Saturday, January 04, 2014

2013 Wargaming Highlights

Yes, it's all got to go back in the loft.  No wonder I can never get at my wargames scenery!

Yes, it's the inevitable wargames review of the year although having spent ten hours packing away Christmas today my review will be rather cursory (for me, anyway).

Wargames played

My force is at the bottom left

Well, I did better than last year and actually played three games!  I can at least claim to be a wargamer this year!  Two were big battles and one more a skirmish game.  First off, I took part in a special Wars of the Roses game at Guildford to mark the anniversary of the hall where the club meets in an open day environment.  It was, perhaps, surprising to hear such positive comments and interest in wargaming from the public.  

My Warlord Chinese bravely advance into withering machine gun fire

Secondly, Alastair gave me an enjoyable Back of Beyond game using the Triumph and Tragedy rules.  I pitched my warlord Chinese against his Bolsheviks.  I think I am more a skirmish wargamer than a big battalions person.

The Legatus is a blur of confident motion but all to no avail when up against three frighteningly clever small boys.

That said, I enjoyed playing on the excellent scenery and with the massive legions of Big Red Bat's Thapsus game at Colours at Newbury.  This is the first time I have played a game at a show so was doubly exciting.  With his beautiful armies, period focus and lovely scenery Big Red Bat is the wargamer I would like to be but never will be!

Figure painting 2013

My worst total since records began, as the Met Office would say.  Alright, I have only been counting since 2007, when I managed 312 figures.  This year it was a disappointing 82.  The reasons for this include a total of over two months out of the country and lots of lost time at the weekends relating to taxiing the children around or helping them with revision for big exams (well, not Charlotte as I have no idea about the stuff she studies).  Basically, from May until August I didn't finish anything at all. 

The most figures of one type I painted were for my Darkest Africa project which accounted for about one third of the figures I painted.

Main categories painted:

Darkest Africa 27
Lord of the Rings 13
Steampunk 10 
Back of Beyond 9 
Argonauts 7

I painted a lot of one off figures this year in more periods than last year. I find that I am enjoying painting individual figures in more detail rather than units. 

Figure painting for 2014

Despite the above, I have a lot of units I started in 2013 which are part painted so I would like to get some of them finished next year.  Key targets at present are the Orinnoco Miniatures British Legion, Erebor warriors from The Hobbit, Warlord WW2 Japanese (especially as the US Marines are now out) and some more steampunk figures,  I'd like to finish at least one faction for In Her Majesty's Name in the next month or so.

Best Figures

I'm never satisfied with the figures I paint but I was pleased with a few figures that went better than I hoped this year.

Figure Acquisition 2013

Just because I'm not painting doesn't mean that I am not buying more figures.  The biggest problem for me has been kickstarter type offerings; which is exactly the opposite of what I should be doing given as you end up with a massive amount of figures arriving all in one go.  This year I bought into: In Her Majesty's Name, Ronin, Mars Attacks, Empire of the Dead, Wargods of Olympus, Sikh Wars and the War and Empire 15mm ancients.  Fortunately, four of these haven't arrived yet! Plus, I bought some of Warlord's excellent new Republican Romans, a lot of Aventine second century Romans and more Foundry Greek legends figures, Orinoco Miniatures Latin American wars of liberation figures and so many more I can't even remember them.  

Possible inspiration for 2014

The Musketeers

Black Sails

I am hopeless for any new vaguely military TV show that comes out and gets me thinking about new armies.  The two flashing warning lights for 2014 are for two series which both look pretty dreadful but I will watch them anyway.  The first is the BBC's The Musketeers. Somewhere I have the Gloire rules for this period but no figures.  The second is Black Sails, the new pirate series which appears to be Spartacus at sea complete with lesbian tavern owner. What's not to like? Apparently, it has already had a second season commissioned despite it not having started yet.

 Both, I suspect will be dire.  At least I have a lot of pirates!  Both look very historically accurate.  Not.

Figures acquisition in 2014

Well really I shouldn't buy anything and am not planning any new periods except I am really tempted by North Star's new Biblical Range.  Oh dear.  I have decided to get rid of another period as I am never going to manage it and that is the Crimean War.  I have a box of Warlord figures and some books to put on eBay.  I prefer to do Indian Mutiny from this period, I think.  I am desperately short of space!

Rules acquisition 2012

I suppose the big one is In Her Majesty's Name (although I cannot for the life of me find my copy anywhere) for which I am buying not only figures but also some scenic items too.  I really hope to have a game of it this year.   I also bought Ronin and A World Aflame.  Needless to say I haven't played any of them yet.  I also bought some supplements for rules I already have and the Zulu War one for Black Powder is exceptionally good.


I was quite pleased by the way my Renedra plastic barn turned out.  I also, for no reason I can fathom, bought the Dutch House North Star had as a limited edition.  My plan to paint more of my resin scenery mountain came to nothing even though I have a box of various Darkest Africa stuff by Grand Manner prepared for painting perched on top of my file boxes of old Playboy magazines.

One thing I did get was a whole load of 2' x 2' polystyrene terrain boards from Mike of Black Hat Miniatures.  This gives me things like boards with a beach, streams etc.  What I really want to do is modify them a bit but I'm not sure I have the ability!  I also bought the 4Ground Victorian police station and started work on it but I have been put off by the fact that a key bit is missing so haven't done any more since I first started it.

My main project has been attempting to paint a Roman Galley.  This was supposed to be for Big Red Bat's Thapsus game but I just didn't have time to finish it.  I think I am really put off by all the rigging and oars I have to do next as the painting of the hull is essentially finished.  This is a pretty stupid hobby to have if you have absolutely no modelling or construction skills.  I am very envious of all the people making scenic boards and such like.  I can't do this sort of work at all.  I don't have tools and wouldn't know how to use them anyway.  How do people learn to cut wood and make reinforcing battens and such like?  It's all a mystery to me.  It's probably something to do with my father's attitude that you always got a man in to do stuff around the house and that DIY is not something gentlemen should do!  

Big things of 2013

Victorian steampunk is the biggest new thing for me this year and seems very popular considering that it really needs lots of urban scenery.  I've spent a small fortune on various steampunky vehicles without really knowing what I am going to use them for. 

Looking forward, the really intriguing thing will be how I get on with the War & Empire 15mm ancients.  I did paint a few Xyston Greeks a few years ago but my problem with 15mmm is I paint them as if they were 28mm figures so don't really gain on time.  Am I going to base them individually? So far that's what I have done with the few 15mm figures I had.  Hmm.

The Blogs

I'm not updating most of them but that's because I'm not painting much.  I do intend to do some more on my Argonautika blog this year.  It also has the title panel I am most pleased with, too.

The most popular post on this blog was the one I did on the colour of Victorian bricks which had over a thousand views since it was posted at the end of September.  the second most popular post was the one I did on In Her Majesty's Name with 920 views, followed by my review of Ray Harryhausen's films with 856.  However, one post on my girly blog is getting 7000 visits a week so that isn't that impressive in comparison.


I like the new Battlegames/Miniature Wargames mash up and Wargames Soldiers and Strategy goes from strength to strength.  I'm getting a bit sick of ludicrously overpopulated tank battles in Wargames Illustrated though. As for White Dwarf, I've finally given up on it, due to its lack of Hobbit content despite, disgracefully, still featuring the name on every cover.


A late but very welcome Christmas present was Henry Hyde's The Wargamer's Compendium.  I read the first few pages of it where he describes the proto-wargaming influences he had as a child and they were almost identical to mine.  I also started on Airfix models with my father. Mr Hyde's father was a watercolourist and draughtsman and mine was an architect.  His father had been in the Fleet Air Arm in WW2 and my father had been in the Eighth Army.  Hyde's father also used to shoot Airfix figures with his old air rifle in the garden and my father and I did the same with his old Lincoln Jeffries .177. Hyde's father died when he was ten and mine died when I was thirteen.  Spooky!  Excellent book so far and reads rather like Charles Grant.

Most annoying things...

Hobbit coverage?  Ha ha!

The tragic lack of support from Games Workshop for their Hobbit range and its ludicrous pricing.   Not one article in a year apart from a few painting guides.  At least it means I have stopped buying White Dwarf at last.

My increasing annoyance at The Miniatures Page.  Although there is much that is good about it (although trying to identify the good bits is getting increasingly difficult) once something becomes annoying there is not much you can do.  The levels of annoyance just increase.  It was like a girlfriend I had once who despite having a superb figure, being a natural blonde, enjoying good food and wine and going like a bomb had a really annoying laugh.  I hadn't actually noticed it until my sister pointed it out (they didn't get on) and then I couldn't get it out of my mind. She had to go in the end.  I have to decide on renewing my membership at the end of this month and I'm not sure.

Anyway, the Legatus hopes everyone has a good 2014 and enjoys their painting and wargaming!


  1. Good review ol' chap.

    I hope 2014 brings you more time to get stuff painted and enjoy some gaming with them...

  2. Some very fine painting there, Legatus. My painting died away when I found myself criss-crossing the globe.

  3. I am delighted to be responsible for 33.3% of your annual gaming output! I shall see if I can improve on that in 2014. :-)

    Best, Simon

  4. You've out done me in games played this year. I hope you'll double your games played in 2014.

  5. A great read and a good year long may it continue

  6. Sounds like a good year, Legatus. I'm going to have to check out the two shows yoy mentioned, they sound fun.


  7. Looking forward to seeing this years projects making an appearance and certainly seeing more steampunk items making an appearance some lovely work and on Holmes and the Ltd Etd lady from IHMN

  8. We are certainly sharing a few distractions, I really must do more about my IHMN hoard as well.

  9. Nice review - sounds like you have some great projects for 2014 already. That Steam Punk lady looks great too. Best, Dean

  10. I must confess I haven't played Triumph and Tragedy since our game (although I thoroughly enjoyed it and liked the rules!).
    Sounds like we should be aiming for IHMN for our next game.

  11. Another entertaining Legatus, looking forward to following your progress (or lack of) through the year.