get back to painting a new army isn't too strong right now.
  • 1:1250 scale coastal ships - As I posted recently, I've been working on this project for a while and have enough models painted to run several different types of scenarios. However, I also have a number of unpainted or half-painted models that I need to get to. I'm also eyeing the Japanese and American ships available for the Figurehead 1:1250 range, which could just mean more pile-up.
  • 1:2400th WW2 naval - The Solomons campaign that we're started underscores a need for more ships apart from the many that I've already painted.
  • 15mm Renaissance - About five years ago, I bought two armies of Minifigs 15mm Renaissance figures. That was a saga in itself and I wound up with two of each army. The armies are Tudor English and Spanish Imperial. My intent was to build the armies for De Bellis Renationis (DBR), but with the recent release of Field of Glory Renaissance (FoGR), I'm now looking at building the armies for these rules.
  • 28mm Napoleonics - Let this one sink in a minute. Yes, I have Napoleonic figures that are actually in progress of being painted. The Black Powder rules sucked me in. I traded to get some unpainted figures from Bob Mackler, bought some more from Old Glory, and tore apart my garage looking for the Foundry French cuirassiers I bought so long ago, they came four to a pack. This genre IS the black hole of wargaming, so it could easily eclipse all else.
  • 28mm WW1 - This is another offshoot of Black Powder about which I will post more later I've had the figures for some time and recently painted a company. I have another company, a couple machine guns, and some skirmishers to complete.
  • &c. - The above, daunting as it is, is just a précis of the unpainted lead that has piled up over 20 years of sluggardy. I have a 28mm Dark Ages Britain project that I started a long time ago. I played Pig Wars with the figures I had painted (Picts and Irish), but I have a lot of Saxons and some Britons started—and more still in the bags. I have Medieval French in 28mm that I started for the Pig Wars Late Medieval Variant rules that I wrote several years ago. I have 15mm WW2 Polish and Dutch. I have a lot more 15mm WW2 besides. I've got a box full of 1:300 scale WW2 aircraft that I will probably never get back to, having already sold all the painted planes I had. I've got another box of 15mm DBA armies, which I will also probably never paint because I sold all my painted DBA armies a few years back.
So, my work is cut out for me just to make the lead pile go down a bit. However, I'm always buying more, so bet on the pile going up. The only thing buoying my spirit is the age-old belief that a wargamer can never die as long as he has unpainted lead. At this rate, I will give Methuselah a run for his money.


    1. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. And then I decided to switch focus from large games requiring large numbers of figs, to small, skirmish-type games. Say a platoon a side tops. Made my life much easier and my painting much more fun. Try it and see if it works for you.


    2. It might be a bit too late for your Greeks, but I have a copy of Warriors of Antiquity that I might be willing to part ways with...