David Bickley's Wargames Blog

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

Friday, 8 February 2019

Navel gazing?

The latest bout of man flu has bought my painting to a complete halt sadly. Hard to see the figures and brush through a streaming left eye I found! It left me with some time on my hands and I fell to thinking a bit about our hobby and how we see ourselves...

I guess I ought to come clean about my own stance firstly: I play games with model soldiers. Games rooted in history, not Hollywood, but games none the less. I really have left attempting to recreate specific battles from history behind me now and prefer to concentrate on the game itself. I liked the cartoon below when I found it on the net, I thought it apt to represent the opposite end of the spectrum to me, those gamers who hanker after simulation, as if pushing little lead men about a tabletop battlefield can possibly get near the horror and mayhem of war!
However, our hobby is a broad church and thankfully there is room for all of us under its sheltering eves, though we would all benefit from a dollop of tolerance at times I find. For myself, I really cannot see the point of figures below the 15mm sort of size, but I know Jon has a large Marlburian collection in 6mm I think, despite him happily pushing my 28mm giants about the tabletop battlefield here in GHQ. Tolerance in action of course both ways.
That’s not to say though that I aspire to canonisation, I have my own hobby blind spots I have to admit. I was discussing one such with Matt recently, the endless rise of bijou ‘games in a box’ which I really think are overwhelming my hobby as I understand it. The main culprits of course are Osprey with their almost endless production line of ‘50 figures is an army’ rules and Warlord Games with Bolt Action and it’s ilk and other spin offs from the great evil which is Games Workshop. Matt reminded me kindly that I was almost 50 years down the hobby line and for many starting out the bijou game and the thirty figure army are easier routes into the hobby than collecting and painting the Grand Armee over several years. And you know, I’ve come to realise he may be right, though I may not live to see them fully come over from the dark side! Tolerance you see can even reach old farts like me...
Well, almost. I still can’t warm to plastic figures, they seem lightweight and impermanent to my eye, but having received my free sprue on the last Wargames Illustrated I confess I can see their appeal in creating unique figures and forces for those with the patience, creativity and lack of excess thumbs which affects the likes of me! Tolerance breaking out again it seems... I must be getting soft in my old age! Well, not entirely you will be pleased to know, I still can’t warm to space fairies and gnomes and the like.

22 comments:

  1. Mellowing, erm. I may make an elf king of you yet then ;~)

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    1. Mellowing? Perhaps....an Elf King? What are you on? Sniffing brush cleaner again?

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    2. In your youth, perhaps...

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  2. I think you need to have a little lie down....

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    1. I had you in mind when I selected the first photo you know.

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  3. I have a bit of the man flu myself. I may try and paint a few things, but like you said watering eyes may get in the way.
    My gaming is largely historical and like you I tend to play non historical engagements for the most part.
    While I do like skirmish games in particular Chain of Command and Sharp Practice I've always had a preference for large armies battling it out on the table, but these days it becomes more difficult to find people willing to do this especially where I live. However, occasionally I manage to get in a large game so not all is lost.
    Just like you I prefer metal, but plastics continue to improve and are more cost efficient so I do use them sometimes.

    Christopher

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    1. Thankfully cost is not an issue for me much now. If I can't afford something I get Sue to pay for it...

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  4. There is time yet David...who knows in your dotage you may yet convert to charging your (plastic) goblin wolf riders forward to engage a elf riding a grand dragon. Tolerance of course is a grand attribute, I haven’t found my limit yet....🤔 good luck with the cold.

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  5. I would need to be dribbling and wearing incontinence pants to be daft enough to do that! But you are very welcome to carry on with your plastic gnomes & fairies Matt. Cold is abating at last, so back to painting SYW Jocks in French service soon I hope!

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  6. I think you are not alone in your views. Like Axebreaker I struggle to get anyone to play a large game while I would play all day. I therefore have to play more skirmish type games at the club. However I do deplore the amount of new rules we are bombarded with nearly every second month, most of which are a flash in the pan.

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    1. I agree, George, most Osprey rules not worth the paper they are printed on.

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  7. Sorry to hear about your illness at the moment it appears to be doing the rounds in the UK. I used to base my wargames painting around a specific order of battle but quickly realised that I had neither the cash nor time to achieve a decent facsimile of the armies especially if I was using 28mm. Thats was why I sold everything and went over to 6mm. It is the solution if one wants to recreate a specific battle. And yet I hankered after the big toys and sold almost all my 6mm baring my Napoleonics. I still have a soft spot for the small figures en masse. As for plastic Ive found if one mixes them with some metal ones you do get a bit of heft in the bases. To be honest plastic is a great way to build up decent sized armies fairly cheaply,a better way for me is to opt for the older metal manufacturers like Hinchliffe and Warrior. One cant beat nostalgia when one reaches a certain age. The best thing about wargaming is that it is a broad church and can cater for almoset every type of wargamer, well except those Zombies. I just dont get that. I do however fully understand the craze for skirmish type games and if it gets a few wargamers to dip their toes in big battles full of wonderful toys then even better. Great post and good to see the illness isnt affecting your brain.

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    1. The cold has abated and I have picked up the brush again! As to Zombies, I could not agree more. They belong in the fiery pit alongside gnomes and space dwarfs and fairies.

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  8. A thought provoking post, bits I agree with and bits I don't. I still have the large armies but they never get on the table, I don't have the space or inclination, and as most of my games are solo affairs I find skirmish or story creation games work well for me.

    Scale realism and the visual effect all play an important part in how we chose to play our games.

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    1. Space and inclination are key really aren't they? Though I sometimes struggle with the latter so I can empathize there. We would all like more space I'm sure.

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  9. Remarkably tolerant post,but I guess you were ill, I just can't paint anything smaller than 28mm so I remain in one scale as I have said before I moved over from the dark side,but I still quite like Osprey rulebooks!
    Best Iain

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    1. I am mellowing like a fine wine perhaps...

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  10. I like 28mm metals. I'll pinch bits off plastics like heads and weapons for converting but to me they lack any long term value and if I've put the effort in I like the idea they'll still be worth something in 5/10 years time.

    By a strange coincidence I've been having a discussion on the Shako forum where some folk seem to think they are "simulating" Napoleonic warfare. I merely pointed out that SHAKO is a GAME and several forum members combusted on the spot...I think the word "hissyfit!" comes to mind..... hey ho!

    Mr.B. My WSS stuff is 10mm by the wonderful people at Pendraken. They look quite splendid but I have to confess I only bought the metal. A complex arrangement of swops; favours and doing some 28mm basing with some of my fellow SAD club members means they are getting painted & based. In fact my collection is growing quite rapidly. soon we will have a game ...

    I do confess to having some 6mm Napoleonics.

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    1. Sorry I got the scale of the WSS wrong! Look forward to giving them a run out then later this year.

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