Sunday, 29 January 2017

Where it all went wrong!

Hi all, i always find it interesting how people found their way into this hobby we all share. When you think about it its quite a small group in the grand scheme of things, compared to some hobbies burring yourself in a pile of lead/ plastic toys and pushing them round a table at the whim of some dice occupies a tiny minority in the world of procrastinates. So its always fun to ask what got you into the hobby?, where did it all go wrong?!?. For gamers in my age range (35-45) some commen threds do tend to be in evidence. The names Games workshop and fighting fantasy tent to feature as well as the influence of older siblings of either the toy solder infected host or of one of their childhood friends. For me the first exposure came from that route. So i thought i would throw it out their with 5 simple questions for you all (both of you), and i will answer for myself as i go along.

1) What is your first memory linked to what would become the hobby you would go on to have?.

 For me i remember my mate bringing in a plastic goblin head to school and being blown away by it. As i type that i realize just how mental it sounds but its stuck in my mind to this day. It was a head taken from citidels fantasy regiments boxed set. He 'borrowed' it from his older brother (risking his wrath) to show us all. Odd i know but it all went down hill from there!
Image result for fantasy regiments

     Bottom right on the head sprue, thats the culprit officer!. (picture from 'stuff of legends')

2) What was the first piece of gaming/ modeling related 'thing' you ever owned?.

For me it was this:
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One trip to the local news agents and it would never be quite the same again (pic from 'relm of chaos 80s' a blog you need to check out!).
I cant remember much from this but it had a feature on what would be my 'big prezzie' that christmas....HEROQUEST!. I went on to barely miss an issue till i was in sixth form and had a massive pile of them under my bed (who said weird teen!?) until i went traveling after my exams and my mum 'tidied them up' never to be seen again!.

3) What were the first miniatures you ever owned?
 Im not including the regulation green army men in this. Aside from the magnificence that was heroquest my first propper minis were a gift from an aunt and uncle one birthday. We had visited them months before and i had discovered a bucket of 20mm ww2 soldiers owned by my uncle. We took them into the garden and had a blast playing 'war' (complete with gun and explosion noises). On my birthday i opened a prezzie from them and discovered  these:
Image result for italeri barbarians
(picture from sunnys models)
Image result for esci romans
(picture from
These would become the gateway to a life of 1/72 plastic abuse. The amount of times these ninis faced off must be in the hundreds!.

4)Looking back what was the biggest influences on your future hobby activity?.

 For me growing up in the u.k. Games Workshop was the true giant of wargaming, it was so vibrant and alive back then and still in the cycle of developing and releasing the games that would go on to be re-hashed for years to come. Back then they were truly king with me and my mates. Second to them were the Fighting Fantasy books, these dumped you in the action in a way nothing else at the time ever could (remember that computer gaming was only just establishing 8 bit at that point). If you liked your fantasy and were a lad of the 80s they were too good to be true. Games Workshop sold you the dream and fighting fantasy gave you a way to live out the stuff the big boys filled your little head with each month in White Dwarf.

5) Is there anything from those early years you look back on with special fondness?, anything that captured the imagination in a way it has never been captured since?.

The thing that made the penny drop for me and will always stay with me is from White Dwarf 117
Image result for white dwarf 117 battle report the best laid plans
(picture from terapeak)
 It contained my first exposure to battle reports, something that would go on the be the thing i would most look forward to each month. It was a simple affair done with black and white sketches in the place of photos but where i had heard of playing out battles with figures this was an actual example of a game in progress, this was  how it was done!. Que one pre-teen mind melting!. The army lists, the tactics discussion, the ebb and flow of the turns and the sheer scale of the battle sparked a love affair with gaming, rule sets and getting minis on the table. I think the reason i love tinkering with rule sets and playing with mechanics as well as the gnawing desire to write scenarios and roll dice comes from reading and re-reading this. You can keep your 'Eavy metal and vintage minis adverts, those old battle reports are the thing that makes me excited about gaming like nothing else in this world!.

So what hooked you in?. Till next time


  1. Hi!I am afraid I am a bit older than you are... my first minis were George Washington's army by Airfix, and greek hoplites by Atlantic. You can see two of the hoplites here:

  2. Like Phil, I´m a bit older.
    First Memory..lining up airfix guards band and colour party in my grandads hallway.
    First gaming Piece..Airfix Waterloo farmhouse
    First minis..the Airfix Guardsmen..followed by 14,000 airfix napoleonics and thousands of others, both 1/72nd and 1/32nd scale
    Biggest influences..basically every war film in the 70´s/80´s and later (after leaving the hobby) finding out on the Internet that the sets I had wanted had now been produced.
    Looking back, definately the Airfix battle sets and the massive napoleonic battles I had using the Garage floor as the game area

  3. Really enjoying reading your blog. I started playing with 1/72 Airfix dudes as well as Britian's Deetail Knights, but then discovered Dungeons and Dragons, which set me on the road to penury and madness. First WD was issue 15 (I'm 49 now), first fantasy figs were probably Valley of the Four Winds Skeletons by Minifigs, but could have been something by Asgard or Ral Partha. Currently still spending shedloads on figures, but have to say, with limited time unpainted 1/72 seems a bloody good idea. I remember being severely castigated at my local wargames club (age about 15) for fielding unpainted figures and have been scared to do so ever since, but surely in my own house with the lights out can't hurt? Actually blutacked some Dark Alliance orcs to bases and had a One Hour Wargame against my eight year old lad (and I won!).

    1. Give in....give in to the cardboard and blutac! :).