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TOPIC: 28mm games in the mags
Email dourpuritan PM dourpuritan
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28mm games in the mags
dourpuritan
21st Sep 2017 04:09:39

Well as I said, I happily paint 10mm, 6mm, 3mm and 2mm and I'm 65. I've worn glasses since I was ten, so age is no excuse. Obstinacy on the other hand.......there are some historical gamers down my club who mostly game in 15mm, but their games are all rooted in the 70s and take a million years to play.


PM Baggers
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28mm games in the mags
Baggers
22nd Sep 2017 11:28:10

I was never a fan of 28mm when it was metal 25mm so was always very firmly 15mm until wandering into JoS at the old venue a couple if years back; completely 6mm now. My two pene’th on skirmish (which I also enjoy) is that unless you are going for a Wild West game or similar where the aim is to play a small number of ‘character’ figures most military skirmishes still involve a fair handful of troops.  These lend themselves particularly well to 6mm IMHO as you can get a great representation of a small raiding party/warband/platoon in a couple of bases rather than 1 figure. Per’s inspired 6mm Saga game at JoS 16 is a great example. Perhaps we should be promoting that approach alongside the big battle message – both are super in 6!


Email dourpuritan PM dourpuritan
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28mm games in the mags
dourpuritan
22nd Sep 2017 11:43:12

Agreed; I have a very nice Dux Britanniarum set up in 10mm with, eg three infantry on a penny representing one 28mm base.


PM pushing.tin
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28mm games in the mags
pushing.tin
22nd Sep 2017 03:30:09

I guess the question is whether there has been a drop off of sales of other scales (especially 6mm) and/or historical wargaming as a result.

 


Email dourpuritan PM dourpuritan
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28mm games in the mags
dourpuritan
22nd Sep 2017 07:12:34

Don't think so, just been playing a 6mm game with a chap who does mainly 28mm historical and was very nicely complemented on both troops and terrain. It was a good game as well. Discussed another scenario that will involve trains bringing extra artillery to the battlefield. Try that as part of a major battle  with 28mm figures on a 6x4 table!


PM Le Comte de Froufrou
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28mm games in the mags
Le Comte de Froufrou
24th Sep 2017 09:45:09

Pete's piece on 28mm figures and the various comments here are food for thought.

I don't buy the glossies, or, indeed, any hobby magazines, largely because I live in Japan. However, I picked a couple of copies when I was home last Christmas, just to see what was going on in the gaming world. Quite a shock. In three magazines there were, I think, four or five shots of non-28mm figures. Most pictures (of which there were lots) looked more like dioramas than games. Articles were more about painting and terrain than rules and games. Almost all the advertisments and reviews were of 28mm figures. If someone was looking for any other scale, they would find it very difficult.

I also picked up a very old set of Napoleonic rules, and a couple of old issues of Wargames Illustrated for the rules ideas in them. But the content of the magazine as a whole is very different. There was a greater ratio of print to picture, and articles on rules or games didn't seem to presuppose any one particular scale. Re the Napoleonic rules, they contain a few photos of 25mm figures (Hinchcliffe, I think), all of which display a standard of painting that would simply be laughed at today. Yet they were quite acceptable then.

To my mind, Pete is correct. There is a clear bias in the glossies towards 28mm. They seem to want to be Military Modelling all over again, rather than games magazines. There is also the influence of presentation from certain companies. As Pete said in the old Rant that used to grace the Baccus site, the Vision demands that figures are not merely painted, they must be miniature works of art. And it's the same with rules and related products. DBMM got criticised for its presentation, yet it was perfectly good for what it was. Field of Glory got may more plaudits for its presentation, because it had masses of irrelevant but pretty pictures and photos of dioramas (sorry, 'games'), but I always found the layout much less convenient to use. The Vision, however, has become the new standard, and that standard recognises only one scale. 


Email dourpuritan PM dourpuritan
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28mm games in the mags
dourpuritan
24th Sep 2017 11:08:57

For a 6mm game, put together using temporary terrain pieces in my backroom,  I don't think this looks too bad, and it's something which any wargamer should be able to do - 6mm figures with 3mm TBM buildings.


PM Igor
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28mm games in the mags
Igor
24th Sep 2017 07:07:27

I would disagree with Whirlwind's statement "Until 6mm can show itself in a better light". It's not up to us to change what we aleady do; the onus is on the magazines to catch up. Getting cameramen who actually have the ability to photograph 6mm would be a start.


PM Le Comte de Froufrou
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28mm games in the mags
Le Comte de Froufrou
24th Sep 2017 09:40:31

Igor: I agree completely. To judge by photos on this site and elsewhere, there are some excellent 6mm games at shows, and probably at clubs, too. However, they don't get reported in the glossies, and the question has to be, why not? And it is not simply a 6mm issue; other scales like 15mm or 20mm plastics aren't getting a look in. The publishers just don't seem interested. The most glaring example is probably in regards to 20th century wargaming. Micro armour has been a staple for WW2 and modern games since the 1970s, yet you will struggle to find photos of 1/300 games as opposed to 28mm.  


PM peter
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28mm games in the mags
peter
25th Sep 2017 12:34:58

Many thanks to all of you who have added their thoughts to this thread.  Lots of great input and ideas.  

I do feel that I have to repeat one thing – I really am not bashing the magazine editors here.    I can question their editorial policies and their focus, but when it comes down to it, they are working in a commercial environment.   Let’s say that one of them decides to do a ‘Small scale special’ one month.   It has lots of lovely features on say 6mm and 10mm figures.   A refreshing and positive change, but one which will have their regular readership foaming at the mouth and complaining loudly on multiple platforms.   The advertisers who are all pushing their latest 28mm faction releases won’t be pleased at having their usual advertorials put to one side.    No, I’d say that they are caught in a trap partly of their own making.

I do feel that should they get a regular stream of articles featuring smaller scales backed up with decent photographs they would feature them.   The problem is that they don’t get them.   It’s not that the 6mm community isn’t capable of producing games of the very highest quality or that we don’t have articulate and enthusiastic people working in the scale.   A visit to the JOS will give the proof of that.  It’s just that as a group we hide our collective light under a huge bushel.    

I suspect that one of the main reasons for this comes down to that old chestnut of getting decent pictures.    I’ve got a good quality digital SLR, powerful lighting and some fancy software to help me, but I suspect most rely on smartphone cameras.    

Whatever the reason, we can’t accuse the editors of an anti-6mm bias if we don’t give them something to put in their pages.   Wargaming is a small hobby and none of the mags has staff writers, all three relying on the contributions of enthusiastic amateurs.   

Moving on, I do have to state that I do like skirmish wargaming and have written rules for this type of game and have a 28mm ECW collection for this purpose.   Great fun, but it is only one aspect of the hobby.    What I am seeing as a trend is it actually becoming the dominant form to the detriment of battle gaming (to borrow Henry Hyde’s term).  

The question we should be asking here is why is this happening?   A couple of you have provided answers already.   Convenience, cost and practicality all are important factors.   I come across this all the time at wargames shows as I conduct my missionary work amongst the unbelievers.    There are significant numbers of gamers out there who have always wanted to do a certain period, whether that be Napoleonics, ACW or whatever.    They have always used Airfix/25mm/28mm and have never looked outside that straitjacket.   When the mental calculations are made, the cost of doing Leipzig or Magenta in their chosen scale becomes prohibitive.  Worse still is the time to lovingly apply paint to all those thousand 'miniature works of art'.   They know they’ll be dead or befuddled before they scratch the surface.   The best they can manage is to try and scratch the itch with 28mm skirmish.

A good and increasing number of these chaps are being won over to 6mm and 10mm as they are offered a practical way to do these grand projects, but more won’t consider the option as the blinkers that they’ve worn for decades precludes them from even tjhinking about an alternative despite the crushing logic.

At this point, I will state that these trends have not affected the sales of our historical figures – they actually increase year on year.    On average we send out orders to eight new customers each week.   

So why do 28mm get all the coverage and all the glory?

Firstly and more importantly, it’s a matter of numbers.  Assume that 80% of wargamers use the big figures.  That is then reflected in the number of companies supplying them.   This manifests itself in the appearance of the glossies both in content and adverts.    When it comes to blogging, someone will visit a show and wax lyrical about what interested them.  If this is 28mm that is what they will talk about, so traders, games and products that aren’t in their chosen scale won’t feature.   It’s perfectly natural.    Given that there are far more people blogging and reporting about big stuff, then all the others become invisible.

Secondly, you cannot ignore the GW influence both on wargamers themselves and the companies providing figures and rules.   Huge numbers of traders (myself included) have worked for the Evil Empire.  That is why Nottingham has such a thriving 28mm supply chain.   They bring with them the attitudes, aesthetics and culture which has been such a winning formula.

Thirdly, and I cannot underemphasise this, 28mm figures and scenery love the camera and are simple to photograph.   6mm are a right royal pain in the arse to do well.   Editors are only human and will follow the path of least resistance.

So what do we do?  What can we do?  Is there a need for a small scale glossy magazine?   

I can’t answer those questions specifically, but I do feel that we shouldn’t let 28mm skirmish detach itself from the hobby in general, nor should we retreat into a small scale bunker.   People have attachments on both sides of the divide, and all those currently only concentrating on skirmish gaming are potential recruits for a more rewarding way of approaching their hobby.

It comes down to the old issues of addressing and overcoming the ignorance of individuals and believe me, I know how hard THAT is!   I do believe strongly that we need to engage with the community at large.

But that’s enough from me for the moment.  Over to you…


- The Overlord
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