Monday, March 02, 2009

Project Updates

I think it's telling that I started this entry exactly three months ago and I'm just now getting around to finishing it and posting it. Sort of an encapsulated metaphor for the state of my miniatures gaming these past couple years: lots of big plans and schemes, then somehow time slips by and suddenly it's been months and nothing's happened. Ah well.

Now that there's finally, finally, finally a light at the end of the tunnel in terms of my ill-advised commitments to painting miniatures for hire (it's looking like I'll have everything cleared off my "to-do" pile by the end of the year March!) it's time once again to return to the world of miniatures gaming in earnest. So here's what's been knocking around in my head of late:

* First off, there are the fantasy armies Des, Alex, and I put together last year. I've talked with Des and Alex, and there definitely seems to be a bit of a collective itch for some sweet fantasy wargaming action in the near future, so I think we'll all be making a concerted effort to our armies painted up. (Update: since I wrote this in December, Alex has moved away. I'm currently baby-sitting his Dwarf army, but will sending it to him once he gets settled into his new digs. There's been talk of him painting up his army anyway; that way, whenever he visits, he can bring it along for an afternoon of gaming. That, of course, presumes Des and I somehow find the time to paint up our armies...)

I actually started on mine last year, and painted up a couple center-piece models. My pride and joy is an old Grenadier Undead War Mammoth, recast by Mirliton. (One of the things that made me love Armies of Arcana was the fact that it allowed me to put together a stat block for this guy. And a big "Hallelujah!" to the fact that it's back in production--this was one of my first-ever Grenadier boxed set purchases, way back circa 1990, and I was only too happy to be able to pick up a new version for less than an arm and a leg.) My other big center-piece is my general--a renegade Amazon necromancer, riding her undead Troll bodyguard. God, I love this miniature, and not just for the nudie bits! (Between my as-yet-unnamed general and Des's half-naked Amazon army, we're running an R-rated collection of miniatures here!) Whenever I can be bothered to get my lightbox down from the closet, I'll take some pictures and post 'em here.

* Aye me, I've gone and added another project to my already steaming pile. Actually, this is a project that's been kicking around in my plans for, oh, almost three years now(!), but it's just recently come to fruition.

In the manner of most seasoned WWII wargamers, I eventually came around to developing an interest in the "sideshow" campaigns and armies of the war. In my case, my interest has largely focused on the Romanian army, and specifically the Siege of Odessa in 1941. I love the drama, the quasi-WWI-style warfare, the cobbled-together feel of both armies (with the Soviets employing naval infantry, Cossacks, regulars, you name it), the early war tanks (R35s for the Romanians, and the ever popular T-35 land battleships for the Reds)...

Yes sir, the Odessa Campaign has been something I've been meaning to explore for a while now. I've just never been sure how to go about it. Well, the answer has come to me rather ass-backwardsly, but here it is:

I'll be doing the project in 20mm, using primarily plastics with metal miniatures solely as needed to plug gaps in the plastics range (dismounted Cossacks, for example). (Turns out I needed quite a few metal minis.) After all the fun I had playing Fantasy Warriors, I've decided to get away from skirmish gaming for the most part--I want to mount my figures on bases. For a ruleset, I'll most likely definitely be using Blitzkrieg Commander.

As for bases, I had a bit of an epiphany yesterday that's got me really excited: use GW bases! I'm using circular bases for units  and sub-commanders and square bases for guns and commanders. One thing I really like about this approach is that it's scaleable. Thus, I could just as easily have a base be 1:1 and represent a section/fireteam (each base mounts about three figures), or a squad, or a platoon. The last couple months I slowly filled out the gaps in my plastics, found a bulk offer of circular bases on eBay, and mounted all my minis on bases. So I now have a half-painted assortment of Russians and Romanians, suitably ragtag and varied, enough to throw together a modest BKC game with options for offense and defense on both sides.

* I also managed to actually scratch something completely off my to-do list--my 28mm zombies are all finished! I've got about 40 or 50 of the shambling dead (a mix of manufacturers) and about a half-dozen survivors (all Hasslefree). The zombies had been about 80% done, so I finished up the rest, painted the survivors, and did the bases. They look great on my shelf; it's nice to have some more completed figures up there.

* The 10mm samurai are, as always, still lurking in the background. At this point, that seems like a project I'll either never get to, or else suddenly tackle in a week's worth of frenzied painting. Hopefully the latter, of course. Just waiting for the muse to strike.

* Of course, most of this is all moot until I get my Hexon terrain tiles finished up. That's something I can do in a weekend. It's just, living in a small apartment, there's no real good place to spread out and make a big mess, so I've been hesitant to get into it. But that's how it's going to have to be, so I'll just have to take the plunge.

* None of this, naturally, will go forward until I finish up the last two packs of Civil War miniatures I'm painting for a client. And that will be it! I'll collect my check and never paint another commissioned figure so long as I live.

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