Monday 20 February 2023

A Little Rant, part two.


As promised in this months Miniature Wargames the subscriber was provided with the pleasure of David Hiscocks, Wargaming as escapism until it isn't. I dont know what the readership is for the Miniature Wargames, but one assumes it will be several thousand, hopefully more. The magazine was such an important event for wargaming in the early 1980's. and when Peter Gilder, Alec Gee and Duncan Macfarlane put their time and money where their mouths were, the release of the first issue transformed wargaming. 
Thats quite a claim, but in all honesty to have a dedicated and professionally producer wargames magazine chock full of iconic photographs, well written and interesting articles and available in the mainstream shops boosted the hobby exponentially. No doubt like many veteran wargamers the first thirty or so issues will be re-read over and over again. And now???
I still subscribe to the magazine, simply because I occasionally find something of interest and naively I hope the hobby will be better for the Miniature Wargames existence. Yes, I am that naive. Sadly however people like David Hiscocks will come along and give that hope a bit of a kicking.
As I stated previously I dont know the guy, and he is probably a very nice person who loves his mother and is kind to animals, but like many worthies nowadays, they insist on taking to the media in all its forms feeling they have something meaningful to say that they probably believe is worthy of reading or hearing. A bit like that ginger royal fool and his jailer, stating the blatantly obvious but in a manner that is intended to make them sound profound or whatever.

 The synopsis of this months effort is basically that wargames is a place of refuge, [no shit] and basically harmless., until when it isnt. He could have left it there, but oh no, like so many people nowadays they introduce their insightful knowledge, and of course this concerns the subject beloved of politicians, experts and the media..........mental health. Apparently as he states, 'so long as we portray our hobby in a respectful manner then we should not feel guilty for enjoying our leisure activity.'
Apparently we shouldn't take the hobby too seriously, our miniatures are not hurting anyone and the majority of wargamers are very inoffensive individuals [ well that's reassuring to know, until someone picks up one of my figures and then proceeds to drop and break it, then things may get fraught. ]
But of course he cant help himself, [cue soft violin music,] 'Nevertheless,  if you are struggling to maintain your enjoyment of the hobby in light of what is happening in the Ukraine then there are a number of techniques  and strategies that can be called upon.'!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The reader is then given 'advice' [and I use that term loosely ]  on how to cope with the stress of the Ukraine war occurring whilst they attempting to remember why exactly they love wargaming. He goes on in that vein and like so many worthies nowadays, they dont know when to stop. He then offers up the sage like advice of seeking out friends in the wargaming community. Of course he also recommends that due to the upset of the war in the Ukraine,you can actually take a break from wargaming if one finds it just a little bit stressful! Wargaming that is, not the actual stomach churning with fear, Ukrainian conflict. Apparently,  [he goes on, naturally] wargaming is supposed to be a source of relaxation but it can become a source of stress because of associations with contemporary events. 

I could go on, as Mr Hiscocks does ad-infinitum, but to be honest the reader may recognise that Im just a bit underwhelmed by the whole sorry affair. TWO whole pages, for which no doubt he will have received a monetary reward   [ which I would hope he has given to some Ukrainian charity ] of NOTHING.
In a former life I was a Family Liaison Officer, trained [but never enough ] to help families deal with and handle sudden death and absolute misery. If I had used any of the suggestions offered up by Mr Hiscocks I would have been asked to leave by the survivors, and rightly so. 
 The question that keeps reverberating in my head is what sort of person thinks this drivel has any purpose to anyone, never-mind wargamers. 
Imagine if a poor Ukrainian volunteer actually read this crap?
I could understand the purpose of the upset if one has relations fighting in the Ukraine, but to honestly think that we have a right to be truly upset and unable to enjoy our hobby because a country is fighting for existence feels very, very crass and dare I say it entitled. Its not all about us, but of course it appears that certain generations believe it is, God save us from these worthies............... 
On a lighter subject I managed to complete my mounted long-bowmen for my Burgundian army and also paint up another six Garrison fantasy knights. Yes they are true 25mm but I still think they are brilliant. Tiny amounts of goodness.
Anyway, I think I've made my views known. Hopefully a quick read of some Wargamers Newsletters will bring me back to my safe place.

Monday 6 February 2023

York Wargames Show, 2023.

Yesterday was my yearly trip to the York Racecourse for their wargames show.Being the sad individual I am, I couldnt sleep the night before and arrived at the show an hour before opening. Given the trends last year I reckoned the day would be very, very busy, and for once I was right on the money. For many wargamers this would be their first show for a long while and with the added attraction of the return of the Tabletop Sale I suspected we would return to pre Covid numbers.  
The York club, in an effort to prepare things a little better allowed the first tranche of would be table toppers? an early entry into the show to allow them to be ready for opening time. I thought this a cracking idea, and thought about finding a few empty boxes to get in even earlier [ just joking]
Being number one in the queue, [yes I was that early,] I headed straight to the tabletop sale and because John was selling stuff I had been tipped off about someone selling some unpainted Brettonian archers. He wasn't wrong and I picked up a box of archers for what was effectively pennies. As I carefully trawled the tables I was surprised how few punters there were entering the room. Given past experiences I expected the area to be mobbed by 10.30. But it wasnt. 
I will try not to crow, but because of stuff I had bought I had to leave the show to take it back to my car and as I did so I realised just how long the queue was to get into the building and how slow the numbers were going down. Never one to pass up an opportunity to buy second hand stuff, I was quickly back up to the sale, and yes I ended up buying figures I didnt realise I needed.

 It became obvious that things weren't going well for the punters when I was able to find a table and settle down to the obligatory sausage sandwich without any trouble at all. Being the empathetic git I am I began to feel really sorry for the would be punters and the actual organisers as they tried to get things moving.[ honest]

I was able to have a nice chat with Charles Grant before things really became busy. After that it was into the fray bumping into various wargamers I hadnt seen for ages, and regular visits to the table top sale. Please forgive me for going on about it, but a lot of wargamers are downsizing their 'collections' and although I should be doing the same, I kept finding stuff I wanted. A special call out to the reprobates from Westerhope who bought me a cup of tea. It just shows you what persistence can do.
So what about the show. Well the trade seemed very busy although I only came away with some of the new Vallejo equivalents of the GW. Contrast range, a few expensive brushes and the new Hail Caesar rule book, which my wife was buying me for my birthday. Caliver had knocked a couple of pounds off the cost. 
And the games? Well the games were pretty good but one got the impression they were of secondary importance at the show. To be honest the show at York had been heading that way for several years and it didnt trouble me too much. I go to Newark to check out the games. York now has the feel of the old Northern Militaire in many respects, effectively a trade show with a few games to prove its about wargaming. I accept that, and for me its fine. I know others wont agree.
So did I enjoy the day? Damn right I did and for many reasons. It was great to see the place buzzing, it was great to meet up and talk about the hobby and of course the sale was a real bonus for me, as witnessed by the fact I spent way more than I intended. 

I am already looking forward to next years event.

 No doubt if one had been stood in the long queue for over an hour it may have dampened ones enthusiasm and Im certain there will be many complaints etc. Im certain the York group will sort things out but Ive got the feeling that Salute will replicate the York event, for numbers anyway.

Because I didnt take any pictures I thought one should see the latest stuff Ive been painting. Yes, old Games Workshop Space marines, for Xenos Rampant and my first batch of Garrison 25mm knights for Lion Rampant. I haven't totally lost my senses honest.
And just to prove I am still fighting historical battles, a couple of images from todays wargame involving a Roman civil war. Unfortunately John gave me a proper stuffing. The rules were the excellent Sword and Spear and gave a great game.


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