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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sabol Epic Terrain

My Blog is Fight!
To my knowledge, I am the only wargamer in Sri Lanka. This is a bit odd given that this is where the first and largest miniature painting studios in the world are, but it seems without a gamer culture you'll get no gamers. This, is my story!

John Wayne holds the fort.

It's more than a little odd being the only person in a country with a particular hobby, especially if you're an obsessive chap like I am. Yet I feel compelled to carry on. As long I get jollies collecting and building space rangers, eldritch demons, and nazi super weapons, I'm probably not going to stop.

This blog gets it's name from "My Tank Is Fight!: Deranged Inventions of World War II" by Zack Parsons. This book will feature prominently soon, as it has plans for a supertank I want to build. The P1000 Landkruezer.

Sdkfz half-tracks roll out.

Importing a City: A Visit to the Customs Office

Today I cleared some wargame terrain at the customs office, probably the only imported wargaming terrain in Sri Lanka. The customs officers didn't like the look of what were clearly model refineries and government buildings, so they wanted me to come in and explain what it was. I took with me my Flames of War rule book and a few 15mm minis.

"Now what's this for?"
"These are for games. Here, like in this book."
Dubious expressions.
"Can you clear that table for me? I'll show you."
I got a table. A group gathered.

"See how all these pieces fit together? It's like a section of a city. Now these guys here, these are World War Two Germans, and these are Space Frogs. With these pieces, they can fight."
"How do they shoot each other?"
"You make sure they can see each other, and then you check the distance with a ruler. Some guns can shoot further than others, or shoot more bullets. These two are carrying a machine gun, but the others just have rifles."
"Is this used for gambling?"
"How do you keep score?"
"The dead. If I kill more than the other guy, I will usually win. Sometimes, I have to capture buildings, that's why this one looks important."

Tank hunter lying in ambush

"Who else does this in Sri Lanka?"
"Just me. I am the only person who plays these games, in the entire country."
"Then where did you learn about this?"
"In America, where lots of people play these sorts of games."
They seemed pretty satisfied with that answer.
"Can this have an impact given the current situation?"
"In the 1800s the Germans started using wargaming to train their officers. This is where military exercises come from. It is a tool for war. Only after World War One did it become a game."

The panzergrenadiers engage the invading space frogs!

"So it can be used by people in our current situation?"
"Well, it should be."

I think the honesty surprised them. They cleared the minis, and a grandfatherly one said "now please don't give these to anyone."

This must be how it feels when you get a gun license.

About the Terrain
These were Epic scale minis (6mm) made by the guys at Sabol Designs, the makers of Sabol foam for packing wargame miniatures for transport. As far as I can tell these are their own gaming pieces, and they're selling them off to recover some cash and reinvest in new pieces. Judging from the attention to detail and character of the pieces, they clearly just want to have fun making more terrain and this older stuff was just getting in the way.

Artillery spotter team
I got six city-scape pieces mounted on plasticard tiles, and two nice set pieces - a fortress and a government building. The fortress has that old school, 40k tackiness to it, and the government building makes me think of the Capitol Building, the Reichstag, or the Colombo Town Hall. It's a heavy piece too, and quite detailed. The quality of the work is excellent -- the bitz have a lot of character, the assembled product is compelling, and the painting is well beyond what normally gets done for wargame terrain. I thoroughly pleased with it.

The Germans fortify City Hall

The only problem is that Epic is 6mm scale, and my Flames of War, Spugs, and Aphids are all 15mm. This makes the compiled city block look rather cramped, but it should still work out it we space them a bit.

Poya is coming up, let's see if I can con people into playing a game of GIs, Nazis, and alien invaders in the year 1946!

A Sherman tank platoon breaks out.