The HAWKs (Harford Area Weekly Kriegspielers), located in Harford County , Maryland, started a project last Fall with the purpose of giving away 16 painted armies in kids’ games at Historicon 2011. The project began at Cold Wars ’10, when friends of the Wally Simon estate gave Duncan Adams, a HAWKs member, a large box of 25mm figures. The box contained almost 2000 unpainted plastic Revolutionary War figures, including regular infantry, Indians, Hessians, cavalry, and artillery. The figures were the kind sold through advertisements on the back of comic books in the 60’s and 70’s. Knowing the HAWKs’ excellent reputation of running kids games, the figures were given to the HAWKs with the simple wish that they end up in the hands of kids.
The HAWKs debated the best way to get the figures to kids. They decided to split the figures up into 16 armies, consisting of over 120 figures each, with the plan of running 2 four-player kids games at this summer's Historicon, and giving each player two complete painted armies; one American and one British. Players will also get a copy of Buck Surdu’s and Robert Dean’s “Big Battles for Little Hands,” made available by the publisher, LMW Works. This guide for young gamers also contains the “Milk & Cookies Rules” that will be used in the games. The participating kids will also get some terrain items such as ground cloths, and paper buildings they can cut out and assemble themselves.
After deciding how to give away the figures, the HAWKs needed to figure out the best way to paint almost 2000 plastic figures in a quick and simple paint scheme, and determined on holding painting bees where club members would gather with the purpose of painting the figures. They sprayed the figures a base color first, then did basic block-painting assembly-line style with each club member doing one color on the figure. The first of these bees were held on November 13, 2010, and the club members complete 6 of the boxes in just over 6 hours of painting. The last of the bees was held this past weekend, where members of the club completed the final remaning 4 boxes. Four painting bees were held in all to complete all of the painting.
Check the Historicon website in the coming months for details on the games.
The club hopes to make this project, of giving free armies to kids, an annual Historicon event, and is already making plans for 2012. If you have any unused figures or armies you would like to donate, please contact Duncan Adams, Buck Surdu, or myself.