Monday, 26 May 2014
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.
Saturday, 17 May 2014
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.
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
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.
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''.