Sunday, November 28, 2010

Do you have an ImagiNation?

For those not conversant with the idea of ImagiNation wargaming, shame on you! Essentially, a fictitious world is created, armies are built, uniforms developed, personalities formed and histories written. These nations or principalities can be geographically fictitious or based on historical countries. More often than not it seems that the mid-18th century is chosen for the historical genre of such ImagiNations but I have seem some set in 19th c. colonial periods, the ancient world, and even World War II. You can see a great example of this type of 18th century Imagination here or here.

So, why am I spouting off about this? I've contemplated this sort of project often over the years and, in fact, I did make a sortie into it once before. A number of years ago I built a 28mm fictitious Marlburian army, based on the French army of the period but with units named only after French cheeses, led by the Marquis de Fromage. The uniforms were based on contemporary fashions but with my own colour choices. Unfortunately, I could find no opponent to delve into this world of ImagiNations with me and I ended up selling the entire collection. Not so now! I'm working on persuading another interested party in pursuing this type of project again, at least on a limited basis to start. And nothing has been decided, even if we're really going to go forward with it. But it's fun to dream and plan. 

28mm Marlburian Imagination forces from a long-gone collection.
The Crusader SYW figures sold by Old Glory (and sold with the OG Army 40% discount) look quite inviting and would probably form the basis of a collection. During some down time at work today, I began to develop some uniform schemes for the first units in my army. I haven't even come up with a suitably tongue-in-cheek name for my nation/principality yet but it's premiere commander will be, of course, Le Marquis de Fromage!

Regiment Roquefort

Regiment Camembert

Grenadiers de Boursin

Cuirassiers de Brie

Saturday, November 27, 2010

New Arrivals

I've been rather quiet on the gaming front of late, not regularly attending MIGS nor sitting at my painting desk. I've been fortunate enough to procure a very short-term contract for some work at York University. This fortunate event has a down-side: my hobby has reluctantly had to take a back seat. This whole working for a living thing sucks! On the bright side (for my hobby, at least), the contract is finished next week so I should be able to catch up on some projects on my desk over the Christmas holidays.

On the slate are a number of 1/56 vehicles for my WWII Germans along with some new guns for both the Germans and the French. Also to be tackled soon is the new 1:6000 naval collection. In fact, I received my order from Magister Militum yesterday, a mere 13 days after ordering. In a very small box (see picture below) were well packed Figurehead 1:6000 WWII ships. In fact, in that tiny box were more than 40 ships; enough to fill out the entire order of battle for Cape Matapan (I believe the largest naval battle of WWII in the Mediterranean). I'm waiting now for my custom cut bases from Litko. These will be of the same general style as for my 1:2400 WWI naval project but somewhat smaller. I have yet to decide whether to paint the bases or render them in Photoshop and print them on label paper. The former would probably be the easiest since I have already figured out the process for the WWI collection.

And soon to be discussed, the possibility of the notion of maybe, perhaps delving into the intriguing world of 18th century ImagiNations! More of that anon...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

1:6000 WWII Naval

I received last week from the ever-friendly and helpful Ron P a bag full of Hallmark 1:6000 WWII boats. Thanks to Ron, the number of models I need to order for the Battle of Cape Matapan OB has been severely lessened. Thanks again Ron!

Littorio class Italian battleships.
My first impression when opening the package was, "Holy crap! These are damned tiny!" My second impression (after I put on my spectacles) was, "How do they get all the detail that small?" The largest ship in the batch is the Italian battleship Vittorio Veneto that measures in at a astounding 35mm long! How am I ever going to paint these? Of course, also on the question list is how to base them. The ships come with bases into which the ships fit, with molded waves. Very cool, but very small. Even with the bases the models are far too small for my stubby fingers to move about efficiently (and we won't even talk about Michael's bulbous bear paws!). So I need to devise a basing system that is easier to handle and looks good. My first thought is to emulate my WWI 1:2400 ship basing, but with slightly smaller bases. Probably the best way to go. But  I found an interesting basing idea here and I've included a photo from the site below. I like the way the graphics have been rendered and produced on a printer then attached to the base. The ship model is then placed on the "water." More to think on!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A New Project?

I've been rather quiet on the production front of late. I'm in one of my occasional painting slumps (of which I'm sure most of you are familiar) but I haven't been completely idle. I have, as always, continued gaming and you can see a few pics of a recent game below. I've  also been spending some time with planning, reading and research. Of particular interest to me of late has been the Mediterranean naval campaigns of WWII, specifically the Battle of Matapan in 1941 (you can see a short synopsis here). I have gamed in the WWII naval genre before using Victory at Sea but was unimpressed. In those games, we were using US and Japanese fleets and the action devolved into air power games. The naval aspect was definitely subsumed into the more uninteresting (at least to me) management of air assets. The Mediterranean campaigns between the Royal Navy and the Regia Marina seem to offer scope for capital ship engagements with limited air power resources (the Royal Navy had only one small carrier at Matapan and the Italians used only land-based bombers). The relatively small and self-contained scope of the operating theatre also appeals for campaign gaming. 

So, having (perhaps) chosen a new project, what scale? GHQ offers a comprehensive WWII range that has incredible detail and would seem to be the first choice. But I have happened upon the Hallmark range of 1:6000 ships (yes, that's three zeroes!) and I'm currently contemplating these little beauties (that you can see here to the left). While they have less detail than their larger GHQ 1:2400 cousins (duh!), they make up for that in their relative price point. The Hallmark ships are five or six times cheaper per ship than GHQ. The smaller scale has other advantages: 1) less storage space is needed; 2) a smaller playing surface is needed; 3) alternatively, the same space as needed for larger scales could be used...this would make for a more visually realistic (sic) playing surface, especially if aircraft carriers are involved.

What else is happening? The in-laws are preparing for their annual six-month Florida sojourn, leaving the basement en-suite apartment empty for the winter. I will again be transforming it into a temporary gaming room and workshop. There will be, of course, a gaming table but this time round I plan to also use the space for some larger terrain projects. Daniel plans to start on his WWI trench boards during his Christmas break and I would like to get a start on my new WWII buildings. Should make a lovely mess!

We played a 1940 scenario with Disposable Heroes on Sunday at MIGS. I hosted the game for two new and interested parties: Mark and Steve #2. Thanks guys for attending! I decided on a simple attack-defend scenario to introduce the new guys to the rules. You can see the central terrain feature in the picture above. Some of you may recognize this bridge from many WWII games in the past. Many a British paratrooper has given his all to defend (or capture) this bridge.

The German attack quickly received a serious blow. A French S-35 took its first shot of the game and destroyed  Steve #1's brand-spanking-new Neubaufahrzeug, a three-turreted German tank of extremely limted production-run, deployed during the Norway campaign (note: Before anyone mentions that this tank never appeared in the 1940 France campaign, it should be obvious from what I just wrote that I'm fully aware and don't really care!).

 The last moves of the game saw German panzer grenadiers assaulting the bridge under the cover of a smoke screen. The Germans eventually took the bridge in the waning moments, earning a marginal victory (there were still substantial French forces intact and nearby).