Saturday, May 16, 2020

I have begun my Rebellion (AWI)

"A Rebellion is always legal in the first person, such as 'Our Rebellion.'  It is only in the third person - 'Their Rebellion'- that it becomes illegal."

Ben Franklin

Regular blog followers know that for awhile now, I've been talking a big game about starting the AWI someday.  Probably for so long now that people are thinking I'm all hat and no cattle.  Well, today is the day where I put my money where my mouth is.

There's something exciting about starting a new project as one anticipates future games with pretty soldiers and terrain that are MINE MINE ALL MINE!!!  And there's something terrifying as well because you know it's going to be a LOT of work before you get there.

Blogs are Awesome for this Sort of Thing

One of the things that I've always enjoyed on blogs; is going through posts and seeing a project start and continue on (and on and on) until it reaches the point of being a glorious collection.  This sort of linear documentation is something that blogs excel at; especially if the project starts from scratch like this one is.  One can learn a lot by following someone else's journey.  So I hope that someday, someone, will have an enjoyable reading experience by clicking on the AWI label and having it all displayed before them.  That is, if they stomach all the lame jokes.  Like did you hear that joke about the Liberty Bell?... It really cracked me up.

How To Begin the AWI: Start with Rules

Some people start a genre by wanting to paint the figures, foolish people that they are.  I like to start with rules that will provide a game that I want to play.  This is because I am a gamer over a painter. I also think it's better to start with a skirmish game where the demands for the number of figures is probably lower.
It's all well and good to think "I want to play AWI with Black Powder, so let me see now, I'll just need to paint 200 figures per side in order to get a decent game going...." 
I don't have that kind of determination.

On the other hand, the demand for terrain might be higher, as most skirmish games are more fun when there is more terrain on the table.  This will also be a bonus; as terrain all squished together on a 4x4 table for a skirmish will look juuust out right when all spread out on a larger table for a mass battle.

The imputes for starting the AWI came when my package containing my bundle of goodies for Muskets and Tomahawks 2nd edition arrived on my doorstep..

Main Rulebook, Redcoats and Tomahawks Supplement
Cards and Tokens

I am somewhat familiar with M&T since I have version one just lying around on my bookshelf...for years.  I had played it a few times and had started a British force for the FIW, but it was one of those barely started genres that didn't survive the PURGE.

SIDE DISCUSSION: What was the Purge?

The Purge was when I was moving from the Bay Area to the Sacramento Area 5 years ago and realized that I had WAY to many miniature wargames projects that had a bad stutter start (that's a racing term).  These kinda started but ultimately stalled projects were all way too much to pack and transport, so they were all sold away for dirt cheap, given away to deserving friends and undeserving rascals, and some were simply trashed. The PURGE was mostly miniatures, as rulebooks don't take up that much space.  It was a liberating experience all in all.

 M&T II is a skirmish game that plays on a 4x4 table and usually has around 50 figures per side.  The idea is to get enough figures and terrain all painted up and lookin nice to make for a good game; and as the collection grows I'll be able to move up to larger games like Sharpe Practice 2.  Eventually some sort of mass battle game may be in the far off future as well. My megalomania for large AWI battles will only be checked by cost and time. 

After I read the M&T II to make sure that I still liked the rules (pretty sure I do) and watched some YouTube vids, I created some army lists to know what I wanted to buy for the miniatures.  I didn't have any AWI miniatures so this is a blank slate. 

So few things in life are blank slates.  It's kinda nice. 

*YouTube AARs are always a mixed bag for me.  There's an art to make it interesting.  I like it more when they showcase the rules mechanics and like it less when it's a pure AAR.  Also I get super annoyed when they get rules wrong.  We're all human and make mistakes of course.  Actually I only get annoyed when watching Too Fat Lardy videos that feature the rule writer himself and STILL gets the rules wrong. 

Then Get Some Figures; And Being Sensible About It

For me, buying figures is the 'getting serious' step for starting a genre.  I'm one of those guys whose gonna get both sides and all the terrain so I can host the whole sha-bang and win over friends and followers, and gain wargaming super stardom.
And while I know we all do it from time to time, I actually don't like it when I buy miniatures and never get around to painting them.  And they just sit there in the lead pile staring at me chanting 'waste of money, waste of money.'  I got a whole lot of dark ages Norman infantry and cavalry that do that all time, more annoying because it's in French.  Everything sounds more insulting in French.  Just like everything sounds angry in Japanese.

The obviously wise way to go about starting this genre is the 15/18mm scale.  It's much cheaper and easier on the storage.  Plus, a big bonus would be that a lot of my ACW terrain (like the ubiquitous snake rail fence) would be able to pull double duty in both theaters.  Therefore getting the whole AWI genre to the game table faster and providing miniature wargaming economy. 

Also, it's a smart idea to start small with a modest order of miniatures and FOCUS.  Don't order more miniatures until the current ones are painted (or near enough).  This way the lead pile will not grow unnecessarily and motivation to keep painting won't be crushed under the weight of all that lead.  And I won't feel guilty when I abandon it for awhile when distracted by some other sexy younger project.

It's an entirely sensible plan;

So naturally I ordered a mountain of 28mm miniatures from Brigade Games.  
Along with some 28mm fence kits from Battlefield Terrain Concepts.

A little over 100 hundred miniatures is a mountain to me.
50ish British and 70ish Colonials seems like a fitting start.
I am the picture of a sensible human being.

Guess what I'll be doing for awhile. 

Because in my heart, I knew I wanted the 28mm spectacle.  

I have some small consolation that my 28mm Dark Ages collection has a limited amount of terrain that can pull the double duty.  A plowed field is a plowed field in either the year of 898 or 1778.  A patch of woods is a patch of woods.  Or so I'll tell myself.  Don't burst my bubble.  


It has begun.  Hooray for new projects!  

In my enthusiasm and just to get the hang of it all again, I painted up one British Regular as a test figure. 

These troops will have Blue facings,
Making them the 4th Regiment of Foot and a "royal regiment."
But I just like the look of the uniform.  

This is the figure before I apply the quickshade.
I'll wait for that step until I paint up a bunch of them.

Hey!  Long time, No Post... What Gives?

Life has been busy.  All work and no play.  Basically I've been like a single parent lately.  The wife has some sort of mysterious aliment (was tested for COVID and is negative, so that's not it) that has put her down for the count most of the time.  So I have All the kids, all the home school, all the chores, and still working (half from home, and half at the office).  5 days a week I am dad and Mr. Mom.  It'd be a bummer except we're still in a state of shelter in place and it's not like I'm missing any gaming  or any other fun opportunities.   Still, as a result there have been drastic cuts to the 'Department of Free Time."  Hopefully the budget will increase soon.  

They say that husbands/fathers tend to over estimate the amount of work they put in toward household chores and child rearing.  Well, not THIS GUY.  

The bright side; mass accumulation of hubby points.  We've already discussed how these can be spent.  

Till next time then.  Keep yourself and loved ones safe.  Thanks for reading.  


  1. Good to see the new project starting and even taking shape. Every new project has to start somewhere, as you know terrain not an issue for me which was part of the attraction and why 28mm was the only option here in the dungeon. As for rules i plan to use my own ACW house rules adapted but part of the reason we have been playing Rebel and patriots recently is to get the AWI on the table sooner rather than later ! However that requires me to paint some Americans ! Your post has reinvigorated me to get them done next.....and put those Arabs on hold again . I will watch with interest ...........

    1. Thanks Matt! Terrain is definitely not an issue for you bc I’ve seen your gorgeous tables. Glad I could provide some motivation bc your AWI posts helped motivate me. πŸ˜€

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Ray. I appreciate the comment. And a plan it is. πŸ˜€

  3. 'So naturally I ordered a mountain of 28mm miniatures from Brigade Games.' - Well done that man! I think the spectacle IS the way to go for this project, where the aesthetic matters a lot. Look forward to developments and hope your wife makes a speedy recovery.

    1. Thanks Norm. I think 28mm is the only way I could even attempt to paint the uniforms right. Hope I won’t disappoint. πŸ˜€

      Thanks for the well wishes

  4. So, super-excited to follow this; the start of a new project is always so much fun (which is probably why we start more than we finish). M&T1 was a solid game, we mostly played 15mm, so I'm excited to see the bigger scale. Best wishes for your wife - it's always frustrating when something lays you out, but you can't figure out why or what to do about it.

    1. Thanks FMB. I enjoyed M&T 1 and I hope to enjoy M&T II even more. From the reading it has a lot going for it. Glad that you approve of my new project and I hope I won’t disappoint. πŸ˜€
      Thanks for the well wishes.

  5. Exciting to see a 28mm project, AWI has never rocked my boat but I'm sure it will be fun! I just stick to one scale, unfortunately I've started doing winter and summer, whoops! Hope your wife is better soon and everything gets more balanced!
    Best Iain

    1. Thanks Iain. I actually think its really smart to stick to one scale. Everything just works together that way. I only tend to stick to one scale within a genre. Though it’s been awhile since I did some 28mm. πŸ˜€
      Thanks for the kind thoughts.

  6. The start of a new project is always the best of times when motivation is high. I laughed when I saw your methodical rationalization toward selecting 15mm and then abruptly toss that reasoned conclusion into the bin and choose for AWI in 28mm. Very funny! You will likely be more motivated by following your heart. Your test figure looks superb and I look forward to seeing hundreds of them crossing your painting desk.

    Hope your wife recovers from her mystery illness soon.

    1. Thank you Jonathan. Motivation is always the highest in the beginning isn’t it? And you can never go wrong following your heart. As I’ve been painting a few more of the figures I know I made the right choice. I like the look of them. πŸ˜€
      And thanks for the well wishes.

  7. Muskets and Tomahawks looks like a cool game and some of the images they use in the rulebooks and on their website are incredible. Very inspiring! The model count is getting close to the limits of what is reasonable for a single person to paint and own (much like MESBG) but it is doable with patience and commitment. I came pretty close to buying the rulebook and diving in truthfully! :) Needless to say, it is awesome to see you starting this project and I'll be watching with great interest!

    I appreciated your musings on blogs and battle reports too. Both were spot-on in my opinion. I find very few battle reports on Youtube enjoyable to watch for reasons that I can't fully explain. There absolutely is an art to making them interesting and engaging to watch. Funnily enough, I find reading the traditional "White Dwarf" battle report much more engaging (especially when there are nice minis and terrain being shown off). What that says about me, I don't know :D

    I hope you're able to get more free time in the near future and that your wife feels better soon. It is scary to have a mystery illness right now and I'm sure you'll both be relieved when she feels better!

    1. Thanks Kuribo! You can’t be diving into M&T since you just pulled the trigger on Fallout. Though lots of your splendid hobbit terrain would be great for the AWI.
      Yeah, battle reports on YouTube are such a mixed bag. Primarily I just want to see how a game plays versus what moves are being done. πŸ˜€

      Thanks for the kind thoughts.

  8. I knew you’d get into American Revolution, you’ve only been umming and ah-ing about jumping in on this setting for a few years! πŸ˜„ love the test mini tho, I think a unit of these guys will look very eyecatching.

    Battle reports are normally better read and not filmed imo. Like you say, most have a difficult time keeping things inclusive for the viewer.

    I dearly hope Colette is on the mend mate. Can’t imagine the stress you are going through on the daily whilst she is unable to help out with the little ones.

    1. It HAS been a couple of years now hasn’t it. All it took was a pandemic. The British redcoats do have an attractive uniform. πŸ˜€

      Thanks for the well wishes. It’s not so much stressful doing everything as it is just busy. The kids end up eating chicken nuggets WAY more often than they should.

  9. Good to see sentiment triumphing over reason and the new project moving ahead in 28mm: it just wouldn't be "the hobby" otherwise! Looking forward to watching someone else move through a project. Sorry to hear that your better half is down with something. Hope everyone returns to health soon. After all, there are figures that need painting!

    1. Thanks Ed. I’m sure I won’t get through my project as fast as you did yours. And you’re right, because it’s a hobby sentimentality can triumph over logic. πŸ˜€

      Thanks for the well wishes. Though right now, I’m clearly the better half. πŸ™ƒ

  10. Best of luck with your new project Stew - hope it goes to completion before some other muse comes along. You made a great case for 15mm so it was perfectly logical to go for 28!πŸ˜… Best GWS wishes to the missus.

    1. Thanks Mike. I’m usually pretty good at sticking to a project for awhile, especially a new one bc it’s all novel still. The more I paint up the 28mm the more I’m convinced I did the right thing. πŸ˜€

      Thanks for the GWS wishes. That’s a nice phrase I’ll have to remember.

  11. Cool, beat me to the AWI start line, unless you include stripping paint off some second hand miniatures over a year ago. May have to look at M&T myself, some guys at club are looking at using it for FIW so might make an more manageable entry level than Sharpe Practice, which was my original plan.
    Hope the wife feels better soon, take care over the pond there.

    1. Thanks Tony. And NO. It’s doesn’t count so I totally win the race! (The race that doesn’t matter and neither of us knew about). I do think that M&T is a good game and you would enjoy it though I haven’t played version 1 in years and years and years and haven’t played V2 yet but read the rules. So really I have no opinion. πŸ˜€

      Thanks for the well wishes. πŸ˜€

  12. Completely agree with your comment about YouTube videos. I very rarely watch them. It doesn’t help that I’ve worked in the film industry for 20+ years and so the shaky cameras and awful editing (if it exists at all) is far more than my patience can bear. I can read an AAR in 5-10 minutes but a video can be 60-90 minutes. Life is too short!

    1. Thanks TP. It’s funny how I’m not super picky about what games I will Play, but am super fussy about watching Wargames. Something gets lost. πŸ˜€

  13. I'm keen to do AWI skirmish battles but the cost of M and T 2nd is quite off-putting. Would you recommend a purchase? I was going to start with Rebels and Patriots but that looks too simple.

    1. Hi Nubian, thanks for reading and I appreciate the comment. Funny you should mention cost, because my next post (coming soon!) is all about the costs of starting AWI skirmishes from nothing.
      I would recommend M&T II, but let’s not pretend too much that my opinion means anything. But I like rules. I’ve also thought about of picking up Rebels and Patriots but have had the exact same experiences with rules by DM. They are good but on the simple side, almost a little boring, give decent games though. Now that I have M&T (not to mention Sharpe Practice and Brother Against Brother) think I’ll give them a pass. πŸ˜€