Thursday, 8 October 2015

It's Been A Long Time...

It's been a long time since I posted to this blog.

I've been busy with orders for my clients, working double shifts to let me have 17 days off in November. Whilst all of my clients are happy for me to have a holiday, I don't see why they should suffer from a lack of my talents whilst I do so.

And of course, with recent news, I've been been really soul searching about what I want from my hobbies, what is relevant to me with regards to my hobbies and what is a waste of my time.

Wargaming is becoming for me, something of an irrelevance. I spend all my days painting for others, and as I have mentioned in previous posts, the last thing I really want to do is spend my weekends painting some more.

The club scene for me is fucked... I know, I know... There are other clubs in the area, but in what appears to be wargames Stockholm syndrome, I'm never going to settle elsewhere. I confess that whilst I have not played any part in my old club for well over a year in any way, the rumours I hear reinforce that my previous commentary was well founded. What I find truly amazing is that people who protested loudly about hypocrisy and wanted nothing to do with me, still buttonhole me at shows. Look, you think I am your personal fucking Great Satan of gaming - fine. I try not to force my company on you, so, do me the same fucking courtesy.

I have been to several shows this year and frankly, they do not offer me anything that I cannot get cheaper online. Often traders don't carry what I want and have to mail it out, anyway. Thus, why spend time and money of travel, entrance and piss poor catering?

Don't kid yourself that shows are something wondrful. Some of course are, but they are the exception rather than the rule and are usually run by people with the foresight to see that the hobby is evolving, that traders are not idiots as some would posit and that no matter whether your tastes are grenadiers or goblins they are equally relevant in the big picture. At the end of the day it's all about people playing with tiny toy soldiers, pretending to 'kill' other tiny toy soldiers. The only show that has been fun this year has been Vapnartak at York and on a social level perhaps Britcon. I did not bother with Triples or Derby and whilst I attended the first Partizan (which was piss poor) I attended the second only because I had to, staying for no more than an hour - Look, if I wanted to have to wear a head lamp to see where I was going at a show, I'd organise one myself in Peak Cavern. Actually, I saw several traders/attendees who really were wearing thos head mounted lamps at the second Partizan.

The Oldhammer movement is starting to look a bit stretched and I can see some internecine warfare in there. Pre- slotta goblin barrages will be exchanged between those who 'were there' and those Millenial Hipsters who think that buying a load of old figures makes up for it. If you weren't there - Get over it and move on. It's not your fault that you were not born into the greatest era of gaming there has ever been or will ever be. Back to your artisan beers and breads, the lot of you...

I've been to a few model railway shows this year and have found them to be well run, engaging and vibrant. Now, it goes without saying that wargaming is a piss in the ocean compared to the model railway hobby, nonetheless the innovation and engagement with the paying public by traders and exhibitors - with a few exceptions - is really refreshing.

Speak to model railway clubs and they would generally really love to attend a wargames event, but suggest the same to gamers and they go into a huff in many instances, plumping themselves up at the notion of sharing their serious, research based hobby with something as trivial as a hobby where grown men play with toys. Go figure...

I just this week sold the last of my figures and began the sorting and offering for sale of my fantasy and sci-fi art books. I am looking at about an 80% 'cull' of those. My board games are staying and I have actually pre-ordered 'Beyond The Gates Of Antares' by Warlord Games - a 28mm 'hard' sci-fi game with rules based on the great 'Bolt Action' system. The feel and buzz is very 'old school' with modern production standards. The starter set is £70 but boy, do you get a lot for your money. What's more, it's all done to a very high standard.

The first of my two model railways arrived and has been wired up and the first modifications are under way in the shape of the removal of cardboard buildings and their replacement with PECO and Ratio plastic kits. I think I can safely say that I have done more on this in a month than I have on wargames projects in the last 5 years.

The layout I am working on is a small yard in the early 80s in OO scale. Hopefully I'll receive the other at the end of October. That one will be N scale depicting an area of small town America in the 80s somewhere in the Illinois area.

I took delivery this week of the first 13 buildings by Woodland Scenics, which whilst not cheap, are wonderfully detailed. I also ordered  a couple of DCC fitted Norfolk Southern locos and about 2 metres of box cars, all with different running numbers.

You may have already noticed my enthusiasm.

Well, it's 7:50 as I write this and I am already two hours into my working day. The stuff I was waiting on is now dry, so I will bid you farewell for the present.



  1. For all the grumpiness, this post has actually crystalised some thoughts in my head that have been swirling about for a bit - particularly relating to Oldhammer.

    I just missed the end of the classic period of Warhammer - buying the books of 3rd edition but not getting more than a handful of figures together before 4th came out with it's plastic monopose starter set.

    So for me, sure, a good deal of "Oldhammer" is about what I missed - primarily daydreams as a kid of the stuff I'd have done if I had the time / money / skill.

    But with the revival of interest, you need to invest either time or money into hunting down 'authentic' figures. I don't have the time, and the 'Oldhammer' scene isn't my only expensive vice, so I'm not able to prioritise enough money to cover that either.

    The important thing, really, is to have fun with what you've got. There were things I couldn't afford then - there are things I can't afford now. I was out of the wargaming hobby for several years while I did a ton of LARP, because I couldn't afford both - now I'm LARPing less and collecting miniatures more again.

    What people are saying when they say "you're doing that wrong" is far more "I wouldn't enjoy that" or "that's not to my taste". I really don't understand people who push on with a hobby that they're actually not enjoying and is making them sad / angry. That's not to say I didn't do that myself at times, but I still really don't understand what was going on in my own head when I was doing that.

    You seem to be doing the right thing - getting away from toxic people and unenjoyable environments. I hope you enjoy Gates of Antares and the model railway stuff - I'd kind of hope to perhaps see some pictures on your blog of some WiP and maybe some finished product? Good luck with it!

    1. Some good points in there. For me, if you are a an events organiser you should do your BEST to engage with as many elements of the subject, as possible. Now, I can say that I am interested in every kind of game ( I owned a games store and before that I was a member or guest of at least 5 games clubs covering every facet) and I am plugged into the grapevine and scuttlebutt. Worse still I often get buttonholed at shows and asked about stuff that really should be aimed at other people, because I have always attempted to get the real story, stripped down and with sources.

      Now, I acted to remove myself from a toxic environment (it was hard, it affected my health and emotions, but it was worth it in the long run) but what I really cannot understand is why members of this or that, are happy to discuss things with me or even just have a good old rant about things they don't like.

      Why they cannot use the democratic process of the group they belong to to change things or decide to simply not give their money to something the claim not to like or agree with is beyond me.

      A few times when I pointed this out I was told plainly 'There will be repercussions'...


      I assume that most people played games before joining a group, so why can't they do it again?


      Yeah OK, in my case there was a lot of slagging off and a few phone calls, but generally what are 'they' going to do to you? Tear up your QR sheet? Take a hammer to your dice?

      Fuck 'em!

      Your own wellbeing and happiness is what counts.

      I have calculated that I have probably spent 6K less this year alone which would have gone back into the hobby on bring and buys or to two or three traders, mostly in May which is my 'big splurge' month, traditionally. I have bought some stuff, I confess but I am trying to point out that people become disenfranchised can collectively impact any hobby or interest.


Leave your praise and vitriolic commentary here...