Thursday, 21 November 2019

Imaginations in 42 mm (14)

After a hiatus, I decided to start painting a new unit for the Imaginations in 42mm project.

Over the years, I have bought up quite a lot of old toy soldiers through 2nd hand sites. Sometimes this is a ragtag collection of all sorts of strange figures, sometimes they fit together with figures from another lot, etc. Since my units are only 4 strong for cavalry, and 8 for infantry, it is not too difficult to compose coherent units.

One unit on the painting table now is this group of 4 flat cavalry figures. I prefer not to clean them up too throughly, since I want some of the characteristics of the old figure - including imperfections and the original colour scheme - to show through. I already painted the helmets in a new bronze, and their tunics in blue (they were blue, only a shiny blue with a white sash), when I realized I had to take a picture of their original condition. So here they are, although already handled a bit ;-) I also prefer to keep the original colour scheme as much as possible, since I feel you have to "respect" the toy soldier, and leave him in his intended state as much as possible. But that doesn't mean they will not get repainted completely, it simply means I respect the original colours as much as possible.

I have no idea of the original manufacturer, but I suspect they are not too old. They might even have been promotional figures. Judging by the glossy paints, they were probably repainted at some time during the last decades, but I am not entirely sure.

Saturday, 16 November 2019

Wet Paint: Thirty Years' War musketeers

These are 6 Warlord Games Thirty Years' War musketeers, just off the painting table:

They are going to be part of the Yellow Brigade of Gustavus Adolphus' army, whose other figures have been languishing in the 'painted but awaiting completion' box for a very long time now. I brought them out for a group shot just for fun:

The new musketeers will be joined by another 6 in firing poses so I can make up two more stands of shot. I can then use the full brigade as two units (of 2 pike / 2 shot) or make one big pike block with two wide shot sleeves.

I am using new paint recipes for the new paint jobs, as I switched from Foundry to Vallejo paints again. As a result the new figures look a bit brighter than the ones painted earlier, probably because the Foundry highlight paints might be the base colour with white added, so their saturation goes down. I'm not going to be bothered about this, though - let's assume these are new recruits with less campaign weather beaten clothes :)

Friday, 15 November 2019

Crisis 2019 Pictures (2)

More Crisis 2019 pictures, this time from fellow wargamer Eddy Sterckx.

Our own Arnhem game:

Other games:

And again our own Arnhem game:

Monday, 11 November 2019

Crisis 2019: Impressions

For pictures, see here
For my loot, see here

Another Crisis went by, and as usual, it provides an opportunity to write down a few observations on the hobby and my own opinion about the state of affairs. These are of course entirely subjective. It's also interesting to reread my impressions from last year, most of them which still hold ;-)
  • As has been the case for many years, the show is very well organized. An event of this size takes a good team and Tin Soldiers Antwerp again have done an excellent job.
  • It seemed there were fewer visitors compared to last year. I have no idea what the actual numbers say, but there simply seemed less of a crowd. Other visitors I talked to had the same impression as well. But perhaps this is due to the fact that visitors tend to spend less time at the con, and hence, everyone is more spread out over the entire day.
  • There is a definite "Crisis reek": the catering-service provides a fatty-hamburger-smell in Hall 1, while in Hall 2 the smell is dominated by MDF buildings. It was the first year I felt the MDF smell was very pronounced.
  • As I observed last year, it becomes more and more difficult to engage visitors at the gaming tables. Many visitors simply want to take pictures and move on, and most quickly pass by. The trend of CRISIS becoming a shopping mall is reinforced, but again this is a subjective impression.
  • As for the games themselves, there is a certain "sameness" setting in. All games look very similar, and none of the games struck me with a big "WOW" experience. Perhaps we are getting spoiled, but I think it might have to do with the continuing evolution of wargaming becoming more a consumer rather than a DIY-hobby. With DIY-games, there's always a level of being unique, but with more and more games being in scripted formats, it's harder to see the wargamer who presents his own never-before-seen-game and his own unique take on the hobby. We did a WW2 game this year, and one conversation I had illustrates this trend: one visitor was surprised we mixed and matched figures, vehicles and buildings from all sorts of different manufacturers, and that we sort of winged it when it came down to rules. That was not really a proper wargame, in his opinion. He felt we should strictly adhere to a given ruleset, and only use figures designed for that ruleset. Remember we are talking about a generic period such as WW2!
  • Perhaps it's just me getting old, but there are more and more "systems" and "settings" I am totally unfamiliar with. I am subscribed to Miniature Wargames and Wargames Soldiers & Strategy, but even then, there are games being sold (and being played) that I had never seen before. Now, you might say this is a good thing, but these games are set in settings and worlds that don't appeal to me at all. Weird fantasy settings, strange scifi universes, ... invented only to serve as a gaming universe. I do like fantasy and scifi wargaming, but I always felt the settings should be grounded in literature, movies, or common fandom. Now the games are becoming more and more self-referential.
  • Strolling through the 2nd hand market, but also browsing some of the trade stalls, also made me a little sad seeing all those miniatures from yesteryear piled up, without anyone still showing an interest. Sometimes these are even the "shiny and new ranges" from only 5 or 10 years ago. Many in worn blisters, bearing the title of a range or game no one still remembers. I even saw a trader with big container boxes full of plastic sprues, all thrown together in a big pile of plastic. That is a big contrast to the "oohs" and "aahs" heard around the trade stalls looking at the new figures just released this year. 5 years from now, they all will end up in big piles in the 2nd hand market, many of them bought but never used or played with.
  • One last thing: wargaming seems to become more and more expensive every year. I was really astonished by some of the prices that were charged for rulebooks (old or new), or figures (old or new). I do have a comfortable budget hobby-wise, but I simply will not pay 12 euro for a single 28mm figure, or 40 euro for 50 page soft-cover rulebook, no matter how hip and trendy the rules are.
But anyway, did I have a good time? Of course I did! Having a chat with many wargamer friends is still the best part of any convention. So I'm definitely looking forward towards CRISIS 2020! We already agreed we will run a game using my 42mm imagination figures!

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Crisis 2019: The Loot

For Crisis 2019 pictures: see
For my Crisis 2019 Impressions: see

So, what did I buy? Not too much this year. I already have so many wargaming items lying around, that I've become rather selective in what I do and don't buy. But this is what I got this year:
  • From the 2nd hand market: some old scifi figures; Dark Future (only 8 euro), and it also has the White Fever expansion; and 3 old Kryomek blisters. I'm a sucker for old scifi and fantasy blisters, so I always try to pick some up;
  • The Wargamers Annual 2019 - I have all the previous volumes, so hard to stop now;
  • Refighting History Volume 7 - same. Both from Caliver books;
  • From Warlord games, the fantasy rules Erehwon. I'm a big Rick Priestley fan!
  • An old Genadier modeling kit from the Colossal Lords range. Did I mention yet I love old fantasy miniatures? 
  • 4 dice trays for 10 euro total from Deep Cut Studio. They had a big heap of these things, and you could grab the ones you want;
  • The convention freebie figure;
  • Some old Minifigs fantasy figures I traded with a wargaming pal for an old fantasy boardgame.

I also invested in a new lamp with magnifying glass. I tried several with a figure in hand - my eyesight is not what it used to be - and this one was a good deal for 45 euro.

And last but not least, a bunch of old magazines I received from Rich Clarke from Too Fat Lardies, to support the wargaming magazine project.

Some good haul, and thankfully we have an extended weekend here in Belgium, so I have some time to sort it all out and store it in proper locations.

Crisis 2019: Pictures

See this blogpost for my Crisis 2019 loot.
See this blogpost for my Crisis 2019 Impressions

This weekend the largest (miniature) wargaming convention on mainland Europe took place once again in Antwerp. This was my 20th Crisis, and with our gaming group we staged our 23rd consecutive game.

Since the show is so large, I only took pictures from a few games when wandering around.

Main overview of Hall 2:

Our own game, WW2 based on the Arnhem campaign is shown in the following photographs. Our intention was to use the Chain of Command rules, but this of course quickly transformed in freeform Kriegsspiel as usual ;-) Some of our vehicles and buildings (the Hartenstein hotel) are 3D printed.

Some of the other games: