Sunday, 29 March 2015

Back in the Day: Why is my Hobby Wargaming?

I started this blog almost a month ago, and I continue to be pleasantly surprised how much it has encouraged me in a hobby that I was already very enthusiastic about. A friend told me, with a smile on her face, that blogging was just an attempt to validate my own existence (a bit dark I thought). There might be some truth to this, but I would like to think it also disciplines me to carry through with projects I start (always a problem for me) and I would like to hope that people are interested and/or inspired by what I present. Another positive for me personally is that I have seen an improvement in my own writing ability (if not my spelling).

So why wargaming? When I was 10 years of age (in the early 1980's) my uncle took me to Earl's Court in London to a model exhibition. I vividly remember seeing, and being engrossed by, a WWII Pacific wargame being demonstrated based on a the U.S. Marines landing on a Japanese held beach. The wargame was being played on a sand table, and I particularly remember being told how the Americans had shot down one of their own planes because it had failed to respond to the F.O.F. (Friend or Foe) radio message (a D6 roll of 1 no doubt).
My first, and favourite Wargaming book

There isn't any aspect of the hobby that I don't enjoy. Painting, model making, scratchbuilding, admiring other people's work, tournaments, the social aspect, meeting new opponents and old friends, playing competitive games or fluffy games. The only thing that has escaped me so far is campaign based games, but only because I have done so little of this.

Above: From my collection - The first Citadel Space Marines painted as Crimson Fists.

My first wargame was played on my Uncle's patio with WWII 1/72 plastic model kits from a toy shop. Living in west London, I remember a few shops where you could buy toy soldiers in London, Gamers in Exile - near King's Cross. A shop in Kensington - where they had cardboard boxes full of metal Napoleonic figures. A shop in Kingston - where I first became aware of Gamesworkshop and Citadel Minatures. There was also Ork's Nest - still going strong in Central London. And, my favourite of all, the original Gamesworkshop store in Hammersmith, where I can proudly say I played a Warhammer Fantasy Game, my Skaven against Undead.

Above: From my collection - A selection of early GW figures.

Looking back at those early days it is astounding to see how much the hobby has changed and grown, and keeps growing, what with the large number of manufacturers and games available, especially now with Kickstarter. It used to be that you could have armies for all the games systems out there, but not now. There just isn't enough time in the day, so you need to make difficult choices. And where there were only a few monthly magazines there are now numerous websites (Beasts of War and Bell of Lost Souls, my current favourites), blogs (Dave Taylor Minitures), and podcasts (Orbital Bombardment (apologies guys for not including this to the article the first time around),11th Company, The Overlords, Forge the Narrative, Of Dice And Men - ODAM) to entertain.

I make no bones about it but I am unashamedly a GW fanboy. I have always been a 40K fan. I remember seeing the first figures in the magazine and really wanting to know what they were all about. Although, as mentioned above, one of my first loves were also the Skaven. Has there ever been a more characterful army? I am a avid Horus Heresy reader and some of the recent 40K figure releases have been my favourites, Harlequins a point in fact.

Above: The new Harlequins - Nice.

I don't follow a particular painting style, but I do have a favourite painter, illustrator and model maker, step forward Mr John Blanche. I know he isn't everyone's cup of tea (my friend Michael and I have agreed to disagree on this matter a number of times), but I love the style, and the inspiration that his work brings me. Blanchitsu forever.

So after 30+ years my fondness of the hobby still rings true. Long may it continue. Happy wargaming.


  1. Glad all those afternoons spent around yours weren't wasted mate

    1. Thank you Andy for the comment and for taking the time to look at the blog. I cannot believe how much our little hobby has changed since we started playing all those years ago. ***REMINISCE ALERT*** (Oops, sorry, I started to hear violins playing in the background). See you soon.