26 June 2023

Welcome and introduction to The Thin Lead Line

Exsum: An intro to a new addition into the the ocean of the tabletop hobby blogosphere.

Welcome to this, the opening post for a late entry to the constellation of miniature hobby and tabletop gaming blogs. The blog itself originated about a decade ago when I started to significantly grow my interest in getting back into miniature wargaming - which in the end turned out to be a spate of 'collecting' (ie 'hoarding') but little actual painting or gaming. But the idea of a blog stuck and the final impetus came last year I took the plunge in participating in the thirteenth iteration of the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge (AHPC), an annual painting output challenge that runs for 3 months over the northern winter. [For those not familiar with the AHPC I strongly recommend the following interviews with its founder, principal organiser and gentleman, ‘The Snowlord’ Curt Campbell (and of course check out Curt’s blog): 

The Yarkshire Gamer: https://kenrtai.podbean.com/e/episode-18-curt-campbell-analogue-hobbies-paint-challenge/

The Canadian Wargamer: https://madpadre.podbean.com/e/the-canadian-wargamer-podcast-with-our-guest-curt-campbell-of-the-analogue-hobbies-painting-challenge/

Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy: https://wsspodcast.libsyn.com/wss56

The AHPC was an absolute blast, though at times stressful as deadlines pressed down. Most of all it was a supportive and inclusive environment, and a great way to kickstart getting paint on miniatures. The only downside wasn’t being able to keep up with and comment on others’ posts to the degree I'd have liked (I'm still trawling through the postings discovering new things). Photos in this post largely taken from my output in the AHPC, and my posts to the Challenge can be found (in order) here, here, here, here, here...and...here

The gaming pedigree

Being heavily hooked on to military history since childhood, I was an easy mark to get into gaming (I grew up in Poland – in the bad old days – and everyone in my grandparents’ generation and above were touched by war, so accounts of Poland’s historical conflicts were as ready as mother’s milk). I got into gaming in what I suspect is pretty much a well-worn path for others around my age. Gateways of scale models, plastic 1/7X figures, library loans (Ospreys, and familiar names on military history and gaming - Featherstone, Quarrie, Windrow and Hook) and Military Modelling. Early ‘wargaming’ was fairly hands on and kinetic – I like to think of it retrospectively as harking back to the ‘play on the floor and shoot things across the room’ H.G. Wells style gaming: trench systems dug in the back yard where plastic soldiers would be exposed to fireworks, lighter-and-aerosol flamethrowers and sniper rocks or marbles. My first Citadel set (Dungeon Adventurers Starter Set) came courtesy of CANCON ’86, and I still have happy nostalgic memories of poring over the monthly catalogue from the then Military Simulations. Overlay reading Tolkien, Dragonlance, Sven Hassel…

Somewhere in all that along came Warhammer 40K Rogue Trader – the first acquisition being Chapter Approved: The Book of the Astronomican because it was within my pre-teen budget and had the glorious images of all the Citadel minatures then available. Battletech came a poor second, on the back of memories of the Robotech tv series. Games were played on dining tables and floors with often reckless interpretation of the rules. Alongside this reading, a steady drip of RPGs (Warhammer Fantasy, Twilight 2000, and Call of Cthulhu).

Fast forwarding through the years – uni, time in crap campus bands, relationships/breakups, group houses, booze, jobs. All very much devoid of gaming bar PC games, easy empty calories and no storage impost. Then, in 2003, I found myself doing shiftwork with access to eBay on the work system (long blocked) and some extra pennies. Thus began the last two decades (minus) of the Golden Hoard(ing) across scales, periods, game types - interspersed with more of the above real-life distractions, deployments and postings overseas. Among those was acquisition of a sizeable portion of the collection of a Canberra gamer who had passed – much of which, which includes Citadel miniatures back to the mid-80s, remains to be stripped. Ultimately, given I fall foul of the butterfly ‘oh look so shiny’ effect like a cat to an unsupervised steak, the end result is a somewhat overwhelming stash of historical, fantasy and scifi miniatures and models. All against the backdrop of these hobbies going from being on the margins when I was in high school to accepted and even ‘cool’ in their own way).

The painting desk...pre-Challenge
So what is this all about?

Which is probably a good spot to intro what I might be covering in this blog. In the broad, the intent is to use this to share plans, progress (most of all, otherwise I’m missing the point!), and opinions on a host of tabletop gaming (miniatures, boardgames, roleplaying games) and scale modelling interests. And with occasional dips into broadly related topics: computer games, listening (podcasts, audio books); books and magazines from my shelves; films and tv shows; and, even visits to museums.

In terms of specific topics, the collection encompasses various periods of military history, science-fiction, fantasy, horror and scales. To put some names, spinning my chair around the study/hobby room, the word salad of IPs, game systems, periods, miniatures and model scales include: 28mm, 15mm, 10mm, 6mm, 1/72, 1/48, Ancients, Medieval, renaissance, pike and shot, Black Powder, French-Indian War, American Civil War, Seven Years War, Napoleonic, Franco-Prussian War, Russian Civil War, Spanish Civil War, Back of Beyond, World War Two, Battlegroup, Victory at Sea, Blood Red Skies, Battlegroup, Bolt Action, Silver Bayonet, Lion Rampant, Pikeman's Lament, By Fire and Sword, Samurai, Cold War, Warhammer, Horus Heresy, Battletech, Bloodbowl, Kult, Delta Green, Call of Cthulhu, Alien, Mothership, Mork Borg, Cy-Borg, Twilight 2000, Force-on-Force...(copyright resides with the respective companies :-)

So dear reader, here we are...settle in with your fave beverage and watch this space.

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