Tuesday, 21 May 2019
This weekend saw me attending my third Partizan show and it was with great anticipation as this show is always keenly looked forward to as part of our Devon Wargames Group on tour 'annual boys beano'.
Partizan is definitely a regular event now on our calendar as it is a show that ticks the box for those of us who like to get inspiration from great games with, in the main, purpose built and created terrain to match well turned out armies and in the company of like minded enthusiasts for the hobby.
This year's show had a revolutionary theme to it in that visitors received, on entry, a 28mm miniature depicting Rosa Luxemburg, a woman who gave her life for her beliefs in the turbulent period in Germany between the two world wars, and was executed for them in 1919.
She was quoted as saying "History is the only true teacher, the revolution the best school for the proletariat." As a firm believer in the value of having a solid understanding of national and world history in helping to educate well rounded citizens, I think Rosa was spot on, although I have always leaned towards evolution over revolution any day; with the former often being the more peaceful way to change, winning minds by conviction rather than at the point of a gun.
However the revolutionary theme was well chosen to highlight that Partizan will be having a revolution of its own, next year, as the organisers plan to stage the second show held each year in October instead of August, which has got some of our group, me included, considering on making a second trip in the year in 2020 to attend both events going forward.
Planned new dates for 2020 are Sunday 17th May and Sunday 11th October.
As far as the history theme, historical wargaming is a great way of informing the younger generations in the hobby as well as the casual visitor, and I had the pleasure of the company of my eldest son Tom, as we took time to look at lots of tables, with a particular emphasis on WWII themed games which gave us a chance to remember and chat about Tom's grandparents and other relations who participated in those world changing events.
I mention the WWII theme as I, like many other gamers are very interested in WWII, and I couldn't help noticing the trend this year for that period to be very prominent, particularly in the larger figure scales.
I love 28mm figures and, as you will see, so does my camera, as the scale is so photogenic, but WWII was all about the empty battlefield and so I often find myself enjoying the spectacle of these big games but questioning that pleasure when considering the distortion to scale and appearance to produce them.
Anyway on with the show report with pictures of the games that grabbed my eye this year in no particular order.
The North Hull Wargames Club are a long established club who once boasted a hobby celebrity as a club member, Mr Peter Gilder, and I was particularly keen to see their AWI game recreating the Battle of Brooklyn, in 20mm.
The chaps were using figure collections built around the models from B and B Miniatures, see link below, a range that I, like many it seems, was unfamiliar with, but a range that has obvious attractions to those of us who want to stage big games like this but still have figures with plenty of character and attraction for the eye, especially for an old pair such as mine!
I was really taken with the detail and variety in these little sculpts and, like AB in Napoleonics, provide lots of potential for producing large affordable armies that wont take up an aircraft hangar to refight the Battle of Brandywine for example.
Many years ago Tom and his brother Will got very enthusiastic about Greeks taking on mythical beasts after watching old sixties films such as Jason and the Argonauts.
To foster their enthusiasm for all thing miniature gaming, I bought them some ancient Greeks and some skeleton warriors that now are boxed up in my loft waiting for some TLC.
Of Gods and Mortals had two games on show featuring their rules designed for staging just those sort of filmic skirmish style games and Tom and I took more time than usual to take in this game and the figures on show - you never know, those skeletons might still get a resurrection at some stage!
I particularly like the use of teddy bear fur in this game and its use to recreate the Celtic style hill fort.
Now here we are, just what we were getting re-enthused about, Greeks and mythical beasts, including Harpies, Neptune at the Clashing Rocks and of course, complete with the man of bronze, Talos and his Achilles heel.
Oosterbeek 1944 - The Witches Cauldron
I saw the game below, staged by Old Pikey's Gaming Group from Bournemouth, at Crisis in Antwerp last year and was very enthused then by the attention to detail the chaps had brought to their recreation of the fighting in the Arnhem-Oosterbeek perimeter, capturing the positions of the multiple Victoria Cross recipients amid the carnage of this bitterly fought battle.
There were other games at this year's show that I posted about from my visit to Salute last month and which I left out of this post, but I felt compelled to include this game again as the lighting at Partizan afforded a better opportunity to really do justice to the modelling in this game and the Pegasus flags dotted amid the models showing where the VC actions occurred.
We have done several family trips to WWII battle sites in Europe and Tom and Will have both been to places their Grandfather fought, but Arnhem remains one to be visited and it was great to see Tom's interest in this battle which resulted in the failed link up between Guards Armoured Division and 1st Airborne Division.
The display really captured the intensity of this battle and served as a great memorial to the chaps who participated in it.
The theme for this particular game rather than the game itself was what caught my attention.
I am not a small scale enthusiast, well, smaller than 15/18mm, as I find that the sweet spot for me in having eye-catching models set amid eye-catching terrain is at its limits at that scale and I have gone through my hex terrain period in my hobby when it wasn't fashionable.
A personal taste, as are most things in wargaming are, but I can still appreciate the ability to capture a big battle look in the smaller scale and when combined with a dramatic period in history such as the Mongol invasion of Hungary and the threat posed to European Christendom that that invasion heralded, I want to take the time to appreciate the modeling.
A few years ago, Dan Carlin produced an excellent series of podcasts, as part of his Dan Carlin - Hard Core History series, 'Wrath of the Kahns' covering the rise and threat posed by the Mongols, that both Tom and I have listened to, and this game had us both remembering that presentation as we took in the detail of this game.
The Northampton Battlefield Society do a fantastic job helping to protect the battlefield heritage in their locale and in particular, battlefield sites from the Wars of the Roses.
I have bought copies of their excellent book covering the Battle of Northampton together with the interesting board game they produce recreating the battle and its key events, and have been very happy to support their efforts.
This year will be the 550th anniversary of the Battle of Edgcote fought in 1649 and the Society will be holding an anniversary conference about the battle on Saturday 27th July 10am to 4.15pm in Northampton
More details can be found at https://northantsbattles.com
Wargame Developments are an interesting group with some great ideas for developing games.
I am primarily a figure gamer but am always on the lookout for ideas from boardgames and groups such as this to provide mini-campaign mechanisms that could provide context for my figure games.
One of the games on display was this Arnhem inspired, playing card driven game in which players were looking to drive XXX Corps up the road to Arnhem in time to link up with the British 1st Airborne.
The chaps from Blitzkrieg Miniatures epitomise my comments earlier about big scale figures in WWII games.
There is no doubt that the eye is easily drawn to these well turned out models on nicely produced, functional terrain but to my eye, once I start to think about it, imposing huge compromises on ground scale.
Perhaps it is because I am looking at these games off the back of a Chain of Command campaign in 15mm where the ground scale is tailored perfectly to 15mm and my eye has become accustomed with that look and empty battlefield appearance.
Despite my comments about scale compromise, you can't argue with the visual appeal of these models.
Steve Jones had a very nice turned 'old school' style WWII game that rather reminded me of the Rapid Fire games I used to play, back in the day.
Of course it may be Old School, but beefed up with some very nicely turned out models and terrain.
In a similar vein the Derby Wargames Society continued the NW Europe WWII theme with another nicely turned out Normandy bocage style game, that has me inspired to work up my new Chain of Command collection around the new ranges of plastics due out from Battlefront next month.
Regular visitors to Partizan are the Perry's who brought along their Napoleonic British in Egypt collection to put on a game in memory of Adrian Shepherd who recently passed away.
Loads of eye candy in this particular game that kept my camera quite busy so I hope you will forgive me if I have 'gone to town' with this game.
The League of Augsburg chaps are regular attendees to most of the larger shows and are pretty well guaranteed to put on a spectacularly looking game.
Another game making good use of teddy bear fur showing what a versatile product it is for producing good looking table cloths.
The Boondock Sayntes appeared to be having lots of fun with their eye catching recreation of Assaye 1803, complete with an Indian rocket battery, players in dress uniforms and a few glasses of vin rouge to help the game swing along in style.
The players dress code for this game made me think that we might have to start raising our own game at the Devon Wargames Group for our occasional club spectaculars.
The Too Fat Lardies were in attendance rolling out Richard's new Malaya collection for Chain of Command that has been getting a bit of attention in recent outputs on the Lard Channel.
I thought the jungle looked spectacular and performed as well as the real thing in that the cover it provided almost caused me to miss spotting the figures deployed in it.
Now this is what you call an empty battlefield, or is it?
The chaps from 1st Corps reinforced the Normandy themed games with another teddy bear fur table scape capturing the look of British troops advancing into summer cornfields.
Finally I finished my tour around the games with some pictures of the Grimsby Wargames Society's Great Northern War 28mm game with some gorgeous winged hussars amid the splendour of green, yellow and blue clad infantry and serried ranks of multi hued cavalry.
Another very enjoyable Partizan which left me coming away inspired to get that paintbrush back in hand and carrying a few packs of Perry and Foundry Napoleonic miniatures for a planned Sharp Practice collection - more anon.
Thanks to Laurence Baldwin, Richard Tyndall and the organising team for Partizan for their continued good work in putting on this excellent show, to all the people I managed to chat with during the day who added to the whole experience and to Steve M, Steve H, Andy, Vince, Chas, Tom, Jason, Nathan, Andy and Panjo for their company and here is looking forward to the next one.