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Another year…


Well, time sure does fly when you’re not paying attention.

Last time I posted it was October, I was following a bunch of Kickstarters and getting ready for a Kings of War tournament – my first organised play event (that I wasn’t running) in almost a decade. It’s now almost three months later, all but one of the aforementioned Kickstarters was successful, and I got to spend a day playing Kings of War. We’re also only a few hours away from the end of the year, the time when it’s traditional to look back on the year that’s been and make resolutions for the one to come.

I’m not going to follow the lead of pretty much every news outlet by making a Top/Bottom 10 list of the year’s events. Not that I’m worried about not having enough events to fill 10-20 entries, those lists are usually fairly boring and stuffed with just enough filler to get the article approved in time for the author to join the rest of the office at the staff Xmas party. Instead, I’m going to one highlight and one low-light.

The High – Increased hobby activity

My main hobby-related realisation this year has been that I’m likely to never enter, nor win, a painting competition. Seems an odd thing to realise, but it’s something that was kinda holding me back when it came to gaming. Due to the intricacy of some models, I’d preferred to paint them before assembling them. This made it easier to get into all the out-of-the-way areas and make sure everything was properly painted. Of course, this also meant I ended up with a pile of half-painted and half-assembled models. Not exactly the sort of thing you want to game with.

Now, my process is a lot more simple. I clean and fully assemble the model, then proceed to the painting stage. This way, I can still use the model in a game unpainted. Does this mean that parts of the model are not fully painted? Sure. The thing to remember here is Three Foot Rule. Basically, we view most models from about three feet (or thereabouts) away during a game, so if you paint job looks okay from that distance you’re good to go. On top of that, I purchased a tin of Army Painter’s Quickshade. This allows me to speed up the painting process considerably. I only need to apply the base colors, and maybe a little highlighting, then the Quickshade does the rest. It’s not perfect, but it’s a whole lot easier than the long way.

Using this method, I managed to have a fully painted army ready for the tournament. Not all the units ended up getting dipped for time reasons, but at least they looked alright from across the table.

The Low – Hobby ADD

As is something of a tradition following a tournament, people at my local club felt it was time for a change of game. Not permanently, mind, but long enough that people started looking for something else to play. There were a few contenders. Flames of War and Dust were high on the list due to our proximity to Battlefront’s HQ, but a new contender appeared – Saga, a skirmish game set during the Dark Ages. Eager to try something new and relatively simple to get into, people started buying appropriate models and painting them up.

While all good in theory, it isn’t exactly easy to get your hands on said models. They aren’t available locally, so you have to head online then wait for them to shipped from overseas retailers. I didn’t get on board immediately, partly as I wasn’t sure which way I wanted to go (Vikings were tempting, but also already a rather popular choice). By the time I made up my mind, it was late November and I ended up buying a box of figures at the same time I ordered the November issue of Privateer Press’ No Quarter magazine from an Aussie retailer. Unfortunately, there was a slight delay and the retailer didn’t receive the magazine until a week or so before Xmas. That means I’ll likely have a No Quarter and box of models waiting for me when I return to work in mid-January – if it doesn’t get sent back before then.

During this delay, focus at the club shifted once again. I’d been interested in getting into Warlord Games’ Bolt Action for some time, but it was hard to get traction. Flames covers WWII’s historical aspect, while Dust is also played with 28mm scale miniatures, effectively making Bolt Action somewhat redundant. I don’t recall how it happened, but suddenly it was all on with people wanting to check out the rules and spit-balling army ideas. Suddenly, my premature purchase of some British soldiers and a couple of books didn’t seem like such a bad idea.

Then, a couple of days after the ball stated rolling, one commenter mentioned that he had a big box of Airfix-style miniatures and suggested we should play at that scale instead. Within in an hour or so, the club had veered away from 28mm to the smaller 20mm/1:72 scale produced by Airfix. It’s not really a bad move, Airfix models are considerably cheaper, and easier to find than the larger scale models, but it does put my 28mm British soldiers back in the “one day, maybe” column.

To be honest, all this tooing and froing is a little wearying. When you’ve got a limited budget for things that aren’t related to paying for food, a mortgage, and bills, you can’t easily afford to buy a whole new army (even a small one) every few months. At the moment, both Saga and Bolt Action are on hold for me. I’ve got plenty of Warmachine and Hordes models (some of which I’ve had for around a decade) to assemble and paint, so I think I’ll focus my attention there instead.

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