It's been snowing all day today, and we've had to cancel our plans. It's ironic that my friend, Jake, and I were supposed to recreate the wintry Battle for Bastogne via a game of Flames of War, which took place in similar weather conditions. So amateur historians take note: Bastogne has been postponed on account of snow! So what else to do but to sit by the window and reminisce? I stayed up late last night repainting my volksgrenadiers for our game. These were the first 15mm scale models I had ever purchased, so I've been feeling pretty nostalgic while reworking them.
I got into Flames of War in 2007. I had finished grad school the year before and had been struggling with work. Having been laid-off my job, and currently working as a temp (grading proficiency tests for public schools if you were curious), I wasn't exactly happy with the direction my life was going. In general it was good though. I had gotten married to the girl-of-my-dreams, and all that. We lived in an awesome townhouse in Grandview. Great friends. Furry cat. Things were: moderately good.
|Man, oh man. Most of the guys in the front 2/3's of this pic are from the Old Glory - Command Decision line. Amazingly cheap miniatures, and lots of good detail on their backpacks and stuff like that. Love these little guys. My first WW2 models ever.|
I'd walk out of that store feeling bruised and financially estranged. The guy at the counter would shrug and say, "yep, this hobby is expensive. Golf is expensive too. Blah, blah, blah." then his head exploded, or something. (now is a good time to note I'm writing this post on strong pain medication. Reader beware!)
|This is a sturm platoon from Battlefront's line that came out last year. Very good sculpts. They mix in "okay" with the Old Glory models. I wouldn't mix figures from both manufacturers on the same bases since the proportions are a bit different.|
It was a two or three week wait for them to cast-up my order and send it out. It seems crazy in our "have it now" culture that I was ordering stuff that I had never seen beforehand, and then supposed to wait for weeks. In hindsight this would be my first steps down the Dark Path of the Old Fogey...
My package arrived and I had my work cut out for me. Assembling and painting an army of little 15mm soldiers for the first time was daunting. As an Old Fogey hobby, there really was no accessible tutorial in 2007 on how to put any of this stuff together. I looked around the internet for direction, usually to no avail.
The mystery of it continued to pester me, so I kept digging around. Finally, I figured out what I needed to do: how to correctly assemble equipment, how to paint historically accurate colors, and how to use the miniatures to play the game. (finding the rules: tricky! finding other people to play: even more tricky!)
Now it is January 2014, seven years later and I'm still into this hobby pretty heavy. It's a social game that gets you out with other people, it's a brilliant craft that teaches patience and technical skill, and it's great for learning about history. And I guess I'm kind of into it for the long haul.
I still appreciate the old off-brand models that got me started, even though I mostly buy the upper-end Flames of War stuff now. But a little shout-out to the "other guys" for getting me started. Thanks!
|The Volksgrenadier Company with Schutzen Platoons 1 & 2 (OG) on the left & center, and Sturm Platoon (BF) on the right.|