I describe myself as an Old School Wargamer on my Twitter profile. On the one hand that refers to the fact that I have been Wargaming since 1973, when being a young and impressionable modeller obsessed with military history, I first read about it in the pages of Military Modelling. I was lucky we had an active local Wargames club and the library was well stocked with books by Asquith, Featherstone, Grant and Quarrie et al.
Second World War Wargaming then was quite simple: easy move rates, armour points, penetration points and the emphasis was on historical re-fights which is I suppose is where the second part of being an Old School Wargamer come in. The history is important: it’s not on the periphery, it is the core.
And now more than 40 years later I play Flames of War. ‘Heretic!’ I hear some cry. Well FoW for me has some advantages. Being time poor for the hobby, it’s an easy franchise to buy into with some nicely produced books and a steady stream of good models, especially since Battlefront’s move into plastics. They cost a little more but there are good deals on eBay and the cost side isn’t really an issue for me. There are also a lot of good blogs and Facebook groups which means you can feel attached to the hobby even if you mainly game on your own.
Having said all that, there are sides to FoW that I don’t like. I would never play in a tournament as they have little to do with the history side of the game: platoons of T34s facing Sherman Fireflys just because one list is ‘better’ than another. Nope, go to 40K if you want that. And linked in with the tournament side of it is the dreaded Points System FoW uses. This is is one of its weakest angles: points are irrelevant to any real battle situation and a rule set needs to be able to reflect that. I think FoW does if you let it but players have to be persuaded that it’s a good idea. And as they are often so invested in the points system, they can’t be persuaded! So that’s one of the directions I’m looking at in trying to apply some Old School to FoW.
Incidentally there was an interesting article in a recent edition of the superb Minature Wargames about Point Systems in Wargaming and while it is true several of the ‘old guard’ of gaming were in favour of such a system, making it Old School in a sense, I’m still not sure it can ever apply to a WW2 game.
And that leads into the FoW organisational ORBAT charts… and a subject for another blog post!
When I was at Salute 2015 I picked up from the Battlefront stand some of the new Colours of War paints and one of the new base sprays, as well as the new book about the paint range itself. These were not generally on sale at that point but last week was the first chance I’d had to use them so excuse this delayed review as I am sure many gamers are curious about them.
The paints come in boxes as they did before but the paints all now have different names and different codes.
I decided to try them out on a Flames of War Sherman from their plastic platoon box. I sprayed the Sherman with the new Firefly Green base spray. Having used some of the Plastic Soldier Company sprays (and liked them), this one is just as good and left a good even coating in a good basic colour as seen below.
The paints themselves come in two sizes in the box; most are small bottles, but with one large. The paint bottles are designed to look like bullets and that is quite neat to be honest. The lids open easily and the paint is dispensed in a good mix; there did not seem a need to give them much of a shake like Vallejo paints. There is nothing on the packaging to say who makes these paints but they do seem different to Vallejo, so it appears they are indeed new and not just an exercise in re-packaging.
I then following the instructions in the book about the next stages of painting the tank; the painting guides in the book are really good and offer solutions for basic table top quality painting through to higher standards.
I’m a functional painter rather than a good one, but it was a pleasure to use these new paints which using the hints in the book gave a good result to the tank. The finished example is below.
If this is what to come with the new paint range then I am delighted; they were better in my view than Vallejo, the box contained a good selection of relevant colours, and the paint was easily used and applied. Looking forward to using some more again soon.
As a long term fan of Battlefront Miniatures’ Flames of War franchise – largely because it’s ‘easy’ to buy into for a lazy, real-life occupied old gamer like me – I was interested at Salute 2015 to pick up the new Colours Of War painting guide, one of the new sprays and a pack of the new paints.
It was announced over the winter that Battlefront were bringing in a new paint range and this was the first phase of it. I have yet to test the actual paints and when I do a review will follow here, but the book is in some respects a work of art in its own right. It follows the usual high production values of Battlefront and tackles some basic aspects of wargaming and painting miniatures and then goes into a country by country guide offering types on painting uniforms as well as tank camouflage. For an average miniature painter like me it is not too intimidating in the way some similar Games Workshop products are, and there are some really useful tips which I will be trying out.
The book cost me £15 at Salute and I have no idea of what it will retail at, but there is a page for it on the FoW website.