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Sunday, 13 May 2018

Miniature Wargames Issue 422

The latest issue of Miniature Wargames arrived in the post on Friday, and I have been reading it on-and-off over the past two days.


The articles included in this issue are:
  • Welcome (i.e. the editorial) by John Treadaway
  • Forward observer
  • Send three and fourpence: With cat-like tread by Conrad Kinch
  • To think again ...: Wargaming the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion by Alex Webster, with photographs by John Treadaway
  • St Crispin's Day: 1415: North East France, on 25th October by Jon Sutherland, with photographs by Diane Sutherland
  • Show Report: Salutations: A tired shuffle around Salute 2018 in London by John Treadaway
  • Darker Horizons
    • Fantasy Facts
    • Heading West: The story behind Wild West Exodus
    • K9 Gun Dog Painting Guide
    • Leave 'em for the vultures: An exclusive scenario for Wild West Exodus
  • Into the woods: Two scenarios with options a plenty by Robert Piepenbrink, with photographs by John Treadaway
  • Recce
  • Well trained: The continuing tales of a wargames widow by Diane Sutherland
  • Thukela & Blood River: The Boers and Zulus clash in South Africa by Dave Tuck and Malc Johnston
  • Club Directory
So what did I particularly enjoy in this issue?

At first glance I thought that this was going to be one of the less interesting issues for me to read. The addition of a sprue of Wild West Exodus K9 Gun Dogs to the front of the magazine was rather off-putting for me (I am not sure what I am going to do with this 'free gift' worth £17.00!!!), as was the related articles in the Fantasy Facts. However, once I had overcome my initial reservations I discovered that there were several articles that I will probably want to keep for future reference. Conrad Kinch's Send three and fourpence was good value as ever, and Dave Tuck's and Malc Johnston's Thukela & Blood River was very much up my street. I also enjoyed Diane Sutherland's Well trained article as I have done similar conversions of cheap Christmas train sets myself, and her article included one or two ideas and techniques I had not though of using.

Final judgement ... not an outstanding issue, but the magazine still remains worth its subscription cost.

18 comments:

  1. Hoping to pick up a copy in a few minutes (currently being dragged round Lakeside Shopping Center by my better half!). I'm not buying it for the 'free' mini that's for sure! I do enjoy the show reports though, so looking forward to reading John's take on Salute.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lee Hadley,

      Good luck trying to find a copy in WHSmith! Our local branches don't seem to be bothering too much about displaying wargame magazines where they are easy to find.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  2. Bob,
    I know fantasy/sci-fi figures tend to be sold at higher prices than historical models, but it seems incredible that one plastic sprue with parts for two robot dogs can be sold at a price equivalent to that of two or three 1/72 scale Airfix kits of small fighter planes! Or, in my case, about 120 10mm Pendraken Napoleonic infantry. These dogs are certainly NOT wargaming man's best friend.

    The Agincourt campaign article - which I know is not your period - was another worth saving; some of the principles could surely be applied to other eras/scenarios.

    Understandably, perhaps, John T's Salute report focuses on the visual appearance/skilful terrain modelling/painting of the figures, but has nothing to say about the game systems or rules being used, as it might be difficult to observe any game long enough to pronounce upon them. However, the result is that readers are left feeling that it is only the modelling of diorama standard displays that determines the quality or interest of a wargame.

    Best wishes,
    Arthur

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    Replies
    1. Arthur Harman (Arthur),

      I have no idea why the Sci Fi and Fantasy gamers are so willing to pay silly money for figures etc. One is tempted to say that they have more money than sense.

      I forgot to mention the Agincourt article in my blog entry. It had some interesting ideas, and you are right that they it will be worth keeping.

      I was interested to see what John Treadaway covered in his article about Salute. He did tend to concentrate on the photogenic games, some of which would have benefited from a more 'in depth' coverage. At least I didn't see any games that were little better than diorama where nothing happened all day.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  3. Bob,
    I am a Fantasy Gamer in 15/18mm - part of my reason for going 15/18mm was to spend less as my funds for my hobby these days in Retirement are indeed meager....yet, this morning I took delivery of some rather expensive miniatures...some of which were a 'Small Dragon' at $17 and three 'Treemen' at $9 each...I cannot grumble about the price as I just know I couldn't have sculpted these miniatures as well as what has been supplied to me- they are excellent miniatures. I think that 80 cents is a good price for a single 15/18mm figure such as a 'Wood Elf' and it can all add up when I'm building up Units of 30 Figures each. What does bug me about the Fantasy / Sci-Fi genre is that Companies like Games Workshop are charging ludicrous prices for their 28mm Miniatures - it all is simply out of my price range...I just cannot justify $140 for six 28mm Miniatures which is just a completely outrageous mark up...when I know that GW use to sell such figures at $3 each - admittedly that was some twenty years ago. Anyway, I think that when it comes down to choice -if you can obtain what you particularly need or want in the way of miniatures - then this is good- as long as you are satisfied...I don't mind paying a slightly inflated price for something I particularly desire in the way of miniatures. Each to his/her own. One aspect of the Hobby is that Manufacturers may only have a small market demand for their products - and this does tend to escalate prices. Well- an interesting subject. Best Wishes. KEV.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kev Robertson,

      I can see why you stick to 15/18mm-scale figures on the grounds of cost; I would also add that they tend to be easier to store as they take up less room than the larger figures.

      Games Workshop started a trend that seems to have pervaded certain parts of the Sci Fi/Fantasy sector of the hobby; in other words the 'must have' figures that you need for the rules that they produce, for which they then feel able to charge what seems to be an exorbitant lot of money. I know that the cost of making figures - particularly for short production runs - is very high, but the difference in price sometimes seems to be much more than I would have expected.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. Bob,
      Thanks for the reply- and yes you are right in considering the advantages of 15/18mm figures- Armies certainly take up less storage space...also a big consideration is that the gaming table - the Battlefield - all of a sudden becomes a Field of Battle where there is plenty of room to actually have flanks and lots of free space to move and out manouver your opponent - even on a 4' wide table. 15/18mm has everything going for it- it is a great scale and the miniatures do have just as much detail as their larger cousins. I like painting 15/18mm. All the best. KEV.

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    3. Kev Robertson,

      The vast he vast majority of the figures in my collection are 15mm-scale, although I do also have quite a few 20mm-scale World War 2 and Colonial figures and nearly a thousand 25mm/28mm-scale Napoleonic figures.

      The 15mm-scale figures occupy by far and away the smallest amount of storage space, whilst the Napoleonic figures really need a larger tabletop than I normally have available to be seen at their best.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  4. Bob, I think the other trend for which GW may be partly responsible is the production of figures with a degree of detail that was not really necessary for wargame armies, which in turn led to an emphasis on painting them to a showcase standard to do justice to that detail. The photographs of expertly painted figures in White Dwarf created the impression that Fantasy wargaming (Sorry! that should be 'The Games Workshop Hobby') was all about painting/modelling and not about having simple, playable rules that allowed one to play a game in a reasonable time. The same emphasis on the visual simultaneously?permeated historical wargaming, resulting in the situation we have today.

    I've no objection to people painting figures to a very high standard if it gives them pleasure, but that is military/fantasy modelling rather than wargaming. What I deplore is the idea that the two must be combined, and the consequent emphasis upon the modelling, almost to the exclusion of the creation of game structures, writing of rules/scenarios, as the quality of a game.

    I like PW because it offers an alternative approach that focuses on the game, not the modelling/painting. Keep up the good work!

    Regards,
    Arthur

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Arthur Harman (Arthur),

      You have articulated my thoughts on this matter very well indeed.

      A couple of days ago I was thinking about how few warganes I had fought since the start of the year, but when I began to add up how many I had actually taken part in, I was surprised to find that there were more than I had thought. I then compared this with a random selection of blogs that I follow ... and there seems to be an inverse ratio between the number of battles fought and the reports on exquisite paint jobs being produced. In other words, the more time spent on painting, the fewer tabletop battles are being fought.

      Make you think, doesn't it?

      All the best,

      Bob

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  5. I had a strange urge to check out WH Smiths for a wargame mag to check into the hobby - which interestingly seemed to be aligned to the "top of shelf" material away from small children's eye-line? No sign of MW but WI was there: Just could not justify £5 on it though, but in the "sin bin" of mags with collectors toys I spotted something called "The World At War" with a full blown 1/72 plastic kit attached (a star buy at £10 - I cannot explain the logic of this mathematics!).

    ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Geordie an Exiled FoG,

      Funnily enough I was in a branch of WHSmith on Subday, and found the Wargames magazines ... on the same shelf as the knitting and sewing magazines and nowhere near the other modelling or military history magazines.

      I saw the model StuG III and only just resisted buying it. My rational for not purchasing it was scale and cost ... but I keep wondering if I've made the right decision.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. We make our own decisions in life and live and learn; I purchased said model but not magazine and was happy with it (it is a lovely bit of kit), to the point of fussing over the two I missed - so I ordered them online. And they arrived today .. as my wife told me about a 'parcel'.. I wonder if the sofa is still lumpy. The next one may be a Pz IV perfect for Poland? The Pz II (a1/a2/a3) and Pz III Ausf A or just early war odd beasts! A Pz III with "two rollers" ridiculous ;)

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    3. Geordie an Exiled FoG,

      I decided that if the model is available the next time I visit WHSmith, I'll buy it! My wife suggested this course of action, and said 'If it's there when you go back, you were meant to have it'. (She uses this rationale herself sometimes for clothes she is not sure whether to buy or not.)

      All the best,

      Bob

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  6. I received my issue yesterday, and I too couldn't believe that little plastic sprue was worth 17 pounds. But it is true, here it is: http://www.wildwestexodus.com/enlightened/43726-k9-gun-dogs

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Phil Dutré,

      I also checked and could not believe how much the manufacturer was charging. Rather too much for too little in my opinion.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. High stats or some other unique gaming attribute is GW's standard tactic ;) Like yourself it would not be a USP for me!

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    3. Geordie an Exile FoG,

      GW could have done so much for the hobby of WARgaming in general (I always bought their paints, and some of their terrain items were excellent), but by trying to cut out a significant chunk of the Sci Fi/Fantasy market to the exclusion of all other manufacturers, they may have made more money but the business model was eventually unsustainable, hence the recent retrenchment.

      All the best,

      Bob

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