That Was Another Year That Was – The Great 2021 Hobby Retrospective

Well, we survived a second year of The Great Plague. As the hangovers and queues for booster shots and lateral flow tests subside for another year, let’s take a little look at what we’ve done hobbywise…

Here in the UK, we kicked off the year with a third and (so far) final lockdown – and when the weather is freezing and dark and Nurgle’s apostles are rampant across the world, it’s always tempting to hunker down with some nostalgic reminders of a happier time. Which is exactly what we did – my pet project, while Dan rolled on with his, was the creation of a DIY Space Fleet set, the short lived 1991 precursor to Battlefleet Gothic. And seeing as this project involved squares, it was perfectly suited to lockdown remote gaming.

Speaking of my compatriot, Dan’s 1991 Blood Angels and the “quick fix” (where have we heard that before..) 20mm fantasy Orc horde have been trundling along merrily this year even if they haven’t quite met with completion – and when summer rolled around, bringing with it Freedom Day and crushing disappointment as we nearly nearly nearly won the Euros, we put on our BIGGEST GAME EVER, in which said greenskins would play a pivotal role… And Dan has sworn faithfully that he will undertake no new projects until these are done, meaning he’s got some serious papercrafting to do -I might help out a bit there, as he’s got 3 Rhinos, a Thudd Gun, a Land Raider and a Land Speeder to make and I vividly remember 2017’s Leman Russ build taking quite the toll on his sanity.

For myself, I managed to get my Accidental Tyranids (Hive Fleet Imprudens) finished, and now Dan’s got his 1991 style Terminators completed I can see some Space Hulk on the horizon (perhaps with this kind of scenery…), particularly if the Omicron variant dooms us all to another lockdown.. I also knocked up a test figure converted from Valiant Miniature’s oversized 1/72 WW2 infantry, with the intent of knocking together a Levy force for Firefight and using the rest as Brood Brothers to augment my Hive Fleet Imprudens ‘Nids. To date I have produced precisely 1 figure, but that said I have been busy writing rules… not going to raise anyone’s expectations too much on that topic as these things take SO LONG to come to fruition in reality.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our addiction to granny grating. Dan got the ball rolling in 2020 building his Imperial Guard army for Epic, and that rolled out in 2021 into mini Kings Of War and teeny weeny Star Wars forces that saw action toward the end of the year using the classic early 90s ruleset “Hellfire”.. and the air was thick with “I AM YOUR FATHER” “THAT’S NOT TRUE, THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE” squeaked out in Chipmunk voices.

We’re SO cool.

Honourable mention goes to Dan’s terrain cloth, built using the techniques shown on Mel The Terrain Tutor’s video (and wherever you are Mel, we wish you well and hope to see you again soon- stay safe brother) – and seeing as we’ve got loads of the dust sheet left, we’re planning a desert cloth, a snow cloth, and also a proper retro single colour flock as shown in the early 90’s White Dwarf battle reports, so stay tuned on that. Oh, and of course our brief fixation with zombiesTHAT was quite the game!

For our blog, this was another good year statistically – 18,221 views up from 18,065 in 2020, although visitors were down to 7343 from 8265 in 2020.. Likes were way up though, 245 from 171, and comments 186 from 150, all time bests on both fronts. Comments are a bit of an iffy metric to judge on, as WordPress counts all the comments we make too, but the “likes” are encouraging – definitely a sign that although we may be getting less “passing trade”, we have a solid base of folks that know what we do and enjoy/ have forgiven us for it.

So, for 2022? As stated, Dan has vowed not to embark on any more projects until he’s finished his Marines and Orcs, and I know he has some more units planned for the DIY Guard. My goals are writing, testing and God forbid actually self-publishing some rules.. also my aforementioned Levy platoon and Brood Brothers… also, I quite fancy rounding out my 2nd Ed 40k Orks into a legit army.. but granny grating has called to me with it’s siren song and whispered to me of…. well, let me leave this here:

So, how about y’alls out there in the blogosphere? What are your goals for 2022?

Stay safe, sane and thrifty out there, may your booster jabs be side effect free and may you forever test negative….

That Was The Year That Was… The Great Hobby Retrospective Post 2020

Well, thank Christ that’s over.

Said roughly eight billion people all around the world…. yes, COVID is still around and causing misery and havoc, but now the vaccines are rolling out and we can start to think about returning to normality, or something close to it by spring/ summer. In the words of the indomitable Mel The Terrain Tutor, let’s keep calm and crack on – and in keeping with tradition, here’s our hobby review of 2020:

Stats wise, it was a pretty good one – 18, 065 views up from 16,399 in 2019, 8265 visitors up from 7,578, 171 likes up from 141, and although comments were down from 157 to 150, WordPress does of course count the comments that we ourselves make, so pretty good number of folks out there engaged with what we do!

Of course, as for 2020 itself……

It all looked so promising this time last year. We kicked things off with the biggest Apocalypse: Earth/ Hyperian Wars/ Future Force Warrior mashup game that we’ve ever done, played over several evenings covering a couple of weeks. We weren’t entirely sure how this would work, but seeing as all three games have basically the same mechanics, we figured it at least should work to some extent. In fact it was a total blast, albeit a fairly one sided one in the end… it also provided some useful hints in terms of game development which will come in handy when we eventually get some more stuff self published. And we will, before the decade is out! X-D

We also managed to get a long running project finished, putting together the final touches to our 1/72 Ratmen army for Warhammer Fantasy, Age Of Sigmar, Age Of Fantasy, Hyperian Wars, Kings Of War and whatever else we find to amuse ourselves with.. the sky seemed the limit! And then… yeah, we all know what happened next. In order to keep some sense of perspective – COVID maybe a nasty vicious disease but it doesn’t turn it’s victims into flesh eating zombies – I ran a solo zombie game of Black Ops, our small unit higher detail version of Apocalypse: Earth (our “Kill Team” to A:E’s 40K, if you will) and we both got stuck into some painting projects to keep morale up as the pandemic surged. I got a rebel warband sorted for Grimdark Future while Dan, after being compelled to paint every surface in his house, went on a full on retro binge beginning his tribute to the Blood Angels army detailed in White Dwarf 139 back in 1991. Goblin Green bases, the works. A shout out here to Whittlesey40k who got in touch to offer us a set of decals for free!

Of course, Dan wouldn’t be Dan if he could just stick to one thing, so I must also point to his DIY Epic Imperial Guard, dedicated to recreating the army used in a Space Marine battle report using granny grating and vehicles built from foamboard… and I have to say, I absolutely love this, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever seen! Then there was the incident seeing the Caesar fantasy orcs on special offer… and of course the accidental purchase of some Tyranids which I now have custody!

Summer brought a bit of a respite and we dipped a toe into the waters of 40k’s 9th edition, rerunning the legendary “Battle At The Farm”, and we kicked off the GrimDark Future Fight Club, using 1000 point forces, and for a while all seemed well.. and then autumn happened. Temperatures dropped, infection rates started to soar and Lockdown II: The Revenge. I disappeared under mountains of risk assessments, and we both found ourselves afflicted with COVID blues as this situation just seemed endless. I managed to perk myself up creating some big polystyrene ruins inspired by – well, copied from, really – Midwinter Minis YouTube channel and Dan has been making steady and impressive progress with his Blood Angels, and we’ve got some plans to use them over the next few weeks using Zoom and some square or hex based systems….

So, looking to the future.. well, courtesy of the fine people at Pfizer, Moderna and Astra Zeneca we can at least expect to have a future, and we’re aiming to have a MASSIVE game to celebrate! I’ve fallen head over heels in love with Dan’s granny grating Imperial Guard and will have to make some supplementary forces, maybe have a crack at Eldar, Squats or Chaos.. oh, and I’ve still got a truckload of old Epic Orks to paint! Plus zombies – that was a really fun evening, and I think it will lend itself well to a remote game, and we can keep refining those rules for eventual publishing.

Oh, and let’s not forget Dan’s test piece for urban ruins – when we did the urban board, we did have the idea of a massive city fight in mind, and as we left our Apocalypse: Earth story after the D-Day anniversary in 2019 the Soviets had successfully established a foothold in Scotland and we did have a plan to fight the next stage in the sort-of campaign, the Battle Of Aberdeen! So there are many good things on the horizon, for now it’s simply a case of gritting teeth and keeping heads down until this bloody pandemic has finally run it’s course.. and it will.

See you in the pub come summertime.

Stay safe, stay sane, stay thrifty out there, this is almost done – and if anyone out there reading this was involved in the development of the vaccine, THANK YOU!!