Thursday, December 31, 2015

Looking Back On 2015: Hobby Highlights

2015 was a difficult year in some ways and a very happy way in others.  It was also a year of transition. From January through March I had my head down finishing a thesis.   In June I finished my MA program paid for by my employer, and Madame Padre and I moved several hours north and east from Kitchener to Barrie here in Ontario.  

I have to move again?  And pack all my toys again?  And unpack them?

About that time we learned that my wife had cancer. I started a new job in my new posting at the Chaplain School at CFB Borden.   In September Kay and I took a holiday to Europe, visiting Iceland and Germany.  I amused myself in Erfurt by visiting a mostly unknown battlefield of 1813-1815 and tracing the steps of Napoleon.  Kay spent the fall and winter in chemo and came through with flying colours.

Embarking figures for yet another move.  One benefit of this move was that I got almost all of my figures on magnetic bases for storage in metal tins.  


1) Participating in the Battle of Raab, a Napoleonic play by email game hosted by Jonathan Freitag. I played the role of Prince Eugene and was fortunate enough to win the battle, though I admit, the French have a lot of troops and generally better ones than the Austrians.   Very good fun to make big strategic and tactical decisions and see how they go.

 2) Sam Mustafa rules.   I got to know two rules sets this year.  One was Sam’s ACW rules, Longstreet.  I blogged my first game of Longstreet and commented on it here. Looking over my blog entries for 2015, Longstreet was far and away the game I played most often in 2015.   I’ve played several sets of ACW rules, and haven’t enjoyed a set more than Longstreet.

Luigi the Kitten joined us in 2015.  He thought Longstreet was fun and that GMB flags taste yummy.

I also enjoyed Sam’s new Napoleonic rules, Blucher.  Both are terrifically playable rules, doubtless too abstract and “gamy” for some grognards.  However, Blucher for me was a great introduction to Napoleonic gaming and a great way to start playing with my new 6mm collection.

Finally putting the wee lads to the test.

3) Hot Lead was the highlight of my gaming year.  This is a modest event by European standards, but it’s a big deal in this part of Canada.   Next year I promise Rabbitman that I will run at least one game at Hot Lead this year.

4) Getting to play with my Lord of the Rings figures again, this time using an adaptation of Too Fat Lardies’ Dark Ages rules, Dux Brittanorum (I am never sure how to spell that).  First results have been encouraging.

Men of Gondor, stand ye ready!

5) Last, and most important, has been the community of bloggers of which I am so grateful to be a part.   From the exchange of gifts this Christmas through various secret Santa schemes to the one on one exchanges with people who become friends, what Conrad Kinch calls the Freemasonry of the Hobby has been a huge blessing to me this year.  Some of the unlooked for kindnesses that appeared in the post included orcs from the Duchy of Tragardland, a small legion of ne’er do well rascals from Ireland, a gift of 15mm tank model kits for my Soviets from Steve Whitesel of the Sound Officers’ Call Blog, and of course the indispensable Foy mug (OK, I admit, I had to beg for that one).

Every time I post a photo of some recent painting efforts or a battle report, the comments and encouragement help me want to go on with the hobby.  If it was just me in my basement, I don’t think I’d do this.   I want to particularly thank all those who expressed their concern and encouragement this year, when we learned that my wife, Madame Padre, was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer.   We know we will beat this thing, but your support, prayers and kindness have made such a difference.  Bless you all.


Because real life was so busy, 2015 was not my best painting year.  Thanks to Richard Avery of the Vis Lardica website, there is a gallery of my painting achievements here.

In 2014 I painted this much:

28mm Mounted: 13, 28mm Foot: 85, 28mm Artillery: 2; 28mm terrain pieces: 10 

20mm Foot: 33, 20mm Artillery: 2, 20mm Vehicles: 2, 20mm Terrain Pieces: 2

15mm Vehicles: 7, 15mm Foot: 119, 15mm Terrain Pieces: 3

6mm Foot:  120, 6mm vehicles: 4, 6mm Terrain Pieces: 2

In 2015 I painted this much:

 28mm:  Foot Figures: 85; Mounted Figures: 19, Artillery: 2, Vehicles: 2, Scenic Pieces: 2

 20mm:  Vehicles: 1; Artillery: 1, Foot Figures: 6

 15mm: Armour/Vehicles: 5; 15mm Scenic Pieces: 5

 6mm:  Scenic pieces:  7

So 2015 was definitely a less productive year, though I don’t think it was any the less enjoyable.


1) Finish rebasing all that 6mm Napoleonics and play some games with them.

This goal was successfully met.  Of the figures I purchased in 2013, I managed to get 90% of the Austrians and 70% of the French based.  I had enough figures painted to stage a few decent little battles like this one.  Most of those bases were handmade, but I took mercy on my poor hands and purchased a batch of bespoke bases from a Canadian company, 6 Squared Studios, to finish the job in the new year.   

2) Finish some Ottoman Spahis and some Russian SYW horse I bought off a chap late last year.

No progress in this regard.   Not a sausage.  Can’t say why.  

3) Paint some wonderful ACW Iron Brigade figures from FG MiniZ Forgotten and Glorious - I don’t know why I haven’t gotten these done already.

I did make progress here.  I’m now 30% doneand the rest underway.  I should have the 24th Michigan finished and shown off soon.

Forgotten and Glorious figures.  Why did it take me so long to start painting this gems?

4) Putter away at the Weird War Project.

Much puttering done this year, including hapless German sentries, thuggish psycho landser, leering officers, and bad young SS frauleins.   So I’m happy with how I’ve advanced that project.

5) Round out my 15mm WW2 Soviets and play Battlegroup Kursk with them.

The rounding out goal was 100% met and then some.  Besides some tanks I painted myself, in June I had the opportunity to purchase a friend’s 15mm collection en masse.  Sadly, I have yet to do anything with them.

One Soviet horde, gently used, ready for service.  

6) Play some more games, preferably with new friends I make in my next posting.

I’m happy with the amount of games I made.  Since moving to Barrie, I have connected with the local games club and made some new friends and connected with old ones.  The local gaming scene is more board game than miniature focused, but it’s better than the gaming desert I lived in a few years ago.

7) Remain healthy, fit and happily married to Madame Padre.

This goal was 99% met. Fitness took a bit of a hit.  You may have noticed I don’t brag about kilometres run during my painting totals any more.  My knees are not what they used to be.  More time in the pool and on the elliptical is in my future.


2016 GOALS 

I’m not going to be super ambitious here, since my lack of focus (I prefer to call it eclecticism) and undisciplined work habits will have their say, but here’s what I’d like to do.

1) Put more work into the Weird War project and actually play a game.  My first objective is to try the adaptation to TFL’s Chain of Command Undead Paranormal (CoCUP) just published in the TFL Christmas Special.

2) Actually run a game at Hot Lead this year.  Game to be determined.

3) Work on my Pulp Project, The Rockies Ablaze.

4) Paint to my own lights and my own satisfaction.   I will be participating again in the Vis Lardica painting challenge, which I find is best suited to my pace and style of painting.

5) Revisiting Middle Earth with the new Dragon Rampant rules.

6) More Napoleonics, painting and playing, starting with the Blucher campaign rules, Scharnhorst, and French vs Austrians in Italy.  There may be a play by email campaign in this.  Interested?

7) Run another PBEM game of Diplomacy, as I was thinking today about the fun I had running the last in 2014.

8) Play well with others, be grateful for friends, family and blessings while we have them, and enjoy what I love best about this hobby - other people.

9) More boardgames.

10) Remain healthy, fit and happily married to Madame Padre.

Blessings and joy to you all in the year to come!



  1. Not bad all things considered.
    I'd be up for the PBEM BTW
    Happy New Year.

    1. Cheers mate. I'll save a command for you once I figure things out.

  2. Considering your professional and personal circumstances, I'd say that you get 9.5 over 10 points last year.
    I will watch your Lard of the Rings project under watch, as I own tons of GW figures from when the film was released; and generally your blog, that I found entertaining (your sense of humour is great) and critically informative. I'd like to see ir anything more reviews of your readings through the year.
    Best wishes for you and Mrs Padre specially, may 2016 only bring good news to your family

  3. Congrats on the MA - I well know the drudgery that can bring. Looking forward to getting my own bit of paper after finishing my last class a fortnight ago.

    I also well know the pain of packing and unpacking little lead (and increasingly plastic) treasures. Well over a dozen military moves has seen me increasingly prioritise on proper storage options for my models. I so hate the sound of a rattling box...

    Congrats on some great successes during the year - looks like many more to come in 2016! Best wishes to you and Mrs Padre for a great year.

    1. Thanks Paul. In some ways it was the best of years and the worst of years. I know you had a busy time of it as well. I look forward to hearing that you have your MA in hand.

  4. A fine performance on the gaming front Michael.
    I would be interested to hear what you have done for Dux? - I have a plan to adapt them for Mythical Ancient China and would welcome your thoughts.
    Looking forward to the Rockie project.
    Best wishes for 2016 and plenty of gaming.

    1. Thanks Stuart. Some of my ideas for Dux were borrowed from Thomas Nisvik. I hope to have a file put together soon summarizing my ideas on Dux Rohirrim as Thomas calls it.
      Best to you and yours as well.

    2. Sounds like fun Michael, please keep me in mind.
      Best wishes.

  5. Happy New Year Padre!
    Stay focused on goal 10, that is the most important one. We will happily read about the others :-)

    1. Thank you Joakim. Goal 10 is indeed the most important one.

  6. Happy New Year to you both and I wish Madam Padre all the best.

    1. Thanks, Ashley. Much appreciated. Best to you and yours as well.

  7. Happy new year. Hope Mrs Padre has a better year this year and hope you both have a prosperous and happy game-filled new year.

    1. Thank you HW. Same to you and yours as well.

  8. Happy New Year Padre. It was a busy and varied one for you and yours, for sure. It was great to hear that Madame did so well, and here's to more news of the same moving forward. I've enjoyed your ACW games with Longstreet. Like you I was once a reinactor. I feel the need to field a couple of ACW armies in the future; so your reviews and enthusiasm have been inspiring. Here's to a great 2016.

  9. Excellent 2015 recap, Michael! Despite a personal challenge for the Madame and yourself, 2015 was a good year for you. Following your exploits is a first rate experience and always interesting!

    Having you participate in the Raab battle was a joy, for sure. Many tense decisions but all in good fun. You are a fine commander. Remote gaming as in Raab is an activity I want to repeat.

    Your comments regarding the support of the blogging community are spot on. Great bunch of guys and gals to whom I consider friends.

    It would be a great pleasure to face off against you FtF across the gaming table some day. Best wishes in the New Year and let's keep the gaming/painting table busy in 2016.

    1. I would enjoy FtF gaming with you, or failing that, perhaps something by Vassal this year?

    2. VASSAL would be a good, second choice since a great distance lies between. How would we select a game to try with so many options?

  10. Happy New Year from Pete. Your hobby output has been impressive. All the best for 2016.

  11. Happy New Year and what a testing one its been! glad things are looking far brighter for 2016 and looking forward to seeing this year projects.


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