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Sunday 28 April 2013

All Fur Coat and No Knicker- part two.

One size knickers fits all.... NOT
The recent discussions on Steve the Wargamers anf Robbie Roddiss' blog have highlighted a darkeness at the heart of our hobby. Not that this is new. Such minor cheating has been around for years. Buying a trphy is not new. Should we be surprised? I'm not after all this kind of low level skulduggery is endemic in real life- Politicians do it all the time- likewise soccer clubs, pop stars - most of those in the public eye. Why should we expect that wargamers are paragons of virtue whern the real world is not.?
Further I'd ask doea it matter?. It leaves a nasty taste in the mouth sure but does it matter. The playwright David Hare tells us that "Morality is not about telling others how to behave but about how you behave yourself". To me this is self evident but apparently not so to others who live in the Warhol world of "Famous for 15 minutes" . Even at such a minor level as ours this I'm afraid obtains.. I'm still not sure that it matters. We might OOH and Aaah at the pretty toys but don't actually care. For myself I don't give a bugger. I've done enough display games in my time and won enough prizesandbeen beaten to know that throwing money at it does work as in all thjeatres of endevour but not doing it yourself is less than satisfactory- at least for me. Now I can and do use painters- less so now than in the past- but still prefer my own stuff.
Now on to the scales thing.
I sometimes wonder if the glossies have any contact at all with the Grass Roots. Its pretty obvious that WI doesn't MW - the new one- not sure yet perhaps "selective contact" with knarly OFW trees. WSS again selective contact - but more widespread- WSS does operate a letter column on its website as I've used it. To be sure technology has changed the face of "Letters to the Editor" so despite Robbies remarks you wonder if such are relevant anymore when the bloggersphere exists.
BUT and its a sizeable but this 28mm only in the mags thing is becoming a little out of date.. The other sizes are alive and well - as was noted in WSS a couple of issues back . Of the glossies WI is the most guilty of "Scale snobbery" in the same way as it is most guilty of "figure Fascism ", but, frankly thats to be expected as its little more than a house organ for the Nottingham Mafia none of whom are interested in sizes other than those they produce.
Now out here on the thin lead line its veryt different. Isell figures in many sizes 40mm 25/8mm/30mm 15/18mm and 10mm and of course I'm far from alone- I don't do 20mm - others do nor do I do 6mm others do . Now speaking only for myself here ALL of the sizes I sell SELL, otherwise why would I offer them 15mm sells at least as well as 25/8/30 sometimes better. A good half of our Salute sales were Bluemoon 15/18mm yet working in this size barely gets a mention in the glossies- certainly not in WI Can't speak to new MW yet but WSS has had a go or two. Steve may be right about the dash for plastic having something to do with this - many younger chaps can't work in metal and seemingly would rather fart about sticking arms on than drinking beer or meeting girls(or boys or sheep or hamsters Whatever blows your skirt up Dude!)
The separation of the grass Roots from the glossies is now pretty total and in a sense there is a smaller separation from the Bloggersphere. Many chaps don't blog, a good many read the blogs but never comment. I'm always gratified at shows when a chap says - read your blog the other day- or somesuch sop the gap is smaller. Yet the GRs carry on doing what they do and enjoying it- or why would they still buy soldiers? . I've become of the opinion that this happens in spite of the glossy magazines and that most peole still buy em for the adverts - plus ca change !!!

Saturday 27 April 2013

All Fur Coat and No Knickers....

Amongst the Bloggerati of this hobby you find many opinions about almost anything. Many are well informed and erudite others narrow and purely personal.
For myself I have little choice but to approach what I ramble on about on at least 2 levels.
1/. The Business view.
2/. The Personal View.
It's no surprise that sometimes these do not coincide.
Take Magazines for example. There are now 3 glossies on our newstand shelves. On a professional level that means 3 chances to advertise my wares.3 chances to enviegle your hard -earned into my sky- rocket in exchange for soldiers.I can choose which of these mags I advertise in - which best suits my product profile or which is probably the most read by my probable customer base.. On the business level the actual content is of only marginal interest sufficing perhaps to sway me a little but not , on the whole, too much
Paper advertising isn't what it once was, the internet has changed all that quite dramatically.Yet it still has a place. Its still IMHO pretty essential to have some magazine presence..
Now to the more personal level. Most wargames mags have little of direct interest. After all its all been said before many many times.
I have before me a selection of recent magazines. The New MW , The most recent WI and recent copies of WSS- my latest one of this last has not yet arrived.
However to begin - the most obvious target is WI so I'll begin there. Big Glossy and full of pretty pictures by companies or rich middle class gits- probably retired early on a civil service pension(Yes I'm being waspish again) which comparativly few of us can match. What this mag does teach is the obvious- you too can do this if you throw enough money at it
Yet having said that there were actually a couple of articles worth reading. One on the Frnch assault on Jersey in the Channel Is during the AWI- tells us about the action but gave us no French OB- perhaps its not known. The article then descend sharply downward as it groans on about "Sharpe Practice" and presents 2 scenarios for that system but still better than nothing. The second article is about the Partitions of Poland again of some interest. Finally an article on early armoured trains and cars by Nick Buxey. Now Nick knows his stuff but this is not my area of interest so I'll not comment further except to say that there were many pics of models I'd have prefered pics of the real thing is available.
The rst of the mag were simply photo essays . No reviews(thats unstandable being that a minis company owns the mag) No opinion No colums .- All fur coat and only a very small pair of Knickers. It will quite probably be a good while before I buy another copy - but at least I'll keep an eye on it. In terms of personal taste its style is simply too narrow for me.
Next the new MW- well first impressions were not good but having said that its a bit like the curates egg. Its pretty obvious that Henry Hydes Editorship will be much more heavy handed than Andrew Hubbacks was. Its pretty clear from the Editorial that its all Henry's show- mind you the idea of not Ghettoising Fantasy and Sci- Fi is a good one after all Dwarf-fiddlers are people too!! . As for articles only one took my interest- that on the Armada campaign but the colunms and reviews are there in strength so whilst the artilce lack a certain something- and most are very BG in style- the columns and reviews do go some way to redressing the balance. I also learned why I 'll stick to my metal 15mm WW2 and not go plastic- It will be a COLD DAY IN HELL before I stick bloody arms on 15mm figures. Also -assuming I understand correctly- these littlec sods are no cheaper than metal.
. This leaves WSS- a bi-monthly as the "other mag" . To address it this way is to do it an injustice. It holds its head up in the others company . Indeed the more I see of it the better I like it. Again its the reviews and columns that stand out rather tan the samey-gamey stuff which seem to be meant and drink to some. Yet having said that the style of the articles seems to me a tad more in depth than the other mags. There is more "how to" here than in the other mags- though MW is not devoid of this- now I don't need how to - well not much - been there done that - several times but you can still pick up a wrinkle ot two. Unlike the others it doesn't patronise.
Now to be fair we've only seen one issue of the "new" MW but on this evidence MW is almost dead but there are other issues to come One mag is hardly a fair judgement.
All in all then currently my favourite mag is WSS with MW - being a monthly giving me a bit better bang for my advertising buck. On a personal level there simply isn't a lot in mags for a chap who isn't a rules junky- and I'd rather drink flat lager - other than the opinion pieces. There are no new ideas- an example- there is an article on hidden movement in WI- nothing wrong with it except that its all been said before by Featherstone or Asquith or Grant senior and others. This time it was said shinier and with computers but who cares if you have a brain
One thing I have noticed is that- Some WSS articles notwithstanding Narrow is the word. Scales- mostly "28mm" unless its WW2 or after. Litlle on minority scales or periods- thogh a brief and incomplete gallop though ariel games does appear in WI- . The assumption that "It's only a Game" is now the norm- though Neil Shucks voice cries faintly otherwise in MW. What I find odd is the idea of the "Corporate Game players" that you don't need to know anything other than that with which they spoon feed you.
Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised after all the indutry has passed into the "professional phase" so its all about the loot. Frankly -even though I'm in the biz I hope I have more respect for my customers than that.

Monday 22 April 2013

Salute- The view from behind the counter......

Well thats another Salute done. what was good or bad- ask Robbie at the Independent Wargames group blog or indeed Steve the Wargamer... . Me -I was working fopr a living so all I saw was the sea of faces waving money at me and- just once- the gents which was by this time a tad insalubrious- indeed some fella- Hmm I wonder who it muight have been uttered in a stage whisper
"Gawd it smells like a S***house in here"
Games I saw none. Other Traders I only saw the idle ones - and not many of those- wandering about near the end. As for "drift" - never noticed we were grafting away until at least 4 O'clock. Tell you how busy it was. When we arrived I sent one of the crew for tea and wads- I finished by Breakfast sandwich at about 3 O'clock . Jimbo was the same. Sellers- well almost everything really Bluemoon 15mm of couirse but I'd sold out of my new 15mm Taliban Motorbikes and Command packs by about 11 O'clock. It didn't take long for the pack train and some of the weapons packs to go the same way. Bluemoon 15mm Fiw range was simply marching out of the door closely followed by the ACW range in 25/28mm The most popular on the day were Landsknects and Swiss - which I'm now very low on. As I type this I'm stealing time from making up my next order to the USA so I'll have some soldiers for Triples in about a months time, So - as they say I'd better get my finger out and do some work... Not rest for the wicked...
If you can't take a joke youshouldn't have joined.

Wednesday 10 April 2013

A little PS soto speak.

Hot on the heels of the 28mm Drabant come a couple of new pics of new 40mm figures. Now my current hatred of Tricorn hats does not extend above 30mm - or indeed below 20mm - so the 7YW Brit is very tasty indeed and some will doubtless be appearing in my 40mm Jacobite rising project in the fullness.
As for the next pic. I've never thought of Russian Napoleonic - but these lads might make me do so.
Up to the usual High standards set by Drabant and again I hope to have these by Sheffield Triples in May.

Moscovite Magnificence continues...

IN between preparing for the splendid insanity that is Salute and awaiting a majore -resupply from the USA for that show , casting up new 15mm Modern chaps , new Aircraft I havn't had a lot of spare time- and frankly what I've had I've tried to make "soldier-free" - you get sick of the little lead gits at times. Nevetheless when Nick Bokarev sent me thse pics of the newest Drabant 28mm Dark Ages Rus I did utter a small OOOHtasty ! of appreciation. I won't have these 2 new packs in time for Salute- but should I hope have them in tiome for Triples. I'll have the rest of the range at Salute though along with the 40mm . So these pictures depeict 2 more packs of this growing range. Ilove the slightly eastern look - as you would expect. Since its looking incresingly likly that "I hate Tricorn Hats" is set to continue- even to the extent of selling off my 28mm 7YW forces - assuming I can get the right price - then some of these chaps are likely to find their way into my personal collection.

Thursday 4 April 2013

... All I've Got is a Photograph... (Part 2)

Just grabbing a quick half- hour or so between casting sessions so thought I'd update my blog. The problem is what to discuss- recently on Linkedin amongst the British Military History group there has been an at time fierce discussion on the "Wooden Spoon" for British Generals which because of its interest has taken up such time as perhaps I should have used for blogging. Nevertheless here I am having a bash again and it seemed to me that digging out an old CD of pictures might prove inspirational and so it proved I found these6 pictures of what seems to be an ECW game. Certainly the figures are mine but I haver no memeory of the game itself. It must have been before we- that is the TWATS met at out current pub location as I see no pints in wevidence. That means it is at least 7 or 8 years ago perhaps longer. Some of these pics were also used on the OGUK website. But as for the game ... nope its all gone.