Australian Colonials

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Leigh Metford
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Australian Colonials

Postby Leigh Metford » Sun Jul 14, 2013 2:43 pm

Greetings Gentlemen,

I've joined this forum so I can pass on some news that will excite some of you: I've had a positive response to a proposal to a 28mm figure manufacturer for an Australian colonial range. He's 'interested' and I've 'lit a fire'. I contacted him after discovering that he has a personal interest in the subject. I thought, 'if ever there was a chance to have 19th century colonial Oz realised on the tabletop this is surely it'.

For the moment he wants to 'take some time to consider the possibilities'. Obviously it's VERY early days, so I have no intention of identifying the company in question until we're on firmer ground. The company is relatively young, and only covers one historical period as yet, however, I will say that the gentleman in question doesn't do things by halves, and his current range covers its subject very comprehensively and demonstrates that he puts a lot of thought and effort into 'doing it right'. His service is widely regarded as excellent, and his sculpting is also of a very high standard. So, with any luck, we can expect very good things for the future.

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Re: Australian Colonials

Postby evadestruction » Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:21 pm

Hi leigh

Like to know more as i am interested.
I am into colonial gaming with plenty of figs to suit for other countries mostly for 25mm so depends if they are larger size or closer to 25m m size. But I have heaps of buildings appropriate for Australian colonial. But no exact figs for such. Preference is figs on the smaller side of scale creep

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Re: Australian Colonials

Postby Leigh Metford » Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:21 am

Well, ... (I hope you don't mind if I call you Eva) Eva, all I can say at this stage is stay tuned. If my proposal becomes reality, and knowing the in-depth treatment the existing range gives to its subject, I'm hopeful that we'll have figures covering every angle of the Australian colonial scene: so, generic armed 'bushmen' adaptable to a number of roles; police of various types; Aboriginal warriors; historical personalities, including infamous bushrangers; beyond that I don't know. At this stage I still have that 'too good to be true' feeling, so until I have a firm commitment from the potential supplier I don't think there's much point in speculating. But I will keep you all informed of any developments, and when I feel the time is right I'll disclose the name of the company so you can all bombard the hero of the hour with words of encouragement, suggestions for particular figures, and promises of huge purchases.

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Re: Australian Colonials

Postby Leigh Metford » Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:28 am

As regards the 'size' question, I don't own any of his past releases, but I'm sure they're standard contemporary 28mm, not true 25mm. I know that people who own figures for the same campaign produced by other current manufacturers happily mix the brands on the tabletop.

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Re: Australian Colonials

Postby Leigh Metford » Thu Jul 18, 2013 8:40 pm

Progress, gentlemen:

I've had further contact from the manufacturer, and he's asked me to assist him with conceptualising the new figure range, so I think we can state with some confidence that we've got the rocket on the launch pad. He has been, and remains for the moment, busy on all fronts, so it'll be a few more days before we're able to have an in-depth discussion about exactly where this is likely to go.

Watch this space.

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Re: Australian Colonials

Postby evadestruction » Mon Jul 22, 2013 1:34 pm

Hey Leigh

Keep me posted as I'm about to get my other colonials out to do some New Zealand and Samoan games.

Be particularly interested in Aussie indigenous figures that i could also convert into native figures for other colonial countries, as well as Aussie conflicts..interested in early Aussie colonial too [ ie: first fleeters, troops, marines and convicts..as well as later bushranger stuff [which I have a feeling you are pitching at ??.

ironically when visiting Glenrowan i picked up a miniature of need , not much better than a keychain type of thing but it was a simple but usable Ned figure....gotta grab things when you see em...hee hee..

russ

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Re: Australian Colonials

Postby Leigh Metford » Tue Jul 23, 2013 3:05 pm

Russ - I still haven't heard back from - lets just call him 'X' for now - since last week. He's obviously busier than he thought. But rest assured I'll pass on any news as soon as it comes 'off the wire' (repeated at 11.00).

Although we haven't had a chance to discuss the project in detail, I've emailed him what, given my greater knowledge of the subject, I believe to be the fundamental considerations for the range. So, for instance, I've laid out the historical and commercial attractions of the various sub-phases of the colonial period in an attempt to give some initial direction to his sculpting and production schedule. Although I would be delighted if we could cover the whole 100 or so years, we have to be realistic and, initially at least, select one self-contained sub-period. Once that's been dealt with comprehensively, we'll see if there's sufficient interest in and commercial support for further expansion.

I proposed to X that we start with the mid 1850s to mid 1870s era, because: the costume of bush workers was homogenous across time and occupations, and because it takes in Eureka Stockade, the heyday of the Wild Colonial Boys, and an intense period of frontier conflict, whilst the weapons technology disparity hadn't yet rendered Aboriginal resistance with solely traditional weapons largely futile. If we were to stretch it just a little, we could also cover Chinese tong wars and the Kelly episode.

I know settler weapons improved over time, but there were always plenty of obsolete types around at any given point. For instance, even in the mid 1870s many Native Mounted Police units still hadn't been re-equipped with the Snider carbine; they were stuck with their antiquated DB smoothbore muzzle-loaders. For bushmen figures this can be addressed with some separate weapon poses - but that's really getting ahead of ourselves. At this point I frankly don't know what shape the range will ultimately take. I can only suggest that you stay tuned for further announcements.

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Re: Australian Colonials

Postby Leigh Metford » Tue Jul 23, 2013 4:13 pm

Another significant selling point of this sub-period that I neglected to mention is of course that it's the one most used in popular media representations of colonial Australia, and therefore most immediately familiar to lead addicts in this country and OS, even if they've read nothing of the history.

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Re: Australian Colonials

Postby evadestruction » Tue Jul 23, 2013 5:31 pm

Cool

keep us posted.

I know this is early thoughts on development so I imagine things can change, fall apart or go ahead so no probs either way.
I'll just see what comes as it comes.
russ

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Re: Australian Colonials

Postby Leigh Metford » Fri Aug 02, 2013 12:20 pm

Another update gentlemen:

X is still very busy with his current main range and will be for the foreseeable future. Additionally he has some other lesser projects already in the pipeline, so you shouldn't expect to see anything for this range for at least a year; not really such a long time in the world of major new figure ranges. Once the roll-out begins though, you can expect to see regular releases, and maybe even a new, supporting genre-specific game/ruleset. Anyway, that gives you all plenty of time to read up on the subject and build up your personal library. Some of you might even want to make a start on buildings/terrain.

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Re: Australian Colonials

Postby Leigh Metford » Tue Aug 13, 2013 4:46 pm

There have been no emails from X since the last one I reported here, gentlemen, so there's no news to add to the previous post, I'm afraid. I launched into this with high hopes, only to be considerably deflated when X informed me that it will be at least a year, or maybe even two, before any figures appear. Fair enough; I'm a patient person, and it's not at if I haven't got a thousand other projects to be going on with in the meantime, so I can live with the delay. And if the project is to include a rules system, that time will be needed anyway for writing, development, and play testing.

But then came the continuing frustration generated by X's failure to engage in even a preliminary discussion of the scope and focus of the range and precisely define my role, with nothing more than a vague promise to discuss things in more depth 'later'; which still hasn't happened, even though more than a month has passed since we first exchanged emails on the subject. Can anyone really claim to have so little time that they can't afford to communicate anything concrete about a forthcoming commercial venture to someone they hope to enlist as a partner (at whatever level) in that venture? When he did deign to send me a few paragraphs in that most recent email, it seemed as if it was merely to convey how privileged I should feel that he was diverting any time at all from his real priorities.

I've offered my services as researcher/advisor, and despite operating blind in an information vacuum have already passed on some detailed suggestions, with no response to flag whether I'm on the right track. So there's no point in expending any more of my time researching and sending on spec material that may not even be of use. All-in-all, this seems to me a very bizarre way to go about initiating a collaborative exercise if you hope to establish good faith and a solid working dialogue. At this point gentlemen, as far as what this range will consist of and how it will be marketed goes, your guess is as good as mine. All any of us can do is wait and see what happens.

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Re: Australian Colonials

Postby Leigh Metford » Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:11 am

Wouldn't you know it? I just checked my emails and there was a response from X answering most of my questions. It looks like it will be the mid-late 19th century as originally predicted, with all the big name bushrangers represented.

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Re: Australian Colonials

Postby Leigh Metford » Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:26 am

Sorry about the melodramatics, but it was very frustrating not knowing where this is going, which meant I didn't know where to begin with research, and couldn't pass on anything of value to the faithful. I've taken my medication now and stopped frothing at the mouth.

At this point it seems X is leaving it mainly to me to more precisely define the direction of the project, other than insisting that we start with the 'wild colonial boys' and their nemeses. This should mean that the range will have an 1860 - 1880 focus, at least initially. Quite how we resolve the problem of varying police uniforms, and changes in weaponry over that time-span remains to be seen. Depending on the degree of historical specificity we plump for, perhaps we'll end up with separate packs for the two major police forces, or we might just opt for generic Australian mounted police. In the former case you'd be able to recreate particular historical scenarios from nominated colonies, and in the latter the setting wouldn't be pinned down more precisely than a fictitious slice of Australia. The latter option would have the advantage that, with with a sort of geographical compression, we could (paradoxically) stretch history a little. What I mean by this is you could have a campaign map consisting of a settled district contiguous with a pastoral frontier district, adjacent to unexplored wild bush. Factions would be based and operate in a home zone, with the ability to cross into an adjacent zone. So, bushrangers would be based in the settled district, because that's where the richest pickings are, or in any zone in which there was gold mining in progress. Miners would naturally be where the gold is. Squatters and stockmen would be in the middle zone, and Aboriginal clans would be based in the second or third zones, and so on. Any thoughts?

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Re: Australian Colonials

Postby Leigh Metford » Fri Sep 06, 2013 8:37 pm

It's been a while, so I just thought you might appreciate a word or two.

There's not much to report other than my having emailed X a substantial quantity of material and references, him still being very busy with his main range, and his having made a start on a lesser project a little earlier than he'd anticipated - which of course is a good thing because it means that the Oz range is likely to appear earlier than expected too.

If he takes my advice about where to concentrate his sculpting energy, initially you'll be seeing Ned and the gang and all the major bushrangers of the 1860-80 period, and NSW mounted police of the same era, as high quality 28mm figures for the first time ever. In another miniature first you can probably expect the police to be armed with Terry carbines and Tranter revolvers. The police figures should be usable as either specifically NSW types, or generic Aussie police of the late 19th century. There's really not much point in doing additional figures for Victorian police; the uniform was the same other than having one less button, and only the button counters are going to quibble over such a minor detail, and as these two colonies were the scene of most of the settled districts action in the period in question there's not much point in doing specific civil police figures for them. However, I'm hoping X will provide a choice of heads in kepi or custodian helmet, either cast on or separate, so you can achieve the look you want. Beyond these, I hope to see for the same period generic bushmen (for use as lesser known or anonymous bushrangers, miners, shepherds, squatters and stockmen, rebels etc.) Native Mounted Police, Aboriginal warriors, and perhaps others besides.

I'll be sure to keep you informed of any major developments.

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Re: Australian Colonials

Postby Leigh Metford » Fri Sep 06, 2013 8:39 pm

That should be '... not much point in doing specific figures for the others.'

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Re: Australian Colonials

Postby Leigh Metford » Fri Oct 04, 2013 10:26 am

I thought I'd just let you all know that X will shortly be making a start on the sculpting of the 'wild colonial boys'. This doesn't necessarily imply that anything will be released in the near future; he prefers to accumulate a decent selection of masters before launching a new range, and he's still very much focussed on his existing projects. Nonetheless, it's an important milestone in the progress of the Oz range.

Also, there's also been a positive response to an initial approach to a major and very active rules publisher about the possibility of its producing a dedicated colonial Australia skirmish game.

Stay tuned.

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Re: Australian Colonials

Postby Dropbear » Mon Oct 07, 2013 6:20 pm

Leigh Metford wrote:Stay tuned.


Most certainly will - very keen on playing a Bush ranger game.

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Re: Australian Colonials

Postby Leigh Metford » Wed Sep 03, 2014 10:36 am

Hello again. Some news:

Dead Man's Hand is about to get an Australian supplement. It's being produced completely independently of our efforts by Great Escape Games, so I know nothing of the content. Stuart from GEG calls it a 'sourcebook', which suggests loosely structured background material. Whether there will be new specific Oz rules and gangs I really don't know. He tells me it will have a narrow focus (which probably means just bushrangers and police - but hopefully not just Ned Kelly!).

I'm in two minds about this development. While it's great that colonial Australia is finally receiving the attentions of a major player in the hobby industry, I very much doubt that DMH is the best vehicle to put it on gamers' tabletops. It's hard to see how the real history of this continent can be successfully translated into the integrally celluloid western mechanics of this bespoke 'reel west' game, by Britons with limited access to research sources. The mere fact that GEG believes it can gives me little confidence in the depth of their research. Still, at the very least it's a big first that will hopefully open the way for others to capitalise and improve on, and generate interest among figure manufacturers. I just would have preferred that the 'first' had been a locally based, comprehensive, historically accurate treatment of the subject.

Unfortunately the prospects of that other major rules publisher I've mentioned previously doing an Oz skirmish game have evaporated due to publishing decisions at their end. However, X is still planning to release his figure range at some point; I just can't give you a date as yet. Perhaps the DMH book will give him a push along.

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Re: Australian Colonials

Postby Dropbear » Wed Sep 03, 2014 3:57 pm

Thanks for the update; I will be watching with interest.


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