I'm fortunate enough to be able to work from home during all of this. It's weird trying to do my work and manage the team remotely, and I do miss my most excellent colleagues, but it's a far better position to be in than many have. Of course lockdown also means having the little miniature at home as well (she was just getting to the end of her Reception year, how time flies!). In that respect I'm also fortunate that my other half is not currently working, having left the primary teaching profession about 18 months ago! So she's (mostly) enjoying the challenge of picking up the home schooling, which leaves me able to work. Nonetheless, I'm not finding that I have any more time for hobbies, if anything I have less. Previously I might use a lunchtime at work to prepare for or write up a game, read a book on the bus to work or, when working from home around one day a week, sneak in a quick half hour of painting at lunch. Now any spare time is used preparing meals, or just to give Mel a break from the Miniature!
That said, I've still been sneaking in a bit of progress here and there!
1. Found a Lockdown Opponent!
The Little Miniature (not so little any more) kept asking about the 'knights and ghosts' that Daddy was painting (those GW Sigmarines and Chainrasps) and asked what the board that came with them was for. The explanation led to a request to have a game, so off we duly went!
She took the 'knights'. We managed a whole game before she got bored and just wanted to play, but she did enjoy it, probably because she won ;-)
It did remind me of some of the reasons I drifted away from Warhammer following the great fluff mess up though. I accept that this is a simplified version of a simplified game, but in terms of actual tactics there weren't any. It's pretty much down to luck of the dice.
She's asked me to paint a mounted knight for her and I have plans for a jousting game. Which brings me on to...
I've been watching a lot of videos on Youtube recently, particularly whilst cooking tea (anyone remember the mother's cooking in the old BBC sitcom 'Butterflies'? Mel's is like that, only with more lentils... so cooking is mostly my thing). Particular favourites have included:
Modern History TV Presented by Jason Kingsley (and his wonderful horses), co-founder of Rebel Software and jouster (I've seen him joust at Bolsover and Leeds). I'm no longer allowed to watch these without the Miniature present, as she enjoys them too! He's got a knack of being just as interesting about jousting techniques as he is about ink from the Middle Ages, and the ones on food are fascinating.
Todd's Workshop makes historical weapons and move props. The videos testing bows and crossbows are excellent, and he also explains in a really nice, genuine way why movie swords and props aren't always historically accurate.
The Chieftain's Hatch Get's up close with all kinds of tanks. A former tanker on Abrams, so he knows his stuff. Plus his collaboration with LindyBeige on the Churchill is hilariously fun and informative.
Plus anything from the Tank Museum at Bovington (not a million miles from where I grew up. Boy has that museum got its Social Media Strategy sorted!
And while we're on the subject of tanks...
Yes, I actually managed to read a book! 'Tank Action' by David Render. He was a Troop commander with the Sherwood Foresters (the same unit as Stuart Hills, who wrote the excellent 'By Tank into Normandy'). As well as being an excellent, and often moving, account of his time as a commander, it's also fertile ground for wargamers, with some great descriptions of Troop level actions (along with some nice, clear diagrams). Food for thought as well about how well our rules represent reality - his experience of working with infantry is often not good, but our troops are usually perfectly co-ordinated. Plus how many rule sets could cope with recreating his commander's successful(!) one-on-one, head-on duel with a Tiger, in a 75mm equipped Sherman! It was interesting to note that they preferred to use HE against Tigers rather than the armour piercing rounds, to smash as much equipment on them as they could and effectively beat them into submission!
The only thing that bugged me was frequent descriptions of panzers being grey, whereas I'd always thought in Normandy they would be in that Dunkelgelb base. Whether this reflects the impression they left, what they actually looked like after weeks of dust and dirt collecting, or just an overzealous editor who'd watched 'Battle of the Bulge' too often I'm not sure!
Whilst still on tanks...
4. Tiny Tanks!
I hoisted some GHQ Churchills out of storage as something to work on whilst waiting for my work laptop to restart after crashing (an alarmingly frequent occurrence for what felt a very long week), as I could work on them in a very small space with only a couple of paints, and they didn't take long for each one.
I've now found the Cromwells, Jagpanthers and infantry I had lying around too. Post Market Garden game anyone?
Orcs and Fantasy Warriors!