Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Time for a sort out...and a new show.

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!  


  1. I really must try that myself next year.... I agree with you with regard to weekend commitments.... I find it mystifying how anyone can scrape up spare time at weekends.... I work all the hours during the week so weekends are for catching up and family time...

    1. Exactly. Given my wife can't use a PC I have to do all her emails for her at the weekend. Add on the taxi service and it leaves very little time!

  2. I agree, it's a real problem. I track all the minis I buy, paint and sell, with a view to controlling numbers of unpainted and part-painted minis. I find this really helps, although it doesn't completely solve the problem.
    BTW next week I will be having a push on my EIR Romans, within which the remaining ones you sold me will feature!

    1. Whey hey! :-) I need to paint my ship, so we can swap photos along the way.

  3. Ave Legatus Hedlius,

    What is your overall plan for the Mexican Army? Will you be doing any historical gaming with them? Against Texicans? Americans?
    The problem with the smaller regional shows is, as you correctly point out, the larger vendors will find that they are not worth their while and will eschew attending. And, yet, some of the better games I've seen here in the USA have been at smaller shows. Sometimes it is just a question of local access - you might be able to bring a game to a show nearby but would not be willing to do this for a venue at a distance where you would be in competition with others.
    Thanks for posting.
    Gerardus Magnus
    (You can call me 'Magnus'.)

    1. Yes, I am intending to do some games with them, probably using the Legends of the Old West rules.

  4. Guildford's only an hour away so I was also one of the 120 - if we don't support these smaller shows, they will disappear. I agree that it would have been nice to have had a few more traders (although I had something of a 28mm gabion-buying frenzy at "Last Man Last Bullet") but it must be a real struggle to persuade them to turn out to an unproven show/venue? I didn't realise Guildford had a "dodgy end"!

  5. Oh my, that's a brave decision, but I can understand the rationale; best of luck my good man.

  6. Like you I watched the emails flying between us at Guildford and it was a real shame we couldn't drum up enough people to put something on. I was also taxiing offspring around [to drama groups in my sons case] and dog walking which ate up most of the day. Good luck with the reorganising!!

  7. Thanks for the mention good Sir! Wow 6000 unpainted figures! I don't think I could cope with that... the idea of 6000 beady little pairs of eyes constantly staring at me ('telepathically'!) from the boxes, demanding, "Paint Us!" would likely quite freak me out! ;-)

    I am going to try and focus on those 3 periods I mentioned and get to the bottom of the 'mountain' - if I complete that, I may then return to other now cast aside periods...

    Glad you enjoyed the show, and I can concur about time and weekends - sparing a full day away from home at the weekend is a tall order!

  8. I'm impressed you have some kind of head count - I've frankly no idea how many AB Napoleonics are hidden away in drawers and empty champagne cases. I also have a huge number of 28mm ancients that are never likely to come down from the loft, several hundred WotR Perry figures that have barely left the box they came in, and quite a few bags of BH 15mm ACW figures to paint. I can safely say the ABs are likely to last me through to retirement in 13 years, particularly as I seem to be buying at least two figures for every one that I paint.

  9. I really mustn't buy any more figures at Salute!

  10. Hello Legatus,
    Eddie (Chairman of Guildford Games club) here. Thanks for both visiting the show, and your review! This years show was the first we've run in co-operation with the BMSS, and by all our records, was a success.
    We used this year to lay the foundation, and by working hard to keep our overheads low, passed the savings on to the traders and visitors. Now we have a starting point, we look forward to inviting you to a better show next year!

    Thanks once again,


  11. I will certainly attend next year. I know you are largely a fantasy and sf club but what we found really engaged people when we did a demonstration at the open day for our club venue last year was having a battle set in Britain (Wars of the Roses in our case). Hopefully GWC will be able to get their act together next year and put on WotR or English Civil War for you.