...Or is it two directions at once?
When I started my Syldavia project, I hadn’t paid much attention to my world of little lead men for quite some time. Back in the day, when I lived close to an active gaming group, I had been quite active in Napoleonic wargaming and I built up some substantial armies in 15mm, along with the trimmings (terrain, including a number of scratch-built buildings). I packed all that great weight with me during a few moves and I remain happy that I did so as I liked peeking at them and putting them through drills from time to time, even if I didn’t get around to playing much. Solo wargaming is prone to periods of drought, at least in my case. After my long-slumbering urge to paint and play returned again, I looked for something new to try out. This turned out to be the SYW and my own Imagi-Nation project, having been inspired by stumbling onto EvE and a few related websites. I can clearly recall the very fun hour during which I surfed onto both Der Alte’s Fritz’s site AND Phil Olley’s Warchest - wow! I thought I was dreaming!
I searched around for figures I liked and ended up with some 18mm Eureka figures and samples of 28mm RSM 95 figures. I choose the Eureka figures in the end because I had already painted a lot of figures in that scale and I liked the « massed » look of having several bigger battalions in that scale, easier to achieve in 15/18mm than in 25/28mm, at least in terms of simple numbers of castings. I also had that inventory of terrain pieces that were perfectly appropriate for the SYW, and I liked the idea of limiting cost, storage and playing space. I have made some inroads into the Syldavian lead mountain with my own (slow) work and with some hirelings. Just below is a picture of some of these figures, you can see some others here.
IR 5 Dbrnouk and IR 3 Istow Musketeers, Eureka 18mm
I like the Eureka figures for the completeness and diversity of their line and the balanced animation of the sculpting, The very positive interactions I had with Nic Robson helps quite a bit as well. I wish these figures existed when I my interest in my Napoleonics first started to wane. Some are a bit on the chunky side of ideal for my taste but the poses are generally sober and appropriate for the square-rigged SYW. My little lead sergeant majors are fond of giving a bit of the cane to overly excited prancing recruits : “You there – dress ranks! Were you painted just yesterday? Look smart and act like you have been in front of the enemy before!” I am pleased by how my first Syldavian battalions have turned out. I have even ventured into trying some modest conversions, something I really don’t like doing in 18mm normally.
While I have certainly painted my share of 15mm figures and used to turn them out quickly and painlessly, I have to admit that I find it more difficult now. I suspect that the problem is that I haven’t been painting nearly enough to really get my chops back, nor am I likely to get the chance to put many consecutive hours in for some time yet. No doubt vision has something to do with it as well (as much as one would like to deny the effects of time…). In any case, painting the 18s is a tougher job now than I remember it being in the past. I have been feeling somewhat daunted in fact. So, out of curiosity, I decided to paint one of the RSM 95 sample figures this week. It was their marching Austrian fusilier, which is a casting that many of you must know very well. Here is the fellow, finished and dressed in the uniform of IR 2 Klow Musketeers.
Musketeer IR 2 Klow Musketeers RSM95
It is the first 25/28mm figure I have painted in a very long time. There are a number of things to improve in this trial (notably, simplifying to reduce painting time and black lining) but I have to say that I really had fun painting it and it seemed easier work than my recent 18’s. The RSM95s really do paint up nicely and I admire their sculpting. In fact, I liked the result so much that I promptly ordered some more RSM 95s and some Minden figures as well. I am looking forward to seeing all of them painted up and on parade.
A view of IR 2 Klow that the Bordurians shall surely never see!
So, where does this experiment leave my project plans? I think my plans just become more complicated! I am certainly going to keep on with my 18mm army, I’ll use them for larger battles, Syldavia-Borduria and for that other SYW. I ordered enough RSM95 and Minden figures to build a small army on the lines of that sketched out in Charge!, so I think that this second project will be my chance to give the Old School a try for myself. Sounds like fun to me.
So, stay tuned for progress. Is that the postman at the door?