Friday, 31 January 2014

Obligatory Cancon Post ....with a touch of Impetus


Australia's biggest war games show, not big by International standards but big enough to get people travelling thousands of kilometres from all across this big red land, the wife and I only had what we consider a shortish trip and it still ran at 1100km each way!

I'll take it, does it come in red?
Not so much of a report from me but a general description although kept handy I kept the camera safely tucked away and confined myself to a quick look around at the various games (mostly comps and tourney's) and a quick rifle through the trader stands. For the most part Cancon is a chance for people to first meet up and second to play competition games. There is not a big emphasis on demo and participation games as such and as for painting....... well it took me a while to actually find the painting display (I wont insult the participants by fielding a photo of the glass fronted first aid box their lovely works were displayed in) but I guess it doesn't rank very high on the Cancon list of events. I'm not blaming the organisers it may be that people aren't overly interested in this aspect of the hobby and the Cancon people are simply reflecting that, I should add that the works on display were 1st class and personally I would like to see it given more prominence.

No trip to Cancon and the Nations Capitol is complete without paying a visit to the Australian War Memorial and Museum, looking towards the tomb of the unknown soldier
Getting back to the games as I said 1st class participation games weren't in evidence to the extent we might see at Salute for example and it is possible that the tyranny of distance has some influence on this, a grand looking table and game has to be loaded into a vehicle and then on the road for at least a full day, more likely two and the whole time you would be worrying about the durability of your terrain and of course you would have to burn through your annual leave. The games on display were well attended however and  generating plenty of interest, I carefully noted the Chain of Command game and had an interesting conversation regarding Napoleon at War. Cancon though is a comp and tourney show and a damn well behave one at that, more smiles than frowns and if there was a full blown dummy spit it didn't reach my ears. It was a perfect opportunity for me to meet up with guys I have known in an on line sense for some years and they proved to be as good a bunch of blokes in the flesh as they are digitally, what is more they were heavily into the Impetus tourney which I was very interested in. I definitely picked up on the vibe of the game and am sure to start rattling that particular cage as mentioned in my previous post though I'm not sure if ancients are my bag, I might be a dark age type ......possibly medieval not that it matters much.

Some hundreds of Perry ACW plastics, I feel a Fire and Fury Regiment or two coming on.
Of course war games shows are also a perfect opportunity to add to the pile of shame... Oooooer shiny! Avert your eyes do not get tempted by the shiny...... tooo late. I was a good boy the plastic stayed firmly in my lucy locket until the last day, by that time most of the lead mountain additives had disappeared and the credit card could be let out safely.

Aventine Romans, will need to purchase a few more to round out the haul but it is a pretty good start.
 So what did I buy, my major purchases were 2nd hand figures with the sale being organised in advance of the show and the deals finalised in the car park, exchanges of figure stuffed shoe boxes and shopping bags filled with used notes being common place, my carpark deal landed me with a shoe box full of Perry ACW plastics and a haul of Aventine republican romans. I did find a box full of Freebooter figure going at $5 a pop and being an admirer of Werner's beaut little sculpts I dived in, picked up a few of GW's new washes, Secret Weapon's birch seeds and tree stump terrainy type stuff, and a nice little angel wire saw and riffler files.

A small but tidy collection of shiny, please note the lack of figures. By the way I won the Chessex dice and GW washes!
I'll wrap up with a few photo's of the Impetus tourny, if I was to give a very brief description of what Impetus is it would probably be..... The thinking mans DBM.

And the winner is..... Ralph. That is Tarty on the right, tourney organiser and all round top bloke

Ostrogoths on the right crash into a Saxon shield wall

Ostrogoth cavalry going through the same process as above

Richard won best painted army with his Huns

Some more of those nicely painted Huns

Friday, 10 January 2014

Clearing the Decks

It is that time of the year when most of us think about new projects, old projects and those projects that probably should be sold off (more often than not to start a new layer to the pile of shame ie lead pile), I'm happy to count myself amongst "most of us" and I really do need to think about what is going what is staying and what I can hold on to for a bit longer without having to justify it's cluttering the storage areas of our simple abode to she who must be restrained.

Taking into account my previous mournful post I shall start with those projects that should go including those that are more or less finished. I find this is easier to contemplate by scale, I'm simply not up to the task of 15/18mm figures anymore, it really is a strain to paint them and I think that all of the unpainted wee chaps of that size are to go (should take some stress off of the floorboards). Lots of Nap, tons of ACW, spattering of ECW and sizeable chunk of SYW, as I mentioned with 15mm it is not a case of whether I am interested in the period anymore simply a practical consideration. Of the painted most are Naps and ACW,  the new gaming group use 15mm for Naps so I think that is the most appropriate place for them they can added to the existing collection or if surplus to requirements they will be heading to the sale yards. Hmm, the ACW is a bit of a different story I enjoyed collecting and playing with them (F&F for me) but they haven't been used for many many years so even if I was to apply the 5 year rule they would be gone, most are AB so getting rid of them shouldn't be difficult. Maybe I'll give them 12 months if they don't see action they are out, hell I should just do it now, grrrr, decisions decisions....... The Vietnam stuff is going to go a goodly collection that once again hasn't seen the light of day for some time, same with the Dacians and Byzantines both unused and need to be blooded by someone who is into that sort of thing. It really is time to say bye bye!

Moving on to 25/28mm I don't think there is anything that exists in painted form to go but there is a bit of unpainted that needs to be assessed so...

Napoleonics will remain on hold for now I just don't have any interest in painting them, beautiful Calpe figures but inspiration is low. A good set of Nap rules is what is needed here brigade or divisional level I think, Corp level rules are either too slow or too abstract in appearance and/or look so an old project that will remain in limbo.

Seven Years War is again another old project but one that is constantly evolving.  I bought a shed load of foundry Russians to use for an iNation army and that is still a goer, I bought a similar quantity of Front Rank Russians that are for ebay once painted. I have a hankering to have a go at Musket and Thomas Hawks and that is the real mover for me this year and a project to be kicked along. I'm looking forward to the new Fife and Drum kickstarter AWI figures this year but as far as racing to get them painted they will probably take a ticket and wait to be called I will concentrate on the FIW first. So a limbo iNation project, no real plans so far for the SYW proper despite always having figures to be painted so again in limbo, sleeper AWI project and 2 movers one in regards to FIW and a painting for ebay project.

Being realistic the limbo projects wont get touched, the sleeper might get touched and the two mover projects ......might get finished, I'll mark the FIW as a definite must do project.  I also have a hankering for the WSS and have a handful of Ebor miniatures which I find very appealing but I don't have any real desire to paint them, are they keepers? .....yep, not exactly in limbo perhaps we should call it delta sleep, rules are once again the real blocker here.

ACW, this is a new one for me in 28mm, I have just brokered a deal (with some help) for some plastic 28mm figures and I picked up F&F Regimental rules at the end of last year, whether I finish enough for a meaningful game is open to debate but it is a mover project.

Ancients, another new venture. I may have painted a Dacian army in 15mm but it was never used *sigh* so time to have another crack at it in 28mm. Again a deal for some figures was brokered and I have landed a haul of Aventine Miniatures which I had originally been commissioned to paint. The owner is now going OS for work and is having a proper figure cull (like the bunny), a complete sell off of the pile of shame along with completely finished armies. I admire his resolve as well as his Aventine Republican Romans ;-) A mover Project this one.

So there we have it ACW for F&F regimental, Paint for ebay SYW,  FIW for Muskets and Thomas Hawks and Republican Romans for rules TBA. An almost achievable, modest set of goals and no I wont be keeping score on the blog, I cant handle that sort of pressure! Of interest it seems to be rules that drive my projects, worth thinking about

A rather pleasing project is some remodelling with the house and shed which will include a man cave cum gaming room in the house and some space for terrain construction and small workshop in the garage, this project is a mover but it will be completely finished by the end of the year? I think not, funding may interfere as we are aiming high on this project,  time will tell,

I do have one more very large project to kick the year off but as it is still in the early stages and requires some dedication both in planning and execution I will pass on bringing it into daylight just for the minute.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Chritmas New Year and all that Jazz

Be warned, as it was with last years round up this round up will be peppered with Santa's helpers from the bordello's of the north pole, if your PC about bums and breasts push off and do your knitting somewhere else princess alternatively grow a pair and read on. I'm making this an annal annual round up theme.

On with Christmas New Year and all that Jazz, hope yours were what you expected and you all ate too much, drank too much and had lots of Nana naps in the afternoon, oh, and enjoyed the cricket as thoroughly as I did! (yanks can talk about the biscuitball or something) As you all know by now from my rather dull postings 2013 involved a bit of hospital time and some snipping of unneeded and unhealthy giblets from moi, enough said on that front.

Mrs Santa's sister!

Along with the surgeon redecorating my internals the year also saw me pulling my finger out of my fundamental orifice and instigating some much needed changes on the lifestyle front, again it makes for boring reading but I'm rather proud that I managed to loose some 20 odd kilos of surplus me (not counting the bits the saw bones done away with) and continue to trend down.

Were you naughty or just plain bad?
As far as painting went there was very little done, as evidenced by the rather desultory posting on the subject. Not much to write about then is there dear reader, piffle, one or two things have come to mind. 

Whilst whiling away the hours in the 'ospital or at home between visits much thinking about "my version" of "the hobby" (to be referred to as "my hobby" hence forth) both painting and gaming, in fact all aspects was thunked. Books and magazines read and most importantly a decision or four made.  Decisions about how I want to interact with war gaming and war gamers, no more faffing about, do I keep at it, give some of it away maybe give it away altogether and take up golf or pocket billiards. Actually I hate golf and as you continue deeper into this diatribe one thing will become obvious.... I'm also becoming weary of time wasting both human and material, it wears me as never before. 

An example, in 2012 I met up with a group who were starting an 1814 campaign,  I remember my first visit well we were to play a practise game to familiarise everyone with the rules before the campaign was due to start,  the next week was out as it was the hosts sons birthday so we will meet up the week after, fantastic! They were and remain great guys with some great toys, a great table and war games room and a most convivial hostess, a real doll always with the fresh baked goodies. It really was great piled upon great so why am I citing this as an example of the down side of "my hobby"? I turned up to play a practise game for the 1814 campaign, none of the guys the game was set up for were there and it was exactly 12 months later, "we wont be gaming next week as it is my sons birthday" the host pointed out So after exactly12 months of faffing about with practise games and false starts we were no further into the campaign than the day I turned up! Was it time wasted, no not from a purely social point of view and I enjoyed meeting a new group of guys, did we achieve what was set out to be achieved, no. I love campaign gaming, the strategic is a real plus to my mind rather than just concentrating on table top tactics, tactics often dictated by officiousness of rules particularly when rules are being exploited for gaps over history. I think it is this example more than anything else that has prompted me to reexamine where I intended to go with "my hobby". Actually I hate golf did I mention that?

To reexamine questions needed to be asked and conveniently my noggin would ask them around morphine time and the most asked question was pretty basic, does war gaming still inspire me? In all honesty the answer was not a complete surprise, no not really, gaming interests me as a past time but inspire..... no not that much any more. Was this due to the example quoted above or the drugs or possibly a bit of both? Well to a certain extent example A above and the drugs may played their part but not overriding by any means, as you will read later it really is a combination of factors.  

The other question that kept bugging me was "what about painting then paintpig how do your feel about that"? Straight up, I still enjoy it and I still get a buzz from reading about and seeing new ideas and techniques and hopefully improving my own painting (not so sure how that is going to happen as my sight has suffered), so "yeah that is still fun but I feel a bit bogged down when I'm painting bits for an army it doesn't seem as enjoyable as it once was" my brain would answer to itself

Now an explanation may be needed here as some of you may not see painting as a separate hobby, believe me when I say that it is a very vast hobby with some glitzy comps and nice monetary rewards to go with them. There were many years where I had drifted from war gaming, due to work and location, and contented myself with painting and I still see it as a separate hobby from gaming.

A third question would surface from time to time, once again very simple, "watcha going to do about this war gaming nonsense then then?" It was roughly around third question time a pretty nurse would walk in and distract me or if I was at home I would tell my mind to shut the f-bomb up and let me get some rest.
I saw mummy kissing Santa Clause
So having posed the questions it became apparent that some more thinking required to be thunked and thunked it was. So with my 1814 example above as a starting point I started to examine just what I was spending my time and money on in pursuit of "my hobby" and whether it really was satisfying or at least motivating me. I started with what was a pretty obvious element first, magazines, for the first time I actually confronted what had been sitting in the back of my mind for quite some time. For me they have just about become a complete waste of time all they seem to do is deprive birds of a home (we don't have squirrels so no comment on that score and most of the possums in my suburb seem to be living in our roof) they should go completely tablet or pdf or what have you and leave the trees standing.  I was hoping that this think was based on jaded-ness-ess until I went through some old copies of WI, MW, PW and Miniature Modeller and found myself reading them from cover to cover, something I can't say about the latest crop of war gaming periodicals. Of the latest offerings WS&S makes the grade for me but the rest are rather dull... I'm simply not finding any inspiration there. 

As a time saving device lets talk forums next as I find they sort of tie in with magazines. OK then that is enough about forums particularly that forum, yep I'll be letting my supporting membership lapse, far too much sycophantic yap from the cadre and not enough hobby from the enthusiasts. Sure I will still visit but very selectively no more time wasting. (for what it is worth WAMP is worth a visit if your into uber painting as is Steve Deans Forum and LAF for gamers)

Chief of Santas helpers

A tricky think next, figures, and I must tread lightly here. Dear reader I speak only for myself but to be honest I don't find much inspiration here either and before the cacophony of "Perry" or like ilk is screamed in my direction let me explain. I find a good deal of today's figures rather sanitised and far too..... errr... samey (it's a word). What is more they all seem to be painted the same, I cant intill intelech interlecjerl explain it more gooder. More and more figures are looking the same and they seem to be painted the same and maybe, just maybe this is what I find troubling about the magazines too. All the photo's from various articles show the pretty much the same thing the adds show the same thing as the articles etc etc. Sure imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but, you know? Once again not much to be inspired with, notable exceptions for me are Ebor WSS and now the GNW figures, umm, Oniara's offerings too although not exactly war game figures they are historical and they have expression and movement, hmm, there are others... I'll come back to this. Of note for me is just how appealing the re released older Foundry figures are, very odd.

I bags unwrapping this pressie
With figures out of the way I should expand on painting and my thinking on that score is, nough said. Painting is a very personal thing but maybe, just maybe there is something more than the 3-5 five step/tone that seems to dominate, yeah sure I play with it myself but I doubt you will find too many examples. Think about painting to your strengths not what the magazines and adverts tend to dictate. Why be samey (it is still a word), experiment, a bit of dettol will soon fix that fizzer! There's always something inspirational about painting and it's time well spent.

What about rules then ol'boy, dead easy this one. I don't think they can be dumbed down any further! Explain? No, once again it is a personal thing but I'm sensing that being interested in a period to game no longer requires an understanding of the period. Are there any new rules about that would make me rush out and get into a new period or renew an old acquaintance, I didn't find/buy any over the last 12 months, not yet least ways. I'm a confessed rules junky, I buy plenty and read them from cover to cover for new ideas in mechanics and abstraction, I test all, play some and get very disappointed with the majority. Once again it's time and money down the gurgler.

Load master, making sure everything is tied down and secure
And so I will finish finally gaming itself, where does gaming and I stand, is it a love hate relationship, cant live with it cant live without it? No nothing so obvious as that I can live just as easily with it as I can without it and no need to call the men in white coats to come round with the big bus either, I questioned myself found I wasn't altogether happy with the answers and broke down "my hobby" into sections to see where I could make changes and then foolishly decided to bore you all with a general summary of what got thunked it may seem a bit negative on the surface but not all is doom and gloom in my little bubble,  "and what conclusions did you reach" I hear you ask? Well if you read the text instead of ogling the lovelies you would have noted that Dave is now saving money on magazines, forum subscriptions, rules and the shiny (well some shiny at least, lets not get carried away here) and something much more precious than money, time. Why waste time on the things that don't inspire you, you may well find that my conclusions are complete nonsense but you cant argue with the fact that if there is some aspect of "your hobby" that doesn't inspire don't waste time on it search for those nuggets that do inspire you.

Mrs Santa.... mm mmmmm

Blogs, no I didn't forget them I was saving this bit. It didn't take much thinking at all to come to the conclusion that I find reading all your wonderful bogs exciting well worth the time and more often than not very inspirational, yeah I don't comment very often (man of few words usually) and no I don't have all of them in my blog list (a quick look at my profile will give you some idea of how many I scan) but I do enjoy sitting down at google reader and seeing what you are all up to. So I'll wrap up wishing you all a very happy new year and I hope you had a.....

Santa's Team of helpers, awesome!