Monday, March 4, 2013

Empire of the Dead: Requiem Kickstarter

Well, thanks to Brummie over on his blog (link) and CPBelt’s blog (link) (and yes, I am blaming the both of you!), I have been getting a taste to
restart my Victorian gaming again (or more realistically, adding to my collection of unpainted Victorian miniatures.) I guess first I have to explain that I am not crazy about the current state of steam-punk and quite actually despise it (more on that later).  But this Kickstarter has several figures and most of the transportation kits are very much in line with what I have been looking for my Victorian project that has been in a coma for a few years.

Before going over the Kickstarter stuff, I am going into a short rant over my issue with the current state of steam-punk.  Before I go any farther, I want people to understand that the following rant is what I dislike, but I am not poo-pooing on those do like it.  If you enjoy it, have fun with it, but realize that not everyone has the same taste.  As they say, gentlemen prefer blondes, but I am no gentlemen and I prefer redheads.  

"Oh, so true!"
 Basically, I think that steam-punk has gone so far over the top that is it is not longer fantastical or even comical.  If Games Workshop can be said that they over do the use of skulls on their figures, then the genre of steam-punk can be said that they over do it with rivets and gears.  I guess I am being a grumpy old man, but I grew up on a diet of Hammer and American International films on the Victorian era for science fiction & horror.   I am guessing that because of their budgets, the steam-punk element was downplayed to be sort of believable devices or not that powerful of a device, or truly unique.   But more importantly, I rather read non-fiction over fantasy, so I think I prefer less tech vs. over-the-top tech. This is not to say that I don’t have some steam-punk figures, but they are very few.  But since the term, steam-punk, was created in the late 1980’s, as a spin-off of the then newly termed genre, cyber-punk, it should be only natural that people want to start the crossing of a future sci-fi genre into a past sci-fi genre.  So then the new state of steam-punk is very much a cyber-punk / Mecha genre, but with gears glued on it.  And there lies my issues with it, it has become cyber-punk and doesn’t not feel Victorian any more to me. 

"That is Cyber-punk with gears glued on it, dammit!"
 Now, I will give you a short music interlude before I go on to better things (and not a rant).  I present to you, Sir Reginald Pikedevant, Esquire’s “Just Glue Some Gears on It and Call It Steampunk”.

 Bravo! I hope you enjoyed that.   Now, what do I like about this Empire of the Dead: Requiem Kickstarter? (link) Well, for starters, Empire of the Dead is a game system from West Wind and I have some of their Gothic Horror line figures, which I like.  While I have got rid of a lot of my WW’s Gothic Horror figures as part of my great downsizing of my 28mm projects, I keep the figures that would work of my Gangs of New York or possible British Horrors (Jack, Mr. Hyde, Dracula, etc.)  So still living up to my “never re-buy a project that I got rid of” commitment, pledging to this Kickstarter will not violate that for what I plan to get.  Now, most of the Stretch Goals free figures are not for my liking, but I can sell / trade / give away those later. 

So what figures am I considering on pledging for?  Well for starters, Set 1: London Bobbies, is very nice.  I have a lot of Bobbies already, but I do like collecting police figures for some reason.  Set 2: London Bobbies Specials, is also very nice and most can be very useful to me.  “But wait!  They are armed with guns, that’s just not cricket!” I hear you say.  Actually, quite a few Bobbies were armed with pistols in the 1880’s on the night shift, much to the disbelief of many.  An excellent book on the subject is London’s Armed Police, by Gould & Waldren.  The two Bobbies with shotguns are also good for dealing with Anarchists, like on Sidney Street in 1911.  Don’t even think that they would not have refused doing that 20 years earlier had a similar siege took place!   

"Maintain Law & Order", none of that sappy "To Serve and Protect" talk here
The last three minis in that set I really can’t use, but will probably keep them anyway.  The next couple of sets I really would like to get would have to be gotten together; Set 7: 221b Baker Street & Set 8: Nemesis Criminals because it is Holmes & the other characters from those stories.  Also, I will have to pick up the individual figure, 221b: The Hound, to go with those two sets.   The rest of the figures I am so-so about and the others I have flat outright no interest in.  Yeah, I am so-so about the Ripper only because I already got a bunch of Ripper figures and this one does not look like that exciting to me.

But more importantly is the Victorian machines!  They have a Black Mariah which I have to get, an Omnibus, a Brougham, and a Landau carriages.  I already have a couple of Hansom cabs.  But the real twinkle in my eye is on the Victorian Fire Engine.  I use to be a volunteer fireman many years ago and always love a fire truck.  But I have to get two of these for a one-off game using Brigade Games’ Victorian firemen for my Gangs of New York.  One engine will be painted up represent the “Black Joke” for NYC’s Volunteer Engine Company No. 33 and the other will be done up for an opposing “fire gang”, probably the “Americus” Engine Company No. 6, especially with one of their “punch ups” that will make for an interesting game.  I am pasting this quote from the book, Our Firemen, The History of the NY Fire Departments, by Augustine E. Costello:

Yeah, it is a hand pump engine, but that is why I am try to paint the model into the spirit of it

In the latter part of that year [ed. 1843] some of the opponents of 33 Engine, who were connected with Nos. 6, 15, and 44 Engine Companies, gave out that they were going to take off the "eagle," a wooden figure which decorated the front of 33 Engine's house, and on Christmas Eve down they came through Sheriff Street, tooting horns and making demonstrations towards Gouverneur Street. The boys at the engine house had no notion of having their eagle taken down, and had prepared a warm reception for their visitors. They had a howitzer loaded with slugs, chains, and bolts. The crowd first turned their attention to the "Ten to One" [ed. 33 Co] house, and a man on that building leveled his musket at them, but before he could pull the trigger Tom Primrose, of 33 Engine, hit him and knocked his musket up, the ball going through a doctor's window opposite, and just passing over the nose of that gentleman, who was lying in bed. The shot soon brought the constables, and the crowd quickly dispersed.”

You can’t make this stuff up!

Well, besides this Kickstarter, there is “Nickstarter” for North Star Miniatures for Osprey’s, In Her Majesty’s Name, (link).  I will try to post on that later. 

Until then, be seeing you


Pete. said...

Interesting project. I can recommend 'Those Entrusted with Arms' as a good book on armed police in the UK (not just police but all official types)in that period. I've got a copy on my shelf so if you want more info or a scan of the contents page let me know.



Sapper Joe said...

Thanks for the heads up on that book, Pete! I got a used copy winging its way to way to me from Amazon right now. It should have very useful information towards my ‘Victorian’ and ‘Anarchy in the UK’ projects.


Pete. said...

Glad I could return the favour on the recommending books front.



Simon Q said...

I will have to check out those books. I don' mind the steam punk elements providing they aren't to over the top.

The clickers faction are interesting me though so it depends on what they look like.