May 24, 2024

Designer Interview: David Ensteness of The Wargaming Company, part 2

Jim Owczarski, 9 January 2022

When last we left The Wargaming Company’s David Ensteness, he was regaling us with stories about why his company chose to dive head-first into the manufacturing of plastic Napoleonic miniatures, why they chose plastic over lead, and why they chose 10mm figures when 12mm are all the fashion this season.

This time around, he talks about which nations will be first in our greedy hands, just how serious he was about a remarkably bold promise, and what happens if the world falls down again.

So, tell us, which nation(s) are the first out the door?

Well, there’s a rumor we’ll do the French 😛  (Author’s Note:  Funny guy…)

Pre-production sculpt detail

You’re about to ask me about producing miniatures to match our ESR Campaign Guides – and that’s exactly what we’re going to do. As the people who follow us know, we’re transitioning all our Campaign Guides to a new, radically expanded format and the first two we published cover Napoléon’s entrance into each Iberia and Russia. So that’s where you’re going to see us starting. Which I guess is a little vague since nearly everyone marched troops into Russia with Napoléon (Editor’s Note:  Interview subject cleverly avoids obvious follow-up question.)… but [mostly] we’re going to start with the biggest players because it is the most practical.

Another thing I have always wondered about, how will you choose which nations and troops to do?

Pre-production sculpt detail

I don’t know how other companies have chosen. Maybe by theme? Maybe by available resources? Maybe by whim? Honestly, if it was up to me and we didn’t have to worry about coordinating any products and were just starting from zero, I’d do Early War French, Austrians, Prussians, and Russians right out of the gate, because I think they look the coolest. (Author’s Note:  First thing this fellow has said with which I have fundamentally disagreed.  The obvious answer is 1809 French and Bavarians.)

But… yeah, we’ve got existing products to coordinate with and there are whole backstories to why they are made available in the order they are but without digging into that, if we’ve got a book on Napoléon’s invasion of Russia available that provides you battles and a painting guide for 1812, then it doesn’t make a lot of sense to start with 1806 Prussians because now you’re saying: “Dude, I bought the Russian book but these 1806 Prussians aren’t in it and you don’t even have a book for them [yet]!” So, back to removing barriers to entry, it is important that we coordinate the pieces.

You have made a bold statement, viz.: you want to provide miniatures for all the uniforms in your campaign guides.  Really?  ALL?

Pre-production sculpt detail

That’s literally our plan.

When we were finishing Iberia-1s3: To Assure My Dynasty, part of our decision about how many different variations to include for Spanish was specifically based on: How many sculpts do we want to have for the La Nuevo Cazadores y Infanería? Because our intent is that if there is a figure represented in our book then there should be a matching figure in one of our miniature packs.

That’s not just an O.C.D. thing, that’s also about removing barriers to entry (again). A player new to historicals or even just to Napoleonics doesn’t know why some things are left out while others aren’t. They aren’t going to innately know, “Oh, sure, they showed me ten ways these guys could be dressed but only provided me six because ten was inconvenient to produce and they are all the same anyways.” Instead they are going to be confused: “How come there are ten here in the book but six here in the pack?” Less confusion is good. Less barriers to entry is good. (Author’s 15 (or so) year old self just cried a little, remembering.)

We’re making sure all our pieces fit together.

Some historical gamers may dislike like sci-fi or fantasy systems for being too proprietary, but there are a lot of things that those companies have done right that provide a better customer experience. There’s no shortage of resources on how to paint stuff, from patterns to techniques there is exhaustive support for many of them. That really does not exist for many (most?) historical periods, and a lot of that starts with simple (but often complex to execute) product coordination: We’re making sure all our pieces fit together.

I am contractually obligated to ask:  Will there be Opolchenie?

Pre-production sculpt detail

We plan to offer everything that is in Master of the World… are there any in 1812-1s3: Master of the World? (Spoiler: Yes, yes there are Opolchenie in Master of the World.)

When can I hold the first pack in my hands?

Shoot, I was supposed to bring some huh? Oops.

Well, I think we’ve got some preview images to show off and we’re going to continue previewing sculpts as we move towards their eventual release.

Goal is obviously to release at AdeptiCon 2022, so that’s 23 March. Once we are farther down the production road we’ll start taking orders. Our intent is that anyone who orders before the convention can pickup their stuff at the convention if they want, otherwise it will ship following, so… if you want stuff as early as possible… see you at AdeptiCon! Otherwise, we’d be shipping immediately following.

Pre-production sculpt detail

You’re kind not to ask, but I know everyone has to be wondering: With the supply chain thing and pandemic thing… what happens if things don’t go right, if there are delays, etc. And knowing that it is on everyone’s mind about everything, I want to say we are going to try to communicate as best we can on our website, on our Facebook Page, on our Facebook Group, and via our e-mail list so that people know what to expect.

You can see more previews weekly at and as we get closer to release we intend to walk through “What’s in a Box Set” and make pre-orders available.

Best to David and The Wargaming Company in all this.  Now to figure out if I can make my way to Adepticon in time to snag a few wee lads.


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