Sunday, 11 December 2011

New Project - Great Italian Wars

Wordy post alert!!!

As I've mentioned on a couple occasions, I've been looking for a new historical project to get my teeth into.  Lots of ideas have temporarily taken root in my brain, only to fly straight back out again.  Eventually, I decided to make a list of criteria to help narrow the choice down:

i) Historical.  I want an historical project; something that would combine not only modelling and gaming, but also give the grey matter something to do too.

ii) Something new.  Ideally, I want to try something I haven't collected before, so no Greeks or Romans, no ECW, neither of the World Wars.

iii) £$£ It's not the time of year to go spending loads of cash on yourself, so I'm looking for a relatively cheap project.  By that, I mean a project where any initial costs are relatively small, so I don't have to shell out a lot of cash to get started and a project where I'll be able to add small units/models at a time.  In practise, this means using either plastic or a small scale.

iv)  Variety.  Ideally, I'd like the chance to stretch my painting skills beyond your standard units/uniform and try some different colours and new techniques.  I'd also like an excuse to make more of my own terrain and create some interesting bases too.

So these were my criteria.  But what were the choices?

Initially, I thought of Saga and collecting a few dark age warbands.  I've read a fair bit of popular history on dark age Europe, so I wouldn't be approaching this blind.  There are also a load of plastic 28mm figures available (Gripping Beast, Wargames Factory, Conquest Games.)  In the end though, I want to try something a bit grander, something that takes up a lot more table space than a skirmish level game, something that takes a bit of dedication and commitment.

Thoughts then turned to a Samurai project.  There are plenty of great looking 15mm ranges out there, notably this range, and a quick google search suggested there are also plenty of ruleset options available.  I also know next to nothing about Japan in general (except what Akira and The Last Samurai taught me,) so a Samurai project would certainly scratch the history itch.  But ultimately, the lack of historical opponents available kind of put me off, at least for the moment.

But in the end, I decided to try something completely new to me - The Great Italian Wars.  So how did I settle on this?  Well, I mentioned months ago that the Mrs bought me Trade & Treachery a few months ago.  It's the second Field of Glory: Renaissance supplement dealing with 16th century Europe.  After flicking through the various army lists, it became clear that with a few common units, you can easily form the core of several armys.  That certainly matched my plan to be able to add to the project piece by piece.

Reading through the historical notes (and looking on Wiki) I very quickly realised that I know absolutely nothing about 15th Century Europe, either historically or militarily.  To me, the 1400s mean the Wars of the Roses, the HYW, Agincourt etc, while the 1500s are all about Stewarts, Tudors and Flodden.  Ruvo, Novara, Marignano and Pavia all (until recently) mean absolutely nothing to me.  I'm looking forward to some new reading material!

Lastly, there is certainly a lot of variety on offer.  From the outlandish Landsknecht outfits to the heraldry of city states and monarchs, there is plenty on offer to stretch my painting skills.  Militarily, the 16th century saw the demise of the traditional knight as the cavalry force, saw the rise of artillery, saw the firearm become ubiquitous on the battlefield and saw many changes in tactics and formations.  All of which can be represented on the tabletop!

Now, as many veteran wargamers will know, the secret to any new project is transforming your initial enthusiasm into some tangible results.  In this case, this means getting some units on the table.  To that end, I've placed a tentative order for some 15mm missile troops from a couple different manufacturers.   As mentioned earlier, I've opted for units that are usable in more than one list and don't need a lot of individual figures per base.  Pics to follow once they've arrived.

So there we are, my new project - purely for me and my own enjoyment.  I'm very happy with my choice and can't wait to get the first few units painted and get some games in!


  1. Its a great period!! I've got stacks of them in 15mm, mainly Essex. I use Age of Discovery rules which work very well, although my gaming buddies will no doubt tell you I've not put a game on with them for far too long!! Good luck with the new project.

  2. Great idea, favourite period of mine and I'm working on a similar project so whole-heartedly agree with your choice. There are lots of units which can be used in lots of period armies and with a bit of forethought can be used further a field too, lots of early stuff can be used for all sorts of medieval stuff etc. Look forward to watch your progress on this one.

  3. One of my favourite period too... i'll have a go at the rules this year.