Some of my figures on location at the Shed for a Pulp Alley game
Here we have my thrilling 2015 wargames review and at least I had enough games this year to qualify me as a wargamer, even if my painting output was tragically small.
After 2014's score of 114, 2015 was very disappointing indeed. I painted just 25 figures:
11 North West Frontier British
5 In Her Majesty's Name
This is my lowest amount by far since I started recording my painting in 2007, when I managed 312 figures. I haven't completed anything since September although I have done some painting. I just didn't have anything close to being finished. I'm not quite sure why this is. I cannot paint under artificial light and I suspect that my eyesight has deteriorated quite a bit this year. I have spent a lot of time at the eye departments of local hospitals. Hopefully, 25 is such a miserable number that I can beat it this year. I will just have to accept I can't paint to the quality I used to.
Some of my girly pirates at the Shed
Thanks to the generosity of Eric the Shed I have played a record breaking ten wargames this year!
First off there was an epic pirate game, next my first game of Lion Rampant for Robin Hood, a science fiction bug hunt game, a Pulp Alley 1930s Egypt game, two games of Battlecars, a big Lion Rampant Crusades game, a 15mm Black Powder Quatre Bras game and two more Pulp Action games as part of Eric's Scales of Anubis campaign. Firsts included my first Lion Rampant game (excellent) and my first 15mm game, which was also my first Black Powder game.
Eric's scenery is legendary and I was pleased to field some of my own figures in some of these games. It makes all the squinting worth while when they can see action on such spectacular boards.
I went to Salute, as usual and actually attended the bloggers meet up for once. I even appeared in the official picture! In 2014 Salute was my only show as Colours was cancelled. I tried to get to Colours this year but was defeated by horrific traffic on the M25 and M3. Fortunately, Eric the Shed gave me a lift to Warfare in Reading (whose one way system scares me to death) so I scored two shows this year.
I have done quite well on reducing the lead (and plastic - more on this soon) pile this year; realising that I am never going to paint all the figures I have got. I bought just 98 new figures, painted 25 and sold 518 leaving me a minus 446 score for the pile. New figures were mainly Frostgrave. Lucid Eye Savage Core, First Corps Mexican-American War and Iron Duke Indian Mutiny. Apart from the Mexicans, I have at least started most of the others.
Kickstarters and pre-orders
I've tried to avoid these this year. I sold all my War and Empire figures on and having committed to the second W&E Kickstarter of Romans I then cancelled it. I just don't like 15mm and I can't see to paint them any more. The only one I backed this year was for Miniature Wargaming the Movie, which doesn't involve having to paint anything! I realise that I still haven't received my Wargods of Olympus figures which I ordered in 2013 because I wanted the rule book at the same time. Now they want me to pay extra postage to get the figures first, which I will have to because I want them for Jason and the Argonauts.
That said. I have played several rule sets for the first time this year. Black Powder (in 15mm), Lion Rampant, Battlecars and Pulp Alley. Pulp Alley is very enjoyable but of these Lion Rampant was my favourite, once we had agreed as a group to abandon the rule whereby if a unit fails to activate the whole side fails to be able to do any actions. For our larger games where we had 10 or 12 units a side this just didn't work (Eric has also had to modify the rules to allow for multiplayer games).
I bought several new sets myself this year: Black Ops, 7th Voyage (for Argonauts games) and Frostgrave. Needless to say reading them has given me no clue as to how they will work in practice! Eric's analysis of magic in Frostgrave scared me to death. However, now I have realised that I don't care if I win a game or not so long as I can field some nice figures in it. I assembled some plastic Frostgrave figures last night and they are very nice indeed.
Looking forward I'm quite tempted by the Dragon Rampant fantasy rules, The Men who Would be King, En Garde and Studio Tomahawk's Congo rules.
Wargames Blogs and...Facebook
The biggest 'social media' (even typing the words makes me feel sick and ashamed) development was my Facebook page, which I initially set up so I could follow figure manufacturers' pages when I realised that they posted about new products on Facebook long before they appeared on their conventional websites. Guided by my daughter, I set up a page and soon had around 160 "friends". I then realised that many of these pages had nothing to do with wargaming (fair enough if they are for family purposes). What I couldn't understand were all the ones full of tedious political cant or regurgitation of ghastly American homilies or so-called humour created by others. Originate your own stuff, don't just circulate garbage! Frankly I'd much rather look at pictures of people's cats, holidays or meals than see some cringe-making graphic with Minions in it! So I unfriended dozens of them and am now down to just over 90.
Plans for the next year
Well, to paint more than 25 figures, obviously. As regards what I will slightly cant it towards figures I might be able to deploy in the Shed. This means a lot more for Jason and the Argonauts and, possibly, some English Civil War. Other than that I will try to finish the units I have on the paint table at present which are my 1864 Danes, Carolingians, Indian Mutiny British and North West Frontier. On the skirmish side, figures for the Lost World, IHMN, Black Ops and pirates are all on the desk at present. The Neanderthals next!
Now I really, really shouldn't even be contemplating any new figures but Unfeasibly Miniatures new Empire in Peril range is very tempting!
While writing this post I have been listening to one of my favourite TV soundtracks ever, The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe. Many British people my age will have seen this series from the time it was shown and repeated on TV between 1965 and 1975.
The music was the work of two composers: Robert Mellin (1902-1994) and Gian Piero Reverberi (1939-). It did not feature in the original French and German release in 1963 but was specially composed for the British version in 1965. Mellin (born Israel Melnikoff) was a Ukrainian born, composer, lyricist and publisher whose family took him from Kiev to Chicago as a baby. He wrote hundreds of songs and lyrics including words to Acker Bilk's Stranger on the Shore. He moved to London in the seventies and had music publishing businesses both there and in New York. Mellin produced some scores for spaghetti westerns and had the publishing rights to a lot of Italian film scores. He was instrumental in locating the recordings of The Adventure of Robinson Crusoe in Rome for the CD soundtrack release in 1994, dying in Rome shortly afterwards
The much younger, classically trained, Reverberi worked with rock bands and also scored spaghetti westerns and TV series. He is best known these days as the founder, conductor and composer for the hybrid baroque/pop ensemble Rondò Veneziano which he founded in 1979 and has now produced over 70 albums.