Saturday, 23 May 2015

A Post Haste Post



And so it came to pass that, as the man sat there scratching his bum wondering where time had gone (the tide hadn’t waited around either, pausing only to leave a clean mark on his neck), he received a visitation from a friend, not from Galilee or anywhere exotic, but from a place just north east of Stockport. He looked upon him and spake thus:  “Blimey, you’ve been quiet. What’s up?” The friend was not an Angel of the Lord; in fact he was very far removed from that role and certainly wouldn’t make it to a short list if such a post was available. The man sighed and showed his friend his scarred and bleeding hands. “It’s some sort of skin thing. They say it’s caused by some chemical contact or other, but they haven’t really got a clue. There’s no sense of touch and so I’m constantly dropping things and can’t pick up anything smaller than, say a cup or a book. It’s a bugger.”
The friend winced. “Eh, that looks bad. It isn’t catching is it?” The man smirked and said “No, it’s just my own little, painful thing. Sort of stigmata for people who don’t really know what stigmata are. It’s a kind of dry skin thing, but they have no idea what. I’m off to the Ossie eventually. In the meantime, I have a selection of creams and balms which are all useless save for one I’m thinking of keeping to grease wheel nuts and the like.”
The man and his friend had a consolatory glass of rum and considered the problem.
“Can you still paint your soldiers?” asked the friend. “I bet they’re a bit of a fiddle to get a grip of.”
“Well, sort of,” said the man “It takes an age though and controlling the brush is a pig of a job. Still, I’ve managed to knock out a few bits, mainly just to prove I still can.” And he showed him these:

Hessian Brigadier




French Divisional General




French skirmishers



That’s not all though as there have been various rebasings (ugh!) and such, mainly because the devil makes work for idle hands. I’ve rethought a few things, particularly the size of the cavalry units and the issue over grenzers fighting as line infantry and/or skirmishers. The cavalry regiments looked like juggernauts compared to the infantry battalions, particularly Russian and Austrian light cavalry, so they’ve been chopped down to size. As I’m still a Shako II fan as well as scribbling my own set, the four figure squadrons look to represent about 200 men, which is far too many. However, if you reduce the units by 50%, you’ll have 100 man squadrons, which are much more realistic and pretty typical for units on campaign. Once the regiments took the field and natural wastage took effect (stragglers, accidents, detachments etc.), they could be down by 20-25% on book strength. The difference with the ‘standardised’ units in rules like Shako, LFS and March Attack is that I vary the number of squadrons, so French regiments have four (sometimes three) squadrons and, say, Austrian light cavalry in 1809 have eight with proportionally larger strength points etc. Up to now it seems to work, but it does mean that I now have a massively over strength cavalry arm!

By the way, this exercise resulted in a requirement for extra command figures, which is a bit of a problem as some manufacturers can be a bit cagey about filling orders made up exclusively of command packs, if only for the fact that moulds are most commonly made up of a combination of command and line figures. Thankfully, a quick exchange of emails with Ian Marsh (Fighting 15’s) sorted me out and he’s (painfully) going to cast up the extras and chuck the redundant troopers back in the pot. Big pat on the back for him then!

The grenzers presented another problem as nobody can decide once and for all whether they were exclusively skirmishers or line troops or both. They certainly varied in quality though and they appear to have functioned as both types of unit. Added to this, Archduke Charles (Austria’s key player) wasn’t a big fan of skirmishing because they it win battles simply because the units lack ‘weight’. So, extravagant though it may be, my grenzer battalions (and, later, the Russian jagers) are being strengthened with a couple of extra bases each to allow them to function as line or skirmish troops. The first one like this:




Circumlocution
 
It's likely that the enforced silence will continue for a while with only periodic interruptions as it’s been quite painful typing this. (Type less then, you klutz!) I doubt anyone will pine for the strange ideas and Dickensian sentences. I spend a fair bit of painting time droppnig things and repainting parts because brush control is pretty poor. Over the past while though, being restricted as to what I can actually do, I’ve been thinking many thoughts, including the inevitable “What’s the point?” I don’t mean I’ve been pricing up rope, but over the years I’ve seen people lose the burn for wargames and even become quite stressed about it, sometimes because they’re tired of chasing the impossible dream or even because they feel guilty at the size of the lead pile) or even just overwhelmed by it). So, some things to think about:

Do I enjoy my hobby?
Which part of my hobby is my favourite?
Do I want more than I need?
Am I doing this for myself or to impress others?
Do I purchase more ‘stuff’ to make me feel good or will it lead to more stress/guilt?

These questions are, I think, worth mulling over because they certainly focused my mind. I don’t doubt we’d all answer positively at first, but, later, there’s likely to be the odd seed of doubt. There must be dozens of reasons for blogging about the hobby just as there must be for many of the linked activities. There are people who simply like to paint figures and others who like to collect. I’ve said before that if I’m not interested in the period, there’s no chance of any wargame involvement, which can only mean that the history is a big driver for me.

10 comments:

  1. I must say that I am very moved by your story and by your sad condition - I hope that the Ossie comes up with some effective remedy and that you get back to your normal form. There are wondrous creams and things around - I've recently been looking for a mild moisturiser (is it all right to admit this?) to combat a touch of eczema, and my wife was delighted to offer me an astonishing number of bottles to try (where did she get them? why? is this why we don't get much food here?), and a myriad links to websites the world over, which I think I shall swerve. These places all make a very dodgy living by exploiting female paranoia about ageing, and many of the creams, I fear, do not contain gorilla semen at all, but are in fact made of the centrifuged fat from the abattoir which is deemed too disgusting to fry Doritos in. Nay - I am not speaking of these tricksters, these purveyors of gloop - I am speaking of the very fine things like Aveeno and E45 and the various steroid creams which come only with prescriptions. They will, I believe sort you out. Wouldn't it be awful if they told you it was the rum?

    Your philosophical thoughts on the nature of your hobby also moved me deeply - all the more since I could aware of the pain they must have cost to type. It is an interesting thing - I mean being bothered. From time to time I have interests or tasks or hobbies which take off - suddenly they are racing ahead, and I am required to commit more and more energy to keeping them going. On the face of it, this is terrific - that is what hobbies are about - but it is oddly unstable. The greater the momentum, the louder is the little voice in the back of the head which says, "can you really be arsed with all this?".

    I fear my comment here does not have the overriding tone of bullish optimism which I had intended, but you know how I get distracted. Look after yourself - I'm sure they'll get you sorted out, and it probably isn't the rum at all.

    Cheers - Tony

    PS - the painted soldiers look great, by the way - no-one would ever know...

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    1. Good news! It's not the rum . . . .

      Thanks for the good wishes. Done the E45 thing and so many other creams that the areas of my hands which are unaffected are beautifully soft! On the up side, I've got a small walk on part in The Walking Dead . . . . ;O)

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  2. The Grenzers are indeed quite wonderful.. Is it age do you think that causes us to question our hobby that we have (in my case) enjoyed for almost 45 years?? Like you.. The history would be the last to go by the way side..

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    1. No Steve, I don't think it's an age related thing. A mate of mine underwent a 'reformation' when he was about thirty and Mike Siggins had a crisis of conscience about two or three years ago. I think I started gaming about '66 or '67, but I'm such a damn wargaming butterfly that I suppose I've technically gaming for a lot less than that as I spent ages building up various armies and then selling them :O).

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  3. Sorry to hear of your problems, and heres me complaining about my shaky hands. You post certainly got me thinking about the joys or not of the hobby. The blog is a good thing as you can post your thoughts for others and keep a record of the completed units. The Austrian grenzers are really good by the way and so are the French commanders.

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    1. Thanks for the compements Ken. I'm probably not the best example of a blogger as I only post when I feel like it or have a bee in my bonnet or whatever. However, I do find it cathartic, which makes it sound much deeper than it is ;O)

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  4. Sounds a bit dodgy them hands of yours!! In answer to your questions, here's my take..
    1. Yes
    2. research....sad I know??/
    3. Hell yes!
    4. I'd like to say me, but perhaps to show off a little as well??
    5. Yes & yes!

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    1. Oh I think we all like to show off a bit Ray. This hobby isn't all the pursuit of self-actualisation!

      Solved one potential problem with the hands thing - I wear a bell round my neck . . . . ;O)

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  5. The figures look great and the whites are fantastic. So something to feel really good about.

    So sorry to hear about your hands. When it hurts that badly to do something, that something must be well worth the doing.

    Like Ray, I'll give my answers to the questions.

    1. I love my hobby.
    2. I only paint.
    3. Definitely.
    4. At first I painted and posted because I needed people to see and like what I painted. For the last year I have posted very little of what I have actually painted. And I felt no need to share my work as it was just for my own pleasure. When I try to improve my painting, it's only to increase my own satisfaction. As for impressing other people, I could give a fig. Also I know what a Master Painter is and I'm only Intermediate. Me trying to impress someone would be a sign of self delusion.

    5. I do and it's part of the addiction. What I've done to deal with it is this. From July till years end, I don't purchase figures. I will buy supplies that I need, but no lead.

    Don't worry about blogging whilst you sort all this out. Blogger will still be here when you get back to it. Be well and take care of yourself.

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  6. Aw that hands'll be right in the sweet by and by. Thanks for the thoughts though.

    Having come at the hobby from the history, then wargaming angle, I always looked at the paiting as a bit of a chore. However, being a bit arty, I got to the point where I got more than a bit of satisfaction when things turned out as near to bob on as I could get them. Nevertheless, this is all tempered with a healthy dose of idleness, so I'll never produce a Michelangelo, but I can tell you all the lazy ways of getting a paint job done.
    As I said to Ray, I think we all like to show off a bit, but I'll never be one of those who live through their blogs and seem to constantly crave attention. I've always been pretty self-sufficient (conceited?), so I'm not too bothered what other people think about my stroll through the hobby. If they like it, fine. If they don't like it, fine.
    By the way, I think you standard of painting is way above intermemdiate, but, much more important is that it satisfies you.

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