Sunday, 26 April 2009

Thoughts on WW2 Highlanders in Kilts

It always amazes me the capacity for we wargamers to moan at our lot in life. Whether its WW2 Highlanders in Kilts or skiing Illyrians or whatever, any one would think we have it bad.
This is surely a golden age for wargaming with more choice of figure ranges across just about every period of history in every scale and size of figure imaginable. We have, for better or worse, more Wargames magazines than ever before. There is far more access to uniform information, campaign histories and the like. And then there is the t'internet.

Figure manufacturers seem to be constantly bombarded with requests for new ranges, new periods, new poses etc. And what happens the moment said ranges are done and available for sale? I guarantee someone, somewhere will post on a forum or ask at a show "Those xxx figures that I badgered you for are very nice. I'll buy 2. Now, if only you did yyy wearing zzz, I would be really happy. I would buy a lot of those."

To some extent I imagine we are all guilty from time to time. But it is useful occasionally to sit back and consider why the figures you wont are sometimes not available or are on a 'to do' list. Certain codes within figure ranges must be constant sellers whereas others sit unloved and unwanted apart from one or two sold here or there. I imagine whole ranges of figures can see fluctuations in sales as periods come in and out of favour due to a new set of rules, a good film or book or hype in the wargames press. Darkest Africa, Pirates, Pulp Action and Cowboys are recent fads. 1938 British Civil War seems to be the flavour at the moment (for which, interestingly, Peter Pig may see some benefit with the WW1 and SCW ranges being very suitable for such a project).

I often come to periods that I game from two angles. Firstly the love of a period, generated through films books and the like. American Civil War was, is and always will be my favourite period for a variety of reasons. Hence I have gamed and collected with figures from 2mm to 28mm and used coutless sets of rules. In 15mm alone I have collected 3 generations of Peter Pig ACW armies as the range has been redesigned over the years.

Secondly, a range of figures or rules has inspired me. The best example being Peter Pigs Samurai range which I had never previousley considered as a period. Most importantly for me, I trust the designers of the figures I buy in whatever scale or range I choose to buy, to deliver the goods. Yes, there are certain figures I would like to see, just like veryone else, but you wont see any teddys flying out of my pram should they not appear! I have more than enough unpainted figures that at the time I just had to have that have sat unloved in a dark drawer and forgotten about to keep me going for some time.

My message? Lets not get upset over toy soldiers. Have a nice cup of tea and a biscuit and enjoy this broad church called wargaming we all love.



Beccas said...

The kilt wars are nothing. Just watch us Aussies argue over the slouch hat. Some of us (me) argue that it was worn in the pacific, others argue the helmet was worn. I know both were and so were berets, but if I am wargaming Aussies in the pacific I want them in bush hats. I am lucky I can choose from both in any scale.

Sean Clark said...

Good point, but as i say we are a broad church. After all some wargamers are happy with cardboard counters with soldiers drawn on them whilst others want museum quality painted figures. At the end of the day its what YOU want that matters not what others think you should want.

Mark said...

Hi Sean

Some good points, some interesting ones.

The 'moaning' you talk about is commonplace throughout our consumerist society. It is a deliberate conditioning to make us unhappy with what we have and want (ie BUY) something else.

Yes, fully agree we are better off today in terms of all resources available to us - but also in disposable income that allows us to accrue lead mountains and without that the hobby wouldn't be as rich a vein as it is.

I hold my hand up, I will ask for certain poses, and will ask and will continue asking, or certain kit. Why, because I don't want Ww2 troops for instance in musket and bayonet poses.

You said yourself "At the end of the day its what YOU want that matters not what others think you should want". And that's often the trouble, manufactuerers and sometimes sculptors providing us with what they think we should want".

I've asked for figs - the manufacturer doesn't tell me he is going to include them in the range, only listens to the "I want X" but fails to take in the...."in Y poses/kit", doesn't ask for sources, ideas, feedback. The figures are released in 6 months time when I've given up the project or spent my monies with someone else.

Or the range is poorly thought out, US Army without BARS for instance - yes it did happen once - couldn't even complete a squad let alone a company. But there were 3 packs of Tommy gunners.

So it cuts both ways.