Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Manifesto promises

Back at the end of August I wrote what I termed my ‘Manifesto’. Not being a politician, I did not immediately renege on what I had included in it, and with the autumn well and truly upon us and winter not far away, I have decided that I need to turn my words into actions … and I intend to start doing so today.

In my ‘Manifesto’ I outlined what I most enjoyed about wargaming. The list read as follows:
  • Fighting campaigns (i.e. planning and fighting a series of interlinking battles that tell a story)
  • Writing the ‘histories’ of the campaigns that I fight (I get almost as much enjoyment writing about what has happened on the tabletop as I do fighting the battles)
  • The modelling aspects of the hobby (e.g. building the terrain and models that I use; painting figures and vehicles; basing figures and vehicle)
  • Solo wargaming (I am not anti-social, and do enjoy fighting wargames with other wargamers … but I get the greatest enjoyment fighting solo wargames)
  • Creating imagi-nations and their armed forces (Although I do enjoy re-fighting historical battles, I enjoy the freedom of fighting wars between imagi-nations more)
  • Fighting wargames set in the period between 1880 and 1950 … although I am gradually beginning to stretch the boundaries to encompass the Napoleonic period as well
Having re-read this list, I don’t think that there are any points on it that I would wish to change.

I also wrote a list of the things that I hope to be doing in five year’s time:
  • Fighting lots of solo wargames on a small wargames tabletop using very simple rules.
  • Indulging myself with lots of campaigns, some small-scale and others quite large-scale.
  • Concentrating on wargaming wars set during the period from 1800 to 1950.
  • Mainly using imagi-national armies to fight imaginary wars.
  • Indulging my passion for writing up the histories of my campaigns, and to fill them with loads of suitable photographs, maps, diagrams etc.
Not surprisingly, the two lists bear a strong resemblance to each other … but to get from where I am now to where I want to be in five years requires a degree of pruning to take place. The first area that I am going to look at is my book collection … after which I will start on my figure collection.

In the latter case I have already identified what I will definitely keep, what I would like to keep, and what I can see no further use for:
    Definite essentials:
  • 54mm-scale Britains figures for Funny Little Wars (this is what I started with … and there is no way I will give them up!)
  • 25/28mm-scale Del Prado pre-painted Napoleonic figures (as I am still building up this collection and I have ideas for fighting a number of campaigns with them, they are a definite ‘keep’)
  • 20mm-scale World War II figures (I hope to use these for my long planned-for Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War campaign)
  • 15mm-scale Colonial figures
    Keep if possible:
  • 20mm-scale World War I Colonial/Middle East figures (these might be useable as an alternative to my 15mm-scale Colonial figures)
  • 15mm-scale Peter Laing Austro-Prussian War figures (these are nice figures but may need rebasing to make them suitable for the wargame rules that I am likely to use in the future)
  • 15mm-scale Peter Laing First World War figures (I have an emotional attachment to these figures because I painted them at a time when I found painting to be very therapeutic; I may prune the collection but will not dispose of it entirely)
    Not likely to be used again:
  • 25mm-scale Minifig American Civil War figures (I have never used these figures, and cannot foresee ever doing so)
  • 15mm-scale Franco-Prussian War figures (I have never used these figures, and cannot foresee ever doing so)
  • 15mm-scale Minifig American Civil War figures (I have never used these figures, and cannot foresee ever doing so)
  • 1:300th-scale Spanish Civil War figures (they are not particularly well painted figures and do not fit in with the wargame rules that I am likely to use in the future)
Today I am going to start looking at my book collection, and I suspect that I am going to have to make some tough decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of. That said, I see no purpose in having books on my shelves that I have not looked at for a long time and which I suspect that I will not look at again.

It’s going to be a tough job, but someone is going to have to do it!


  1. I wish you the best of luck in downsizing your library and hope that you are of firmer resolve than I when attempting a similar process. Please provide a progress report to provide inspiration and advice to the rest of us!

  2. David Bradley,

    I am trying to set myself some priorities as to what to keep and what to get rid of. Basically anything that I haven't used in the last five years or that duplicates what I already have is on my potential 'hit' list.

    I will try to sell some of the saleable books, and others will be given away to people who will find a use for them.

    Once the books are done, I will begin work on my figure collection.

    All the best,


  3. Bob,

    Your Manifesto and five year plan are both good ideas and I wish you good fortune in implementing them. I really must do something similar - although in my case it will involve more the reduction of my book collection, which fills a cupboard, two full-height bookshelves and occupies a large, increasingly unstable pile on my bedside table and the adjacent floor! And then there are folders of wargames rules, scenarios &c. downloaded from the internet...

    Unfortunately, my tutoring is simultaneously generating its own increasing volume of textbooks, practice papers and worksheets!

    At least I don't have extensive figure collections to cull. Rather, I have to buy some for the two projects I intend to pursue: !0mm ECW and Horse & Musket.

    Best wishes,

  4. Arthur1815 (Arthur),

    I am just trying to be realistic ... and trying to exercise some forethought and planning. If Sue and I do decide to move, it will be to somewhere smaller, in which case I will need to prune my collections anyway. At least this way I can do it at my pace and without the need to rush.

    Good luck with sorting out your own book collection ... and if you manage to sell some of them, it may well help to finance your new projects,

    All the best,


  5. It still looks like a solid plan to me and I wish you success in its application.

    I'm a bit of a pack rat but I have been having some success with downsizing despite the emotional pull. For both books and figures I have defined a physical space as the limit. This allows me some leeway as long as there is room. I occasionally miss a book when I have an impulse to check something but it passes and there is usually an alternative if it is important.

    Now, about those 1/300, have you ever considered mounting 2 small forces on magnet bases and making a small, folding, portable board for travel using a magnet attracting substance. Could be a handy diversion on a calm day st sea.

  6. Ross Mac,

    As a plan it looks good ... but we all know what happens to plans when we start to implement them! I am already running into brick walls ... but I have to be ruthless and break through them.

    I like the idea about the 1/300th-scale stuff. It is not something that I gad considered ... but I will now!

    All the best,


  7. Of course, now that I've thought about it, a few small ship models might be more appropriate for a portable game at sea.

  8. Ross Mac,

    Funnily enough, I have some suitable model ships to hand ...

    All the best,


  9. All sounds eminently sensible Bob apart from getting rid of books... goes against everything I stand for.



  10. Pete,

    I have never thrown a book away; I've sold them or given them away ... but never thrown them away.

    I just don't have the room to keep all the books that I currently own, and during the sorting out I have managed to do so far, I have discovered that I own multiple copies of several books because I have so many of them double stacked (i.e. a line of books in front another) on my shelves.

    The books will all be passed on to people who will use them.

    All the best,


  11. A very laudable manifesto, Bob.
    I was able to sell about two-thirds of my books, and a similar proportion of my figures a few years ago. Felt very cathartic, and I've never looked back.
    Good luck with it...

  12. Phil,

    Thanks. It is a realistic set of goals and - I hope - achievable.

    Having looked at the pile of books I have set to one side to dispose of, the wargames books should be saleable online, the novels will go to a charity shop that my wife and I support, and the military history books will either go to friends or a second-hand bookseller.

    Once I have disposed of the books, I will start work on sorting out my figure collections.

    All the best,


  13. Moving from one place to a smaller place, I had to get rid of book collection .... note that did not mean choosing which ones! though I did keep back some favourites that now occupy 1 shelf.

    I am now in the new place and my book buying is on the kindle. I have 95 books bought that way. If we give an average thickness of 2cm per book, then the shelf space I have saved is 2 x 95 = 190cm / 2.5 = 76" / 12 = 6 foot 4 inches of shelf space (sorry to mix imperial and metric), plus a considerable weight is now virtual rather than physical and I can take my entire book collection wherever I go.

    I still feel nothing beats flicking through real pages ..... but in the work of compromises it works well. My only regret is that I got Dux Bellorum on the Kindle and that was a mistake, it has tables spread over two pages and it would just be nicer to access the rules in a 'real' book format.

    AS for figure collections, going to a single scale has a good impact on terrain storage and that might release more space than any other single gesture.

  14. Norm,

    Getting rid of a whole book collection sounds like my idea of hell! It has been difficult enough just pruning what I have.

    I have also moved over to ebooks with regard to most of the novels that I read, although I do also have quit a few non-fiction books on my Kindle as well. It has made a tremendous difference to the amount of space my books would otherwise have taken up.

    I had considered moving to one scale with regard to my figure collections (probably 15mm-scale), and I may well go down that route with regard to the bulk of what I will keep ... with the exception of my 25/28mm-scale Napoleonics. I will keep them as long as I have the space to do so as.

    All the best,


  15. Sounds as though You have sorted the wheat from the charf! Seriously- as a word of caution- I pruned my War Games and History books a fair while back now - to the absolute bare recent times I've regretted it - fact is some of the books were irreplaceable. Luckily- I have very few War Gaming projects- at the moment I have but one project on the boil... and the lack of recourse books is not a problem...though, try and be very carful with what you select to be disposed. Miniature Army Collections - well: if you have not used part of Your Collection over a long time- it can be a good fund raiser for those War Gaming items you presently need....I like Your idea Bob of drifting towards one preferred scale e.g. 15mm. ( I'm about to start an 18mm Project myself)...small is good. Regards. KEV.

  16. Kev,

    By sticking to the rule that anything that I haven't used in the last five years or that duplicates what I already have is a potential member of my 'hit' list, I seem to have managed to get rid of enough books to make my collection more manageable without reducing it too drastically.

    By far and away the largest part of the books I am getting rid of are novels, particularly those that I also have on my Kindle. Getting rid of those alone freed up several meters of shelf space. I have also got rid of a number of large format potboiler military history books which took up space and duplicated what I already had in better - and often more detailed - books.

    I have spent some time looking at my figure collections today, and I have far more 15mm-scale stuff than I realised. Opting for that scale for most of my future projects would make more sense than starting afresh with 20mm or 28mm-scale stuff. It is not a decision that I want to rush into ... but the logic of 'going small' is very appealing.

    All the best,



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