I may have started off with WWII toy soldiers, and used them as WWI toy soldiers, but discovering Napoleonics was the big wargaming moment for me - the point of no return where playing with little men was going to be my hobby for life. At the same time as starting gaming with them I delved into the world of Napoleonic history, devouring everything within reach. Napoleon became an object of fascination for me. I kept a history of his life beside my bed, alongside Charles Grant's Napoleonic Wargaming (both of which I picked up in a second hand book store) and delved into them frequently. I wrote and rewrote rules for me and my friends to play, and I was ALWAYS the French. The childhood admiration for Boney would fade somewhat, but certainly not my love of the period. When I went to Europe for the first time, Waterloo was a non-negotiable battlefield tour, much to my wife's discomfort - it was December and it was windy. But I stayed up that Lion mound for a long time, imagining the fields filled with men, horses and smoke.
I have tried multiple times to build Napoleonic armies in 15mm, 28mm and 6mm, and they have all failed. I just couldn't work out exactly what I wanted to do. What rules to use? Big battle or divisional or skirmish level? Early wars or later wars? Peninsular or Europe? The choices discombobulated me every time. Which is why the release of the Black Powder Epic Battles has nagged at me. Divisional level, linear battalion, small scale British, French and Prussian armies. It should be a no-brainer. But I have failed to build these armies so many times as my attention wanders, or I get sick of painting the British (the lace on their coats does my head in). Yet, my 12 year old self wants to do this. It is screaming at me that this is what I have always wanted.
So on Napoleon's birthday (well for a couple more hours - we are a day ahead on this side of the world), I have come to the conclusion that the time has come to take the plunge and buy the British and French starter sets. I will chart my painting progress here. Wish me luck. Help keep me on track. Give me encouragement. Let's see if I can finally do this.