Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The Building Work Begins

The raw materials for my mini-board have arrived!  

Not particularly inspiring, I know.  However, I have a dream...

The kids are in bed asleep, my wife is out for the evening, so I've been able to make a start.  As you might be able to see, the board is actually an old piece of marine ply.  Completely intact, but a little grubby and filled with screw-holes.  So task number one is to use filler to plug the holes, then a coat of thinned PVA glue to seal the wood.

The next task on the list is to start texturing.  My plan is to scale up my basing technique, which textures the base with builders sand, and then use static grass to provide colour.  I'm hoping it's going to work!  This is what it looks like in small scale...

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Making Plans...

I've now ordered the raw materials I need to turn my basic chunk of wood into a wargames table.  While I'm waiting for my table to be completed, I guess I'd better start thinking about what I'm going to do with it...

The obvious idea was to go "small-scale".  There are some fantastic figures available in micro-scales from the likes of Baccus or GHQ, but the idea of using them in a wargame leaves me uninspired.  I'm not interested in recreating huge battles so I'm going to try and come up with some creative things to do in the scales I like.  Here are a few ideas.

My collection at the moment consists of 20mm Vietnam War figures and vehicles.  My painting skills are probably of an acceptable wargames standard - here's an example of my vehicle work.

 I really like the Charlie Don't Surf rules from Too Fat Lardies and I'll use these for my first games on the new table.  I have an interesting idea for a mini-campaign using random, hidden movement on a hex-map.  If it works, I'll tell you about it.

Another period that I find fascinating is the Spanish Civil War.  A new Spanish company called Minairons has started producing models in hard plastic for this period, and their first offering - a box of Panzer 1 models in 1/72 scale - is due for release imminently.  I really hope they do well, because this looks like it's going to be an extremely nice range.  They'll be manufacturing in 15mm scale, too.

I recently bought a copy of the Force on Force rules from Ambush Alley Games.  These rules emphasise the quality of the man holding the rifle rather than the quality of the rifle itself, and I think they'll adapt perfectly for the Spanish Civil War.  The huge variation in the forces that fought in the conflict means there will be some really interesting stuff to paint, too.

One more conflict I want to research is the French-Indian War.  I knew next-to-nothing about this period until I started hearing lots of good reviews of the new Muskets and Tomahawks rules.  Designed for skirmish games using 28mm miniatures, I think that they'll work really well on my small table.  There are some great figures available from Warlord, the Perrys and North Star - here's just part of the range from Warlord.

I might only need two or three dozen figures per side, and that'll keep the cost down.  I will need lots of trees, though...

Hopefully by next time my scenic materials will have arrived so I can make a start.  I'll let you know how I get on.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

The Start of a New Project

Thanks for visiting my new blog. I am starting with a new chapter in my wargaming life - with a 2-foot by 3-foot table! Along the way, I want to learn some new skills, create some new stuff and see if I can play entertaining, challenging wargames on a small table.

When I started wargaming, 20-something years ago, I wanted nothing more than a purpose-built wargames table. I was filled with ideas of a games room, with at its centre a lovingly created layout filled with beautiful terrain. Unfortunately, such things are out of the reach of 15 year old boys, and so the dream was forgotten.

I have gone away from wargaming and come back a couple of times over the years, and now I am in the position where I have the inclination (and, just as importantly, an understanding wife) to create my dream wargames table. The only problem is that our house is also home to our two wonderful children. As a result, I don't have the time or space to have a permanent 6' x 5' table, and so I need to find a way of keeping my "wargaming footprint" to a minimum.

I have worked out that a 2' x 3' wargames table will fit happily on our dining room table without me having to re-arrange the whole room. I have even found an old worktop of the right size that my Dad created years ago. And so I have hatched a plan.

I'm going to convert this worktop into my new wargames table. I have a selection of hills from S&A Scenics that I will re-cover to match the table, I'll make (or buy) some new trees, and I'm actually going to try and play some games. My interests at the moment are mainly 20th century, especially post World War 2. The new-ish rules from Ambush Alley, Force on Force, say that it is very possible to have a good games on a 2' x 2' table, so I'm going to test this out with 20mm figures.

Having said that, I'm keen to try out new things. I'm really interested in painting some of the new ranges of hard plastic 28mm figures that are available from Warlord, Victrix, the Perrys and others. Can you have a game on a small table with 28mm figures? Let's find out...

Next time, I'll have made some decisions about colours, raw materials and techniques. Please come along and see how I'm doing!