[ 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.