David Bickley's Wargames Blog

The occasional ramblings of an average gamer, journeyman painter, indifferent modeller, games designer, sometime writer for Wargames Illustrated and host of games in GHQ.

Monday 30 December 2013

Another Year Slips Away...

Well, here we are again and all too soon it seems since this time last year. As appears to be the 'done thing' here in the blogosphere I suppose I ought to try and sum up my experiences of 2013, although why anyone would really be interested evades me somewhat to say the least.
As I consider myself mainly a wargamer who paints, rather than a figure painter who wargames, and there is a significant difference I think, I shall begin proceedings with a summary of the games we've played this year. Looking over my notes I see I've played a total of 65 games during 2013, a very respectable total in my opinion. Of these I won 29, drew 6 and lost 32 and so I'm clearly heading for midtable mediocrity amongst the gaming community! Rather apt as I'm a long term season ticket holder at Walsall! New games have included Battlegroup Kursk which I've played both at Phil's and with Jon at the Midlands Wargames Centre in Stafford. While I've enjoyed the games, and done quite well in them, I still prefer Rapid Fire! myself. I've also dipped my toe into the Back of Beyond, in the shape of 1920's pulp type games using Setting the East Ablaze, which I first encountered at Phil's but for which I now have my own force {see Tales From Rhanzlistan in the side bar links}. Throughout the year we've dabbled in no end of rule sets and periods between ourselves, from the Ancient World using Hail Caesar, to the Vietnam War using free wargames rules from the web, to Alternative WWII in the shape of Operation Zelowe, Blandings Castle and 1946 and beyond! In all this, my perennial favourite remains the ACW, so its fitting that I should introduce you to the final figures I painted this year, a Confederate command base featuring Jubal E Bykleigh and a few enthusiastic supporters!

Old Jubal was my Christmas gift from Matt and his family, following on from my Birthday gift of a stout Union General, Useless S Bykleigh in May ~ who figures on the heading of the site by the way. Matt sculpted my head and had some cast up. In this case its added to a Redoubt body and mounted on a Dixon horse to fit in with my collection. The two enthusiastic Rebs are from Dixon of course. Thankfully, Jubal is based on a younger and slimmer version of myself this time. Matt remembered my Mexican 'tache which I sported for several years in my post beard phase, hence the slightly sinister look!

As we are on the subject of painting, its probably apt to look at my output this year now. My notes show that I painted some 603 28mm figures during the year. They will have been in any number of period interests, most notably the whole of the Rhanzlistan Field Force and of late the start of my 2014 project, the Wars of the French Revolution, which I mentioned and previewed in an earlier post! Now, if you have been following this closely, you'll recall that I described myself as a wargamer who paints and not a figure painter who games. I do believe that there is a fundamental difference between the two. The former, amongst whom I proud to stand, make up in my view the vast bulk of our hobby, although the magazines and Forum Boards are often peopled more by the latter, for whom I once coined the rather strong label 'Painting Facists'. By that I meant to convey that I felt the painting of the figures was becoming an end in itself and that folk, or some of them at least, had lost sight of the fact that the hobby is called wargaming and that we are all united, despite our different interests, approaches and scales, as wargamers! The little lead folk have no life beyond that which we give them over our table top battlefields. Of course, that does n't mean that we should spray one side red and the other blue, unless we want to of course, but we do well to remember the 3' rule: we see the figures on the tabletop battlefield, not blown up as photos on the web or in a magazine or rulebook. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I feel ever more strongly with each passing year that the object is to game with like minded chums; to have fun and enjoy the social interaction a game brings; not to lead a semi monastic existence, hunched over the painting table like some monk of old carefully illuminating a manuscript for weeks on end, labouring over a single figure.

Another series of events has coloured 2013 for me, though rather less pleasantly than the games I've played, the folk I've met and the places I've visited. I'm referring to my experiences where I was subjected to what I considered to be a form of cyber bullying simply because I asked a few folk to think for themselves about something before mouthing off to all and sundry. I've said before I'm sure that the net should be a wonderful source of inspiration and information for our hobby, and of course it generally is, but sadly it seems to have attracted a small number of socially inadequate folk who have no concept of good manners or of proper behaviour, encouraged as they are to hide behind tags which give them anonymity. Terry Wise once told me that every hobby attracts such fringe elements: sadly the net has given them a voice far beyond their import and a malign influence far out of proportion to their number. My only New Year Resolution is to ignore such elements in our fine hobby entirely!

Looking forward with enthusiasm now to 2014 and all I hope it will bring us all. I have started a new period, despite vowing this time last year never to do it again. I've already painted 12 French Infantry and 3 French Dragoons as a start, with a further 4 infantry and 1 Dragoon underway on the painting table. These are from Trent Miniatures for my Wars of the French Revolution project. I hope to show the first units to you early in January, so pop back from time to time. In the pending tray, already undercoated and ready to go, I've also got two ACW infantry units from Dixon, some Saxons for my Late Roman armies together with three more Late Roman generals, all from Foundry. 2014 looks like it will be busy on the painting front, DV! I also look forward to more work on my Great Detective project, though that's in the pending tray as I'm waiting for the final buildings to be delivered still. Lots to do, lots to look forward to, and that's not even thinking about the new and shiny which will come along to tempt us all...

So, out with 2013, in with 2014, and A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!


  1. Greate summery of 2013!

    Happy new year !!!

    Best regards Michael

  2. I remember that tash too, he could have done you with a beard, but from what I recall it was nowhere near big enough for an ACW beard :-) A good review and thought provoking post to end the year on, roll on Friday and the first game of 2014.

    Happy New Year.

  3. Happy New Year.

    Looking forward to seeing the results of your painting.