...or from whence we came.
Some can remember when their interest in any particular subject began. I can remember when my interest in WW2 history began. It was a dog-eared paperback copy about the battle of Britain. I was about 6, I think. I must have spent hours looking over the stark black-and-white images on the cover showing bombs falling on London, a Messerschmitt fighter, and a German soldier, maybe this one.
Before this, my images of 'Bonny Old' involved Robin Hood and King Arthur. It was quite a shock to know someone had dropped bombs on London! It was my want to know more that led to my interest in WW2 history. My father was quite surprised when I began to tuck in next to him to watch old war movies on TV, asking questions all the time.
After years of reading library volumes, and the occasional U.S. history text, I was fairly studied up on the general ebb and flow of the history of the war. In the interest of any subject, there comes a time when general knowledge becomes somewhat stagnant, but the journey to a more specialized knowledge seems fruitless. It was about that time that I discovered Gear Krieg. It was World War 2 with fighting Mecha!
It was also at that time, I discovered the Heavy Gear universe, but more on that later. I bought the rulebook and devoured it. I loved the alternate history and the modified pictures. (American Walkers on Omaha on D-day!) The game was...well, it was like Heavy Gear light. It seemed like it was written for a Heavy Gear player to play WW2, not for new players.
The system limped along, and my interests moved along. I acquired a few miniatures along the way. Then, came the dawn of Flames of War. The boys from New Zealand brought upon our nation a new level of yummy WW2 gaming with attractive miniatures and top-notch books. (Anyone remember Panzer Leader from Avalon Hill?) It was a big, intimidating system. I got the rb but interest at the LGS I was frequenting was low.
Around the summer of 2K6 I guess, the old DP9 website said they were selling off all the GK minis and closing the old page as part of the restructuring. One afternoon I was sitting round with a Valkyrie walker, wondering if any of the FoW vehicle crew could switch out for the walker-driver. THAT was the revelation! GK and FoW were moderately compatible in scale! That meant, with a little tweak here and there, walker combat could become a kit-bashed part of FoW.
As such, I bought lots and lots of the seemingly discontinued walkers.
The more I scratched the surface, however, the more I realized that GK walkers were nothing more than super all-terrain armored cars. The heaviest German walkers; the Donner and Uller, were approaching the protection level of early light tanks, but most walkers carried only light auto-cannons, or inaccurate mortar rounds.
The search continued....