The time has come for me to unveil my most recent Enthusiasm;â€” viz.:
The Square Pegs
The Square Pegs are a motley collection of 54mm Toy Soldiers constructed from clothespins, pipe cleaners, and other accoutrements.
Why 54mm Craftees?
In the summer of 2012, I found myselfÂ assessingÂ my increasing pile of unpainted lead; simultaneouslyÂ reflecting uponÂ my diminishing space for storing my soldiers and scratch-built terrain; and finally,Â lamentingÂ the little time I have to devote to hobbying. In a flash came the perfect solution;â€” why not embark upon a project in a new, larger scale, which would entail constructing (and storing) all new buildings and terrain, and which would require me to create all of my own figures from scratch? Thus began the madness â€¦
But First, the Back Story
Examining the history of my browser would reveal the following artifacts;â€”
For years I have been ogling (in a good way) the clothespin creations of Mr. Kenneth Van Pelt one might find atÂ The Penny WhistleÂ (website of the Secondhand Lions Wargame Club) â€” 54mm Zulu war Brits and 1:72-ish biplanes, all constructed of parts plundered from the laundry;
Though I have a well-thumbed copy of Wellsâ€™Â Little Wars, I was strangely compelled to purchase a modern updateâ€”Funny Little WarsÂ by Padre Paul Wrightâ€”published by the Virtual Armchair General; and finally,
How could one not be captivated by theÂ Toy Making Dadâ€™s tutorialÂ for constructing a littleÂ wooden cannon that really shoots?
One horrid day these Ã¦theric contagions took hold of my feverish mind. I realized that I possessed the necessary skills and modest pecuniary means to construct 54mm soldiers and the artillery with which to shoot them dead.
Thus was born the Square PegsÂ â€¦
Creating little clothespin people did have several qualities to recommend it;â€” One of my other (too numerous) hobbies is carpentry, so the concept of combining woodworking with miniature wargaming was appealing. I embrace any opportunity to employ my costly collection of tools, and better yet, welcome any excuse to purchase new onesâ€¦ This may seem strange, but by creating craftee warriors, a certain pressure was off. I am not at all a skillful painter, and I frequently â€œpsych myself outâ€ (as a Victorian gentleman might remark) by admiring the Olympian Heights of painting technique displayed on the interweb. When I compare the Picasso-like results of my brush strokes (and not in a good way), I admit I become Discouraged, to say the least. The main reason I originally took up 15mm figures (for example) was so that I wouldnâ€™t have to paint eyesâ€¦
Working in the â€œlaundry appurtenance” medium, however, equaled Freedom. There were few ultra-skilled craftee-devotees to outshine one, and, in the end, as I often remind myself, â€œSelf, itâ€™s only a clothespin.â€ Occasionally, when I catch a glimpse of those furry blue arms, they afford a Muppetational quality, which plunges me into to the depths of Despair â€¦Â Perhaps my time has been wasted? I suppose that one could say that about any of oneâ€™s pursuits when examined with excessive scrutiny and cabernet sauvignon.
In the end, I think Iâ€™m decidedly Pleased, and I harbor Grand Plans for the Square Pegs. As the cooler months are descending, I have time to amass forces for an epic spring Garden Battle,â€” and then I could double the size of the plans for the Gary Chalk river steamer and repurpose my figures for pulp/penny dreadful VSF in Darkest Africa â€¦ and then I could make Â â€œproof of conceptâ€ models of fantasy figures for a truly expansive garden â€œhexcrawlâ€ â€¦ and then if I made pirates, I could construct 1:32 ships armed with those shooting cannons, spread out so blue canvas on the lawn â€¦ and then â€¦