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Tuesday, 21 February 2017

All Fur Coat and No knickers!

 Now that I have some standards available I have been able to complete another brigade of figures from Jim Sweeny's influx of reinforcements.I touched up some of these figures to cover knocks and other little things but overall I didn't do too much to them.I did have to add the odd figure to complete them, but really it was pain free. I keep telling myself that I need to have a target to aim at and then stop, but honestly I cant. I have never been like that and tend just to carry on until I get a bit sick. It also doesn't help if I see some new eye candy that I then go and buy, ie the FG Mini range of ACW figures.I couldn't help ordering a regiment of the 14th New York Volunteers resplendent in their distinctive chasseur uniform. Hopeless really. I think its the red chasseur pants.



And now onto a little rant / critque.
 I like to read in bed and I am currently re reading my collection of Practical Wargamer magazines that were edited by Stuart Asquith in the late 1980's and early 1990's.  [ I live the life ]
 I always loved that magazine and still find them an interesting read. Its a bit sad really because I can virtually remember the details of my favourite articles from the magazine without having to read them.
   Anyway the latest Wargames Illustrated dropped through the letterbox this week which unfortunately caused me to compare the two magazines. Its a wasted exercise in some respects because one has to accept that things move on and readers want a different experience from what was originally in the Practical Wargamer.
  I mean in a lot of respects the WI has to be better in that its production values are so much higher, with better quality images of the figures and just a more professional feel to the whole thing.
 But like most things nowadays it may look better but the looks are deceptive. [ I always think of supermarket apples, they look wonderful and taste of absolutely nothing ]
   The WI seems like a hefty tome of wargaming goodness, but for me it was just well, 'all fur coat and no knickers.'
 We had 'articles' [ advertisements] about the new Flames of War rules  which I suppose should excite someone. Then we had an 'article' about a new rulebook called Maelstorm's Edge [Good name] and a new set of figures to go with this new concept. I took the time to read the thing, and came away with a Groundhog Day moment. Hadn't I read something similar several times before in earlier issues concerning other futuristic worlds and other ranges of figures?

 We then had a scenario regarding the up and coming Battlegroup Tobruk supplement which is about to be released. [ Advertisement, product placement? ] Then I enjoyed? a piece about a new continent for the Congo rules [ South America!]  Followed by a Rules Showcase for Flames of War. [ You know where I'm going with this]

 By this time I was beginning to simply flick through the glossy pages looking for anything that I might enjoy. 'Godslayer'  concerning a set of rules?  [advertisement ] to be released in April which is about a pseudo fantasy Bronze Age game. [FFS ]

   I flicked onto a Perry Miniatures affair regarding their Desert range and their future plans. [advertisement ]   I was really beginning to struggle by now to be honest. Barry Hilton held my attention briefly regarding a scenario for 1694 but it is a very neat way to keep one's range of figures for that period in public view. I shouldn't be too critical of Barry's enterprising efforts I suppose.
I finally found a brief article regarding the German's use of reconditioned tanks at the close of the war mildly interesting. But it was just a nibble of interest. There needed to be more depth to what could have been informative to say the least.
So my point is this. Should I be alive in ten plus years time, would I make the effort to sit an re read the WI as I am currently doing with Practical Wargamer, absolutely not for so many reasons.
 It may look like a Wargames Magazine, it may have lovely photographs of stuff that wargamers should like, it may give itself  the title of the Premier Tabletop Gaming Magazine but frankly it ain't.
  There were some lovely real advertisements [on a positive note], which will no doubt lead onto a new series of 'articles' sometime soon.













16 comments:

  1. Gotta say I agree with your assessment. WI used to be an interesting magazine, but I haven't subscribed in over 20 years and even stopped bothering to purchase an occasional odd copy by the close of the 1990s. The last time I picked up a copy to browse in a hobby shop here in the U.S. must have been about 2003 or '04, and I ended up putting it back. I recall having the distinct thought that the magazine no longer seemed to have anything between its covers that was remotely interesting, and that was 13-14 years ago. How many times has the editor changed since Duncan Macfarlane ran things?

    Best Regards,

    Stokes

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The trouble is Stokes, a regular thing that Donald Featherstone used to say in his famous editorial's
      in the Wargamers Newsletter, which was a constant appeal to wargamers to subscribe to his newsletter or simply one would lose it. I would hate to have no wargames magazines to paw over every month.
      So I persevere, pathetic I know.

      Delete
  2. yep, got to agree. I got access to my online copy a week or so ago and can't say I was impressed. The Congo piece was interesting I suppose I suppose if only because somewhere I have loads of Congo type figures from years ago. Henry Hyde's article was interesting as it followed a similar theme to something I ran by him just before he left MW. Pure coincidence though I am sure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Colin,
      Your not going to claim a share of his fee? But seriously this months WI just didnt work on so many levels, and having re read Henry's piece again that was the only item I found of interest.

      Delete
    2. My far superior (?) and original piece in in MW407.

      Delete
  3. I have to agree, I stopped buying WI a few years back when it turned into a Flames of War Fanzine.

    I went back a couple of months ago and wished I hadn't this month's issue which you describe admirably is just one long advertorial for FOW, the editor even tries to apologise for it in his advertisement for FOW.... sorry editorial.

    Regards Ken

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I recently sold my Flames of War, Royal Italian and Eighth Army units [great timing eh?] I loved the models but hated the rules. I still find the early war very interesting but I wont go back and rebuild the armies.
      As for the WI, the magazine is symptomatic of so much of modern life, its all top show with absolutely nothing behind the facade. Yes I know I'm an old fart.

      Delete
  4. Nostalgia ain't what it used to be.
    Interestingly last year I subscribed to all three magazines for the first time in over ten years. Six months later I'm wishing I hadn't bothered. I barely read one article in a magazine and find them all a little dull if I'm honest.
    We should remember though that Practical Wargamer, Wargames Illustrated and Miniature Wargames exisited in an era without instant online access to a pandoras box of delights. They were written in a different time for a different audience. As such they have more depth and character because they were the only source of information. They also had more people submitting articles because of the need to share. Today that is achieved through blogs and forums and as a result the magazines are starved of a wide range of diverse articles i suspect. Add in the need to have themed issues which means that, unless the topic is of interest to the reader, a large proportion of a magazine has little relevance to many.
    Different world back then.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Paul I agree, to a certain extent, but disagree as regards the dearth of decent articles and the reasons for the lack of them.I dont think forums and blogs provide that level of information frankly. I know mine is a mish mash of anything wargame related, [as I see it ] but it doesnt provide very much information frankly.

      Delete
  5. Wargaming is apparently a broad church and I find myself increasingly becoming a heretic. I reject the evangelical best thing since sliced bread new set of rules and kickstarter of the day.
    Maybe its an age thing, waiting for Wargamers newsletter to drop through the letterbox was an experience modern gamers cannot know. Buying the latest Airfix figures purely to work out what they could be converted to, Searching for a reasonably local opponent, for whom the first question was which period?
    Its all different now, Too many choices, But the search for the Holy Grail of perfect Rule mechanisms goes on, Rules which capture the essence of the Period rather than a Coffee table accessory.
    Long live us old fogeys.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Douglas,
      I couldnt sleep the night before attending Northern Militare, and even now I still get excited about attending a show [ Its either excitement or my prostate is playing up again] But the sense of wanting to be a part of wargaming was incredibly strong. I wonder if younger people get excited about anything any more, they just seem so introverted.

      Delete
  6. Haven't read it since Duncan moved on... never had the other one's either .. I part subscribe to Miniature Wargames but rarely read it... I re-read Wargamers Newsletter occasionally, and I enjoyed Practical Wargamer a lot... we're of that age though aren't we...? :o))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Steve,
      I am an anorak when it comes to old wargames magazines, both from the UK and the USA. The feeling that jumps from the pages is enthusiasm and an eagerness to be a part of wargaming. I honestly feel sorry for young people on so many levels.

      Delete
  7. Your wargaming magazine rant rings true to my ear. I practically gave up on subscribing to wargaming magazines at the turn of the millennium when my favorite wargaming magazine, MWAN, changed hands. It did not last long under new management. A tragedy. I had been a subscriber to MWAN since the early 1980s and still miss the conversational style and packed contents. MWAN is still pulled off the shelf and re-read occasionally when a shot of nostalgia is needed.

    A digital version of WSS is purchased when the theme is of interest. Piles of old WI and MW still linger on the bookshelf. These old issues are re-read on occasion too. The friendly and informative content of MWAN is missed.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Jonathon,
    I managed to collect all the MWAN'S and still trawl through them, the text may be small but it is a great read.Hal Thinglum was a great credit to the hobby.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Interesting read, I only occasionally pick up a magazine if it's covering a period I'm interested in, which means most of the time I don't buy WI, I do find WSS a better read and their focused approach to each edition means if it's covering something I'm interested in it will be more than one article, it does mean I don't buy it unless it's got what I want.
    Best Iain

    ReplyDelete

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
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Smoggycon 2012

Smoggycon 2012
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Smoogycon 2009

Smoogycon 2009
My French getting another beating