Saturday, August 13, 2005

Firsts

Well, good to see you've made it, Horatio.

I was wondering what topic to post on (the first lines are always the most difficult) but your comments about your first wargames gave me inspiration.

My very first real miniatures wargame was actually 20mm Airfix and ESCI plastic Napoleonics using the first edition
Napoleon's Battles rules. Talk about the deep end.

(The first set of miniature wargames rules I read was actually a copy of
WRG's 4th edition (?) Ancients rules; not that I understood them but the troop types descriptions and tables fascinated me.)

That was way back in 1990 or so, before the days of the internet. Information was hard to come by and the only connection with the wargaming world was through copies of
Miniature Wargames magazines from the local bookstore - as a schoolboy money was tight and a subscription was not viable then.

Games Workshop games were available then locally, if I recall correctly, but they were not as popular as they are now. Also, we wanted to play a historical miniatures wargame, and that was non-existent in the country as far as we could tell.

Armed with plastic figures, Tamiya acrylic paints and relying on an abridged version of Knontel's book as uniform guide, a few friends and I managed to paint up enough figures to play a few Peninsular battles.

Sure, the painting wasn't good by today's standards, and the terrain was nothing impressive, but we felt like we were pioneers. When I have played my first miniatures wargame, I realised that this beautiful hobby was not beyond me anymore.

Over the years improvements in communications and budget have enabled me to expand my collection of rules and figures, as well as connect with wargamers both overseas and at home. But thinking back, I don't think the feeling compares with the heady days of starting an obscure hobby with a few friends.

2 Comments:

Blogger Lord-Horatio said...

Born in 1964, I grew up in London and Airfix kits and figures were a popular boy's toy.

A couple of schoolfriends - Tony Hutt and Richard Sharrock played wargames of different types.

I rememer some big games in Tony's back garden - free kidspiel rules - ie lots of imaginary shooting, and clods of earth representing artillery barrages.

Richard attended a local wargames club, so knew about Rules.
His set was written on 3 sides of A4 and could easily have been lifted from any featherstone book. One day his club was going to organise a campaign.

2 other influences were the local library. Plenty of wargame and history books. And a shop called the New Model Army in East Ham. This was quite a drive away, so my dad would take me there a coulpe of times per year - usually after Birthdays and Christmas when I had some cash to spend.

WW2 army gear was all Airfix and bought from local toyshop Marments, Woolworths, or one of the bigger department stores in Ilford.

The new model army shop was a specialist gaming shop and had plenty of goodies which could not be seen anywhere else.
Microtanks, 15mm ECW and Napoleonic figures - painted in rows in glass cases along the walls.
Books of rules (Wow)

I would spend hours browsing, andthen spend a tiny amount of money, usually on Minifigs "Mythical Earth" dwarves and goblins.

I recall spending months wondering what I might buy if I had a sum of money whihc now equates to about 20 minutes wages.
I also remember after one Christmas buying not metal, but all the boxes of Airfix Waterloo French infantry in the local Woolworths.

Things have moved on a lot, but those formative years have probably imprinted my preferred gaming periods on me.

Airfix, Richard Sharrock and Library Reading interested me in Napoleonics.

Airfix and Richard and Tony Hutt in WW2.

Library reading in matters Naval.

My fantasy had gradually morphed into an interest in ancients.
I regard Tolkien's work as the high water mark for fantasy, and alas the genre has been pedalling mostly downhill since.
I never found much satisfaction in the walls of copycat literature in bookshops.
I also regarded the warhammer universe as a cruel parody: of the fantasy races (Snotlings I must protest), the fantasy creation, and also of the gamers it was sold to.

Reading the history of the ancients showed me that reality is frewurntly more interesting and varied than fiction (with its Norse/Saxon/Celtic fixation)

Maybe later I'll go on to describe some of the projects I have in progress at present.

12:56 am  
Blogger fatgoblin said...

Hello old people! :)

8:50 pm  

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