Last summer I wrote a series of posts about my plans for doing an early war French army for Flames of War. In that series I took a very methodical approach to selecting the period, nationality and the army for the project. I ended the series with a detailed army list with the pack numbers and prices. I had a solid plan but I knew it was going to be tough for me to stick to it. See the links below if you would like to read these posts.
With all the details worked out I set off on the path of building this army. I knew that the need for large numbers of trucks was going to pose a major issue but I was sure I could get it done.
For the next few weeks I collected items that I needed and slowly began the assembly of the new army. Then came the first of the year and my new interest in US mid-war tanks forces. Without any plan I just started collecting and painting Sherman tanks and M10 tank destroyers. Before I knew what happened the French army idea was put on the shelf.
It is not as if I no longer had an interest in an early war French army, I just had so much going on with the new American project and our Tunisian campaign to really put any time in. Recently, however, I have been able to make a couple of major acquisitions for the French collection. In addition, I have come to the realization that my original plan was overly ambitious and doomed to failure. My idea was to actually plan an army first and the collect the models and, as I pointed out in my article series, this is very different from how I normally do things.
My normal approach to building armies is much more free form and driven as much by the deal I can get right now as it is by what I actually need. This self-imposed restriction made it hard for me to justify picking up something that might be a good deal but did not fit with my plan. I must admit that this made me crazy and helped drive me away from the project. In fact, this is why (as much as anything) I started working on the US stuff. I could just go where inpiration took me which is way more comfortable for me.
So, long story short, I now have a French Tank squadron army box and the French infantry company box and will be starting the project from scratch. I still have plans to do the Escadron de Fusiliers Portes but it will be an evolutionary effort rather than the main focus. With these two boxes, as well as the items I had already collected, I can almost do the original army anyway (but I still need a butt-load of trucks). So the new plan is to start with the Escadron de Combat and then add in additional elements that can be used in both forces. I have also redone my list for the Fusiliers to leverage the tank items that I now have in the collection.
The good news is that this project is back on track and I am now inspired to work on it. In fact, I have already assembled all the tanks and will be putting together a unit of artillery next. Then the paint begins. I would love to have something playable and on the table by the time my original idea is a year old.
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