I will update the thread title once I finalize my choice.
This post will describe the options I've considered, including the ones I have rejected or probably will reject, in case they inspire (or at least amuse) someone else who needs an idea.
The Sack of Magdeburg. This was my first thought when I saw that the theme was "harsh/hostile environment"; a burning or smoldering city full of rapacious mercenaries sounds pretty hostile to me. But as soon as I started thinking about it, I realized the idea would be best left to someone with the painting talent to convincingly represent fiery source lighting.
Pan Twardowski on the Moon. I recently converted a version of this Polish folklore character, a Faustus type who sort of managed to escape his contract with the devil, but ended up on the moon. The lunar surface is about the harshest environment there is, but I don't really need a second Pan Twardowski conversion (the one I already made is non-Warlord).
The Siege of Smolensk. One of my favorite Osprey images is of a frozen hussar still on his horse. It would take some conversion work, but I could put together a similar scene from the harsh winter of 1581. However, this would be the beginning of a new 16th-c collection, instead of an addition to my 17th-c collection, and also I don't think out-of-stock model ranges count as "currently available from the Warlord Games online store".
The Snow Queen. Thinking about snow and cold and ice got me thinking about Frozen, and from there its inspiration by Hans Christian Anderson. And of course there are other fairy tales featuring similar environments. However, since most fairy tales collections date to the early/mid nineteenth century, I would probably want to do them with Napoleonics, and I don't currently own any of those.
Death From the Future. Browsing the online store for inspiration, I saw the Terminator Genisys products, and realized those could totally be mixed with historicals since time travel is the core premise of the series. So what if, instead of trying to kill Sarah Connor or her kid directly, the evil robots decided to go further back, and kill the oldest Connor ancestor they could find (without disrupting the history of AI development or whatever). A T-800 vs some Irish Brigade soldiers could be quite neat - the only problem is that Ireland is by all accounts a pleasant environment, neither harsh nor hostile. Also, this concept may be a mite too goofy even for me...
The Great Northern War. This mid-seventeenth century conflict involving Poland, Sweden and Denmark included plenty of winter campaigning, so it meets the harsh environment prerequisite while also corresponding quite closely to my preexisting historical collection. I might imagine a scene from the Siege of Kolding (Christmas Day!), or the March Across the Belts, or a wintertime skirmish from Czarniecki's guerilla warfare.
So, I'll spend the rest of the week browsing the Warlord store, reading up on bits of wintertime military history, and playing with my miniatures and a 20cm-square template. Sometime over the weekend I'll make a final decision and update this thread and the title.
Last edited by Thaddeus on Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:08 am, edited 2 times in total.
Alright, I've got it pretty much settled. I'm going to model Erik Dahlbergh and his assistants on the Baltic ice, checking the thickness to see if Karl X's army can safely cross. I'm thinking Dahlbergh himself will be a metal infantry officer, the assistant(s) will be various gun crew models, and I'll also have the dragoon horse-holder, and if the base isn't too crowded by then, a couple reiters keeping watch.
This might be of help, a statue of Karl X Gustaf and Erik Dahlbergh. While I don't know it seems likely that it's meant to be on the Bält crossing. Note the tall hat of the king, and the cloak of Dahlbergh. Seems pretty good for winter (though not as good as a modern coat).
Thanks for the link, that cloak and hat look nicely in line with the miniature I'm planning to use for Dahlbergh. The armor will be a departure, but not an unreasonable one I think.
I haven't been making much progress, for several reasons. First off, the holidays are busy. Second, my bank card seems to be blocked from foreign transactions at the moment, and I haven't had a chance to go to the bank and sort them out. Lastly, it's been an unseasonably warm winter so far (I was wearing shorts and flip-flops when I went out earlier), so I haven't yet had the climatic inspiration for this project that I had expected.
All I've done so far is cut out a 20 cm square of paper, and play with some loose minis to get a sense of what I have to work with:
Sorry, everyone. I got laid off in late January, haven't found a job in the meantime, and now I'm moving back to Illinois, so there's been no time or money for cool hobby stuff. Eventually I still hope to put it all together, but no way could that happen in time for the contest.