Today I was going to do a little post on my new Spanish line officers, but sadly I haven't finished painting them, so that will have to wait a day or so. I was also going to write up the next week of the solo campaign, but I haven't got the housekeeping sorted out yet, so that will have to wait as well.
One of the things which has taken up time in the last couple of weeks is the auction of various Historex items which I volunteered to sell on eBay to raise money for cancer charities. Since I volunteered I can hardly complain about the hassle, but it has reminded me of the amount of labour needed to sell stuff on eBay, especially if you are as verbose as I am when it comes to the listings. Then there's all the questions to answer, and all the peeking to see if anyone else is watching or bidding yet...
Everything is sold now - some 100 unopened kits from the 1970s, plus a collection of 60-odd finished figures. Some things I learned about Historex during the last few weeks:
(1) The interest is very substantially from outside the UK - most of the items have sold to buyers in Italy, Germany, France and the USA. Unfortunately, because of the weight, I could not offer the big collection of complete figures outside the UK, though most of the questions and interest I got came from overseas. In particular, the insured shipping cost of the 2Kg+ parcel to the USA worked out at about £90, which is crazy.
(2) Maybe predictably, the kits generated much more interest than the completed figures - there seems to be more interest in building them than purchasing someone else's efforts, however good. That shouldn't have been a surprise, I think.
(3) The completed figures are horrifyingly fragile - you dare not sneeze near them, and some of them will hardly support their own weight. A challenge - even for a fastidious (fusspot) packer like me. (I love the sound of bubblewrap in the morning.)
Anyway, they are all sold and mailed now - one or two still have to be formally accepted as safely received, but shipping has been remarkably quick. One small packet to Indianapolis arrived in a little over 2 days, which is fantastic. I have to make a detailed breakdown of proceeds-less-expenses, since I have to pay the net amount over to the charity, so I have been more than usually focused on the fees charged by eBay and PayPal. Man, they are not cheap. OK - I'm not really grousing - there is no other easy way to sell stuff like this, but the 10% completion fees on eBay really add up. However, I'm delighted to say that - assuming the last few items have arrived safely and we don't get into any disputes, we should have raised about £730 for the charity, so I'm very pleased with that.
It fairly knocked a hole in the time available for painting and other hobby stuff, though.
Next topic. I wrote a post not long ago about my apparent weakness for big shiny wargame books, and how they are usually not as useful as they might look. Well, I did it again. Having already bought and browsed Wargames Foundry's Napoleon rule book (great title, by the way, guys), I had decided against looking at Warlord Games Black Powder publication, which looked like another of the same sort of figure-promotion-disguised-as-rules jobs.
However, a few people whose judgement I have a lot of respect for have played the game and made positive noises about it. The most guarded comment I have heard was from John C, who said the game he played was "the most excellent fun, but had very little to do with Napoleonic warfare". So, when I got the chance of a good, cheap, second hand copy, I bought it, and it has been my bedtime reading this week - it is a bit large and heavy to be ideal for bedtime reading, and it also tends to hit the floor with an alarming thump when I doze off, but it has been most enjoyable.
It is refreshing to read a wargames book which appears to have been written by adults who have a nice way with humour and who can actually write both entertainingly and grammatically, and without getting unpleasantly nerdy or giving in to the temptation to slag other people's efforts. Anyway, the book is entertaining, the game looks like a lot of fun, and a few bells rang.
For a start, all ranges, moves and everything else are given in multiples of 6 inches - Ding! - hexes, I thought. I'm not sure if I intend to rush to try the rules - I think I'd like to sit in on someone else's game first. Fat chance around here. One slight difficulty I have is that, since the book is written in a nice, conversational style, there isn't a formal statement of scales and so on - or at least I didn't find one. The illustrated scenarios seem to be played with 28mm figures (as you would expect) on a 6-feet-by-12 table (and no-one expected that...), but they do not appear to be very large games, in the sense of numbers of units.
Anybody played Black Powder? Any views on what size of battle it works for? What did you think of it? I realise a lot of people use these rules, but I hadn't really considered them before. They look practical, and I like the simple, commonsense approach - anyone like to offer a brief critique?
If you'd like to invite me to watch a game, I'll be delighted - please just send the return air fare and I'll bring some beer.