While I have been casting about for inspiration this month, one other idea (other than Prince Valiant, that is) has been given a new push. I have noticed recently that there are now two boxes of soft plastic 1/32 scale fatnasy creatures available on Amazon (and probably elsewhere). The Series I box was $20, and the Series II box was $25, within my impulse purchase range, so I decided that I would order them and have a look.
Monday, September 21, 2020
Sunday, September 20, 2020
...Your inspiration is important to us. Please be patient, and you will be inspired by the first available Muse.”
That’s what it has felt like this past month. However, I mentioned in my Gencon post that I had the opportunity to play in a session of the Prince Valiant roleplaying game. After the convention, I ordered a boxed set of the first three volumes of the Fantagraphic reprints of the Prince Valiant comic strips, covering the years 1937 to 1942. When I reached Volume 2 and saw this cover...
...my call to the Muses was answered. (I might note that I feel like this falls within Calliope’s portfolio for “epic” rather than Clio’s portfolio for “history”.) In fact, my cup has overflowed slightly...
Last year at Barrage in September, I picked up a Zvezda “Royal Castle” model. It was rather large and intimidating, so I went out looking over the usual sources for something a little smaller, and turned up one of these “Medieval Castle” models as well. I have several boxes of Zvezda siege machines, inclujding two siege towers, a trebuchet, and four or five boxes of the smaller pieces, such as ballistas, rock throwers, rams, and mantlets, all in 1/72 scale, of which I have great store.
In fact, my son Norman recently posted about the Zvezda ballista he’s finished for his Mongol army. So one possible route which the Prince Valiant inspiration could take me is down the path of expanding the 1/72 medieval/fantasy project to include the castle(s) and siege engines as scenario seeds. I would not end up using the Prince Valiant background, but would translate this into the ongoing Northlands/Portable Fantasy Campaign.
However, there is another somewhat reasonable possibility for a more direct inspiration. Back in the 1990s, when I was first gaming with large scale figures, I bought a bunch of 60mm knights and such, classic toys whose molds had been put back into production. Most (all?) of them were Marx Robin Hood and Sheriff of Nottingham figures, and various Reamsa and Jecsan figures from Spain and France.
This was a project which mostly did not pan out, mostly because the conceptual space for it ended up occupied by the Medieval Mayhem project. I had at one point intended to get the kids involved, and painted character figures and retinues for each of them. I think we got one game in before it got set aside. According to my game logs, I hosted one game for a HAWKs meeting in 2004. I had, in fact, decided to sell them off a year or two ago, so I pulled out the two character figures for my sons, handed them off to them for display, and boxed up the rest, along with the stock of unpainted figures. However, nobody bought them, and I brought them home (all 60 foot figures, 2 mounted figures, and the unpainted stocks) and stowed them away again.
Saturday, September 19, 2020
The camp’s defenses (to the right) have formed up to meet the Usurper’s tired troops
Screen capture from the central game server...
Theat wasn’t a bad weekend for games; I also finally set up and played a Dragon Rampant scenario generated by my solo campaign, which had been awaiting resolution for several months. The nice thing about a solo campaign is that the opponent doesn’t get bored while waiting for the next move to be resolved.
I used some orcs borrowed from Norman and some of my general purpose fantasy/medieval 1/72 scale figures to resolve an encounter out on the eastern borders of the human kingdom of Darmis. I ran the “Into the Valley of Certain Death” scenario from the rule book, in which both sides have stumbled into some inhospitable territory. In this case, I considered it to be an area of traps left by the elves, who are happy to wear down either or both parties.
The board is supposed to have 50% of the area covered in scenery, and any unit entering a terrain feature for any reason takes hits. The units were, for the most part, able to maintain control and stay out of danger, so I was glad to be playing solo. I don’t think that it would have been too much fun as a regular two (or more) player game.
... and two Reaper Bones “saprolings” as tree creatures of some sort. This is the second (of two) of these stands. The first was finished back in March.
For my most recent micro-project, I stayed with the 1/72 scale fantasy theme with some baggage and a camp follower/NPC. While cleaning up recently, I found a group of figures I had washed prior to priming some months ago. Included in the group was a small flock of sheep, which I had started when I did a campaign battle last October, for which I had needed three baggage train items for an escort mission. I had two, and filled in the third with a mounted Maid Marian from the Airfix Robin Hood set. The sheep are from the Pegasus farm animals set. I decided after I had started them that I wanted a shepherd of some sort, so another Robin Hood set figure was drafted for the purpose. For figures the Plastic Soldier Review lists as having been released in 1964, they hold up very well considered alongside some of the modern manufacturers. The pregnant woman came from the Linear-B/Strelets Roman transport set. The review notes that her costume isn’t particularly accurate for Roman times, but she fits right in to the generic fantasy themed collection.
I’ve got several things on the painting desk this weekend, so I shall hope to finish something tomorrow. I have been using the desk as my work at home space, and I will need to be cleared off again by 7:30AM on Monday.