Planning (Well) Ahead!

I’ve lapsed a bit with posts this year since I haven’t been finishing much lately, although, as I’ve said before, I seem to find my time filled in well enough! So I thought maybe I’d just write a bit about stuff that’s being planned and prepared. There is only one pretty uninteresting picture for this post (below) so if you want to skip this post and get on with whatever you were doing beforehand please feel free to do so and thanks for dropping by!

It’s probably obvious from the picture that I’ve been re-sorting the lead pile and adding in little notes to remind me what everything is! Those figures in the picture are the ones I think I’d like to be working on soon (meaning this year). These are for projects that have been in the planning stage for decades so with that in mind it’s probably worth me talking about the projects themselves. This doesn’t mean other stuff won’t get done and since I reviewed both my storage situation and neglected projects at the end of last year I’ve made progress on all fronts (not much admittedly)!

Victorian Science Fiction

The original plan in the late 90s was to add some steamtech to my Boxer Rebellion armies and let them all fight it out with that! I collected some 15mm and 25mm figures and bits over the years that I might be able to use but never got started. Fast forward to 2022 and I’ve now got more 19th Century national and colonial armies completed that I can feed into this project! The plan is just to add small amounts of steamtech equipment and units into these armies and let them fight it out on a bigger scale than I’d originally planned. The first, small, generic units have now been base-coated and I’m hoping to finish some of them pretty soon! One of the main achievements has been completing my Squid army to invade Earth (see here) and make life that much more difficult for the humans!

Martian Empires

This is really a VSF sub-project. Back when I first planned it in the 90s, I bought some Peter Pig 15mm Green Martians (as found in Edgar Rice Burroughs Mars/Barsoom books) and converted a handful of ancient Greeks into Red Martians to fight them. I then proceeded to do nothing with them! I did, however collect bits and pieces that I could use and have now come back to this part of the project. Since Fighting 15s make some very nice Green Martians, I’ve bought a few to paint and see how they look and I’ve also bought some historical 20mm figures that I think will pass for Red Martians. At the moment the Red and Green Martians will form a combined force to fight both Squids and human invaders from Earth!

Second Afghan War

Having got my Boxer Rebellion British Empire force under way in the 90s I read a couple of articles in Wargames Illustrated about the Afghan army in the 19th Century and decided I’d like to make an Afghan force. I could get some Afghan irregular figures in 20mm scale but I had to convert regular infantry from WW1 Russian infantry. I got about 15 figures converted but then moved on and got no further. But I’ve recently discovered that Newline Designs now make Afghan regular troops in 20mm scale so this project is back in the running! A 19th Century Afghan army also fits into my VSF plans and can form a potential central Asian superpower!

Crimson Dust (Crimson Skies Ground Forces)

I started playing the Crimson Skies boardgame around 2000 (alternative 1930s aerial combat) and had an idea that I could build some 20mm scale ground forces to game with at the same time. This project didn’t get far but in the intervening years I’ve added enough 20mm WW1 and WW2 forces to my collection to think about starting this off again. As with the VSF project, the idea will be to add some extra units and equipment to existing armies to give them a 1930s character. I’ve got figures and equipment identified that I can use for this project but more than likely this will take longer to get realised than the projects described above.

Although it might sound like a lot of work, the figures and equipment I want for the above projects is relatively small, the aim throughout being to add extras to existing armies. The Martian Empires and Afghan War projects need some larger forces painting up but even these are a lot smaller than any of my individual historical 19th Century armies. If you’ve read this far, well done, and any suggestions for troops or equipment for these projects would be most welcome!


  1. The picture was intriguing John, as for the projects they sound cool, additions for armies, the Martian armies sound like they could do with some flyers, and some more creatures wouldn’t hurt, maybe some white apes, and dogs

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  2. I’m not familiar enough with 20mm scale models to suggest much in terms of additions but I will say all of those projects sound great! In particular I’m very keen to see you dive into some steampunk models. I’ll have to look up crimson skies too, that sounds very interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t let the scale put you off making any suggestions Nicolas! 🙂 I’ve got to us what I can from 15/18mm and 25/28mm for a lot of stuff! The Crimson Skies boardgame is long out of print but I absolutely loved it!


    • Thanks Harry! 🙂 Although I’ll spread these out in amongst other stuff, none of these projects are too large since I’m just adding bits and pieces to armies I’ve already got (OK, not the Martians, but they’re not a large force)! But mission creep will no doubt feature somewhere!


  3. Great report John. I like reading about everyone’s projects. The martians and VSF sound like great games. I have been interested in ERB martians ever since reading them as a teenager, Hinchcliffe did some 25mm.s back in the day. If you can get it you should try and get a copy of the Guide to Barsoom that I featured in a post some time ago.
    I think it is still available from Amazon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Steve! 🙂 When I’ve got a variety of figures that need sorting into units I tend to bag them accordingly and mark them so that I can clean ’em up and work on them one unit at a time! I’m not usually this organised!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Pete! 🙂 You’ll probably be pleased to know that not everything is organised as well as this! My idea for Crimson Dust (that’s just my name for it) is that it uses the Crimson Skies background and lets me create small national armies/militias using troops and equipment that was around in the 30s but maybe not in widespread use – Vickers 6-ton and Czech LT35/38 tanks are probably good examples!


    • Well, that’s made it worth me posting it then! 🙂 I think I tend to view it the same way and it’s doing hobby stuff that’s a bit easier to fit in! Not sure what progress I’ll make, but planning and organising are quite well on at least!

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  4. The flat worm is 230 mm or 9 inches long, had a look and I’ve only got the flat one, never had the one bursting come through by the look of it

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    • Thanks for checking that out for me Dave! 🙂 That might be a bit on the big side for this project (only 20mm figures), even though I like the model! I’m unsure, but if someone offers you a boatload of money for any you’ve got in the meantime then take it!

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  5. While I like all of these project ideas, the first two excite me the most. Apparently, I want to see you add a touch of Sci-Fi or Fantasy to your workload 🙂 No matter what you tackle next, I’m sure it will be interesting to all of us and I’m looking forward to it!

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    • Thanks Jeff! 🙂 I’ve always liked sci-fi stuff but just not really got round to much (with the exception of my aeronefs). There might be more sci-fi content than you think, since I could combine a Crimson Skies setting with Gear Krieg and some good old pulp stuff for the 1930s! I’m looking forward to getting started with it all!

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  6. So much more organised than me (I have little bits of paper scattered everywhere with ideas/lists on (and can never find the one i want when I want. Some great sounding projects there mate. Not to steal Dave’s thunder but have a look at Irregular Miniatures 6mm Sci/fi stuff they have a sand worm (well two actually) the large one is about 10 to 15cm long (I think) might be of use. Black Hat miniatures used to do some steam tanks and a steam tripod (but I’m not even sure they are still going.

    Sorry cant be more help.

    Cheers Roger.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wouldn’t have thought about looking at Irregular, even though I’ve bought plenty of stuff from them over the years, so that’s been a help Roger. 🙂 My plan for things like sandworms would be to use them as natural hazards for everyone else, so I’ll keep thinking about that while I build my armies up. Black Hat’s Martian ranges are now sold by Fighting 15s and there is a boatload of useful stuff, some of which I’ve had stashed for a while. Their Giant Tribal Martians look spot on for using against 20mm figures as well – of course I’d only know that if I’d already bought some and compared them for scale! And for those of you prepared to wait, steam tanks are coming!

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  7. Nice and organized! I tend to use spreadsheets and separate bins. That’s worked really well for larger projects like Blood Bowl teams. I’ll start by cleaning up the minis, assembling, priming them, then they go in a plastic storage container to await(!) painting. All the minis are in a spreadsheet and notes are entered regarding any 3rd party/supplements I intend to use.

    However this method fails for all my one-off minis. Too many misc fantasy/scifi mins from too many different companies to keep track of. For those, I tend to just use bins ‘SciFi/modern’ and ‘Fantasy’. The goal for those is to be generic use for different games anyways. Spreadsheet tracking has been about impossible for those. I tried once, but gave up on it.

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    • Thanks Faust! 🙂 You really do sound organised! I’ve stopped short of using spreadsheets because it’ll show that there is way too much to paint! I do usually allocate minis to their relevant army storage boxes once they’re based and primed so that I can see how various forces are developing/will develop. I virtually never have one-offs but I do have to run a parallel system for tanks and equipment since they are much fewer in number!

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  8. I often enjoy thinking about projects almost as much as doing them! That goes for reading about your plans too. The range of labels in the pic there is great from Afghan infantry to Rocketeers!

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  9. Now you have made me feel sad! I thought my effort in the shed organizing was pretty good until I saw your work!! Maybe , just maybe i’m not cut out for being organized and the wife closes my modelling room door when we have guests!

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