What is in here? And do I really want it?
Scott, in Middle Earth, is a wargamer whose painting ability, focus and scenery skills I much admire. He has just done a brave thing and rationalised his wargames collection; disposing of things he is never going to do.
It has got to the stage where I really need to do something similar. With the best intentions, I put an element on my blog which would show how I would reduce the lead pile this year. Sadly, in three months I have now bought 222 new figures. I have 17 more on order too. Given I only painted 82 last year this is patently insane. And Salute is on the Horizon. What I need to do is really look at the figures I have and get rid of those I am not going to paint. As my daughter said, if you haven't painted many of them yet you obviously "don't like them that much".
My big problem is one of space. I do not, actually, feel stressed by the amount of figures I have to paint (somewhere in the region of 6000, I think) but I have, quite simply, run out of storage room. It's not just the figures, though, it's all the books I have bought to go with them. For example, I have one box of Warlord Games Crimean British infantry and about ten books on the Crimean War. I haven't painted any figures (so I obviously "don't like them that much") but picked them after reading a Garry Douglas Kilworth novel. Given I have figures for the Sikh Wars and the Indian Mutiny from the same period then I think the Crimean War has to go.
I now have to employ this process on all my figures but first I need to sort them out. I have 24 A4 file boxes of based but unpainted (or part painted) figures but they are mostly all dumped in there in a random order. The first thing to do, therefore, is see what I have got and put, for example, all the Dark Ages figures together.
This is not going to be a quick job but it really has to be done! The problem is that it will eat into painting time!
The venue for Military in Miniature in the dodgy end of Guildford
At least I didn't buy any more figures when I visited the new Military in Miniature show in Guildford last weekend. This was the smallest hobby show I had been to but felt that I should support it even if a lot of it was about larger scale figures. There were a number of wargames there but notably absent was Guildford Wargames Club who had agreed to put on a game but couldn't get enough people to sign up. I watched the agonised emails flying via the club system as the organiser of the game desperately tried to recruit people to help. "What are all you people doing on Saturday?" he exclaimed in frustration. Well, the answer is, for my part, that I have to take my son to rowing at 9.30 and then collect him at 12.00 and then do the shopping. I recently had to miss a big game organised by the Guildford club for the same reason. On Sunday I have to take my wife to and from work and more rowing for Guy. A whole day free at the weekend? You must be joking! If I get a couple of hours to paint I can count myself very lucky. I am obviously not the only one.
I just can't get my head around the Flames of War approach to gaming. Mass not driblets indeed!
In the end the organisers of the event got a Flames of War game set up instead. I did get some paint I needed but only two pots so that must be my smallest show spend ever. From my point of view there wasn't much to buy of interest. Oddly, given the lovely large scale figures on show by members of the British Model Soldier Society I would have been very tempted if there had been a stall selling large scale (54mm plus) figures. But there wasn't. A lot of flats (old school but not my thing) and plastic kits (got quite enough of those) and some resin scenery which was largely SF or modern. Mike of Black Hat Miniatures was there and he had covered the cost of his stand in the first half hour so hope it was worth while for him.
Running any event, let alone a new one, is a thankless task and I gather that they had 120 visitors during the day which at £2 entrance fee is not going to generate a lot of income. Next year (and I will go again) they will be putting on more display games although for me I want to see traders not games and traders aren't going to come if the numbers of visitors aren't there. Also, if you want to attract new people to the hobby the opportunity to pick up some of the stuff you have been looking at is important.
The rather cosy venue
Chatting with Mike is always entertaining (he recruited me into Guildford Wargames Club) but it was great to meet up with Eric the Shed, who lives not far from me up the A3. He kindly offered to host me for a game in his famous shed and I may very well take him up on that as his scenic layout is superb.
I did get a good session of painting done on Saturday afternoon working on the Boot Hill Miniatures Mexicans. I now have this picture of the first batch I painted up in the gallery on their website. A first for me I think! Anyway the next batch of Matamoros regiment is moving along quite well. So I ordered some more. Oh dear!