Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Returning to the hobby. Part One

Eight and a half years ago my wife suffered the first of two strokes, it left her in a wheelchair and altered both of our lives for ever. No more trips to the pub, cinema, theatre, restaurant or similar, the logistics, plus my wife's reluctance to venture out in a wheelchair ended all that. It meant I too was now housebound, she couldn't be left unattended, so I too had to completely alter my lifestyle.

I am not a big lover of television and was a total Luddite on a PC, at that time I didn't even have the internet. Most of my time was spent reading, which is fine, I love books and have a large collection. But sometimes that just isn't enough. I began to collect N Gauge model railway items with the intention of building a layout, but that is another story.

A couple of months or so prior to that life changing event, I had been given the Airfix Waterloo Battle set as a present. I had looked at it, reminded me of my boyhood when we played with Airfix soldiers all the time and then promptly put it away on a shelf in the spare room and forgot all about it.

Some months later whilst looking for something completely different, I came across this rather large box once again, I was once again at a loose end and thought I might as well at least have a look inside the box. I was expecting lots of the boxes I remembered as a child, instead there were lots of plastic bags filled with the miniatures and some very small plastic pots of congealed acrylic paints.

Not realising how much the hobby had moved on in the forty years since I had last painted a figure, I just assumed everything was as it had been, Off to my local model shop I went for some brushes and of course some tins of Humbrol Enamel paints to match the colours shown on the box. It was whilst I was in the shop that I was recommended to try acrylics, probably the best advice they could have given me, no more smelly white spirits to deal with.

The figures were duly all painted up and more figures were required for my growing armies of French and British. By now the internet had landed and of course a search showed the huge range of Napoleonic figures now available from numerous manufacturers, suddenly Italeri, ESCI, Hat Industries and Zvezda to name a few could supply me with all the troops I would ever need. An order was duly sent off and I continued to study what was on offer in 1/72nd scale. I had spotted 28mm, 15mm etc. but had not really taken any notice, concentrating as I was on the scale I knew.

1/72 seemed to offer so much, different eras and the prices were very affordable too. Soon I had collected Greeeks, Persians, Romans, Gauls, Hundred Years Wars English and French to add to my Napoleonic troops. I was back into the hobby and absolutely loving it, at this point I had no intention of war gaming. I was simply collecting and painting the figures, it kept my long evenings both interesting and enjoyable.

Then I spotted this:

I had been looking at the English Civil War in 1/72nd scale, as it was a period that fascinated me and as this box set came with a very impressive looking

rule book and a whole host of miniatures, including cavalry, I decided to leave my comfort zone and venture into the world of 28mm.

The box arrived a few days later, what a revelation. The book was read from cover to cover and the photographs of wonderfully painted miniatures, studied and admired. The sprues of figures were simply superb, the detail and of course the size of them was a shock, compared to what I was used to. Separate arms, heads and weapon options were of course all new to me and it was with some trepidation that I picked up the first sprue of musketeers and pike men.

They went together easy enough and were a joy to paint, A block of pike men and command in the centre, flanked by sleeves of musketeers. The whole front measuring just shy of twelve inches (30cm). Units like this would take up a lot of room on the kitchen table, I already had ideas of commandeering it for the occasional battle, but I was well and truly hooked on this scale and this period of history.

Hopefully, you are still awake after wading through this scribble, and may even come back for the second part.

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