Design: Pondering One of Life’s big questions

bullet rocket

Do the bits drive the design, or does the design drive the bits?

Lately my buying habits (in both games and miniatures) have been highly erratic. I’m the kind of chap that reacts like a magpie with shiny objects at new and interesting figure lines. At a recent HISTORICON, I discovered John Jenkins Designs’ CHINESE HOPPING VAMPIRES and a JADE MUMMY (click for more details).

Chinese Hopping Vampires

Chinese Mummy in Jade Burial Suit

Naturally I bought what I could.. they were too danged interesting to ignore.

Although the vendor (Age of Glory, from Maryland, who will be at TriaDCon) was down to his last two packs, he also carries TERRA COTTA ZOMBIES which I know I’m just going to have to get. I’m weak that way.

Terror-Cotta Warrior Zombies - Pack 1

So what I have, I already have primed. Gazing further down the paint queue, I note the DWARVEN INVENTOR (I bought three of them) from Heresy Miniatures.

Dwarven Inventor

I have lots of onesies and twosies that are like this. I treasure them, because I think figures like the hopping vampires and terra cotta zombies and dwarven inventors and virtually ANYTHING from Eureka these days.

The problem is.. how do you use units that aren’t meant to be “army builders”?

The games we play usually utilize giant formations of critters, even the fanatasy games. Unless I sell off a kidney, I’m not going to afford an army of these creatures. How to tie together things like terra cotta zmbies and dwarven inventors? Which leads to the even bigger question: Do I buy these things to make a game out of the bits, or have a design in my head that influences what bits I’m going to buy?

Right now, I can’t think of a scenario for terra cotta zombies and hopping vampires, but By God, I KNOW I’m going to use them, somewhere. On the other hand, my Russo Polish War project has been very calculated. I need this many troops, I buy them and paint them or have them painted for me, with the intention of having a nice Red Army available at the end of the drill.

So I guess I take both approaches to the hobby..