Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Wargaming highlights and lowlights

Wargames played

My last wargame - in 2010!

Well, the first thing to note is that there was no wargaming at all.  In fact it's now two years since I had a game.  I thought my Belgians v Azande game was last November but it turns out it was November 2010.  I really don't know where the time goes!  My last game at Guildford Wargames Club was September 2010!  Must play something next year!

Figure painting 2012

A rather disappointing 107 figures in total this year, which is the lowest figure ever and about 50% down on last year.  The main reason for this is that my wife has taken on a part time job so has less time to do domestic things.  When she has spare time, therefore, she doesn't take kindly to me sitting around painting when she is doing the washing, stacking the dishwasher, helping the children with revision etc.  Fair enough really, so I have had less time and also want to avoid the evil eye form the old bat (as her sister calls her - it's not just me who finds her a nagging old boot).  In addition, there has been a huge amount of letters and university application stuff to do relating to the children and my wife cannot type, which means I often spend an hour or so an evening writing to the dyslexia psychologist and such. This all means I can really only paint when she is out, which is pretty much only Sunday.  Also the weather has been so bad this year I have struggled to paint in what passes for light.  I have two daylight bulb lamps on my desk but can't do shading under them only base colours.

The most figures of one type I painted were, surprisingly, Back of Beyond Russians, especially as they didn't figure in my 2012 plan at all, and Darkest Africa, which did.

Main categories painted:

Darkest Africa 21
Back of Beyond 21
Zulu War 18
Napoleonic 15
ACW 14
18mm Fantasy 8
Argonauts 6

I'm quite pleased with progress on the Zulu War and Napoleonics.  I totally failed to move the Indian Mutiny stuff along though and the Argonauts project has not gone as I had hoped, although I have 25 figures on the workbench at present.  I must say I live in awe of people who paint hundreds of figures a year.  They either have a lot more time than I do or they paint faster (or both!).

Figure Painting 2013

Trolls in progress

I need to finish the last three Dutch Jaegers to complete my first Napoleonic unit.  I did some on them today so hope they will be done in a week or two.  I also need to finish off my Prussian line infantry.  I want to do some figures for The Hobbit and worked on the trolls my daughter got me for Christmas today.  I need to finish some more Darkest Africa figures for my Zambezi campaign as then I will have enough for an initial game, if I can persuade Guy, who since our last game has become totally addicted to Xbox.  More on the Argonauts is called for too, especially as you can play a Tribes of Legend game with just ten figures.  I want to paint some of my French & Indian war figures from Conquest (now Warlord too) and have one test figure which is so close to being finished it might even get done by next weekend.  I want to get some more of my Copplestone 18mm fantasy figures done too.  I have some WW2 British well under way which would be good for Bolt Action.  My target for January is to finish 24 figures (my old monthly target).  It's possible if I don't have to go to Turkey.

Oh no!  I'm typing this while listening to Respighi and now I pini della Via Appia has come on and it always makes me want to paint Romans, especially as I sold all my painted ones to Big Red Bat!

Figure Acquisition 2012

I haven't owned one of these for some time!

Oh dear.  I really have no idea how many figures I bought this year. Hundreds certainly.  Perry American Civil War (3 boxes of plastics and about 50 metals), Empress ECW, Perry Napoleonics (metals and plastics), Perry Wars of the Roses, Crusader ancients, Foundry Tribes of Legend and Darkest Africa, A pack (well 60 figures) of Gripping Beast Skraelings for Saga, Warlord Plastic Zulus, Crimean War etc etc.  New ranges include quite a lot of Crooked Dice's not Captain Scarlet figures and then some die-cast vehicles off eBay to go with them.  The sad news about Gerry Anderson (who I was lucky enough to meet a few years ago) has got me wanting to paint a few of these sooner rather than later.  SIG!

Rules acquisition 2012

Musket and Tomahawk, looks interesting, and now the Conquest figures are more easily available via Warlord I might get some of these done to try a small game.  I bought Bolt Action and like the look of them so will try and get some early WW2 figures finished.  Other rules I bought include The Devil's Wind, Mutineer Miniatures Indian Mutiny rules, War and Conquest and Pike and Shotte.  I think I got some of the Hail Caesar and Black Powder supplements too.  I also bought Matakishi's Crom rules for Hyborian skirmishes which I thought would work with my Coppestone Fantasy figures.  I played  a game of Prehistoric Settlement with Matakishi once at Guildford and he is an amazingly focussed fellow as regards projects.


I'd like to get started on this Grand Manner traders hut

One of the reasons I don't play any games is that I haven't got enough scenic items.  Well, I have them, I just haven't painted them.  I'm starting small at present with a tree holding the Golden Fleece.  I really need to finish my GW Battleboards for a start as I have only done one out of six.  So, more scenics in 2013.

Big things of 2012

My "little boy" Guy, surrounded by bleached blondes as usual, gets his Olympic hat signed by some glammy Team GB sailorette at Cowes Week.  Girls can really mess up your wargaming!  I should know!

Well, I am rather distanced from the wargames scene but it's clear that Saga and now Musket and Tomahawk are making an impact. Laterly there is a lot about Bolt Action too.  Let's hope I can persuade my little boy, Guy, to try a game of one of these as a way to get him off the Xbox and stop him mooning over Bobby Davro's daughter, who is in his class at school.


On the magazine front I am enjoying what they are doing with Wargames Soldiers and Strategy, which is now my favourite magazine.  Well not  actually my overall favourite, I probably enjoy Decanter and Airfix Model World more and even Playboy has smartened up its covers a bit in the latter part of the year.    White Dwarf started to really annoy me when it mentioned the Lord of the Rings on the (increasingly sealed in plastic) cover and yet had no LotR content inside.  

Speaking of magazines, I  forgot to mention in my non-wargaming review that a significant part of my wargaming purchases this year have been funded by the fee from an article on the history of Playboy and Penthouse which I was commissioned to write for a new, arty men's magazine.  I've never made any money from wargaming.  On the contrary, it's like having a mistress in that all your spare money just disappears:  meals out, afternoon tea in five star hotels, Champagne (vintage, of course), expensive lingerie, tickets to the ballet, two day trips to Paris, coffee table books on fashion, etc.  No, not wargaming, of course.  A mistress.  I would imagine. 

Most annoying things...

Paper? Schmaper!

I can't finish without having a moan, especially after two thirds of a bottle of Chateau Giscours 1979, So what aspects of wargaming have annoyed me this year?

A really bad one is the increasing tendency at inane attempts at humour in some of the articles in the wargames magazines.  This is very difficult to do well and very few can manage it.  Thank goodness Steve Eardley was terminated from Miniature Wargames earlier in the year.  I actually enjoyed Dr Phil Hendry's article on basing in one of the magazines recently as he managed to inject some levity without it sounding like a Maths teacher trying to make a joke at the end of term (there is, after all, nothing funny about Maths teachers).  I have a friend who is very clever (he is an actuary) but has no sense of humour whatsoever; yet he constantly tries to tell jokes and make funny comments because he feels he ought to.  Hmm, something about Maths, perhaps?  Some people don't have a sense of humour in the same way that some are useless at Maths, languages, music or art.  If you can't do it don't force it!  I am well known for not having a sense of humour at all.  I therefore find other people's attempts at humour particularly tiresome.

Another pet peeve (and I also hate people who write cliches like "pet peeve") is the increasingly common "news" reports on The Miniatures Page advertising paper scenery, vehicles or troops.  If I see the word "cardstock" (what's wrong with just "card" anyway?) one more time I am going to scream.  I know it is a sign of the times but there is something just sad about paper wargames stuff (I can just about see it for buildings).    I wouldn't mind if any of these paper troops looked any good but they all seem to have been produced by people with the artistic sensibilities of John Prescott.  Before you produce paper figures (I positively detest the American term "minis", by the way) find someone who can actually draw and paint (or the digital equivalent).

Do not even get me on wargames companies who have Facebook or Twitter pages.  I really can't see the point of either, as most of the content on your page seems to come from other people over whom you have little control. Who wants to be "friends" with  a model soldier company anyway? Tragic. I bet Bobby Davro's daughter (she is an extremely attractive young lady, we have to say) wouldn't be impressed.

One final point is that some people are following this blog and I have not reciprocated.  I apologise for this but this is something to do with those who use Google Friend Connect for followers which I do not have as it sounds far too "social media" for me and it won't let me follow under this incarnation.

Anyway, the Legatus wishes all his readers a very happy New Year and would like to thank everyone who has read some of my inane ramblings and looked at my blotchily painted figures. I would particularly like to thank those who take the time to comment.  I continue to be inspired by everyone else's efforts so hope I can paint a bit more this coming year.  Now off to see Britt Ekland at Windsor pantomime later today!


  1. A very Happy New Year to you, Stephen! Thanks for flogging me those Romans, I'll be basing up those legionaries this year. I'm sorry your not been able to game, but I do enjoy your posts.

    Cheers, Simon

  2. Legatus - if I had my way I'd be in bed by 10 having eaten a decent curry and downed a few bottles of Summer Lightning, but the current Mrs Steve the Wargamers insists I "do" the New Year thing........ so I'll wish you a Happy New Year as well.... let's hope we all get through it unscathed.....

  3. Happy Hogmanay Stephen!

    If you find a spare minute on a Monday I'd be very happy to arrange a game down at Guildford.

    My painting has also taken a nose dive this year... in my case I think it was to do with acquiring a dog and subsequently being worn out due to long walks.

  4. Happy New Year, many thanks for entertaining me throughout 2012 and yes, Spectrum Is (Always and For Evermore)Green!.

  5. Thanks everyone. 2013 does seem to me an almost science fiction type date.

    Alastair, I might take you up on that game offer!

  6. A wonderful ramble Sir and I can well understand domestic matters interfering with ones hobby time. Tragic but thats life!

    I wish you all the best for 2013 and hope there is at least a small turn around in this area for you!


    PS the Trolls are coming well!
    PPS I cant understand the whole paper figures/terrain thing either. If you're not going to use real figures/terrain - get another hobby!

  7. Thanks Scott - my thoughts exactly on paper!