We recently had a lovely chat with Campbell Hardie, who is running a Kickstarter campaign to fund a beautiful set of 28mm figures representing colonial French troops of Vichy France for the Second World War.
The goal of the campaign is to create a range of 28mm Colonial French figures for the 2nd World War which are suitable for use in a wide variety of settings.
The basic goal is to get 10 metal figures with a set of differing detached heads into production, allowing them to be made as regular colonial troops with either an Adrian or sun helmet, as French Foreign Legion in Kepis or as Senegalese Tirrallieurs in chéchia. There are a few of us at the Bunker that have pledged for the campaign, and we think that it warrants a little Q&A session with Campbell.
Q1. I have to say I love the look of the miniatures and I’ve pledged for them. What was your inspiration/motive for producing French WW2 miniatures?
A: First of all thanks for pledging. I've always had a soft spot for the French, they get such a raw deal from the British and Americans that is totally undeserved. They fought as fiercely as any allied nation and should have done better. I think that is why they're so interesting. They should have beaten the Germans but bad tactics and bad luck meant they didn't. If the dice had rolled better the war might have been over in 1940 and history could have been very different.
Another reason is one of my gaming buddies loves obscure campaigns and he introduced me to the Syrian campaign. I was vaguely familiar with it but reading more about it was fascinating, then I discovered all the campaigns we British fought against our one time allies. Then I realized there were no figures specifically for Vichy France. A gap in the market if ever there was that I thought needed to be filled.
Q2. How are you finding Kickstarter so far?
A: Kickstarter has been really easy to use and the staff have been helpful when I've asked them questions. There are also lots of other campaigns to get inspiration from to improve your own one.
Q3. Have you had any negative feedback or has it been pats on the back all round?
A: No negative feedback on KS, but on one non english speaking forum they did criticize the water bottles as being WW1, not WW2 and that the rifles were also obsolete. I'm ok with that as the Colonial troops were not equipped with modern kit, that was kept for the home army. The use of older kit was very deliberate, as was not including a VB launcher.
Q4. Not an “if” but a “when" – when the Kickstarter is successful, are there any other WW2 ranges on the horizon?
A: Yes, firstly an extension of the Levant and French colonial troops, especially support. Then there are other areas and times that are neglected or ignored. But that is for the future. The range needs to be completed before anything else is launched.
Q5. At Wee Gamers, we’re big fans of Bolt Action and play it on a regular basis. What WW2 games capture your imagination and game time?
A: Bolt Action is a favourite. It's not realistic but it is a lot of fun and that is what I really want in a game. Laughs with friends and a good time are more important than winning. I've got Chain of Command and am learning that in WW2 but the longer term intention is to use it for WW1, Rapid Fire still pops up as does Battlegroup Kursk every now and again but BA is the most used one.
Q6. Starting to get personal now - When you’re not managing a Kickstarter, what is the normal life for Campbell Hardie?
A: A mixture of keeping you supplied with alcohol and issuing books at a library these days. When I'm not walking varying numbers of family members dogs, having toes eaten by cats or being woken by noisy children that is. At lunch time I'm normally working on terrain. My work colleagues are used to me by now.
Q7. As a model maker and a gamer, are there any ranges currently out that excite you and make you fear for your wallet’s safety?
A: The Perry twins Sudan range was destroying my wallet but I've just started Napoleonic's so Front Rank are getting my money' I love their Wurttembergers! I'm quite strict with myself so I don't really have a lead mountain. I was down to 4 figures left then Claymore was last weekend so I'm up to 80 odd and I'll paint them up before buying anything more.
Q8. What types of games do you and your gaming crew normally play?
A: Being in South East Scotland Wargames Club means there's a wide choice. Currently there is a late war BA campaign and an AWI Black Powder campaign running that I'm in. In between that there is playtesting of a new naval galley game, playtesting of an ACW ironclad game and I'm hoping to get a shot of a 3 musketeers game which is 7TV based. Twice a year a group of us hire a hotel for a two day game, the last one was Borodino with over 5,000 28mm figures on the table. Quite a sight. The next on is a Back of Beyond using Setting the East Ablaze so we're using that a lot to get to grips with the ruleset. All historical, no Sci Fi these days (except BA Cold war Russians VS Daleks with my youngest)..
Q9. Are there any model makers you are a big fan of yourself? And why?
A: Front Rank. Their figures are just a joy to paint and so easy. The same goes for Black Tree - most of my WW2 figures are theirs, and I've a bunch of their Redcoats for Sudan. Brilliant figures. I really like the Perry but find them a bit of a fiddle to paint. Artizan are another favourtie, as are Copplestone Castings.
Q10. What do you see in the future for miniatures sculpting with the growth of 3d printers on the market?
A: I suspect we'll still be buying from people who get the things designed and cast for the near and mid term future, such as Mad Bob Miniatures. it's just easier for us as consumers to pay rather than design/print a master then get it cast. It also means we'll get a lot more of the esoteric vehicles instead of yet another Tiger as smaller production runs will become viable. We're entering a golden age.
Q11. Based on your experience so far , have you any advice for would be sculptors or designers sitting on ideas unsure of what to do next?
A: Do it, but expect it to take longer than you think. It took me a year from starting on the idea to launching the first campaign. And if you're commissioning a sculpt get one first, don't commit to more as you may get a nasty shock when they arrive. That will save you time and money. There are also a whole bunch of forums out there about these subjects. hunt them down and join them.
Q12. If you could make minis for any game or company out there , who would you fancy and is there a particular reason why?
A: No one. I want to be my own boss.
Q13. Finally – what’s better: hobbytime or playtime?
A: Is there a difference?
We'd like to thank Campbell for taking the time to chat to us about his awesome project, and we wish him all the success in the world with it. We're certainly going to pimp it about all over the net, so be sure to pop over to the Kickstarter page and give it a wee pledge. Go on. Ye will, ye will, ye will.