This follows pretty much from yesterday’s posting about the near-completion of my Peninsular War armies. I used to wargame the ACW (at a very basic level) and had some decent Ancient armies, but I got rid of them to concentrate on the Napoleonic stuff. I have no regrets about this, but I have reached a point (rather to my own amazement) where I need to take stock of what, if anything, I do next.
It’s easy when there is no question of doing anything about it. The most fruitful periods for my imagination are invariably those times when I am too busy, too impecunious or otherwise too distracted to develop the ideas beyond the eye-twinkle stage. And yet there have been times...
Let’s have some realism here – I feel I am too old now to start another new period, or convert everything to 15mm, or do anything which might be regarded as in some way understandable or sensible. I don’t have the free time or the patience, and, apart from anything else, my eyesight is no longer up to mass-production of painted battalions. Equally, there is no question of my giving up my hobby, or quietly folding my hands and waiting for the Grim Umpire to come and roll a double 1 – I shall be more than happy to pursue my version of the Unpleasantness in Spain indefinitely. As I have probably mentioned before, I am aware that my own private Peninsular War has now been going on for about 5 times the duration of the original, so it is not without some historical significance. If I do feel a sudden urge to fight the ACW, I can probably arrange to get myself invited to have a go at someone else's house.
So – what to do? No urgent requirement to do anything at all, of course, but I have always had a soft spot for the Imagi-nation approach – right back to my earliest readings of Charles Grant and Peter Young. To an extent, the Napoleonic period is already a bit like that – I’ve recently been building up a couple of brigades of Rheinbund units, and those quaint little duchies and principalities do get quite close to fantasy.
It’s all Pjotr’s fault, really. He casually suggested recently that I could invent a Napoleonic nation – almost certainly a French ally, obviously. What a crazy idea! However, as it happens, I do have a bit of a stock of unpainted Scruby French Napoleonic figures, and I have nothing to do with them. Hmmm. I have thought of selling them. Nah – no-one will want them. I’ve offered them as a freebie to a couple of people. No takers. I have enough for a battalion of grenadiers (using Old Guard figures), probably 3 battalions of foot chasseurs (Light Inf and Young Guard figures), plus probably 2 regiments of chasseurs-a-cheval-type cavalry. If I scratch round in the spares box, I’m sure I could come up with a foot battery and some staff.
You see, until recently I would just have got them painted up as yet more French Line, but I’ve already got several times more French troops than I can get on the same battlefield. I also have a strong interest in the 1813-14 campaign in Northern Italy, so maybe I should make them into Neapolitans? Snag, of course, is that this campaign would require me to come up with a large Austrian army, which I don’t really want to get started on.
Last night I started looking idly at the map. For some reason, I think I would be more comfortable coming up with a slightly distorted version of history for a real place, rather than inventing a complete new place. Don’t ask me to explain why.
Anyway, I got very interested for a while yesterday in Vorpommern, or “Hither Pommerania” as I believe we are supposed to call it in English now (much to the imagined fury of the Hither Pommeranians). It is right next to Mecklenburg, near the Polish border on a modern map. In Napoleonic times it appears to have been divided up between the Margrave of Brandenburg (which I suppose was Prussia) and Sweden, so maybe it is spoken for. I’m still only scratching the surface of this, but it is interesting. There must be a whole bunch of candidate places.
Anyone got any ideas? If I’m going to have a fantasy nation, I’d rather not copy someone else’s, I think. Maybe what I really want here is for someone to send me a slap, and tell me not to be silly!