Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Saturday, October 21, 2023

First figures painted in five years

There is a minor celebration underway at house Prufrock - we have painted out first figures for, as the title suggests, five years. It doesn't seem that long, but it is. 

Anyway, the figures are from the Fighting 15s (old Black Hat) Punic Wars range: their Carthaginian elephants and crew. 

The painting is a bit rough, and although I have glasses now, four years working with computers eight hours a day has taken its toll, and I just don't see the detail as well as I used to. These photos do show me that washes are going to have to be even more of a friend than they have been previously! I might also have to look at contrast paints. I can still 'paint between the lines' but I don't see well enough to highlight in a way that is not blobby. That may improve with practice, but definitely some technical adjustments are in order. 

Anyway, I'm glad to say the duck has been broken, and I will now have enough Carthaginian elephants to be able to stage Bagradas in Lost Battles. 

The next picture really shows the 'blobbiness' of the face highlight I did post-magic wash. I will be able to improve this by adding another wash to bring out the detail. Possibly more damning, it also shows my failure to properly file off the seams in the models, which I will have to watch out for in future.

And a comparison to a Chariot 15 Hellenistic jumbo painted some years ago. Size works well, but you can see the difference in the painting. The old painting was not especially good, but the more recent ones are clearly less carefully done.

But, to be honest, I don't really mind. Given that my painting output has been zero for as long as it has (and for a while I wondered if I would actually paint anything again at all), I'm just pleased to be back on the horse - or elephant, if you prefer.

While I was rummaging around I also tidied up a few other figures that had lost shields or spears in the move over to New Zealand. My next plan is to look at the Numidian horse and bring those bases up to standard. I painted them a very long time ago and they never got a coat of varnish. Some paint has flaked off, and the mixture of matt, satin and gloss finishes from the various paints used is not very pleasing. The idea is to patch them up a bit, give them a bit of the magic wash, and then hit them with a matt spray. 

As for what's after that, we'll see what happens. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

If I could turn back time...

JWH, in his Heretical Gaming blog, recently put up a post - inspired by the late great Peter Young - on the advice he would give to a wargamer just starting out. It is a post worth reading and as an added bonus leads naturally to a person wanting to put up something of their own on the same topic.  

So what would I tell a younger person starting out on their wargaming adventures?

1) Do what you enjoy. Obvious, but harder to keep to than you'd think. There are times when a person buys into something for some other reason: because it's good value; because you feel you should; because you make a plan with another gamer or group; because it might be good for a rainy day. You really don't want to waste time and energy into armies or periods or rules that you won't enjoy. Life is too short.

2) Build both sides. Wargaming is often a solitary activity, so don't be reliant on others. People move; people get busy. Keep your independence. Make sure that you can use those figures solo.

3) Expand on what you have. Easy when you play ancients or WWII, but it applies to other periods too. Why build Romans and Britons in 2mm when you already have part of what you need in 15mm? If you have Carthaginians, you're not far off being able to field an army of Spanish, Gauls, or Numidians. Have Marian Romans? Build a few more units of legionaries and you'll be able to play out Roman civil wars till the end of your days. But see point 1 - choose your expansions wisely!

4) Make wargaming friends who know more than you. I was fortunate enough to make the acquaintance early on of a couple of grizzled wargame veterans. They show you the standard, give you good practical advice, and help remove mental obstacles. Invaluable.  

5) Get things while you can. You have to be sensible (well, maybe not all of us!), but work on the principle of get what you need when it's available. Vendors close down, lines disappear, prices go up, and personal circumstances change. If you can afford to get what you need now, do it. You can paint at your leisure, but you may not be able to pick up 240 Macedonian phalangites from that manufacturer at that price ever again...

6) Push yourself to paint hard while your eyes are good. Once they go, you'll wish you had painted more when it was easy!

7) Invest in making your table look good. You can have the loveliest armies in the world, but they only look as good as the terrain they are situated in.

8) Be as consistent as you can with your basing and painting styles. Try to do things in such a way that what you produce now will work with what you will produce in ten years.  

9) Find some board games you like. They are easy to set up (provided you have some space around the home) and they offer a different perspective. You can game when you don't feel inspired, they are portable, and they are a great way to introduce non-gaming friends to the hobby. 

10) Take things seriously, but not too much. You need a certain amount of fire and motivation to get projects underway and finished, but we're only playing with toy soldiers. It's not worth making enemies over and some of those rants a person can go off on don't always look so righteous five years down the track!

11) It's a big hobby. You will have times when you're on for certain aspects of it and times when you're not. Make the most of it all - writing, blogging, rules-writing, painting, researching, playing, youtubing, terrain-building, podcasting, and whatever else. Enjoy the variety and don't stress when you're having a fallow period.

12) Be aware that your gaming will go through different phases. Life will intrude. You will have times when there are funds to use and times when there are not. Use the former to help you get through the latter!

13) Have a big idea to work towards. 

14) Have fun!

Thanks for the inspiration JWH (and many others at different times), and anyone reading please feel free to add comments or link below to your own takes on this.

Cheers, and hobby on!

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