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In my recent blog on Direction, I discussed about the importance of having a goal and sticking to it. This has worked very well for me on several occasions - for example when I used to play in the ‘Warhammer Ancient Battles’ themed events. Each event generally acted as an incentive to collect and paint a new army. Recently I’ve painted Late War British (as part of ‘Project Platoon’) and as regular blog readers will know, French and Prussians for our Ligny battle. So I need another inspiring project, ideally one which links in with a future issue of the magazine.

An introduction to Wargaming

I first started wargaming a long time ago, gradually evolving from playing toy soldiers to rolling dice and playing toy soldiers (there is a difference, Emma!). Two books influenced me, Popski’s Private Army by Vladimir Perkerniakoff and An Introduction to Wargaming by John Sandars. Sandars’ book was truly an inspiration and hinted at a set of rules called Sandskreig, complete with some illustrations. I always thought my copy was missing some pages or hand outs, while the rules were mentioned in some detail, the full rules weren’t in there. I was only to discover later (with Googlefu) that John’s rules were never published (but a reconstructed version was made available by Dave Tuck and Richard Marsh). 

Darrell Hindley’s excellent Desert Rats.

Both Popski and John had forged my imagination, so I started collecting armies for the Desert War. As Sandskreig was unplayable, I turned to other rule sets, such as WRG 1925-50 and Firefly II. The war in the Desert has a certain ‘clean’ quality to it. For the most part it was fought away from civilian populations and didn’t involve the horrors other theatres of war saw. I collected a large force of tanks, infantry, vehicles and guns in 20mm, using what kits were available. I had Monty’s Caravan, several LRDG sets and a host of Panzer III’s. As I discovered ESCI, British Valentines and Italian M13/40’s joined the scene. I had British, German and Italian. Sadly the entire lot was thrown out by my dad when we moved house. He didn’t think I wanted them any more… 

My guide

My original force guide was a single picture from An introduction to Wargaming of two sample forces, a ‘Jock Column’ and a Afrika Korps recce force. I think I’d like to start collecting these again, this time in 28mm (1/56 scale). The obvious choice is the excellent Perrys, although there are several manufacturers which do suitable miniatures and vehicles, so I’ll probably use a variety of models. 

Painted by Captain Blood.

Of course, I could try the Desert War in different scales - I have some fairly reasonable painted Afrika Korps in 15mm somewhere. I picked them up at a show several years ago. Even if I do collect other scales, my main focus will be 28mm. Time to dust off some vehicles and paint them in time for issue 82, our WW2 Desert War themed issue.

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