Friday, January 1, 2010

A Look Back on 2009 and a Glimpse into 2010

I'm afraid this post will be subjecting you to yet another "year in retrospective" blog entry.  Some may say that I'm plumbing the depths of narcissism with a post like this one.  I prefer to think of it in a more charitable light - think of this post as the electronic equivalent of one of those "Show and Tell" sessions you all participated in during elementary school.  Sure it's a bit of "hey look at me and my toys" but with a tinge of innocence.  Certainly the grammar and spelling of my posts harken back to those elementary School days....

2009 was the first full year of my being a miniature modeler after I made the switch from model railroading in mid 2008.  Overall, I have really enjoyed the hobby and am glad I made the change.  I've also managed to keep my son's interest in sharing a hobby with his father as his interest in trains has long past (oh how I miss the days of "Thomas the Tank Engine").   Another reason for the switch is that while model railroading (or MRR) shares much of the same craft skill set, it is by it's nature a relatively lonely endeavor where gaming requires one to interact with other participants - I find that both more challenging and a lot more fun.  Surprisingly, from a cost perspective, even with the occasional unit painted by hire, the cost of a miniature gaming hobby falls well below MRR.

So what did I accomplish in 2009?  Here are my painting totals and projects completed:

28MM Napoleonics (Mostly Perry Plastics)
Infantry: 160 (3 battalions of 36, 1 of 42)
Commisioned Infantry: 72 (painted by a "pro")
Cavalary: 28
Command: 2
Artillery: 1
Artillery Crew: 4
Total: 267

6mm ACW:
Infantry: 624
Cavalry: 114
Art Pieces: 15
Artillery Crew: 60
Total: 813

15mm WWII (Battlefront / Flames of War)
Tanks / Other Vehicles: 15
Figures: 78
Artillery: 5

28MM WWII (Bolt Action Miniatures / Warlord Games)
Figures: 12 US Paratroopers

Trafalgar (Langton Miniatures)
2 74 Gun Ships-of-the-line
1 44 Gun Frigate

Uncharted Seas:
Dwarf Fleet: 14 Ships
Orc Fleet: 11 Ships

Warhammer 40K
Eldar: 21 figures
Space Marines: 5

Other Related Projects:
- Built a wargaming / project table
- Scenery for Flames of War
- Black Powder Ruleset
- Joined a Wargaming Club (ECAMGA)

Perhaps the biggest surprise for me in 2009 was how much I fell for 28mm Napoleonics.  I can remember when I started this hobby specifically saying "NO" to larger scale Napoleonics due to the complexity of the uniforms.  Then I fell in with a gamer who has an extensive collection of figures and one of the finest game rooms I've seen and my attitude changed from "don't want that" to "gotta have it".  Oh well, never say never in this hobby.

What didn't I like about 2009?  The only real negative from a hobby perspective was the quality and spirit of the discourse I saw on the TMP forum.  I was astonished at the vitriol displayed by posters on such topics as the moving of Historicon or the astonishingly inane complaints about "pretty" rule books.   Our hobby can draw some fringe elements but sometimes the behaviour on the forums gets out of hand.  I realize that most people tend to be a lot braver arguing via an electronic medium than in person, but there really is never an excuse for bad manners.  Had TMP been my first introduction to the hobby, I doubt I'd have pursued it much further.  TMP can be a great source of hobby info, but it also tends to cater to the Jerry Springer fan in all of us.

So what are my goals for 2010?  I'd like to concentrate more time on playing.  During 2009 I think I played games only 10-15% of the time I devoted to the hobby.  I'd like to get that up to at least 25-30% and hopefully can now that I've got relatively good forces for 5 systems (28MM Nap's, 15mm WWII, 6mm ACW, Uncharted Seas and 40K.  As my son continues to enjoy playing 40K I'll make a special effort to keep up with him there.

As for building armies, I still want to flesh out my French force.  I've got 267 figures finished and would like to get it up to around 450 figures - which shouldn't be too hard as I've got a good pile of unpainted figures and have 72 infantry and 44 cavalry in process via commissions.  The only outstanding items that need to be purchased are few more command figures and some artillery limbers.  Given the cost of metal limbers, I may wait on those in the hopes the Perry's will be coming out with some plastic versions.  I am also planning to add another 28mm army for the French to fight and am trying to decide between the Prussians and Austrians.

I want to continue to refine the black powder rules for 6mm ACW so I can host my game club for a few events.  I've played some trial games with my son and the rules are really fun, but require a little tweaking for the micro scale.

Lastly, the real question is what will be the "new scale/period" to model in 2010.  Hopefully the answer will be nothing but we all know that's a low probability outcome.  I'm mighty tempted by the 28mm line of Romans from Warlord games or maybe Firestorm Armada or maybe Roman Seas from Hotz Artworks, or maybe......

Aiyy Carumba!


Monty said...

I salute you, Miles - that is an impressive achievement during last year - nice one, mate. I came back to the hobby last year after a 11 year absence, but have 'been all over the place' recently; losing concentration and getting distracted etc. But, I am determined to get back at it in '10 - happy new year to you and forgive my rambling, but my head isn't what it should be at present! All the best.

JAM said...

Hi Miles,

Nice commentary, I enjoyed reading it.

In respect to flitting about between scales and periods, I would suggest flitting about between armies in one period. I pick a battle, I recently picked a simple battle like Maida and now I have been all over the place with weird uniforms like the Polish legion in 1806. This keeps my interest keen as I probably get to buy some new lead or plastic and some books, etc

All the best for the New Year,


jmilesr said...

Monty - thanks for your comments, although the totals for the 6mm fig looks much bigger than it really is, I think 24 6mm figs is the equal of one 28mm! Best of luck with your 2010 efforts - I think the thing that really counts is if your having fun. Have a Happy New Year!

jmilesr said...

I agree with you for the historical miniatures. I think I'll spend most of 2010 in the Napoleonic era for historical minis and may even do a US war of 1812 army. I do like jumping out of the historical's to do 40K or other scifi or fantasy just for the creative relief. Thanks for your comments and have a very happy 2010!

Beccas said...

Great painting effort John. I like your blog as well. It's great to read.

Bluebear Jeff said...


I'm glad that you're enjoying your table top gaming.

You aren't gaming any of my favorite periods (18th Century & Colonial), but that doesn't matter . . . all that matters is that you're having fun.

There are many aspects to our hobby . . . research, painting, playing, the history, the comradeship, etc. . . . and what appeals to you is your business. Enjoy yourself and have a great new year!

-- Jeff

Allan and Carmen said...

What a great Blog you have! I love the Wargames Room. The goal of every diehard gamer.

Which Rules set do you use for your 28 mm Napoleonics games?

Happy Gaming,


jmilesr said...

Allan - thanks for the note.

We use a home grown set of rules for Napoleonics called "Gentlemen of Rank". There are no dice - combat is completely table driven. There is a random factor that is introduced through two types of cards. the first are reaction cards that are drawn if a unit takes a loss is flanked etc. The second are command cards - each player holds 5 or 6 and can play them on his unit (Rally, charge, etc) or the other side (charge forwards, gun explodes, etc). Losses are done by figure removal so all the bases are magnetized.

All-in-all it's a fun and easy system that seems to capture the feel of the era.

I've been experimenting with Black Powder and like those rules a good bit also