Tuesday, June 9, 2020

My Worst Miniatures Accidents

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Late-1970s On My Way To Play Napoleonics

While cheerfully driving to play Napoleonics with my fledgling 25mm Saxon Army, it happened. In those days we gathered at Dick Z's home to play his Z & M Enterprises rules entitled....

It featured core rules with adaptations for Ancients, Medievals, The American Revolution, Napoleonics, The American Civil War and Introductory WWII. 

One of my units, the Leibgrenadier Garde was on the car consol or seat. I don't remember why but I had to brake the car suddenly and keep braking hard to avoid striking the car ahead of me. There was no collision but the box flew through the air emptying the Saxons under the brake pedal while I was still braking. My shoe heel crunched the miniatures. 

When I was able to look down, there they lay within little rocks, dirt and other debris which gathers down there. Naturally I was mortified. I had spent a lot of time painting those dear Mini-Figs. I don't think they were in condition to march that day. Anyway....

I fixed them up way back then. Here they are today. 

Every time I go past that intersection --- I remember. 
Wouldn't you?

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A Few Years Later

Some of us were playing Napoleonics on the floor so we would not have table edge limitations. Oh those were the days with nimble legs, spines and lots of energy. The vistas were the thing too. We gathered at Bob L's home with so-called BIG battalions to play....

My Saxon Army was larger by then with two brigades of infantry and oodles of cavalry. I combined my battalions of thirty into battalions of sixty. Those were my first games with BIG battalions.  Friedrich August was the first line battalion painted. As it suffered casualties, I placed movement trays removed by fire on softly carpeted steps leading into the room. 

They were fine until Bob sat on the command stand bending/flattening the flag at a terribly awkward angle. Surprisingly I was able to bend the flag back. Do you see the white crease on the pole near the flagbearer's cheek? That's where the bend happened. Naturally the legs snapped. Big deal right?

I will never admit to hand-painting that flag for eleven hours on a cut square piece of beer can flat metal sheeting my father brought home from work for me from The Continental Can Company. A few years later I found paper flags and have never gone back to metal sheet. 

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June 8, 2020 --- The Worst EVER!

There have not been many accidents worthy of mention that I can remember since the ones described. The thing about the previous incidents was the prodigious amount of time spent creating the lovely Garde and Friedrich August's flag. Time lost or ill-spent was the horror. Nothing as dramatic has happened until....

Jim P., (Der Alte Fritz) and I decided to test two turns playing Napoleonics in Spain on ZOOM. The scenario was adapted from Sir John Moore's 1809 retreat to Corunna. Here is the end of Turn 2 when we stopped our virtual experiment.

British Left Flank
95th Rifles and the 4th Foot Light Company
Opposed by the 1/51de Ligne and 4th Swiss 

British Right Flank
4th Foot inclining toward the port off image right
and a cavalry battle to keep the way open.

My wife, Dorothy, set it all up. Jim and I would click on at 8pm for a forty-five minute try with ZOOM. Before-hand I needed to set things up. That is when the worst thing ever happend to my miniatures.

While retrieving the British Cavalry Brigade from a barrister top shelf, I wobbled the board. Half a dozen trays of British Light Cavalry easily and astoundingly slipped off, hitting me in the chest cascading down onto my shoes and the cement floor. 

In the instant I tried to correct my error, even more fell off in over correction. I couldn't look. Luckily the entire 3rd Dragoon Guards (25) were still awkwardly holding onto the board as I froze. However, 2/3 of the 15th Hussars (25) and 16th Light Dragoons (25) were jumbled on the floor. Oh dear! All are Elite Miniatures 28mms.

Remaining peaceful is possible. I brought my paratrooper horsemen to the painting table to take stock. Somehow damage was not severe. How?

Black was restored to helmets, a little blue was needed on uniforms and some swords needing rebending. 

Here are the lads restored and in confusion.
Some actually needed no paint or repair.
Hence the quote, "Confusion to the enemy."
Others are on the table in the ZOOM game test.

The last lot needing attention.
Including the hansom cab you gave to me Greg H.
Not too bad actually. I was lucky.

Do you have a similar dreadful story?
Give us a history at Comments below, if you please.
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WSTKS-FM Worldwide said...

Very glad your lads did not suffer too much, Bill. I have had nothing similar happen though I did suffer an almost very unpleasant mishap in about 1988 or '89 when an Xacto hobby knife somehow slipped out of my hand and landed blade down in an unshod foot on a warm evening. How it did not result in fountains of blood or a visit to the local emergency room I'll never know. Some rubbing alcohol, a band-aid, and I was back at the table trimming flash from 15mm Napoleonics in no time. I cannot even recall which foot it was 30+ years later.

Best Regards,


tradgardmastare said...

I really enjoyed your anecdotes Bill. I recall once dropping a box of Spanish American War 15mm Freii Korps figures in the days when they were made of brittle metal. They were multi based and most shattered at the ankle. It to ages to glue the right figure to the correct feet.

AKI said...

The worst I can recall is coming home from doing a display game at a show. My colleague was driving, and had packed his boot with may boxes of miniatures; upon arrival at my home he duly opened the back to get the models out, and having shifted in travel, one large box promptly ejected itself to the floor, falling about four feet onto tarmac. some 150 beautiful Napoleonic French became a pile in the box, sitting on its' side after an abrupt halt to their short, vertical journey. Thankfully the damage proved to be relatively limited, but there was a fair bit of retouching and bayonet repair required. My colleagues response, "oh they'll be okay, they're only plastic". We're no longer associates!

irishserb said...

I am sorry for your losses, though you appear to have come through them well.

My worst calamity occurred when the girl two cars back rear-ended the guy behind me, hard enough to total his car and punch him into me hard enough to total mine as well. About 600 pieces of Arab-Israeli micro-armor ended up in a pile in the passenger foot well. I was far more upset about the toys, than the car.

Ross Mac rmacfa@gmail.com said...

The first two that come to mind are as follows: The first was back in the 80's when I was hurrying through a crowded mall to catch a bus with two plastic bits boxes (for scews etc) packed with 15mm Napoleonics. One of the handles gave way dumping the box on the floor with the drawers opened to scatter 15's across the floor, amongst the crowd. There were surprisingly few fatal casualties but an unhappy number of heads knocked off conversions, snapped or badly bent ankles, muskets, swords etc as I scambled to collect the and make it to the game.

The second, also in the 80's may have a familiar sound. I had the use of a spare bedroom as my hobby room and one wall contained shelves of mostly 25mm ancients and medieval's. These were the sort with metal stanchions with clip in shelf brackets, one of the first time I had installed the same. My parents were visiting from Montreal and sleeping in the room. Hermes, my cat familiar of the time made his way into the room in the middle of the night and jumped up on one end of the shelf which tipped up, knocking the end of the next shelf and.....up, 100's of 25's cascaded onto the floor and bed along with a terrified cat looking to escape! My parents were unscathed though concerned about my collection. Most of the figures did as well though many needed repair but I learned that a shelf must always be supported very near the ends as well as in the middle. One of our current cats likes to jump up on the shelves but they remain firm.

guy said...

My story is v like Ross' second tale. First I have to say I am totally useless at DIY. Most of the soldiers are stored in IKEA display cabinets with glass doors and glass shelves. Additional shelves were inserted by me and supported at the side with either metal, wood or in some cases plastic little supports which plug into the side of the cabinet. Needless to say some of the plastic ones were not strong enough so one day shelves came crashing down one on top of the other. Once one had fallen, the weight was not sufficient so the next one went.

Lots of crushed bent over troops. Sigh.


Michael Mathews said...

My most recent and provoking lots of colorful language involved my WWII ship collection. Having just added a capital ship I swung into action to place the boxes back on the shelves. As I turned, the box containing the Kido Butai (Japanese aircraft carriers) took flight in their own way. Crashing to the ground at the base of the shelf unit, spilling bits and pieces everywhere, including under the shelves. Assessing the damage I was grateful that their aren't that many parts in a 1/2400 scale model. But ships popped off bases, tiny aircraft took flight, islands parted company, etc. They are mostly repaired, all eleven plus the Yamato back together again, ready to sortie.

jurgenation said...

I once sneezed while holding a brush w/green paint on it for basing paint and it splattered a entire unit ..I had just finished.,Ken bunger had creeeping crud. Ha had these wonderful cabinets w/glass doors made to hold his figures and they gave a toxic something that slowing ate away at all his apinted figures..like acid.

Gallia said...

Gee and I thought I was virtually the only one with disaster stories.
Thank you for all your recollections.
Bill P.

Matt said...

A newly painted Union ACW brigade of 40 figures in 15mm (we were playing Fire & Fury) felt the crunch of my boot. I needed space on my work bench and thought the floor would be safe enough. Nothing saveable.

In another turn of my own stupidity my Dullcote turned out to be white primer.

Ken Bunger said...

On my way out of home to head to GenCon in 1975 carrying a 25mm SYW Army in two large tubs. Slipped and army and I went tumbling down stairs. First reaction of my wargamer friend who was to drive (Dick Mitchell I think) was... Are the figures OK? From the ground, I looked up to see that they probably were not. The were not, 40-50% casualty rate.

Ken Bunger said...

Second disaster of 1970's trips to GenCon from Omaha..
One of the guys making the convoy to the convention from Nebraska was one John Gleason. He was bringing his new and well (recently) painted 25mm Hinchliffe Sassanid Army. With special care he packed them in "tubs" with packing popcorn, placed them in trunk of his sports car and headed east with us on the 90 degree July day. Upon arrival at the half-way mark, we opened trunk to check on figures. Figures were in great shape, except their shiny little silver bodies were revealed as most of the paint had been stripped off. The peanuts acted like a washing or grinding machine, not helped by the suspension of his little car and maybe the 100 degree heat in the trunk.

Gallia said...

From Bob B.
Your stories certainly bring up memories of those horrors.

It instantly brought up my "ouch" moment with my very first painted army back around 1986:

A 15mm Minifig Ancient Sassanid Persian Army was proudly put into a 2-sided utility compartment carrying case. The case allowed me to carry it like a luggage bag. I had set it upright on a corner edge of a ping pong wargaming table and opened the one side down. The units were kept in each compartment upright like the case when carried and stored. All I had to do was slide them out sideways.

Because the case door now sits perpendicular when opened, to the storage compartments in case standing up, the bottom hinge of the opened door side slightly cants the bottom of the case. Well, I was always careful in the past, but this time, the end of the case door extended beyond the edge of the table. I bumped that case door when I got too close to the table and the entire case flipped over and fell to the floor...

2 units of 12 each cataphracts were basically "crushed" beneath the case, as they exited their respective compartments upon the descent. I had specially modified these two units by bending the arms down, so that the lances would come straight out instead of up. I was proud of those units back in those early days of miniature painting/gaming.

Needless to say, they were beyond repair, with the legs (and lances) either broken or now breaking when attempting to re-bend them from their now weakened state. There were other units that lost a fig or two, but I had spare figs to replace them and I painted up new cataphract figs (but left the lances up).

After losing repeatedly with this lousy army (playing WRG 6 and 7 Ed. - with the Levy infantry almost never fighting, but always failed their morale when other units routed past them), I sold this army very cheap and moved on...

Thank you Bob,
Bill P.

Gallia said...

From Don D.
Hey guys,

Those are some great stories Bill. I remember a time when I was a lot younger and single and really into the warhammer fantasy battle game. I was meeting a friend at a local game store for a game. I had parked my car and was walking toward the intersection to cross the street with my army in a box in my hands. Like I said I was 20 something and single. I saw a car approaching in my peripheral vision do I stopped to let it through. It was a white Ford explorer with what had to be one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen driving it. Of course I kept watching her and not where I was going and I walked right into a lamppost and broke more than a few of my models. Along with getting my fingers and knuckles all scraped up. Fortunately the models all broke along the glue welds so they were easily fixed. All of my friends got a tremendous laugh at my story.
Thank you Don

Gallia said...

From Earl K.
As many of you know I ran a game club at school for over thirty years. We were just finishing an ECW game with old mini figs in the 80’s and one of the best students I had was upset that he lost. All of a sudden an entire unit of muskets and pikes was flying across the table. Needless to say the student was mortified and very apologetic, but the unit was never quite the same again. After all their use at school, those troops are pretty battered and beaten, but they just came off the war game table after a battle that was not quite finished due to the pandemic. Earl K.

Thank you Earl
Bill P.