Saturday, 2 January 2010

Advice sought...

Well its another year,one that will see me reach my half century in three months. I begin the new year with even more hobby projects than at this time last year,not to mention the embryonic ones in my mind forming as I type.I don't want to let folk down by not doing "my bit" by either blogging or finishing figures etc. Don't get me wrong the projects are all utterly engaging and the new ones ( or old ones revisited) have enhanced my life - I have corresponded ( and continue to correspond) with super people and learned so much,not to mention being inspired. However I am no ( fill in the name of your favourite painter modeller) in terms of commitment,constancy,quantity and quality!That finite amount of time/energy for the hobby seems to get less & less,especially the energy bit!I start so much and finish little of worth. So I am asking how do I square the circle,progress things and still make it fun? I await your answers with great interest. Thanks in advance for your council...
Addendum: On finishing this post I went through to the kitchen for more coffee and looked out to see yet more snow falling- not forecast when I last checked. It is a Christmastide weather wise like no other I remember. Once more I am captivated by the magic and beauty of falling snow!


  1. First let me urge you to limit the number of your interests. I know from experience that having too many projects sees none of them get very far.

    Second, pick two projects that are very different from each other as your main focuses (focusi?).

    For me those are 18th century linear warfare and 19th century Colonial semi-skirmish. These are very different particularly on the table top . . . and, in fact, they seem to be co-favorites with a lot of us.

    Do not pick two that are similar to each other or you don't get that "change of pace" recharging of your batteries when you switch from one to the other.

    And don't be afraid of researching a new period as a "long term" project for sometime in the future (I'm slowly delving into the ECW and Pre-Dreadnought naval) . . . but they are for AFTER my two main periods get to good completion points.

    What projects you chose are, of course, totally up to you . . . but I urge you to look for projects that provide a good "change of pace" for each other.

    I hope that this helps . . . and have a great new year.

    -- Jeff

  2. Mirroring my thoughts exactly, though I'm not 50 until May! The briagdier gave good advice in Charge about choosing one period and sticking to it.

    Absolutely impossible of course.

    I think the main things to remember are 1 you are not letting anyone down by not blogging or painting and 2. we do this for fun.

    I play with a group of guys who are excellent painters, their figures are wonderful to behold when picked up and placed within 6 inches of my myopic eyes. On table mine look just as good. During our last game Jim wondered out loud "why do I paint eyes on 15mm when I can't see them until I pick them up". Of course he won't stop because painting is his main pleasure. Mine is playing so my painting will get simpler - what's yours.

    Enough drivel.

    Happy New Year!!

    Ooh it's snowing again (49 going on 11).

  3. Youngsters all of you (I'll soon be 66)!

    Advice... what advice someone retired from active wargaming for almost two decades can propose? Well, I still observe other wargamers, and see a few generalities.
    For sure dispersion is a bane -and, if I may, you seem specially prone to succumb to its temptation (you are a noteworthy serial kiler of blogs and Imagi-Nations!). Hard to resist, I know -for me it was the decision to keep to female minis that saved me (and my bank account).

    Thus to try & pick two projects is for sure a wise suggestion. Yet, if I may disagree with Jeff, I'd suggest that while dissimilar in style they should be somehow related, so that neither stops to progress when you switch between the two.
    For instance 18th C. European warfare could be complemented by Colonial semi-skirmish indeed, but also set in the 18th C.: thus your 'tricorned' minis would be fielded in both settings, and you'd need only 'natives' to start Colonial skirmishing -so you can begin sooner to try your hand at this new style / context. Later of course you could switch your colonial games to 19th C., and then you'd have only the 'White colonialists' forces to buy and paint... 18th C. Tradgarland does have oversea colonies -what about the Nicobar Islands?- and History offers inspirational precedents, such as the Franco-British struggle in Senegal and the Indian Ocean.
    Another possibility -which actually could later catch up with the previous one) could be 19th C. / Victorian Tradgarland, with perhaps Belgian-like oversea ambitions as a possible extension.

    With your two main projects so interlinked, you get the comforting feeling that nothing, no time and energy spent, is at risk to be wasted. And the two projects are not in competition for your time and attention, each benefits from the progress of the other.

    Have a great year,

  4. We feel your pain Alan!
    One option: give up. The hobby is a will o' the wisp, a veritable desert of shifting sands, and unattainable dreams!
    Great isn't it!
    More specific and helpful advice I'll send to you via email if you wish, but I don't want to muddy the waters...
    All the best for 2010.

  5. Go on Phil "Muddy the waters" here - we could all do with your input...

  6. Alan,

    Over the past several years, I've been energized by my wargaming group's themes. Last year it was Colonial Adventures and I made significant progress on my pile of Victorian colonial figures. This year the them is On Ship and on Shore so I'll be able to make a dent in my pre-dreadnaught ships and my pirates, although I still have Victorian colonials to paint for a convention game in June (with play tests in April and May) and, of course, more 18th Century figures.

    Hope this helps,


  7. I concur with Jeff, pick 2 projects to concentrate on, and don't let the others distract you more than you can. I also find it helpful to set milestones for each of the projects, e.g. no more XXX until I've done 32 of YYY.

    The other possibility I'm looking at is cloning myself a couple of times and getting sufficient stimulants to work on 12 projects,24 hours a day, but my wife will probably get grumpy about this.

  8. I can't really add anything to the sage advice offered here. Wargaming is a hobby notorious for what I call the "Ooh! Shiny!" effect. We're so easily distracted! =S

    Picking two projects to concentrate on and above all COMPLETE within a reasonable time is a good idea. I would echo the opinion that they should be of different eras and styles.

    I've actually finished building Union and Confederate ACW brigade-size forces in 25mm. I also have a 28mm sci-fi skirmish collection which is essentially complete in terms of figures, wanting only some suitable scenery and buildings. Finishing both projects was a satisfying moment.

    In short, figure the amount of time you want to devote to the hobby and what kind of cash and resources you can spare. Work from there. I hope this helps.

  9. I have hit a lull also, but decided to try a new period. I started doing some colonial period stuff, very different from the SYW but instead of the british I forecast my SYW imagination into the colonial period so I can use "historical" units from my SYW and imagine how they evolved into the 19th century. My SYW opponent Bizerrca has now become a Cavenderi Colony. So two different periods with a common thread.


  10. all I can add is:
    have fun! :)

    Maybe if you break things down into short term realistic goals - like small forces that you can use for some games. Then add to those as you can/want. And it might help more if you aim for specific scenarios. But most of all, do what's fun. It's a hobby.

  11. If I might offer one more piece of advice . . .

    When you buy figures, get them cleaned up and primed . . . even if you don't plan on painting them soon.

    In fact prime all of your "pile of lead" (or plastic). This way you will always have figures prepped to paint . . . and even if you only have 20 or 30 minutes free, you can get something accomplished.

    If figures aren't primed, you are at least a day away from painting them . . . but if they are all primed, you can tackle whatever project tickles your fancy at the time.

    -- Jeff

  12. That, Jeff, is an excellent idea.