Monday 26 May 2014

If wishes were fishes..................

 I have always admired wargamers and modellers who could transform a piece of plastic or metal into a beautiful piece of history, making it look either realistic or just a work of art. I know it is all very subjective but most wargamers have a favourite painter or painting style.
 The painters I always wanted to emulate were many and varied. Number one was Peter Gilder, who went for a broad stroke approach. Up close they could look a bit ropey, but when they were put down on the table they came to life. Doug Mason was another painter who added something to every figure he has painted. Best of all he still paints and takes commissions. My longstanding wargames opponent  John Reidy has always had a wonderful painting style, I know he wont thank me for this, but John could always make even a crap figure look good. I still trawl E bay in the faint hope some of the many armies he sold on come up for sale. Not surprisngly they dont.
Mark Allen who doesnt paint figures very often now, was always one I tried to emulate and fail to copy. I always wished Id had the money to buy his collections when he put them up for sale, sadly I was never well enough off. The list just goes on, Barry Hilton, Dave Thomas, Simon Chick and of course Dave Jarvis all could create a wonderful figure out of a piece of lead. Then of course there are the military modellers, number one for me was Shep Payne who created a story with ever figure he painted. I was inspired early on by Madame Desfontainnes whose figures even in the 1960's cost a fortune, sadly she went blind, probably from her painting efforts. I never really bought into the Kevin Dallimore style of painting. Clever yes, but somehow too cartoonish even for me. I was impressed by the paints that were created by Foundry to go with his style of painting. And the reason for this painting post? The figures that are attached. I am currently looking for painting inspiration for my next project, a Polish Renaissance army when I came across the above figure which is for sale on E Bay. Who wouldnt want to own this wonderful work of art, all you need is over £1000 for the one 54mm figure.Why is it I never won the Euro lottery? maybe because I never bought a ticket. But if I did, this painter would be commisioned to paint me a Polish army. Sorry Dave youre sacked!
Then of course if I only won the local lottery I would commision the painter of these Gendarmes to cobble together a modes army. Anyway back to reality.

Saturday 17 May 2014

Back from the Sheffield Triples.

 Well today was the first day of summer, well it seemed that way. So instead of traipsing around the garden I took myself off to the Triples.
 Triples has always been one of my highlights of the wargaming year. However when it moved to its new location at the Sheffield Sports arena, or some other such grand name I thought it struggled. This year however I thought it was picking up again, certainly as regards the quality of the games on show. For me there were some very good games to inspire wargamers, and there were some games I would have liked to have taken a role in. I think due to the sunny weather, the FA Cup final, and a lot of rugby league that numbers were down, certainly it was easy to move around the place. I got the impression that the competition entries were well down as it appeared that there werent many actually competing
 in the side hall. Wargamers really are now spoiled for choice as regards everything to do with the hobby. Trawling around the traders I dont think there was anything that you cant actually buy now.
 Well maybe a new range of Renaissance Polish figures in 28mm and perhaps a new range of Muskovites, but apart from that we are very lucky.
 Overall a show thats on the up. Pity about the parking charge, but the council have to make some money. Right some of the games.
  The American Bruce Weigle produces some wonderful 6mm battle terrain for the Franco Prussian period. In the flesh its better than I imagined.
 My photographs dont really do it justice, and having listened to him explain several times how he makes the terrain it really is quite simple, but obviously would take some practice. Mr Wigle doing a talk on his terrain making would be a great presentation for a wargames event.

 The next game I was very impressed with was Almansa, which was a battle from the Malburian wars in Spain. I would have loved a command. It had some well painted units, especially the Spanish and Portugeuse ones.
 I wish Id took a few more photographs because it was a very fine effort. The game was by Like a Stonewall group.

 I thought this15mm Samurai battle was very neat, and although I know little of the period, it looked a great game to fight.

 Someone had taken a lot of time and effort to create 3d cardboard terrain. Initially I wasnt certain but to be fair it worked for me whilst simplistic was also very effective. I think it was a modern period of warfare.

 No doubt Olicana, aka James Roach will be writing up a full acount of his presentation of Zorndorf, so I will only say that the painting is wonderful, and the battle would be great to fight in. Olicana has a wonderful painting style, which works excellently.I look forward to a full account from him about the game. To see the game was worth the entry fee.

 I can only apologise for the poor quality photographs and the lack of detail about who presented certain games. This game was first rate and was from the Indian wars i America.
 The fort was a greta model, so sorry about the crap photo.

The Lance and Longbow Society always put a great game on, and the one at Triples was no exception, well presented with some well painted figures.

Ths game based on Troy was a participation game, and was very neat and clearly a great deal of effort had been put into the overall game.

Finally I had to take a photograph of this wonderful Italian plane. Th aeroplanes were big, and well painted.The game was based around a raid by the British during the war in the desert.

Monday 12 May 2014

It is what it is!

 There has been quite a blogging lull since my attendence at Salute 2014. I must admit that I was quite unwell at the show which did spoil things for me. Upon my return things didnt really get much better and now that I have been able to get to hospital and see a cardiologist things seem no better but I suppose much clearer.
 Basically I am getting a bit old and careworn, and in the words of the specialist, ''it is what it is''
 So now I am on copious amounts of medication, awaiting a letter to go into hospital. Apart from realising that I am very mortal I have had to cancel my holiday to New York which was next week. I really enjoy going to that city and that has been a real blow. Still things could be much worse.
 Being tired and ill doesnt help the wargaming mojo too much, but I have attempted to continue with my painting, reading and general thinking. Painting wise I have managed to paint various things, including these RSM Hanoverian dragoons. This unit has been sat partly painted in a box for some two years.I just couldnt find the will to paint them, but anyway I finally cracked them off. Not my best but they are okay. The command figure was an old Jackdaw one that I had sat unloved, and the building in the background has been sat gathering dust for nearly three years. Nostalga rules ok.

One thing that I have given much thought to in an attempt not to feel sorry for myself is the question of wargame shows. Barry Hilton wrote a good article about this recently and put into words some of the things I have tried to articulate upon. I really think we as wargamers should give a serious thought to the format of wargame shows. What exactly are we trying to achieve at them? I dont think we can pretend that they are to capture a new audience of willing young wargamers. I know that some fathers are able to drag along their off spring, but the early wargames shows that were packed with interested on lookers are well past, now the shows are attended in the main by dyed in the wool gamers looking for a new metal fix, before dashing home to do their chores. Lets be right most shows empty out by 2.00pm. leaving the odd wargamer, scratching round for something to buy. Even Salute is really a giant version of every show in the UK.
Now before anyone who actually reads this post thinks I have sank into a pool of despondancy caused by me not feeling too well, that isnt the case honest. I must admit I am really looking forward to Triples this weekend, and that will be a very typical wargames show. Some very nice games, and a lot of trade.
But what will hold the customers at the show after that?
 I have given some thought to this and I know Ive mentioned this before, but wargames shows need to progress into something extra.
Firstly the games that are there need to inspirational and provide something for the customers [ the wargamer] I think there should be prizes for the games, I know its an old idea, but competition is a great way to lift the games. The kudos of having your game photographed at Partizan was always a great incentive, so something similar could work.
Secondly the trade is very important, but needs to provide choice for as many gamers as possible. I know that sounds bleeding obvious, but not everyone paints 28mm, or Flames of war. The trade naturally need to be encouraged if possible by lower costs. But what about adopting an American idea and closing down the trade stands for say an hour or so during the wargames show, they could be compensated by paying lower costs for their trade stand. The break may encourage wargamers to stay around for longer and make the show into an event.
 In that lull, would be a good time to have other events, ie guest speakers, presenting new rules, military history or even how to paint, anything really that can capture the attention of wargamers and break the cycle of the format of current shows.
 I am still a great believer in painting competitions and hold true to the view that this encourages wargamers to attempt to attain greater painting standards.
 Location to me is important.The lighting at Smoggycon and Salute was dire, not good for the greying wargaming customers. I suppose we could all walk around with led lights attached to our heads.
 Also a setting that gives the show some extra interest seems a great way to sell the hobby. Fiasco was good at the Armouries, the Napoleonic Fair at Chelsea was good, personally I have been scoping the DLI military museum at Durham, and think this has potential, because it alright chinging away about wargames shows but its maybe time to stand up and do something, especially as ''it is what it is''.


My 6mm Napoleonic set up.

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.
Austria 1809.

Austrian Hussars

Austrian Hussars
Hinchliffe figures

Austrian Grenzer

Austrian Grenzer
Austrian Grenzer

Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2013
Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2012

Smoggycon 2012
Smoggycon 2012

Smoogycon 2009

Smoogycon 2009
My French getting another beating