Friday, 3 June 2016

Time I Got Back Into Historical Gaming

Well, it's been over two years since I parted company with Sheffield Wargames Society, being named by one of the Old Guard as 'The Most Destructive Thing To Happen To SWS In 40 Years'.

Quite some feat, but I think I have been surpassed this year...

Anyway, I've been pretty much avoiding historical gaming for the most part. Model railroads and fantasy gaming have been foremost in my mind and heart, but now I think I fancy some historical gaming again after one of my fortnightly gaming colleagues simply said 'Bolt Action' last weekend.

I and another of those seated around the table (we were playing Ravenloft by WOTC at the time) raised our eyebrows, we mooted, we rolled dice, we mooted some more. And then by the end of the evening we had all pretty much decided that we'd give it a go.

Bolt Action revolves around reinforced platoons and kampfgruppe type of formations across all theatres of WW2. The scale of choice is 28mm and the games are fairly dynamic. The focus is very much on the infantry and thus armoured vehicles and artillery are kept to a minimum and games are generally scenario driven.

Now, this decision was well timed, because frankly, being a painter Monday to Friday leaves me with little enthusiasm for painting anything for personal use. In fact I sometimes wonder if, after the whole SWS bollocks, I am still a gamer. Certainly, if I am I am not the same type of 'play anything', 'buy anything' gamer I was for 35 years previously.

I certainly would rather work on a railroad layout, see a band or simply listen to the radio with a glass of decent red wine. I have been to one show this year, which will increase to two in August when we make the annual social visit to Britcon in Manchester. We all love the show and the venue is pleasing, the catering good. And what's more there is a bring and buy - and it's not run by traders!

A friend of mine from the wrong side of the Pennines swears by Bolt Action and plays in various competitions with some success. He's a veteran gamer, and so I take his opinions rather seriously (I do however, draw the line at his repair of a lost filling with Miliput at a show in the 80s).

This week I have cleared out 75% of my fantasy art collection, sold all but a handful of my fantasy figures, and decided that unless it's already painted or 6mm, then I will be damned if I pick up a brush to paint anything from scratch for myself.

With that in mind, I turned to eBay to find a nice little starter force of 1000 pts or so. I had elected to play Germans in African games and likewise in early European themed games, my mate actually already having a Russian mass to select his Red Menace from. Late war in Europe, I am as yet undecided, but will not go with German.

Anyway, I found a rather nice core Afrika Korps force on eBay which I picked up for £108.00 which with a tank, a recce element and some soft skins, will be just the ticket.

As you can see, it's tidy and carries the 'mood' of Rommel's chaps really nicely:

The day after, the first of my fantasy stuff sold, and thus the costs of the army were covered.

Then, last night I was on a well known social media site, when I saw a rather nice early war German army being offered. It was well in excess of 2000 pts and so, I enquired with the seller, who, was mainly looking for trades, if he had a cash price in mind.

He did, and so I parted with £220 including postage, rulebook, two source books and the order dice required, and got this:

As you can see, it's a veritable bargain, and although I had promised I was not buying anything for two months to allow me to recoup the king's ransom, paid for my latest model railroad layout, at that price it was a no-brainer.

Then, this afternoon, a collector over the pond purchased my fantasy art, lock, stock and barrel, so I  was able to cover the cost of the army and pretty much pay for the layout, which was nice.

I want to make a couple of cosmetic 'tweaks' to both forces, but they are nice and do the job wonderfully. Now, I'll take a breather from buying until Britcon where I'll look for a late European theatre force of some type, and maybe a few cheeky Fallschirmjager if I can find anybody selling them ready painted.

The hunt for a new house continues, with a couple of rural properties crying out to us. We are looking for something about 50% larger than our current three floor three bedroomed number, and so although there are a few coming up in the crosshairs, none are quirky enough for our tastes, or commanding the views we would ideally like to have. This has led to many a late night of late, which, as I am recovering from the damaged disc last weekend, has taken it's toll.

After a viewing last night we made it home, ate a meal and lo' it was 23:58... And to cap that off, one of the pack of terriers we keep at the Dark Tower, decided to waken master at 5AM to go widdles. Thus it was that I found myself at my desk by 6.05!

Last weekend, I spent a day or so completing a commission of sorts for a one of a dear couple whom we have known for 20 years or so, but who we see infrequently, living as we do, at opposite ends of this scepter'd isle. I was feeling bloody rough, but I had made a promise and I am a man of my word, with people I am very close to. So, loaded to the gils on amitriptylene, propranolol and numerous pain killers I painted the Micro Art Studios models of Greebo in cat and human form (Greebo is as you may know, the cat of Nanny Ogg, in several of Terry Pratchett's books).

I used the wonderful illustrations of Paul Kidby as reference, and I think I captured him rather well:

Despite not being 100% health-wise, I got a real rush; doubly so when Charlotte presented Kev with it today, his birthday.

I am not by nature a 'good' person, it is said, so the warmth I felt was both sincere and satisfying.

As a point of note, the Jack O' Lantern was my own addition. It sets the scene for the figure, which is based on the adventures of the three witches in Genua, a place of swamps, voodoo and vile politics. Moreover, it is doubly symbolic as Kev and Charlotte were married on Hallowe'en a few years ago, and although they made it a low key and private affair, they sent Kayte and I a lovely card with a heartfelt message inside. The card bore an illustration of a pumpkin... 

And with that I shall leave you to whatever plans you have for this weekend, noting in passing that the mysterious 'spike' of visitors on Wednesday evenings, continues. I don't know why exactly, but I do have an idea.



  1. The spike is a referral spam robot that's been doing the rounds. I've seen several other wargaming blogs doing the rounds, and I've had the same problem.

    Personally, I'm waiting for the weird war Bolt Action thing (Konflikt '49?) that's coming out soon, because I like the idea of Tommy-Robots and the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard fighting off a German invasion force...

    1. It's more sinister than that...

      It's very, very sinister...

      So sinister I can't even think of it after sunset.



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