Friday, September 9, 2011

Welcome to the Table

If I recall correctly, I was making my weekly tour of the Fairborn Hobby Shop, when I ran across a magazine titled Wargamer's Digest. I was familiar with wargames in boardgames form (I had AH's PanzerBlitz), but I didn't know about wargames played with miniatures. Here was a magazine with articles and (most importantly) pictures about battles with minis of Ancients, Medieval, Napoleonic, Civil War, and WWII. I was fascinated, and looking at the advertisements, I saw one of the leading manufacturers of minis in the US was a short drive away in Dayton, Ohio. It wasn't long after that I found myself in their shop, surrounded by walls of lead figures. I had always been fascinated by stories of Greece, and Carthage, and Rome, so I understandably gravitated to the Ancients wall. It wasn't long before, with the help of the owner, I had 25mm Greek and Persian figures, a WRG  Ancient/Medieval rulebook, their Armies of the Greek and Persian Wars supplement, six bottles of Floquil primer, and four of Dio-sol. "Just pour all the primer into a coffee can, thin it so it's like water, then put all your minis in. Wait a minute, then dump them out on newspapers til they're dry." (That's the way we did it back then.) Then he loaded me up with tins of Humbrol paint in all the colors I'd need, along with several paint brushes. All told I spent close to a hundred dollars that day, a hefty sum in 1974. The beginning of my addiction.

About then work, and later a transfer to Lansing MI, interfered with my wargaming. When things finally settled down, I discovered a hobby shop near the MSU campus that featured wargaming supplies at the time Heritage introduced their lines of 15mm figures. Kismet and Nirvana wrapped up in one! I started off with a complete Roman Legion and corresponding Carthaginian Army. Then I began collecting the ACW line. I resisted collecting Napoleonics because, well, Napoleonic wargamers are snobs. Am I right? Even they know it. One day however, I saw a package of MiniFig Scottish Highlanders, and I caved. I was now, sadly, a snob.  I collected  British and  Prussian forces. I didn't go with any French figures because, as everybody knows, the French players are the Snobbiest of the Snobs. (I did have some standards.) Oh, did I mention the GHQ 1/285th NATO and Warsaw Pact armies?

A divorce in '85 and subsequent move to Florida was the beginning of a lengthy hiatus from wargaming. I did very little collecting over the next 15 years, though I did remarry and finally saved enough to buy a house. The Christmas season The Fellowship of the Ring came out I found a copy of GW's Lord of the Rings rulebook at Barnes and Noble, and my interests were rekindled. From LotR, I moved into Warhammer and 40K, then really got hooked on Battlefront's Flames of War WWII 15mm minis and rules.

In January, 2009, my wife died suddenly. During an emotional episode later, I decided to simplify my life by concentrating on model railroading as my as my sole hobby interest, and divesting myself of all other distractions. As a result, I gave away (but mostly threw out) all my wargaming figures, rules and supplies, even those original Greeks and Persians. Well, not quite all. I did keep the LotR figures, all the FOW stuff, and some 18mm Napoleonics I had just started collecting. A year later I did start buying some of Steve Jackson's OGRE line of miniatures. (I had the original $2.95 paper version in the ziplock bag from 1975.)

So, you may ask, am I sorry I got rid of all those miniatures?  Sometimes a little, yeah. But so many eras and genres were a distraction, and the ones I kept are the ones I'm most likely to finish and use, so from that point of view I made the right decision. And one thing I've learned from Eve's passing, there's no profit in worrying about things you can't change anyway. So here I am.

How often will this blog be updated? Can't say for sure, at least once a week I hope. There may be times I 'resurect' a project originally posted on FOW's forums that has been 'lost.'  I do know I am in an OGRE mood, and the first real construction post will involve OGREs and magnets. Til then, Don

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