Wednesday 26 December 2018

Plans for 2019

It's that time when we all start thinking about what the new year will hold for us on the hobby front.

I generally am far too much of a hobby butterfly to have any hope of sticking to i might consider as I type this. My interests can sometimes fluctuate between breakfast and lunch, never mind week to week or month to month. are some to consider and hopefully look back on come 12 months from now.

1. Play more games. I would like to aim for 1 a week but that may be too optimistic. Still reach for the stars and all that!

2. Finish off the rebuild of my Samurai and Wars of the Roses collections. The ACW and AWI collections are all but done (for now). These are my core collections of figures for my favourite periods. Also in this category is my ECW collection but they are also in a finished for now state.

3. Sort out my scenery. I've paid far to little attention to scenery over the years so some hill building and building building is in order.

4. Attend as many RFCM game days as possible. I already do this but I want to maintain this wherever possible throughout the year. There is a Viking day in February, Squarebashing in June and the weekender in November but hopefully there will be others.

5. Show attendance is less important to me these days but I imagine York, Alumwell, Salute, Hammerhead and the Partisans will be my definates. Probably 5 or 6 compared to over a dozen in previous years. Blame the internet and family life I suppose for the decline but I'll look forward to them all the same.

5 will do for now. Not too taxing. Let's see how I get on.

More soon....

Monday 17 December 2018

A little chat.

Having played an excellent game of Lingships - Wrath of the Vikings at the club on Friday, Ade and I discussed future projects.

Neither of us are averse to selling one project to fund another. But what? Ade revealed a hankering to do a large 28mm project where he collects both sides and creates bespoke scenery. The sort of thing you might see at a show. Periods under consideration are Carlist Wars (lovely!), Napoleonics, Wars of the Roses and a couple of others I can't recall.

This got me thinking about that unlimited time and unlimited funds project that we all must dream of doing. The criteria being it must be one period in one scale. To be honest I'm not sure I could choose. I've mentioned dozens of times over the life of this blog my love for the ACW and how when I started at the club we'd play big games on a 12x6 table using Dixon miniature on beautiful home made terrain.

But I'm not sure I'd want to do this kind of game anymore. RFCM rules by Peter Pig give me the variety of periods I like. The figures are beautiful and look nice with my painting style. Games on a 5x3 mean I can build or buy my own scenery to play on. And games are done in a night. For me it's the perfect combination and I'm not sure that money could buy me anything better. As for time I'm happy spending what hobby time I have painting my 15mm figures. Sure I'd like to play more but who wouldn't?

Another discussion we had was what might be called the 'opportunity cost' decisions of how to spend your hobby time. If we collect 1 period in 1 scale, then 100% of your hobby time can be spent researching, collecting, painting and playing that period.

Add in a second period and at most you'll have 50% of your time to spend on either of them. The reality of course is that the latest shiny project will demand a greater percentage of your time and the original project will languish with barely a second glance.

Now say you have 10 periods that you want to play. For most of us our hobby time is finite. Rarely do we get any increase ither than possibly on retirement, but most retired people  I know are busier than ever. So the maximum time you could spend equally on each period would be 10%.

Now if you attend a club say for 4 hours once per week and manage 4 hours of 'hobby time during the rest of the week that's roughly 32 hours of hobby time in a month. Those 10 projects? Well you'd be lucky to  get a game in with 4 of them per month. Play let's say 50 games in a year and each period would get played 5 times. And that's if you behave like no Wargamer that I know of and divide your hobby time like this. Most of us will follow 1 period for say 3 or 4 months whilst the inspiration is strong before moving onto the next period for a similar period. Which means 7 of your chosen periods will unlikely make an appearance within a calender year.

That's figures that you have purchased and possibly spent hours and hours painting, sitting in a Really Useful box on a shelf unloved and awaiting their inevitable fate of ebay or a bring and buy. The proceeds of which you will no doubt plough into another project or period to maintain the status quo of 10 periods.

I reckon I have at least 14 historical periods on the go at the moment. I also play some fantasy and sci fi.

You do the maths!

Monday 10 December 2018

Painting today.

On somewhat of a painting roll at the moment as I try to clear the decks as much as possible before years end. I have an embarrassingly large lead pile of Peter Pig figures that I really should turn into painted game pieces. Nearly all of my ACW are done and the AWI figures are close to being done apart from the Hessians. I think I have two more units to do but they will have to wait a while as I complete the orders of battle for the scenarios. 

All of the required cavalry arrived late last week and I have now painted three of the five units I bought. Pictured below are two of the three - 16th Light Dragoons and 1st Continental Dragoons. Each unit is only three bases of 2 figures so not a huge amount of painting gto do. I've also done the dismounted versions too. 

Not in the photo are the Legion cavalry leaving me the 3rd or 4th Continentals (not sure which to do yet) and the 17th Light Dragoons.

First picture is both units with dismounted. Oh and 4 guns I did too.

1st Continental Dragoons

16th Light Dragoons

Really quick and simple with no fuss. From gaming distance they look fine. Basing will be completed tomorrow.

Native Americans for the American War of Independence

I actually painted these a few weeks ago. They still need matt vanishing. There are 15 bases as that's the number  I need for the historical scenarios in the Washington's Army rule book organised in 3 units of 5.

Not sure how historically accurate my painting is. I've been inspired by Kev Lowth aka Fat Wally as well as some limited research using Google Images. These days I go for more of an impressionistic approach to painting to get figures battle ready as.quickly as possible. My figures are definately based on their historical counterparts but I don't slavishly follow every button or lapel.

Following receipt of a few figures for my Christmas present to myself last week, I've now painted a unit of British Legion and 1st Continental Dragons - both in mounted and dismounted versions. Pictures  may follow!

Anyway, back to the paint brushes.

More soon....

Friday 7 December 2018

Wow! I've painted stuff.

Had a tremendous time at the Weymouth Wargames Weekender. Thus is my fourth year in a row and I managed a record 11 games. I even won a few!

Admittedly 4 of the games were the fast paced Pieces of Eight Pirates Land Raid game which plays out in under an hour. But it's shaping up to be a great game as is the ships side of the game. I heartily recommend watching Black Sails on Amazon to get some inspiration.

Here we see playtesting of the ships game underway with Martin G and Simon P taking on Miles M and Les B-T.

It'll come as no surprise that I have a few ships waiting to go under the brush. Not yet got any figures for the land raid - that will have to wait until after Christmas now as I have just taken receipt of my very own Christmas box from Peter Pig with AWI cavalry (at last) and the last few figures for my ACW collection. Both additions mean I can now at last play all of the historical scenarios in bith Civil War Battles and Washington's Army.

In preparation for the weekend I thought to myself what shall I take down. I was committed to play a game of Bayonets and Ideology so knew I needed my Anarchists. I was also signed up for a game of Western. I had purchased a Lawmen/Posse force a while ago. As usual they had been put away in the drawer as I cracked on with ither projects.

Suddenly inspiration hit me at around 12.39hrs on the Wednesday b3fore I was due to drive to Weymuth on the Friday. Cowboys wear mostly brown and black don't they? So I decided to paint 50 odd mounted cowboys along with 50 odd dismounted cowboys to take with me.

The picture above is the finished force, and from bare metal in plastic bags to this stage took just over 24 hours. Actual painting time always less - I didn't work around the clock. Probably between 6 and 8 hours of actual work time I would guess.

They won't hold up to scrutiny close up but from the tabletop they look pretty good. Goes to show what a nice base will do for a figure too. They were sprayed Army Painter Leather Brown which is a really excellent colour to base coat with. I then selectively dry brushed various shades of tan, lighter browns and khakis and creams. A few odd washes with blues or blacks and then selective washes using one of four GW washes - Agrax Earthshade, Reikland Fleshshade, Seraphim Sepia (this was brilliant) and Nuln Oil. I would for example use one shade on the horse, a different one on the coat and another on the trousers. The effect was pretty good to give varied tones across the whole force, with a dirty and dusty palette. It'll be a technique I shall return to.

Here are a couple of shots of them in action.

I played three games over the weekend with them, all against Plains Indian forces. I won one, losing two. One of the losses was probably my favourite game. I was playing alongside Mark R against Rob R and Miles M. The Indians as attackers had first turn and destroyed two of my 4 units. A third also suffered some casualties. All before we had had a turn ourselves! It was too much for mark who wondered off elsewhere leaving Martin G to jump in his place. We then proceeded to put up a stout defence with what we had left in a homestead in the middle of the table with Injuns all around us. It was only in the last turn that my commander 'Bad Bob' finally fell and the game was lost. But it goes to show you should never throw in the towel and there is still fun to be had in making the most of a bad situation.

This was the only picture I took of the Bayonets and Ideology game. I teamed up with Rob R using my Anarchist Militia against Mike H using his Assault Guard assisted by Chris. This was another great game. I threw away countless men trying to take the bridge objective seen in the distance. Between my men and the prize was a gully through which I attempted numerous assaults against Chris's defending platoon. I was winning the war of attrition but time ran out as the countdown reached zero. One more turn and would probably have taken the objective!

No pictures of the Pirate Land Raid game. It is still in playtesting but feels close to completion. I think the only issue is a balancing of the victory  point schedule. It is a quick and bloody game with the raiders needing to get in, plunder as much as possible and get out again before they get ground down in firefights and melee.

I arrived home from the weekend enthused to paint more and so have been completing the figures needed for all of the historical scenarios in the Civil War Battles and Washingtons Army rulebooks. The aim is to finalise this by the years end and then its onto doing the same with my Bloody Barons and Battles in the Age of War rule books. The majority of the Bloody Barons figures are based and ready for painting. The Samurai figures are mostly purchased.  Rumour has that Bloody Barons is the next set of rules to get a make over which I will look forward to.

Enough for now. Play nice.

More soon...