Although the first few posts on this blog have been about cycling, it will start to diversify quite rapidly now. Apparently that’s bad for readers because they might come to expect consistent content from a WordPress site. So I should just keep writing about cycling. All the time.
I don’t think it will really make any difference anyway as most of the people who read it are people who know me in the real world, so they’ll be used to my scattergun approach to things – especially my hobbies.
So… I’ve recently stopped taking antidepressants and found myself actually wanting to do things and see people again. I didn’t realise it when I was taking them, but they don’t just take the bottom out of the lows, they also take the top off the highs. I don’t think I’ve been properly happy in 6 months. But anyway, now I feel a bit more like a functioning member of society, I’ve started slotting myself back into my old hobbies.
The first and main one of those is tabletop wargaming. It’s something I’ve done on and off for most of my life, but only more recently in a non Games Workshop context. Nothing against the Games Workshop, but I didn’t realise until a couple of years ago how much scope there was.
I’ve started looking at finishing (or carrying on building – no wargaming army is ever truly finished) a couple of Flames of War forces, and a modular table with some scenery for them to carry out their 1:100 scale Second World War battles on.
I’ve got a very “tank heavy” late war Russian army – thirteen T-34s, five T-70s and five IS-2s. Now that won’t mean much to most people reading this I suppose, but it’s five light scout tanks, thirteen medium tanks and five heavy tanks. You can quite easily tell which is which in the photo below, you can also easily tell which ones are finished and which ones still need some work.
To support those tanks there’s also a couple of Katyusha Rocket Launchers and an Infantry Rifle Company. The Katyusha is an interesting little thing. It was basically a large rocket rack attached to the flatbed of whatever truck they could lay their hands on. So they looked like this…
A little bit shonky maybe. And if you’re wondering why they’ve wrapped the top of the cab and windscreen with metal – well this is what a few of them look like when they’re firing their rockets.
I don’t think I’d want to be sat in the cab too close to that…
Anyway, that’s one army.
The other is a Polish Home Army force, representing the Warsaw Uprising. So this one is mostly infantry being supported by a couple of tanks – tanks they captured from the Germans. This is a bit of a labour of love. The infantry bases are made up of miniatures from at least 3 separate nationalities from at least 4 different suppliers (there’s miniatures from Polish, German and Russian sets by Forged in Battle, Zvezda, Plastic Soldier Company and Flames of War).
The thing I didn’t realise about historical wargaming versus something like the Games Workshop is that it still requires a huge amount of imagination, patience and planning. What it also requires is a degree of research and accuracy. This Sd Kfz 251 sums that up nicely. The Polish captured a couple of these. Here’s a photo of one.
And here’s a photo of the one I’ve made to fit into the Flames of War force.
And then on top of actual miniatures, they need a battlefield to roam over.
The table itself is being constructed out of twelve 40cm square cork boards I found in a local supermarket (Every Little Helps). That will add up to a gaming area of 1.2m x 1.6m (or just over 5 feet by just over 4 feet). I think I need another three boards to make the table closer to the more regular 6’x4′ arrangement.
I have a plan! (seriously I do). Here’s a photo of it!
Some of the boards will be plain, some will have a road way modelled onto them and some will have hills modelled onto them (some in isolation and some that will link up). I’ve finished a couple of the easier ones for now, but still have 10 to go. But a table is only the start…
Whilst the Flames of War scenery range is incredibly well made, pre-painted and quite varied – it is also quite expensive. As I’m starting from scratch and don’t need to worry about mixing different types I thought I’d have a look around and see what was out there. The first thing I found out was that scenery is much more readily available in either 28mm or 1:72 scale. Fortunately there is still some good scenery in 1:100 / 15mm scale (Flames of War). Some of the best stuff is made from lazer cut MDF and assembled once the parcel turns up at home. It’s dirt cheap, comes with detachable floors so that infantry bases can be placed inside, doesn’t look too bad unpainted, but can be painted in any way you want (as long as you don’t use anything too watery and warp the wood).
Then… I’m also considering an early war Russian force (because a big part of my soul just wants to paint white T-34s) AND I’ve got a load of US, British and German stuff hanging around which needs some attention at some point as well.
Good job I’m feeling more sociable again really.