Friday, December 12, 2014

Not Much Has Been Done, But Much Has Been Considered

Confession time: I've not done a lick of work on Cthulhu since Sunday evening.  I just haven't been able to really set aside the time and energy to give him the attention I want to be able to give him.  I have decided that I want to attach the wings and putty the gaps in them before painting, so I've got my fingers crossed that I'll be able to get on that tomorrow so he's got all Sunday to cure.

In the mean time, boxes - boxes upon boxes - have been arriving at my apartment.  The three orders I'd placed with Wargames Factory during their Black Friday sale event all arrived this week - one on Monday, one on Tuesday, and one on Thursday that would have been Wednesday if it weren't for the damn snow storm.

So let me just do what my girlfriend does whenever she buys new yarn for her knitting habit - spread it out over the bed and take some pictures so she can carefully catalog her "stash" and remain knowledgeable of everything she's got in her collection - and given that she's got two huge tote-bins in the closet filled to capacity with carefully packed skeins of yarn, that's quite a bit!

Those are her little pink piddies in the background, by the way.
Not mine.
I actually see a lot of similarities between her knitting and my miniature painting.  In both cases we're engaging in a certain degree of crafting, from which we derive a great deal of pleasure, and then there's a practical aspect (in my case, the simple joy of pushing figures across a table to simulate conflict; in hers, having a warm neck during these bitter Western New York winters).  And while we both can spend a considerable amount, it's because we're buying quality; when it comes to yarn, she has Cadillac tastes - no $3-a-skein acrylic fiber yarn for her! And with me, sure, I could buy a bag of green plastic army men for $3 at the toy store, but I'd rather have the crisp detail of someone like Wargames Factory, or Bob Murch's Pulp Figures, or even Games Workshop.

And in both cases, the ratio of enjoyment-derived-per-dollar-spent is pretty high.  Sure, she might spend $30 on a nice skein of Malabrigo Worsted, but she's going to spend 5-8 hours, at least, using a pair of chopsticks to turn a ball of string into a hat (which, to me, is pure sorcery), plus the countless days she'll wear the hat.  That $30 ends up going a very long way.  Likewise, for example, during the sale I bought a box of Amazons that was marked down to $16-and-change.  Factor in the hours I'm going to spend carefully clipping the pieces from the sprues, sanding mold lines, assembling figures and then painting, and even before I put them on the table and play a game with them, that $16 investment has gone a pretty long way.

And that's not even taking into account that I'm planning to convert half of them using pieces from the Persian Infantry sprue bundles I bought to bring them a little more in line with what "actual" Sarmatian/Scythian warrior women would have probably looked like, and that stretches the enjoyment even further as I plan conversions, carefully cut pieces apart and glue them together into new configurations.  No longer will my Amazons have frigid nethers as they fight in tiny leather skirts on the arid steppes; nay, it's trousers for my ladies, I say!

I bought enough of these Infantry bundles to assemble into 120 figures...
And in both cases, my toy soldiers and her knitting, it's a hobby where realistically we're going to be doing a lot of work in our pajamas, sitting on the couch with the TV going in the background, some show we've heard rave reviews of playing on Netflix, and we'll poke our heads up and realize that half a season has gone by and we have no idea what any of the characters look like.

I've made a few mentions of pushing figures around on the table, and I may have mentioned previously that I'd been casting around for a good ruleset to use with these Greeks, Amazons and Persians.  And it dawned on me today that I already *have* a great ruleset handy.

I'm a big fan of John "Buck" Surdu's G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. (Glorious Adventures in Science Loosely Involving Generally Historical Times) skirmish ruleset.  The rules are fast and easy to learn, the number of figures required to play are very low, and it really puts a lot of emphasis on creativity and fun.  While ostensibly designed for Victorian Science Fiction, I see no reason why I couldn't quickly and easily adapt it to any setting or genre imaginable (well, I can imagine that a romantic comedy wargame might be a bit tricky).  Strip out the steam-tech and throw in something to give shields and armor some value and I think I'd be ready to go with a "Bronze Age by G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T." game.  Heck, there's even rules for strange beasts in the G.A.S.L.IG.H.T. manual - no conversion really necessary to start churning out mythological beasties for more Mythic games.  For that matter, leave in the steam-tech and call it Atlantean technology or the handiwork of Daedalus and we're good to go!

I've got plenty of figures for Amazon, Spartan and Persian factions for Bronze Age by G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T., maybe I should get some Egyptians, Macedonians, Scythians...and of course the mythologicals; I'm going to want minotaurs, harpies, cyclopes...And since I bought those British Colonial troops I should buy some Zulus, maybe some Prussians and French Foreign Legion as well...

According to Gina, in the knitting community there's a term - SABLE.  It's an acronym, standing for "Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy," referring to knitters who accumulate more yarn then they can reasonably knit up before shuffling off this mortal coil.  Immediately upon hearing the term I had to laugh, because I know miniature painters do the exact same thing, but I don't know that we have as catchy a name for it as SABLE.  So I'd like that to maybe catch on and get used by wargamers in reference to their overflowing closets of projects and shelves groaning under the weight of unpainted lead.


  1. Look at all that fabulous plastic! A great haul Bill.

    1. Thanks Michael! Pretty cost conscious as well - I think, shipping included, I didn't spend more then about $160.

  2. That's a fairly serious plastic mountain, Bill. Good luck with that.

    For your GASLIGHT needs, might I suggest the Warlord British Line Infantry? Good value and characterful models to paint.

    1. Thanks Dr. West - I intend this stack to last me a good chunk of 2015. As far as GASLIGHT goes, I've already got the Wargames Factory British Infantry so I think I'm good as far as that goes - got my eye on some French Foreign Legion or Prussian figures next to challenge them.