Monday, 16 January 2012

Stupid Colours

One aspect of wargaming that always frustrates me is the painting of figures. Painting has to be done of course, no matter how many figures are waiting in various drawers, cupboards, boxes.....and it is not as if I am particularly bad at it. I have turned out some very nice looking units in my time, things that I am very proud of, its just that I do not get a major kick out of the act of painting. It is so time consuming but it is the only way I am ever going to get figures done, I certainly cannot afford to buy in such services. So, I bite the bullet and just get on with it and, on the whole, make quite a good job of it.

However, part of my problem, possibly the lions share in fact, is my colour blindness. Before you ask, no, I can see colours. I do not live in a grey scale world by any means, its just that many colours look the same to me whilst others are completely indescribable. For example, purple, mauve and other such colours are just words to me and I couldn't begin to describe or even identify them in a line up. Reds, greens and browns can get very confused and I have to be careful not to mix them up. Given the number of shades of colour available in paint pots these days, dozens of every possible colour, I can rarely ever tell them all apart. I can see a bright red and not mistake it for a bright green but when the shades starting approaching the middle ground and the dark end of the spectrum I am lost. This is one of the reasons I often buy paints where the lable tells me what the colour is for rather than what it is; Snakebite Leather, for example. I have often had to ask a sales assistant or a person with me at the time, to describe a colour for me, tell me how much lighter/darker is it compared to something I can see. Sadly, this is when you realise how much of a vocabulary there is with colours, a personal almost coloquial bias that can make the task of vocalising a shade an interesting excercise.

This can sometimes be worked around of course, once I have settled on a colour for a particular job I can hang on to it, a certain red for a specific uniform etc., and buy a couple of pots at a time. The trouble really starts when I try and cross over to a different project but keep the same paints, who can afford to have a different set for each wargame project? 'Which shade of green will be needed here', is a well used phrase with me and every time I will spend hours working it out, trying to remember what I have used that particular pot for in the past or does the colour name offer a clue? This assumes, of course, that I can actually see and identify the colour I am trying to imitate in the first place! A picture of painted figures, photograph of an old uniform, anything like this can be less than useless as I often can't see what the colours are anyway. And, if I ask someone to describe them I usually get a very unhelpful,'.....well, its a sort of reddy, greeny brown...' or some other baffleing concoction of words.

Lets not go into the joys that can be highlighting....a sad, sad tale of ending up with figures that are less highlighted than re painted in a brighter shade! Can't see where I have been you see? I know, very sad...and costs a fortune in paint!!!

This all came to a head this weekend. I decided to have a go at my 28mm ww2 Italian paratroopers. Despite the lack of painting guides (thanks to those of you that offered me resources, very much appreciated and helpful) I had a chat with a few people and felt quite comfortable about how to progress. At least I thought I was. In the end I could not even decide upon the colour to use for the base of the camo pattern! Usual problem, couldn't identify it and couldn't match it with what I had. After several attempts I consulted with my good mate Mark and we came up with a plan for me to didn't work of course, I just couldn't see it, I even tried swaping the order of the colours to see if that made it worse! I just could not get the colours right nor even the patterning in the end. One figure was launched across the room and I was ordered by the wife to pack it in or else! And then, if things were not bad enough, Arsenal gave away a penalty and it was all down hill there too!

All in all, it was a crap day and nothing worked. I had spent hours and got nowhere fast. A complete waste of a day. But, now, I have reached a conclusion. There is no point me trying to paint camoflaged figures, none what so ever. Bah. So, next time you are getting annoyed at a paint job that is going wrong, spare a thought for us colour blind wargamers!

Sunday, 8 January 2012

self publicity!!

A shameless plug for this post. I have just self published a kindle ebook called; 'The Three Tiddly Pigs....and other happy tales for children you don't like much'. Its really a bedtime story book as described below.

Fed up with boring, fluffy and cute Bed Time stories with boring, fluffy, cute animals doing boring, fluffy, cute things? Try some truly horrible Bed Time stories to entertain truly horrible children…and their truly horrible Dads.

Caution – These stories contain fluffy cute things and some extreme violence! 

It is now available from amazon kindle store for just 77p. My wife hates it must be worth a look!

You can find it here,

Friday, 6 January 2012

Broadside flyer

Given the last post content I thought it a good idea to show you all a copy of the Broadside 2012 flyer.

Stupid January

Welcome to my newest follower, Colin Hagreen!

As the title of this post suggests, I do not like January. Its not just the near endless list of expensive birthdays I have to fight my way through just after Christmas, it just seems to be like starting all over painting that Scotish bridge. Its all so depressing.

Still, on to more important things! The 2012 Broadside wargames show can now be seen on the horizon, and not as far away as it seems. Sunday 10th June is set to be a great day of course but there is so much to do before then. The MHWC is only a small club too, some eleven members, and so the workload is a little thick in places. Club member Simon is organising our game for the event, club Secretary Mark draws up the hall plans and fits everything together like some large version of Tetris, club step-member Clint is contacting the clubs and organising the games, club step-member John is organising the DBA tournament and everyone gets together the day before to help set out the hall. I pick up the remainder, particularly contacting the traders; not a task for the faint hearted.

The traders are, arguably, the most important aspect of a wargames show. Get this part of the event correct and you are nearly there but, it is no easy task. It is a bit like herding cats with ADHD! I have lost track of the number of emails I have sent out, the larger percentage of recipiants never reply at all. These initial emails have to be repeated every month and backed up with phone calls. Many traders are so busy they simply forget that they have asked for information or simply do not get around to sending back their forms. Having run a small wargame business many years ago I do understand their problems and try my best to work with them. Slowly, the forms and cheques arrive and the show begins to take shape. We had some thirty four traders last year, most of whom only confirmed their attendance three or so months before the was just three days before! All of which makes it very hard to order the extra tables you need at the very least. So far we have eighteen traders with a few more promising cheques and forms. This week I have contacted another thirty plus traders to remind them of the event and encourage them to take part. Experience shows that things will work out in time and with enough of these politely phrased emails and phone calls but you always worry.....Add to all of this the dozen or so clubs all needing extra tables.....dont even ask about the parking arrangements in a town that thought it important to suddenly charge for parking on a Sunday!

And then there is the magazine advertising, insurance, signage, flyers, catering, visitor parking, club and trader parking (I know I mentioned this above but it is such a problem it needs mentioning twice), tax...yes tax! Running such an event opens you up to all sorts of fun things such as paying tax...which of course means that the everyday club acounts become very interesting indeed. Believe it or not, every club should at least be registered for taxation purposes whether it runs a show or not. Take a look at the HMRC website, heady stuff indeed.

Then you need to find bodies to help out and make up the member numbers, we are fortunate that wives and friends are willing to help out and man (or Wife as the case actually is) the entrance areas, we have two given the nature of the venue. Others help set up or act as marshalls, others even help as tournament umpires and the like. Given our low numbers we all have a hard day starting at 7am and ending at 7pm....then I spend a few more fun hours working out the cash and stuff! Oh, and make sure you have enough cash for a float and have drawn up a rota so all of your limited personel resources know where they need to be and when. The MHWC guys were brilliant last year and all worked their socks off, everyone was surprised when they realised how few of us there were.

But, and here is the bottom line, we all enjoy it. Yes it is hard work for very little profit, breaking even is about normal, but we actually get to go to a show and meet people; traders, clubs, other wargamers. Our little club gains a reputation and we attract new blood....well, one new member from the last show but that is a start. My hope for this year is that we attract more members of the general public, for there lies the true source of new wargamers.

Oh well, back to the emails! I hope to see all of you at Broadside....hint hint