Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Dangerous Territory..?

... I think not...
However, a weaker soul, with less focus and resolve, might crack!

For tonight, I head the short distance to Stratford to see the RSC production of Henry V.
And, if, like me, you were bowled over by the spectacle in this month's WI magazine of the Perry/ Dave Marshall (of TM Terrain) Agincourt diorama, then resolve might indeed be tested.

But, here's the thing...
I'm not into Medievals. Period. (Or the medieval period, period.)
Yet, what I can still marvel at, and enjoy immensely, about the Agincourt diorama is what I learn from it for my own projects.

Inspiring. Yes.
And also well-planned, wonderfully creative, and beautifully executed.
I was particularly struck by how they produced the densely-packed blocks of French infantry that actually make it look like a proper battle rather than any other diorama (or for that matter, wargame) that I've ever seen.
So hats off to Dave Marshall and the Perries for project managing this. And to their cadre of helpers and painters.

And the next time I see people on the internet bemoaning display games at shows being too static ("like a diorama"), as if that in some way is out of bounds for a wargame show, I'll just smile and move on. Because for me, the modern wargaming scene has moved too far away from such magnificent set-pieces, the likes of which used to be seen far more often at shows, and adorning the pages of the hobby press. In fact, starting with the glossy pictures of Peter Gilder's layouts in the very first MinWarg magazines under Duncan McFarlane's editorship, and then onto the very early WI's, that's what inspired so many people like you and I, I'm sure, to "seriously" continue in the hobby.

But now?
Well now I see lots of boxy wargames.
Lots of sameness of presentation, with everything "off-the-shelf ", from the terrain, MDF buildings, bases, grassy tufts, figures, flags, to the rule-sets and "systems" in use. In of themselves, there is nothing wrong with each of these elements, and hats off to the people who make a commercial go of it in this hobby.  But the contrast with the presentation of the Agincourt diorama cannot, should not, must not, be ignored.

And I know we're not all The Perries, and nor do we have a gang of painters willing to help with our projects. But the joy of producing something inspiring and significant, over a 2-year, 3-year, 5-year timescale, has got to be better than the endless purgatory of relentless period hopping, from one "system" to the next. Chain store, fast-food wargaming is highly addictive and bloats the lead / plastic pile. I would much rather the fine dining of an Agincourt diorama.

But then, each to their own...

And, relax...

Just thought I would get on my soap box for a moment there.
We'll be back to the goings on in Pils-Holstein shortly. I promise...

Meantime, I'm off to the theatre tonight (and no doubt a funny thing will happen on the way!).


  1. I'm slowly coming to the same conclusion. What I'm willing to paint and also enjoy painting is slowly getting smaller. I've decided I enjoy painting Napoleonic figures. It doesn't matter which nation. At the moment I'm painting 95th Rifles and French horse artillery (the one's in the Hussar uniforms). It might mean I don't get an army "done" any time soon, but I'm enjoying painting again.

  2. I've tried very hard (and pretty much succeeded) in focusing on just one project over the last few years and yes - it was directly inspired by Peter Gilders Waterloo terrain seen in the pages of Miniature Warfare magazine 1970c!

  3. Well said, and YES.

    Best Regards,


  4. Nice to hear your thoughts on any wargaming matter, whatever they may be, Phil. Dioramas like this certainly have their place in museums and static exhibitions but not, I feel, at wargames shows. Big and impressive games, yes please! Agree definitely on the satisfaction gained from a big project as we in the West Country have done with aspects of Waterloo this year; and they were games with the look of dioramas, so it can be done.

  5. Interseting thoughts Phil and I must admit to be agreement. I am as bad as many in terms of having too many areas of interset and was bemoaning same to soem mate sat te club the other night. We play too many periods and too many rule sets. As for me, as you know, the specatacle and teh fun has to be paramount. Fun especially! I truly admire your focus at preset mate ...your forces are inspirational.

  6. Thanks for your comments.
    It's interesting how our little hobby has such a wide application. Each person has their own particular and peculiar way of pursuing it and enjoying it.

  7. Could not agree more.
    I love the spectacle.
    I love the BIG units.
    And I draw a lot of inspiration off of things like this that do add to my painting efforts.