Monday 23 May 2016

Partizan 2016

I attended Partizan 2016 today as previously stated, although I hadnt actually intended but the chance to meet up with Phil Robinson to talk about Peter Gilder was too good an opportunity to pass by.
 Can I say I am very pleased I went to the show at its new venue at the Newark Showground. The venue is a doddle to get to, and is just off the A1, and also near the Newark rail station. The venue is ideal for a medium sized show, with plenty of light, and what appeared to be easy access for the traders. So really a win win situation.
 I arrived early, and had a pleasant time in the early sunshine watching the feverish activity inside the hall. I understand that there were delays getting inside due to the lengthy queue that quickly built up around 10.00am, but as I was at the very front, I wasn't inconvenienced. Again it shows that there were plenty of wargamers wanting to be at the show.

Looking down the hall, I know it looks like a very large cattle shed, but it was a good venue, honest.

The organisers had taken the decision to have different types of games in their own areas, ie participation games were all together, as were demonstration games, various societies, etc. I liked the idea, it made things pretty easy to find. There was a large cafe area, which was busy all day, and the prices were not exorbitant, so another plus. I was very interested in seeing the quality of the games on show, as it had been several years since I had last attended Partizan, which traditionally provided the eye candy for the Miniature Wargames magazine, although clearly eye candy is not what the magazine wants to see nowadays, given the Arthur Harman article.
   Only one minor gripe, which shows me how sensitive I am becoming, and it concerned a large sign at the entrance to Partizan, apparently some people? don't like being photographed at wargames shows, and therefore the organisers had provided stickers that these people could wear, asking not to be photographed, the poster asked that the other wargamers honoured their request and grant then anonymity, a sort of photographic wargames super injunction as it were. I actually never saw anyone wearing such a badge, and to be honest I would have been tempted to take a sneak photograph because I have become an irascible old git. Please dont ask me what that sign was about?

Anyway, to stop scratching that scab, onto the games. I should stress that I only took photographs of a few games, there were a lot more on show, but I couldnt record all of them, plus I was busy looking for badge wearing wargamers who didn't want to be photographed.

Firstly, but in no particular order, Graham Cummings, of Crann Tara Figures

The Crann Tara range is growing, and the figures are wonderful and really capture the age.

The Sharp Practice 2 rules have recently been released, and there was a very nice Spanish Civil War game using them. The whole game was very well done, with some neat terrain and dare I say it well painted figures. Richard Clarke turned up to check out the whole thing, I think he was also impressed.

 Onto my favourite game at the show, by Simon Millar and DR.Phil Hendry, using To the Strongest rules written by Simon. This was a lovely game with very effective terrain and top notch figures. I especially loved the war elephants, what was there not to like.

The historical author, Harry Sidebottom was at the show to sign books and chat about his latest novel. I thought that was a nice touch and added interest to the proceedings.

Like a Stonewall Wargames group staged a quality game of the Battle of Saint Albans from the Wars of the Roses, I particularly liked the cloth standards.

 I know nothing of naval warfare, but found this game impressive, if just for the wonderful skills that had gone into making, rigging and painting the ships.

Paul Robinson and the members of the Grimsby Wargames Society, always put on a quality game, this was no exception, with [dare I say thousands] of well painted wargames figures for the Wars of Spanish Succession.
 A really top quality game that showed what hard work could produce. I wanted a command, which is always a good indicator to me of how good the game was.

 I am always open to new ideas, honest, and I was well impressed by the next wargame which consisted of 4'' pegs painted really well.
 What was not to like, I hope the lads at the Westerhope Wargames Club read this, because this is right up their street.A great effort.

 A really top class game by Bramley Barns Wargame Group and Legendary Wargames of West Yorkshire showcasing their rules which are a reworking of a Peter Gilder original set.

 And the best until last, original Doug Mason ACW Connoisseur figures painted for Peter Gilder for his original Wargames Holiday Centre owned by members of the above game, the lucky so and so's.

 Would I go again, definitely, especially as I am looking for an alternative to the Sheffield Triples Show, so there is a gap in my wargaming show attendances.

Sunday 22 May 2016

We are all winners, unless you're a loser.

Well I'm back from Partizan which I will cover in a bit of detail in my next post, however before I do  I feel I have to comment on the Arthur Harman article in this months Miniature Wargaming.
[ MW398 ]
   Having read Andy of Old Glory's blog, he was expecting me to go of on some rant about the views expressed in the article. Well, I hope I can surprise him, and a few others that actually know me, and instead ask a simple question, what was the point of the said article? [ and then have a minor rant ]
 If it was to generate heated discussion then so be it. If it was to make some relevant point regarding wargaming then please enlighten me as to what that point was, otherwise why was the author given the oxygen to write such a piece.
 For any persons that doesn't buy Miniature Wargaming, the article was titled 'The look of the Thing,' and if I understand the thinking correctly, Arthur Harman authored his piece to complement the comments of Neil Shuck, who also writes for the same magazine.

The opening paragraph quotes Neil Shuck, ' Miniature Wargaming is actually quite a complex hobby, its not just about the wargame rules and game, but about collecting,assembling and painting model soldiers and that it could be weeks,or indeed months or years before an army is painted or ready to be put onto a field of battle. This is a huge hurdle and has surely put off untold numbers of would be wargamers due to the large commitment of time,resources and skills required.'

Arthur Harman then concurs and states that because of this he had been put off many campaigns and/or periods. The author then witters on about how it is more enjoyable to play Chess with a simple set of pieces as opposed to a Franklin Mint set?  There is of course more text, before the conclusion which is;
  choose a smaller scale of wargames figure so you can afford more, [ really, never thought of that, witness my massive 6mm Napoleonic armies .]
 Adopt one pose, as opposed to individual poses? [ brilliant ]
 Purchase figures in great coats [ easier to paint, no good for ancients though Arthur. ]
Abandon shading, highlighting, etc. [each to their own but if you want to try, then why not?]
 Forsake elaborate basing techniques and instead go for a greenish brown mud effect. [ preferably with a very large brush to slap the paint on ]
 Don't feel embarrassed that your troops may not be as well painted as your opponents. [ Pretty obvious I would have thought Arthur ]
  He then attributes the quote regarding dressing ones troops in various colours they will still run away, to Marshal Murat, [ I always thought it had been the deposed Bourbon King of Sicily who said that, but what do I know ]
 The crux of the argument is, 'Well painted armies at shows, in magazines and on the internet put new starters off wargaming, therefore dumb/ dull things down to snare these would be wargamers. Dont spend time on researching the uniforms, dont base them well, dont spend time on the figures because in reality you wouldnt be able to see that wonderful paint job.'
  Well I've read some guff over the years, and this ranks as more of the same. When I started wargaming, the few shows I attended had very basic painted armies, on poor terrain, it was still inspirational in my eyes, however as wargamers like Peter Gilder and others started to come to the fore I wanted to up my game. I will never attain the brilliance of a Doug Mason, but I still try, and that is part of the fun. Not everyone can paint brilliantly, but dumbing this down is definitely not the answer.
Arthur Harman's theme runs through a lot of the thinking in our society now. If you cant win, change the rules so no one loses, ergo they wont be disappointed or upset, now that's a great idea to prepare children for modern life.
 Perhaps an article showing that you dont need to start with an army, but instead just a small force that could be built upon over a matter of time would have been more useful, or even a simple how to paint some toys could have helped, but writing three pages saying that beautiful toys are putting people off wargaming if frankly pathetic.

 I also think the Editor, Henry Hyde, should give some serious consideration to the content of the magazine he is responsible for, more stuff like this cannot help his circulation. Anyway minor rant over.

The Grimsby Lads game at Partizan, which has put me right off wargaming the Malburian Wars. [ I will never forgive you, Paul ]

Thursday 19 May 2016

Peter Gilder a life in wargaming.

Sometimes I view the Internet as a wonderful instrument that allows ordinary people to link with others for many reasons. Other times I wonder if we have opened Pandora's Box.
Today is such a day.
 I set up a blog site to allow wargamers and others to learn about the contribution that the late Peter Gilder made to wargaming. A fairly innocent aim you would think. However I couldnt understand why the site has no followers, so one of the things I did to increase readership was to link the site to Blogs of War.
  What could be simpler. However some arse wipe for whatever reason has hijacked my blog domain and linked it to some bollocks Indonesian site, and basically kiboshed the blog.
 I have now renamed the blog as Peter Gilder, a life in wargaming with a new link; , however up to now this link is not working.
 Please be patient, I will attempt to sort it, God knows how.
 And if there is a God I will meet the individual who thought this was funny, please let this happen.

Friday 6 May 2016

Pondering Things!

Last night, I had some downtime [ well actually every night I have some downtime] and watched a programme from BBC 4 about the History of Model Railways. I am of an age that makes model railways interesting.
 Anyway as a programme it was well done, and didnt seek to take the piss out of the enthusiasts being interviewed, in fact it was very kind to them. I suppose having Pete Waterman show off his wonderful setup demands some sort of respect, and he is a very skilled modeler in his own right.He also owns my local railway that runs steam engines, so he is a good egg in my eyes. I was disappointed that Rod Stewart wasnt interviewed, but you cant have everything.
 But I digress, as usual. Whilst watching the programme, I tried to imagine whether BBC4 could create a similar piece for wargamers?
 I feel we have owned the right to have such a programme, and we also have the gravitas courtesy of the origins of wargaming to demand such a project, ie  H.G Wells, Robert Louis Stevenson, the Prussian War College, Britain's, Tradition,
 Except when I really started thinking about it I'm not certain we as wargamers could actually pull it off without looking strange and well, a bit weird.
 The last serious attempt to make wargaming mainstream was Battleground in the 1970's, which although very pretty to look at, was definitely a niche programme.
 There was of course Game of War, which was butchered by most wargamers, but I liked on so many levels.
 But now, I don't think it could be done without some wargamer letting his 'normal' mask slip and either saying or doing something that could cause offence or just sound plain daft. I include myself in this by the way. Actually it is a given that I would open my mouth and say something that would cause offence.
 Although we have wonderful model makers, on a par with the train crowd, better painters than them, and probably more interesting subjects to show off, I somehow think that we as wargamers would shoot ourselves in the foot. Plus I can't imagine the producers of the programme would miss out on the opportunity to take the 'Michael' out of the wargaming genre.

 Imagine as part of the programme, a clip from the infamous SS Liebenstandarte re enactors, or some people I once saw in Sheffield who had pointy ears, and fake Hobbit feet, explain that one away. Then of course there is the wargamer who would inevitably sidle up to the camera, and start pointing out that the toy soldiers are wearing the wrong headwear, and should actually have soft hats on their bonces, before attempting to show the interviewer the contents of their matchbox.
 The number of times I have read a piece in the press where an earnest wargamer is being interviewed, which has ended up like an interview to the local asylum.
 Perhaps our 15 minutes of televisual fame has passed us by, and may be it is for the best.
 Plus I understand that television cameras put pounds on you, so I best forget that idea or get the use of a body double. [ Now is Tom Hiddlestone free?].

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