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.
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.