Friday, 10 June 2011

Interview with the man behind TB Line, Fabio Farneti.

Over the last few months I been thinking about getting the views of some of the people who bring us what we need to wargame in the Grandscale with this in mind I got in touch with Fabio G Farneti the man behind TB Line and he kindly said he'd be happy to do a interview.Now I would have loved to have flown to Italy for the weekend and carry out the interview in person but alas this was not possible,so we carried out the interview via e.mail.What we have here are the transactions of those e.mails.So imagine you are sat at a street side cafe or outside a bar on one of the squares in Bologna with a cappuccino or a glass of wine in hand.Here are some photos to set the scene.

Jason-Hello Fabio, first of all thank you for taking some time out to answer some questions for Grandscale wargaming...
Okay first things first, why, when and where was TB Line born?

Fabio-TB Line was founded in 2007. Why? Well, I would say to unconsciousness and out of necessity. If I had been fully aware of the difficulties that such an adventure would bring with it probably I would not have even begun. I'm not penitent, indeed slowly it is making satisfactions, but our hobby is too niche to be able to dedicate completely to it and also make enough to live on. Fortunately, I possessed and still possess a job that allows me to live peacefully and to achieve some dreams including TB Line. Sometimes I feel a bit limited I'd like to devote more time and energy to the wargame, doing it this way also allows me to be more free in my choices and not necessarily have to follow "the wave" and gives me the time and money to live in the real world beyond wargaming with my family.
I also spoke about the necessity, first of all because I am a three-dimensional wargames player and too often I saw wargames promise sensations, without keeping them. So I decided to see if we could do something about it.

Jason-Why did you decide on the 10mm scale for the miniatures you wanted to produce?

Fabio-I am always been a big fan of small scales. With the small scale can be obtained remarkable mass effects in relatively small spaces. Then the small scales are faster and easier to paint, of course, may not have the details of the 28mm, but the miniatures for the wargame are to be assessed on the battlefield and not in hand. Also in Italy there are few clubs and even fewer who can afford large tables. Often we find ourselves playing on the kitchen table, and if one does not want to give up making sense of what he sees, the small scales are an excellent solution. When I say 4 figures must represent an entire Legion, well then ... make me sad.
I was working on my project and I was quite undecided between the 10 and 6mm, then for the period I wanted to play I thought that the 10mm is better suited than 6mm.

Jason-For those that don't know, what are the ranges of miniatures are currently available from TB Line?

Fabio-At the moment we cover Central Europe, Eastern Europe, the Arabs and the Mongols of the thirteenth century AD then we have the Republican Romans, Carthaginians and Gauls for the Punic Wars.

Jason-Can you say what ranges are next and what's the future for TB Line figures?

Fabio-The next range that will come out soon are Hispanics, Socii Italici and then the Epirotes to try to complete the range on the Punic Wars. These new ranges will add a few outlets for swelling the ranks of the old range.

Jason- Your figures are some of the most detailed available to the 10mm wargamer, what do think makes a good 10mm miniature?

Well I am very pleased of this opinion, although I think there are other manufacturers who do good work. Let's say we focus on quality rather than quantity, so we are not very fast but we do everything to make our miniatures unique. Sometimes we say they are too much for a 10mm, however, a 10mm is always a 10mm, so no one forces you to paint it as a 28mm and in the mass the result will always be still more than acceptable, but if you have time, will and ability with a good 10mm you can still have fun and get great results. If you do not believe look at the images from our site.

Jason-TB Line also produce a set of war games rules 'Anticamente', when and why did you decide on creating a set of rules?

Fabio-Well I could say that was the reason why the TB Line was born. As I said above I have always felt the need to play a true wargame where the three-dimensional field remained three-dimensional from the beginning of the game until the end. Alas, all that I felt in the end was a big disappointment. If you open any rules, there are beautiful photos, with battlefields filled with scenic elements that make you dream and invite you to try it. Then when you move from words to facts, you realize that those photos are artfully made to foist a fake. It is often impossible to play certain rules with real three-dimensional fields and will normally be used by the player who wants to win not the one who likes see his miniatures that are losing ground because they slip on a cliff or because there is doubt about the line of sight because there is an invasive tree. Even the units formation in the field often take the forms unreal, forcibly geometric and regular. Who has ever seen a cavalry charge in which horses can be so aligned as to overcome the performance of a dressage competition. Or have you ever seen a manipulate Roman Legion disposition on a wargame battlefield? I guess the answer is No, because doing so would compromise the game. In reality the fault is not the player that fits what the rules allows him to do, but just the rules. For this reason I began looking for an alternative idea that could reconcile the aesthetics of the three-dimensional wargame with functionality of the game. After several attempts I have come to Anticamente that brings with it the idea of this type of play. Obviously these are only my words but if you want you can check with the images of the Italian Championship Tournament, Go and look so you can judge for yourself.

Jason- With the likes of Pendraken,Magister Militum and Kallistra regular traders at the wargames shows in Europe and the UK will TB Line been seen at any shows in the future?

Fabio-Well it is an idea we have in mind. We want to show our products, but even more the type of game that we propose. We wanted to this year, but I do not know if we can. But certainly is something that will happen

Jason- With a lot of your time spent running Tb Line do you still have time to play war games?

Fabio-Eh, this is a good question. Let's say that my way to live the wargame has changed. Once the pleasure was mainly in the playing of the game, now it is to allow others to play it.

Jason- For anybody who hasn't seen your miniatures or rules can you give us the web details and links where these could be found?

Fabio-Sure, our web site is
You will find all our miniatures, all the material necessary to realize a three-dimensional hexagons battlefield and the Anticamente rules, free to download.

We also recommend you to view our blog on Anticamente. Alas, my English is not great but if you settle this is the address:

Jason-Once again thank you for taking time out and answering my questions for Grand Scale wargaming.

Fabio-Thank you to Jason, and since no dream can be realized alone, I would like to thank my collaborators, counselors and friends Bizzio, Alessandro and Cosimo Marcoe
I recommend you, continue to follow Grande Scale wargaming ;- )

1 comment:

  1. Exceptional interview, really enlightening. I'm a big fan of TB Line and it is interesting to see Fabio's approach to running the company. It seems that in an increasingly tight marketplace such cottage industries have a chance to deliver some of the best products. - As Fabio says his interest is getting as many people to collect his figures and play his game as possible, not to make the most money from them; these goals are often not the same thing in the wargames "industry".

    I wish him all the luck, and look forward to his new figures.

    Thanks again for the interview