Saturday, 16 August 2008

Building armies for an Imaginary Nation

Someone asked about the figures I'll be using for my SYW ImagiNation (see my other blog). I'm one of those rare and lucky wargamers whose wife is also pretty keen on the hobby: at least, some parts of it (WW2 leaves her cold, for example, but she's keen on fantasy wargames), so this project is for both of us.

We're building two armies: mine, for the Landgraviate of Mendelstadt, and hers, for the neighbouring Protectorate of Pelarcona. Her concept is egalitarian and romantic; mine is autocratic and megalomaniac. (So, she'll say, 'nothing new there'.)

She likes Front Rank figures, so the bulk of her forces will be Front Rank, probably mainly Austrians, supplemented by any additional uniforms that take her fancy.

Mendelstadt, on the other hand, will have core troops from Minden Miniatures, supported by my plastic conversions from Perry ACW, and then all sorts of oddments of figures lurking from previous projects, which include a handful of Front Rank, some Minifigs Naps, Foundry, two Spencer Smiths cannon, Hinchcliffe AWI and cannon, a few Old Glory, plus some of uncertain provenance. Problem is, figuring out how to use these oddments sensibly.

My guiding idea is that Mendelstadt is essentially a rag-tag of a country, really an association of brigands and minor nobles, all out to get what they can, united more or less under the government of a mad Landgraf who sees himself with the mission of a latter-day Alexander. This allows him to bring together forces of quite disparate kinds, drawn from many different sources, some antiquated, some perhaps experimental, being various in quality and appearance.

Two smaller countries are also available, Hamartia and Levander, as allies to either side, and as opportunities to use other figures that may attract. I particularly like RSM figures as a possibility here, and maybe as cavalry for Mendelstadt, though as I'm in the UK, the strengthened dollar and the possibility of hefty customs and excise charges, coupled with the hazards of international post, have caused me to hesitate so far.

Additionally, you're probably not aware that I've discovered the area between Austria and Prussia is a mid-European Lake District, filled with a complex network of waterways. The Landgraf consequently has an "inland fleet". His aim is to connect these waterways to the North Sea and to the Gulf of Venice, and thereby become a naval power despite being landlocked.

I told you he was mad.

This means I'll have excuses for naval and marine forces, and scenarios, as well as the occasional pirate-like activity, allowing other miscellaneous exotic forces to appear according to how the wargamer's whim alights. I wouldn't be surprised if some Turks appear, for example, seeking a strategic outflanking of Austria.


A J Matthews said...

The best of luck to both your projects. It's interesting that you're going to use a medley of figures from periods other than the SYW. I have a heap of Napoleonic figures, both French and British I can draw upon, and now I might use those for my imaginations.

tradgardmastare said...

Sounds most exciting - I look forward to reading more.
best wishes

Adam from Lancashire said...

Honestly, mate, you're a genius. Been wanting to do SYW for ages but was put off by the cost, I'm really thinking of doing what you've done. Was thinking about how I could do it quickly and I noticed you were worried about keeping the hat the same size each time. Have you thought about using a deep(ish) press mold? I think it would work with the mirliton as it spirals inwards and it might save you a lot of time to just sculpt one of certain details. It might work for certain styles of tricorn as well. Found this to show you what I mean:

Thanks for the inspiration


Major Wittering said...


Thanks for this idea and the really useful Youtube links. Not the most exciting video in the world, maybe, but very helpful. I shall give it a go at the first opportunity, and report on results.


Fitz-Badger said...

Sounds like a great way to go to build a couple of ImagiNation armies. It's great you have a wife who likes to participate, too!