A few weeks ago I saw a post on TMP of someone who had a WSS lot on auction on ebay. I clicked on the link and saw my dream...pictures of a beautifully painted collection of British AND Dutch with an opposing force of French AND Bavarians...6mm...Baccus...enough to play on it's own to my standards but by adding my box in the basement to it I would have the mother of all Marlburian collections ready to put on huge (in my mind, at least) games. Just one problem: the seller clearly stated that he would only post within Australia, where he lives. Nooooooo!!!!! It was like a bad dream...just what I needed to finally get some Marlburian gaming going and yet so out of reach!
I went out on a limb, sent the seller a message through ebay asking if he would consider letting me bid on his auction. Turns out he is a very nice guy, and after a couple of email exchanges we were corresponding daily...he was actually pulling for me to win the auction, and I was calculating the exchange rate daily to see if I should modify my max bid. Before the auction even ended I realized I truly enjoyed chatting with my new Aussie friend, and was a regular visitor to his own blog site.
After a week of nail-biting, upping my maximum bid several times and hovering over the computer, I finally reached zero hour...and it was mine. It was such a great feeling! Now for the patience part...I had to wait on the postal service of several countries to get my armies to me. God must have had one of his wargaming angels watching over this package; it was mailed by Alan on the 23rd of May and arrived at my house in Virginia on June 1st. Seriously...one week from Australia to Virginia!! I'm convinced Marlborough's ghost was riding watch on that airplane ride!
Now, waiting for miniature figures (painted ones) to arrive is always nail-biting enough as it is. You never know how well the seller is going to pack the little soldiers for travel. I've had guys promise me they have shipped tons of figures with nary a scratch, only to hear the box rattle when I'm turning it over to open. I've had pikemen that were so entangled I've had to walk away for a few hours to calm down; chipped paint where the figures banged against each other because the packer thought a few Styrofoam peanuts would keep the (metal) figures from settling and bumping each other. Tip to seller: just because you carry the box flat and steady to the post office doesn't mean it's not going to be tossed, flipped, rolled, dropped, run over by forktruck (seriously...tire prints on the outside of the box!)...or just disappear entirely with only a "We're sorry" note from the postal service. So coming from Australia...Alan promised he had packed them well, so I held to that and waited. When I opened the box, I couldn't believe my eyes.
Each stand was individually wrapped in bubble wrap, then taped closed. Each artillery stand, each limber stand, each command stand...it was amazing! Nothing budged inside that box, nothing rubbed. Alan even laid them out neatly in rows and by nationality, then put a label in place so I would know that!! At first I was opening cavalry and artillery, then my wife handed me something and asked what it was...
I couldn't believe it; he had even carefully folded a piece of cardstock over the infantry and wedged it between the ranks of figures so that the flag staffs (which are very thin metal and quite bendy) wouldn't get broken. My admiration for my far-away friend, which was already in place, grew even more. I have never had someone take such care to make sure the miniatures they sent arrived in perfect condition. My wife said it right: you can tell when someone paints the figures themselves, because they pack them with tender, loving care. She has seen me unpack quite a few armies, and has become quite wise in the ways of shipping miniatures.
|I'm a little OCD...I line the armies up on parade as we unpack them.|
|The Franco-Bavarian contingent, lined up for inspection.|
Now I have to rebase the old armies that I had; I've already ordered bases from Litko to make the change. Once that's done, I'll muster the entire force for a follow-up posting. Of course, once I get them into a game I'll have to post that too.
June 1st truly was Glorious! My earnest hopes that the armies were as prettily painted as the ebay pictures suggested were answered, and they arrived in excellent condition. Best of all, I have a new gaming friend in Australia who I look forward to chatting with. This is the perfect example of why I love this hobby! Thank you, Alan, for the care you took in packing these boys off to me. Good on ya, mate!