Old West – Moving to Colorado

I have been playing Red Dead Redemption 2 in late summer and what shall I say, it really got me hooked again with the Old West. I already own a complete collection, with a posse or two even painted up and am pretty rounded with the latest addition in 2020 with Boothill Miniatures.

Wild West Tray Boot Hill Miniatures - Comparison

I have a few rule sets for the stock as well, favouring Warhammer Historicals Legends of the Old West, but I picked up Shootout in Dingstown at Rhein-Main-Multiversum this year. And of course there is always Osprey, in this case just very horror / pulp with Dracula's America.

But what kept me from progressing this project and why am I picking it up, after playing RDR2?

Well, Old West is a skirmish and rather heavy on terrain, especially terrain that you own just for this setting (if you're not playing American Civil War in the same scale at least). And across my collection, it is mostly not the miniatures that are the problem to be stored, but the terrain that goes with the army projects. And with Northern America in the late 19th century, you can get beautiful terrain, that is rather box and quickly taking up more space than many other systems that I fancy. Along with the problem, that ranges like 4Ground aren't cheap, and with Brexit, them going bankrupt etc. not being easier in access. There are multiple MDF producing companies for Old West, many from overseas. And even those things, that aren't very specific high street buildings, would usually be Italo-Western sandy desert terrain with limited alternative use (in my collection just Northern Africa for 8th Army and Afrikakorps).

And that's where RDR2 pulled me into the right direction. The game begins in the snowy norths of Grizzly mountains, and leads you through multiple "states" that are influenced by real American ones, and you play mostly around areas that look like Colorado and not New Mexico. And that works. So, this fixes for one, the point that if I move my collection from New Mexico and Texas a bit further north, I had shared "green" terrain, that would be multipurpose, like trees, hills etc., so most of the things aren't a building. This is good, as I like to have multiple use for things that take up space.

Red Dead Redemption 2 Red Dead Redemption 2 Red Dead Redemption 2

But what for the buildings? Well, you don't need a two story saloon and stone build sheriff's office in every little town. So going for smaller buildings, is a reasonable decision. For multiple reaasons. Yeah, that multi-story terrain for example by 4Ground looks great, with the interiors and such. But to be honest, do you really include that into the game? Not really, most of the action is outside and for the few situations that are dealt on the inside of a building, you could easily use floor plans (like many pen & paper roleplaying games cover). Beyond that, there is the budget factor. It is a bit silly, if I spend ten times what the posse cost me in terrain.

Red Dead Redemption 2 Red Dead Redemption 2 Red Dead Redemption 2

With keeping an eye on the budget and on the size of the buildings, I ended looking on the Renedra range, along with some smaller / simpler MDF buildings. As my intention is to keep all the Legends of the Old West specific parts in one or two boxes, like the IKEA Samla or ReallyUseFull boxes or some other store solutation you get in your DIY store. My system is basically this, I have various IKEA Billy book cases (the ones with 28 and 38 cm depth) and a PAX wardrobe in my studio. And while the Billy book cases are used for miniatures and smaller boxes, the PAX is used with said boxes to store terrain. The system I am currently re-arranging and narrowing down is having three basic setups (Green for Summer / regular Grass, White for Winter / Snow, Beige-Yellow for Deserts, covering generic terrain items like hills, trees  etc.), along with mouse pad gaming mats for special games (like Space or Sea) and additional boxes covering system / setting specific terrain (WW2 buildings, sci-fi ruins and such), so I have the core boxes in my studio and the specific items in the attic and can grab certain boxes for external gaming. And my limit would be more in terms of needed space, to have old west buildings, that would cover a box of these, and maybe a second (smaller) one if I count in scatter terrain or items like a train with tracks.

But with that in mind, most of the bigger things like saloons etc. are off the table (literally) and I looked for smaller stores and compact buildings that would fit the scene. I already own a few plastic buildings, by Renedra from the 1800-1900s range (initially released to support Perry Miniatures ACW range in 28mm), for example the farmhouse or North American Store (the review is only available in German as it is a 10+ year old article). I measured their footprint and tinkered around, to see if that would cover a 3' by 3' or 4' by 4' table (it is a skirmish setup, so depending on the rules and the ranges of the weapon along movement speed, you don't need much).

Most of the buildings have a foot print of around 4 by 6 inches. As I think about basing them, to add a bit of sturdyness along with embedding them better into the terrain (adding fences, scatter terrain, ladders etc.) this can add some foot print to some of the smaller pieces, I could easily setup a T-Crossing of a smaller town (which would be sufficient for most rule sets and scenarios) with about 10 buildings.

Wild West - Store Measurements Wild West - Barn Measurements Wild West - 3 by 3 Setup

I based most of my  collection so far on the raised citadel bases and I want to rebase them to make the heroic scale of Artizan and Co. work with the true scale buildings of Renedra / Perry miniatures, and I'm honest, I quite like the look of the flat bases. Besides, the bases were made with the dusty sand ground in mind, so adding some greens and greys can be done, while putting them on flat bases. But as you can see below, I think they work better with the terrain on flat bases.

Wild West - Bases

Renedra covers multiple terrain pieces that fit

And you can grab various fence kits, a tomb stone sprue and barrels - all made from plastic, so easy to convert. I got the two boxes of cacti by Pegasus Hobbies (who do some great russian village buildings, that could fit more northern terrain setups as well, in case I want to bring the fight towards the settlements of the mountain men), and even have some buildings painted up. But as you can see, this one would benefit from some detailled love and a base, so I can fix the things like a broken wheel, ladder etc. permanently to the setup.

I could print up some items as well, like further flora and things like more cacti, wild flowers etc. smaller items to add life to the buildings (like a rocking chair for the porch). Had troubles finding matching, non-too fantasy stls so far.

Perry - North American Store and House Pegasus Hobbies - Cactus 6507 6508 Renedra Old Shed

But I called up one of my go-to FLGS, Radaddel, and ordered a bunch of plastic kits (as Renedra doesn't offer IOSS I went for a local trader). They cost about 18 EUR per kit and for a bit more than 100 bucks I got what I needed to fill the table. And as these are plastic, I can convert them, cut them up, combine them etc. similar to what I did with the Lake Town buildings from the Hobbit range.

Wild West - Renedra Boxes

I am going to need some scatter terrain. But I already have some fences and barrels from Renedra, along with Warlord Games' Farmyard animals, I should be able to bring some live stock to the table. The terrain building session to get this done is already scheduled for the next months, around November / December and as the buildings are easy to handle, should be something that I can tackle as dad-daughter-hobby time. Stay with me on this one.

Beyond that, with my collection of posses, I can cover all the options from the LotOW books and supplements (without the Alamo armies), and this would make for a great hosted gaming weekend, as I could simply invite people and have a narrative develope over the day or two. Having more or less lawful posses claim their territories, from cow pokes, just protecting a farm, mountain men searching for gold, treasure and pelts, to outlaws seeking their luck in a heist etc. Along with a hearty stew, some lager or ale (have to look up who the immigrants in Colorado where, if German, British etc. would make more sense) and maybe a whiskey.

And if you didn't have the chance to play Red Dead Redemption 2. It is an amazing game, with incredible value. Especially if you can grab it in a deal. I paid roughly 30 EURs for the collectors / pre-order edition and had over 100 hrs of game time in it and there are still some challenges and side quests open. I never experienced such a well done open world, with a lot of non-main story activies that didn't feel like a grind. And as you can see from the pictures above, it looks stunning. A well written story, that would have deserved multiple endings depending on your behaviour (the game covers an honour system) - but still offers a lot of game time for your money. If I would play it again, I would probably stop followiwng the main story somewhere in the second chapter and just do side quests and challenges, enjoying the open world. So basically, if you were wondering about the high ratings, they are not bought, absolutely deserved. Yes, it has its bugs and not everything is 100% (like those darn fishing missions), but beyond that, very rewarding experience and even worth your time if you only have a couple of hours to spend for gaming.

Posted by Dennis B.

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  1. When you are searching for nice small terrain accessoires you might have a look at the coming Christmas Markets on wood and straw (Strohballen und Holzstapel im Krippenzubehör). Scale might sometimes be a bit too big, but you can give it a try.
    Old West Buildings are also available at Hagen Miniatures – just to mention a German supplier.
    I hope you will enjoy some “Shootouts in Dingstown” 🙂

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