Monday, 5 August 2013

Societies Views...

A week or so ago I saw a very interesting blog post on Big Lees Miniature Adventures Blog about a very poor article (found here - titled "If David Cameron must ban anything, let it be Warhammer fantasy games").

At the time it was something I read, tutted at and commented on Big Lee's blog about. I had intend to post a blog about this myself afterwards, but I decided to leave it as many other wargames blogs had covered the same stuff. Basically it was someone taking a cheap shot at the Warhammer games specifically, and by association the whole hobby. There are some people who believe that the article was designed to be some sort of satire... but personally I'm not convinced.

The article in question also caused me to look at how my hobby is perceived by my friends, relatives and colleagues. I'm lucky in that my partner is very supportive (see previous blogs mentioning visits to Haugh Battery, Eden Camp, Cardiff Castle, The Royal Welsh Regimental Museum, etc) and will happily let me sit quietly and paint. Mainly because I am sitting quietly, I suspect. My family have, by now, gotten used to my obsessive tendencies and I would like to think are impressed at the quality of my painting. I'm very open about my hobbies with my colleagues - some don't understand, some do but leave me to it and others will ask me about what I've been doing and ask me to see pics.

This hostility that seems to exist about this particular hobby seems to be one of these nebulous things that 'society' (aka, elements of the media) seems to have. Just as it's fun to take the mickey from geeks, it must be even more fun to make fun of subsets of geeks. I mentioned in Big Lee's blogs comments about this attitude not applying to things like football.

I was interested then, to read this article on the BBC website, about HG Wells and the creation of the hobby. A much more balanced and informative article, although it only briefly touches on the smaller elements (painting, modelling, etc). The comparison between the two is massive, and really made me question the purpose of the original telegraph piece. Maybe it was satire - comparing playing and banning warhammer to watching and banning hardcore pornography.

The final point of this blog entry? My names James and I'm a wargamer - and not ashamed of it!


  1. Interesting post J,
    I read Big Lees post to, the guys article was pointless nonsense.

    Your also another subspecies, a ginger wargamer (as am I) so I feel I can comment. I have thought about this as well a lot. My brother started us off painting and collecting toy soldiers and tanks. My poor nephew as you know didn't have much chance but to follow us. No other members of our family have any interest in history, art or modelling to my knowledge. In fact my dad was not so happy about me sitting around painting and building kits as he prefered me to play and train for sports as that was his thibg, I get that. It was only in my late teens after a wee argument I explained to him it gave me a lot of enjoyment, i know he doesn't understand it but he is cool with it. I guess he wanted me to fulfil some potential (I was to lazy!)

    While growing up I never told my best friends at football or rugby or whatever I painted toy soldiers as I remember early on getting laughed at for my geeky interest.

    Same with girls, it was far cooler being a guy who played sports to being a guy who painted toy soldiers, especially through school. As you get older things don't matter so much. our country seemed to be a country where people could have a hobby like subbuteo, trains, stamps etc and nobody bothered. Seems to be in media now these things are seen as old fashioned and weird but then again I remember anyone who excelled at school was a geek so it's a wee bit mad.

    I had the chance to live in eastern Europe for a time and it appeared really different. Everyone seemed to take an interest in everything be it sport, model making, wargaming, history. There didn't seem to be any stigma attached, go figure?

    the way Mai looks at it im not out in the pub drunk (we do that together) or gambling or with other women. I have an interest and she does appreciate it. Who cares if it is toy soldiers. Also I if I die suddenly she can stick my AB Naps on eBay and retire :-P

    I'm a wargamer to Jamie, although you are a far bigger geek than me you mad tin hatter!!!


  2. I would agree with the pointless nonsense comment Paul, I just found that the comparison between the two articles was interesting.

    I guess we can all be pigeonholed into one 'type' or another.

    BTW, I wouldn't tell Mai how much those things are worth, your dangerous enough on your own without her help!

  3. Lol, its to late she already knows. If anything happens to me I don't want some character coming along and offering her a few quid to take them off her hands to save her the hassle of ebay.

  4. I found the article rather poor satire. What was much more funny were the geeks who really took him seriously. I didn't come out of the wargaming closet to my wife until a year or two after I moved in with her - a trip to Salute (still at Kensington Town Hall at this point) and I was pretty much hooked. A few surreptitous copies of WI and I was on the slippery slope (15mm ancients and 28mm ACW). At the moment my wife doesn't know how much the unpainted lead I own is worth (in fact I haven't stepped back to make a valuation myself) - which is just as well....


If you follow my blog, please feel free to leave a comment - it will appear once moderated!