Thursday, January 20, 2011

Some musings about blogs and such...

Before I start waxing philosophic about the hobby (blah, blah, blah), I have a couple of grainy photos of a game that Daniel and I played a couple of weeks ago. It was a chance to field my new German pioneer squad. 
Daniel contemplating where to best deploy the flammenwerfer team.
Half of the German pioneer squad clustered around its transport (or are they hiding like the cowards they were?)
OK, eye-candy out of the way (despite its lack of photo quality). I've been thinking much lately about wargaming and hobby blogs, why we create and follow them. The latter is easy, at least for me. Reading others' blogs gives me inspiration, ideas and a sense of my relative place in the hobby. Besides ogling figures and terrain, keeping up with the plethora of blogs out there can help me put my own efforts into perspective. How does my painting stack up against the average...or the best? How do my games look compared to others? Thats' not the only reason, of course. I like to read painting and terrian-making tips to see if I can glean any useful information. What I don't like is lengthy game reports (especially if they don't have pictures) but maybe that's just me.

What gives me pause to think is why I do it myself. Why did I create this blog and why do I continue it? So far, I find the answer is in three parts:

1) showing off
2) soliciting opinions (closely tied to #1)
3) keeping track of my own efforts

Showing off is an integral part of the hobby, at least my hobby. And there's nothing wrong with celebrating one's own accomplishments (as long it doesn't slide into over-weening hubris, of course). Now I'm perfectly aware that for many in the hobby, aesthetic awareness is not high on their list of hobby necessities. That's each his own, as they say, but not for me. There's something special about going to a game with friends and pulling out a box with my latest painted figures to show off. And I like very much being on the other side of that as well. Seeing others' achievements gives that peculiar thrill unique to most modelling hobbies. Creating a blog was a natural extension of this. Rather than showing up at a friend's house with painted figures in hand, I can now open the virtual figure box and show them off here. 

Soliciting opinions is also a reason for my blogging. Of course, this is really just an extension of showing off. Why would one exhibit one's efforts if not to solicit opinions. Far too often, I think, the purpose is to solicit praise. That's fine, as long as one is ready for the criticism as well. Of course, offering constructive criticism of another's paint jobs is like walking on egg shells and most of us avoid it altogether. A quick anecdote to show the minefield one can walk into in this regard:

I few years ago I had invited a new group of gamers to my house for some games. At one of these gatherings, a new friend walked in and proudly opened a box of newly-painted 1/285 WWII infantry. They were mounted on GW 20mm square plastic bases. I can't recall the quality of the paint jobs (which is irrelevant to the story anyway...and besides, I can't see figures that small) but I do remember the basing. There were three or four figures per base and there were some patches of flock covering about one third of the base area. Otherwise the bases were just the bare black plastic. Quite innocently and with the intention of showing praise, I said, "Good job. They'll look great when you finish the basing." I immediately saw my mistake when the guy's eye's dropped and his face showed real disappointment. Turns out, the bases were finished. Ooops!

So you can probably see my trepidation when I say a blog is intended, at least in part, to solicit praise  (and/or criticism). The more I add to this blog, the more I realize its other intrinsic value as a diary of sorts. I find it extremely helpful in keeping track of my projects and my intentions for them. I usually have a number of things on the go and often I can't remember what I had intended for certain figures or terrain items. I didn't grow up in a pink-frilled bedroom, sitting on the bed faithfully writing my diary (my apologies to all those very manly men who did that and are living relatively well-adjusted adult lives). But maybe I wanted to, maybe. And now that I've started the ImagiNation project, using the blog as a means of keeping track of uniform ideas and rules suggestions is invaluable.

OK, enough rambling. Next up, some thoughts about tracking my ImagiNation progress and the first painted unit.


  1. I agree with everything you said here! I'd add a 4th, which has only really taken on significance since my main computer died 3 weeks ago: a Picture Archive. even if you lose all your pictures to a Hard drive/computer that died, you still have all your wonderful pictures on your blog! all you have to do is sift through and download all the pics to re- establish picture archive on a computer.

    let me tell you, going form a quad core desktop to a single core netbook is is a real shock.

  2. Hadn't thought of that but true.

    Condolences on the death of your computer.