Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Taking the Pledge

What wargamer doesn't buy more models than he paints I ask you? The smart wargamer does!

Now, am I a smart wargamer? Well probably not in the past, but last year I certainly restrained myself on the model buying front to some extent. As from the end of July I knew I was going abroad for six months, and had to put my life into storage. Nevertheless I bought several hundred plastic Samurai, not to mention various 28mm figures. Even with my best efforts I doubt I out-painted that lot. I ended up with less models mainly as a consequence of selling a number of them.

Now this year I return to gaming and find a "painting pledge" running on one of my favoured forums. The idea is simple, aim to paint one figure for every one you buy. Well I have plenty of unpainted lead and plastic awaiting my attention so it seemed like the right time to start.

As it happens I have bought all of 3 figures this year, which is perhaps a bad start, as it only adds to the pile; but one of the first things I did on moving house was set up a small portable painting desk in a corner of the living room - one that could be put away each night so as not to be an eyesore. As ever, putting it within sight of the TV and the wife(!) ensures I can paint when I feel like it without being accused of being antisocial; a key factor to high output. The next thing was, for both painting an gaming sake, to retrieve a selection of armies from my brother's loft.

That achieved I could at the start of June get down to painting. To date I've finished 44 figures.

Not bad going, eh.

I started small with the free Roman Legionary from Wargames Illustrated. A fine little chap that only needed a few colours to do. I backed this up with a unit of 25/28mm Frankish cavalry for my Ottonians. 8 of the chaps. Now these did not prove all that satisfying, although they finished up nicely enough, the mixture of dull, randomised shades of browns, reds and greys, finished off with a grim looking black wash was, whilst undeniably authentic looking; ugly.

I wanted to do pretty and dare one say slightly cartoonish. So there was only one thing for it. Out with the Dwarfs.

Yes, the damn things had taken up space that could have been more sensibly invested in a few more clothes when I took them to France. But now they really could get themselves painted and earn their keep. To date two units, totalling 35 of them are completed, using a three layer highlighting process, uniforms (with a slight Marlburian hint about them) and autumn themed bases. Photo’s as proof when I have them. The plastic Dwarfs are a breeze to paint too; detail is easy to pick out whilst surfaces are otherwise pleasingly clean.

So for this month so far I am 44 for 3; which represents good odds, moreover another unit is on the table, and if I can maintain the pace, I could have and entire 2000 point Dwarf army ready in around 6 weeks. Which when you only have a handful of armies to hand, is no bad thing!

Here’s to keeping my pledge.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Where am I going now?

Well, I'm now back in 'Glorious' Bradford; and once again find myself hunting for a wargame club to help pass the time. Harrogate sadly proved to be just too far away from my new, five star executive rabbit hutch of an apartment; on the opposite side of town. It's a shame as I really liked the atmosphere at their club but a one hour drive each way is unacceptable for me.

So the next option was Leeds; my old haunt being first stop. Now this highlighted a regular problem with the club, there were three games going on, but none appealed (Gulf war insurgency game, DBA Doubles and some old GW boardgame). Secondly it was hard to arrange anything I would like; I find the players can be a little indifferent to the idea of actually playing a game, with figures, to a conclusion. I don't mean to sound critical, but after the six months I've been away, and knowing I may well go again at the drop of a hat; when I'm in Britain now I want to be actually gaming, not just talking about games, or the rugby or Indiana Jones or...

With that in mind I took a chance on yet another Leeds club, just up the road from my old one; who I hasten to add I will still be a regular (if less frequent) visitor to. This one being the Leeds Nightowls; an ostensibly fantasy gaming community, with a growing slice of historical gamers.

Remarkably, I was able to arrange a game on my first visit; thanks to the club's natty web forum. My game was a Historical WW2 match up using Westwind's Secrets of the Third Reich rules (more on these in a later post, when I can get photo's up). And an enjoyable experience it was too. Enough that I arranged a second game for their Sunday session. Where I was able to get a decent little chat with some of the clubs historical gamers too.

Two of the best points in favour of the place are that it is busy (both sessions had at least six games going on and a good twenty or more in attendance); and has a 'You bring it and we'll play it' attitude to games.

Still, at a thirty five minute drive each way, it's still not ideal; though certainly pretty good. My last option is the Halifax club, the Pennine Raiders. Now I don't know anything about these guys, except that their big on Fantasy gaming and about fifteen minutes from my door. The problem is they clash with the other club nights. So; do you go with what you know, and endure the cost and stress of the longer drives? Or try somewhere new?...

Choices, choices; as they say.

In other news; The internet is still very much an unknown land at home, so no photo's as yet; by the time I get to those there'll be lots to post that I'm sure of. So please, stick around!