Never in the Field of Toy Soldier Conflict...

We'll don't ask me what happened to December. I guess it's the joy of the season mixed with the joy of too many jobs. The one thing that's certain is that I had virtually no time for any part of my hobby at all.  We'll, apart from the odd trip to the virtual worlds of G+ and Facebook Groups where I was simultaneously enthused and put off in equal measures. I was enthused by all the wonderful gaming I saw, and put off because it all seemed so out of reach. 

One thing it did make me think about though was the perennial thorn in my side, namely the Second World War. I remember the days when the period wasn't popular. There were very few rules and even fewer manufacturers in 28mm, my scale of choice. But as someone who grew up reading all about the war, it was something I skirted around the edges of playing for a long  time. And then along came Band of Brothers.

Suddenly I wanted to play a squad level WWII wargame. And it had to play like the aforementioned TV mini series. After much searching, I stumbled across NUTS! and I was so impressed by the reviews I read, I went all out and got myself a copy sent over the pond. This began my absolute love of Two Hour Wargames systems, a passion which shows no sign of abating. But that's another story. 

Of course, I then had to settle on some miniatures. You have to remember that we're talking about the pre Warlord Games period of Wargaming. My choices were rather limited. And gen I came across a few photos in Wargames Illustrated from a convention where people were using plastic model kits. To say I was intrigued would be an understatement. And thanks to Model Hobbies, I began pricing up the best deals I could find to make NUTS! a reality on my tabletop. At this time Tamiya were beginning to produce 1/48 scale versions of some of their 1/35 scale troops and vehicles. The former were more expensive than the latter. As a result my adopted Aberdonian tendencies kicked in and went 1/35. The games were great, the scale was as immersive as the gameplay, and we had a lot of fun for months on end.
Then along came Bolt Action, which I went for. I liked the idea of the game and friends had been raving about it. I purchased the rule book and over the coming months I got a copy of the army books. I still haven't played it. 
There are many reasons for this. I began looking for 28mm scale miniatures. I got a deal on some Warlord Games figures and decided upon Commandos. I haven't gotten very far with these either. Although I considered them to be among the best of Warlord,s plastics, their gait and poses didn't impress me much. The same is true of many of their figures. They seem too scrunched up and squatting. So the project remained on hold.

What I didn't like about Bolt Action though was the army lists. As I began putting my Commando force together, I quickly realized I didn't like it. Rather than putting together a force based on history, you effectively have a pick and mix approach loosely based on some generic historical premise. In fact I think the design of these lists is to allow a player to pretty much put together the force he or she wants to play, arming their troops in a way that befits their gaming style. With as much or little support as they wish. Clearly there's a market for this sort of thing. But it's not for me. Seems too 40K for my liking.
So I turned my attention to Flames of War. I purchased the Open Fire boxed set when it came out. I loved the idea of divisional gaming WWII. Until I read the rules. Unlike Bolt Action I liked the way you built up your army as it seemed more akin to the period. But it as to the game system, I wasn't impressed. Too reminiscent of the to hit, to wound and save rolls of a certain 40k... And whilst I loved the scale of the miniatures, the heads seemed too big and the weapons more than twice their actual size. Skbioj can see where I'm going with all this can't you.
That's right. I want a decent system with anatomically correct miniatures in a realistic pose. Thank God for Too Fat Ladies and 1/35 scale then! I hope I the future to purchase copies of Chain of Command and  Ain't Been Shot Mum. The latter will put my FoW minis to good use, the former will allow me to play platoon level WWII. And whilst I love Artisan Designs miniatures, I can't afford much of anything at the moment.

So I went up to the loft, moved a lot of stuff around and found all my 1/35 models. And there were a lot more of them than I remembered! There's more than enough here to give me a platoon of Germans and a platoon of US troops, and I can base these platoons on the army lists in Chain of Command which I know is historically accurate. And coincidentally, NUTS! can be played at platoon level as well. Don't know why I didn't realise this sooner...
So all in all it's a win for me as this isn't costing me a penny! 

And as to scenery, I've a number of MiniArt buildings in 1/35. And whilst this means I won't be scratch building all my scenery for this game, it does mean I'll be able to share my humming and hawing as I try to convert model display kits into something suitable for Wargaming.

As always, thanks for stopping by!


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