06 September 2008

Painting the 11th (Prinz Albrecht's) Hussars, or Hurry up and Wait!

Here are the little darlings as they appeared last Monday, freshly "dressed" in their combination basecoat/undercoat of black acrylic gesso.

Well, here’s a photo from earlier in the week of the basecoated unit of hussars. I did manage to start applying some GW Goblin Green to a few bases last Tuesday evening but did not finish the job, and the figures in question have languished on my painting/radio desk most of the week. Now that the autumn semester is in full swing, my days begin about 5AM and last until 10-11pm. Geeze, it's like being in grad school again! I’m just too tired most evenings to concentrate on painting. Cry me a river, Stokes. . . I know, I know. . . ;-)

So, the plan this weekend is to finish the green bases tonight late and apply the fleshtone tomorrow. Then, we’ll see how it goes next week. I'd like to start with the crimson breeches and mirliton "wings" first of all. Cross your fingers!

On other fronts, I saw on The Miniatures Page early in the week that Caliver Books is reissuing the classic Charge! Or How to Play War Games. This is fantastic news, and if your old copy is starting to look its age, or if you want to update your paperback copy reissued by Athena Books in the mid 1980s (which is missing a number of pages in the back), by all means get in touch with Caliver forthwith! As someone noted a day or so ago at the Old School Wargaming Yahoo group, these reprints usually have only a limited run. And you don’t want to miss out.

Speaking of OSW, Greg Horne wondered on his Duchy of Alzheim blog whether the group has outlived its usefulness, citing several instances where it seems to have wandered far from the course originally intended by its early members. Greg also notes the discussion of the same issues again and again and again as another shortcoming.

I’m a little torn here. On the one hand, I tend to agree. As far as I can tell, few of the “Old Guard”, who were contributing heavily to discussion threads in 2005-2006, seem to post terribly much these days. Likewise, the discussions only rarely touch on old figure lines like Hinton Hunt, Spencer Smith, and others. Nether does there seem to be much discussion of the early leading lights of the hobby at present. Think Morschauser, Featherstone, Scruby, and so forth. But as Greg pointed out to me, these are subjects that have all been done before, sometime before I happened on the OSW group and joined. Fair enough. And the recurring “what exactly is old school” question that crops up a few times a year is somewhat stale too, I’ll agree. Much like the endless discussion of Austrian/French white uniforms on TMP.

The occasional unpleasant altercations, like the most recent one several days ago, don't help matters either. Why people can't agree to disagree and leave it at that, walking away on pleasant terms, I'll never know. But, sad to say, I think this is human nature. Or at least a normal course of events for some.

Here's my point of view on the OSW question. For any kind of club or group to remain vibrant and attract new members (and generate the corresponding new discussion topics), it’s important to branch out a little, even if that means deviating somewhat from the stated aim of the group. . . its constitution if you will. This is a point Paul Robinson made in a discussion with me on this very same topic in the fall of 2006. At that time, it was Henry Hyde, I believe, who posed the question “What is OSW for?” after some lovely photos of a BIG battalion Napoleonic game between him and John Preese failed to garner much response from OSW members. I think I typed up a rather long-winded response (imagine that) in an October 2006 posting right here at the Grand Duchy of Stollen, to which Paul responded.

At any rate, it seems like we are in much the same boat as two years ago. So, where does OSW go from here? Alan Parsons anyone? Well, maybe the answer is to broaden our horizons a bit and look at some of the additional history/notable authors/historians/miniatures of the hobby from the 70s and 80s. Maybe it’s worth talking about how and why many rule sets appeared, during that time, became heavy on the math/statistics/tables/modifiers in the name of realism. Can you say WRG 1685-1845, or Newbury? Or Napoleonic Wargaming for Fun? Or Napoleon's Campaigns in Miniature?

Maybe we could examine certain painting techniques in more detail, beyond black lining/dry-brushing and the decidedly strange looking (to my eyes) Dallimore technique. Or maybe we could talk more about the do-it-yourself spirit of early wargaming in more detail and encourage more OSW members to have a go themselves. What about the rationale behind all of the 28mm figures with strange proportions? When did that trend start? Why has it caught on? I’m just tossing out ideas here, and maybe there lots of better ones out there that haven’t occurred to me. But you get the idea.

Well, my translation work is waiting, and I’ve got a little over two months to finish, so I’d better draw this to a close as visions of hussars dance in my head. By the way, if you want to hear a cool old song by Julie London from the 1950s, click on the link at right (near the bottom), entitled "Cry Me a River". Enjoy!


4 comments:

MiniWargamer said...

Stokes, I'm wondering if the question should be "Can we develop OSW rules today?" Are the Charge or The War Game rules the be all and end all or is there something new that is old like "All The King's Men" that can create a new OSW age?

Martin said...

Hi Stokes,

(Heavy Sigh) Personally, I hope that OSW doesn't go the way of the passenger pigeon. For me it was the gateway to other intriguing sites like EvE, Society of Daisy, The Perfect Captain, etc...and I have enjoyed visiting, joining, and commenting on all of them. Granted some of the threads are a little off, but as Mom used to say, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. Let a thundering silence prevail."

I like miniwargamer's suggestion about a OSW flavored set of rules. That is, if it hasn't already been addressed by the soon-to-be-released, "Wargame Companion". Say...speaking of books, how is your untitled wargaming tome coming along?

Even at their early stage of being "uniformed", your Hussars remind me of A.C.Doyle's comment about Brigadier Gerard's Hussars of Conflans, "They could set a whole population running. The men away from them. The women towards them!" Enjoy the weekend!

Andy Mitchell said...

You know you are in good company when someone mentions Brigadier Gerard.

A J Matthews said...

"Crimea River..." The Battle of the Alma perhaps? ;) (Sorry, couldn't resist...)

I do like the OSW group, mainly for the chance to pick up useful tips/links/ideas. As for recent and past flame wars, I prefer to skim over the name-calling.

Miniwargamer has a good point. Would it be possible to develop a set of old-school rules today?

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