Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Bit About Me

(As if this blog isn’t already all about me…)

Just about six years ago I started this blog. Now, according to Blogger, this is the 1000th post (assuming I haven’t deleted any along the way… which I might have… I can’t remember…). Since Blogger started keeping stats for me in July of 2008 There have been nearly 350,000 pages views and there are now nearly 400 public followers (Really!? Who ARE all of you!?). For the record, the most popular pages have been A Ranger and a Mage Walk into a Forest… (with 1678 hits -1200 of them were in the first couple days of posting it. I have no idea why it got so many… Someone, somewhere with a LOT more followers must have linked to it), The DPM Painting Tutorial (with 1639 hits  - I’d really like to do more stuff like this… it’s just so… time consuming!?), Vietnam in 28mm (with 1204 hits), the very out of date (and no longer “complete”) 28mm Moderns Complete! (with 955 hits), and King of the Hill (with 520 hits).

Anyway, it’s been a lot of fun sharing my hobby with you all and I greatly appreciate all the feedback, comments, and encouragement.

This year I turned forty. I celebrated by hosting a DBA Campaign - something I’ve wanted to do for over twenty years. AT this point I’ve been gaming with miniatures for nearly 30 years.

It all started with a few Ral Partha fantasy minis for D&D. It was the minis that drew me to the game. Not so much the monsters but the medieval-looking knights in armour. The first actual miniature wargame rules I owned was Battlesystem for AD&D – though I never was actually able to play it, really. I think I soloed a few games with the cardboard counters that came with the game. I was never able to convince anyone else to play the game with me or amass enough minis to make a unit. But it has always been a megalomaniac dream of mine to play a character that (or run a campaign wherein characters) starts off as lowly men-at-arms or whatever and rises to commanding armies and carve out a kingdom by their own hand…

Later I picked up a handful of sci-fi figures and modern-ish figures for Traveller and Top Secret. I always wanted to track down a copy of Striker, but was never able to.

The first real miniature battle game I bought and started building armies for was Warhammer Fantasy Battle (3rd Edition). I had Orcs at first (mostly Ral Partha – this was before anyone really cared who made your minis and other manufacturers minis were even pictured in the WFB books!). Later I built an Empire Army (which was mostly Citadel historical minis) and then a Bretonnian army.

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

The earliest pictoral evidence of my hobby, circa 1989. Teh original photos are actually in black and white - I didn't do that in an image editing program to make it look "old". I was taking a Journalism class in high school and we did a photography section and shot B&W film. That's my first "real" historical unit. An Indian colonial unit. Looks like some Naval Brigade with them. Probably Ral Partha. I'd started building units hoping to play some colonial actions using The Soldier's Companion from GDW's Space 1889.

Some GW townscape buildings in the background. Some Rafm British...

My painting desk looking about as messy then as it does now. Some things never change. Old School Land Raider.... Minifigs Zulus... Paranois Robots... Call of Cthulhu Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath... British Camel Corps... Many of those I still have. Some I wish I still had.

I think there's some Blood Bowl guys in there too... Adeptus Titanicus Titans.... DArk Future Cars... Polly S and Ral Partha paints... 

I had a stab at running a few campaigns – mostly they fizzled very shortly after starting, mostly due to guys who were much cleverer than me at figuring out how to break the point system contained in that initial volume. None of the books that followed (Warhammer Armies, Realms of Chaos, etc.) seemed to help… By the time the Fourth Edition came out (the first boxed set with plastic minis) I was ready to pack it in.

That's Mikey K in the background, so his elves must be on the table. This may have been during the last attempt I made to run a WFB campaign - using the original Mighty Empires - we shared a border with Jay V's undead realm.

My Bretonnians readying for some epic battle against Jay's undead.

Me and the Bretonnians in John Burt's basement. 

Along the way I’d played a lot of Blood Bowl (2nd Edition) and Battletech - which I had a lot of painted minis for. I also picked up a lot of Rafm’s French and Indian Wars figures, and some Wargames Foundry English Civil War figures, and later a few colonial minis, but was never able to find anyone interested in playing such things with me so I didn’t do much with them… 

I think we played some Retinue for a bit with our warhamer figures (which worked out as mine most of mine by this time were Wargames Foundry Medieval/100 Years War figures…). We also played a bit of Rogue Trader with whatever we had… While I did have a handful of Eldar and Space Marines, I also remember games involving Egyptian colonials and fantasy figures…

Then DBA came out. this was the first historical game I was able to get other people excited about. Probably because it required so few figures to be painted. The first army I built was a Later Achemenid Persian army for a planned Alexander the Great Campaign. My friend Cory picked up Scythians, Mikey K, I think, had Thracians, John was to do the Greeks… I can’t remember who was doing the Macedonians…? Jay…? And maybe Tod D. was going to do Indians? I think I was the only one that ever fully painted an army. I played a fair few games with Cory and Mike – with their bare metal armies (I think Cory eventually painted a few of his…). I know John BOUGHT a few figures for his army… but never took them out of the packs…

At some point Cory, Mike and I replaced our armies with 15mm versions… and picked up a few others… and then everybody went their separate ways. I didn’t do much gaming for a few years. No one to game with – or at least no one with an opposing army.

Somewhere in there, half a lifetime ago now,  I joined the army…

A leaner meaner Tim, 20 years ago, attempting to strike a heropic warrior pose, or something... 

That's me in that NBCD suit.

Me again, some days later, less enthusiastic about living in a bunny suit for days...

Hero Pose of me and my camouflaged truck.

20 May 1992 Wainwright, Alberta - I fell asleep some time in the morning. I think it was the first time I'd slept in days. It was bitterly cold and had been pissing down rain for I don't know how long. fell asleep listening to the pitter patter of rain on the canvas above me... I woke up some hours later and the pitter patter had stopped  and I thought to myself "Thank goodness for that" I opened the tent to the scene above. I may have screamed....

Around the turn of the millennium I got back into gaming – building some new DBA armies and this time building two (and later more) opposing armies, so I’d never be left high and dry if an opponent moved away… not that I HAD any opponents. I picked up a few other odd things here and there. Tried out Stargrunt II and Dirtside II. I played the latter with homemade tanks made of bits of wood and toothpick or finishing nails. Both of which I really liked, but again, could never find players. I always wanted to try out  Full Thrust - but was never able to track down a copy.

Then I met John Bertolini by chance. I was working in a magazine store and he came in a bought a copy of Miniature Wargames – which usually, at the end of each month, I stripped off the cover and took home for myself!? Finally I’d found someone else whose primary interest was HISTORICAL miniature gaming! We played some Russo-Japanese War games with rules he’d just made up.

These are actually some pictures John's wife Amy took of our very first game. We are using some of John's fabulous collection of homemade Russo-Japanese War figures.

John took the Russians and I took the Japanese. I think I scared the willies out of him (and I'm sure he was wondering if he'd invited a madman into his house) as every time I had a remotely successful dice roll I threw my hands up in the air and yelled "BANZAI!!!" (I think I'd recently read Keiji Nakazawa's Barefoot Gen).

Japanese cavalry advancing to the front in column! 

I have no idea who won... as is the case with most games I've played with John. Dice were rolled. Fun was had. I got to yell "BANZAI!!"

We tried some Seven Years War games using something based on DBA. We’ve since played more than a few games of Ever Victorious Armies and Contemptible Little Armies and more games that he’s made up.

Later I dragged him out to play some WW2 games a long with another new friend, “Other Tim” (Tim Miller), then owner of Reader’s Bookshop Saskatoon. We tried out a number of different WW2 games (first with 20mm/1:72 plastic, and later 15mm): Tactical Commander, a Warhammer 40K WW2 variant, WRG’s Armour and Infantry, some super simple skirmish rules published in an old Wargames Illustrated, Crossfire, and finally Flames of War.

I ended up running a few Flames of War leagues before burning out and tiring of the warhammer style play… and around that time I started this blog… You can go back and read the blog to see what sort of shenanigans I’ve been up to since.

Hmmmm… this has turned into a History of Tim’s Gaming Shenanigans… originally when I sat down to type this I’d thought I do more of a What I Do When I’m Not Painting Toys and Playing Games….

So when I’m not painting toys and playing games and blogging about it I’m an artist and a dad. I’m also a bike riding fool. There’s blog about that nonsense too, if you haven’t found them:

But given how much I get around to posting on those blogs, it is pretty clear what my one true passion is…

I also have a separate blog for Savage Worlds:

Sometimes I’m not entirely sure why I have a separate blog for that. I think it’s because I was planning to chronicle role-playing campaigns there and wanted to keep THIS blog strictly about Miniature Wargaming. The lines between “role-playing” and “miniature wargaming” have always been pretty fuzzy for me though… I’ve always used miniatures in my role-playing games and I’ve always maintained that the very best miniature wargames are when the players are “role-playing” the commander of the troops on the table (rather than a lawyer representing them in a case to determine a BEST WINNER!).

I’ve done many other things in my life. I’ve worked in a few game stores The Wizard’s Corner (Saskatoon’s first game store) and later Collector’s Edge. I worked in a magazine shop (Empire Magazines) and a record store (Vinyl Diner CDs and Records). I’ve also worked as a security guard, a bike courier, an army reserve radio operator, a carpenter, a bicycle mechanic…

I briefly attended university on two occasions. First majoring in Physics, the second time Studio Art. I never completed a degree. Meh. 

Um…. Is there anything else you want to know? Ask now! Or should I just shut up and get on with the posting of more pictures of toys and battle reports?

Coming soon on Tim’s Miniature Wargaming Blog:

I thought I’d clear off the game table and do a bit of a stock taking and post pictures of my entire collection as it stands right now… Stay tuned for that! I’ve also been working on some new cheap and nasty modern buildings for modern skirmish gamin’ - Force on Force, Superheroes, Zombies, whatever… 


  1. Congrats on your millennial post. I've been enjoying your blog for some time now.

    Since you're taking questions, as a sci-fi gamer I have to ask if you've read Full Thrust since it became available as a free download? If so, what do you think?

    1. Thanks!

      I have seen FT is available as a free download now. And have downloaded it. Probably several times. I haven't read the rules yet. One of these days.

  2. great to read others trips through the wargames world. Amazing how many breaks we have and try other things but always return to wargames amd painting.
    Exiles Painting

    1. Yeah, there's been times when I just gave everything away and walked away wanting never to return... but I do. I am calm here. I am happy here. Sometimes I think I should give my head a shake and do something... well... something else... But it's what I know, it's what I'm good at, and there's much, much worse (unhealthy, expensive... well... LESS healthy and MORE expensive) things I could be doing...

  3. Congrats Tim on a remarkable career, blog entries and notwithstanding your beautiful miniatures.

    Thank you,


  4. It's great that the blog has allowed you to retain all the info from the past. So many games I've played & only have just what I remember of them to carry the history. Thanks also for getting me into Blogging.

    Looking forward to the next Wargameing Weekend you host


    1. Cheers Terry!

      Yeah, it's eye-opening to look back and see what I've done even in the last six years. They have been by far the most productive of the thirty-odd years of gaming... I'm glad to have blogged just so I can look back.

      I'm glad I've been able to help out and serve as an inspiration for others.

  5. Congratulations and thanks for a most interesting post.
    best wishes

  6. Congrats on 1000 posts! RPGs are my primary hobby, but minis wargaming will always hold a very dear place in my heart. My office is never complete without some space to paint--and I'm glad to see I'm not the only one with a crazy, chaotic painting table! Usually the ones I see on the Internet are way too clean and organized.

    (Oh, and seeing those Adeptus Titanicus titans was sheer joy--that was my second-ever minis game.)

    The lines between “role-playing” and “miniature wargaming” have always been pretty fuzzy for me though…

    Same here. I'd do more miniatures gaming, but I can never get my RPG buddies into it. They seem to view it as a separate hobby. Pshaw!

    Keep up the posting. This is consistently my favorite miniatures blog.

    1. I've had to practically drag "role-players" kicking and screaming to the table to play a miniatures game. Despite always playing charge-in-hack-and-slay warrior types, they will not take command of a miniature army in the field... they tell me they "don't understand the tactics"...? ugh...

      On the flip-side, miniature gamers I play with scoff at those "weirdo" role-players and yet what are they if they're not "role-playing" the commander of an army in the field.

      Glad you enjoy the blog!


  7. Really interesting post. You have a great blog (I especially liked the DBA campaign!) and I hope you can keep it going for another 1,000 posts or more!

    1. Campaigns, with the right mix of people, are definitely the ultimate wargaming experience. They are the most fun to plan, run and write about. Glad you enjoy reading about them too!

  8. Congrats on the 1000th post Tim. That was an excellent read.

  9. Thanks for sharing this, I just recently found this blog but have been enjoying it already. Its always interesting seeing the stories behind the hobby.

    1. Cheers Ben! You only have six years of reading to catch up on! Luckily it's mostly pictures (I find blogs with loads of text and no pictures dreadfully boring, so I made myself a promise when I started this to always have LOTS of pictures!)

  10. Dude, you were so much younger back in the day! Great retrospective.

    1. Thanks Bob.

      Amanda had a similar reaction when I dug those photos out. She was looking at them and said "Oh my god! You were so young!?" and I said "I don't look that different now, do I?" and she laughed....

      and laughed...

      and laughed...

  11. Congrats on the 1000th post! Keeping up a blog is actually a lot of work, and so I appreciate that you've kept us up to date on your gaming and painting through all these years. I've enjoyed your adventures with DBA and HOTT and their variants, and I especially like how you've started gaming with your kids. Now, just a small request... hopefully we can see some more adventures of the F.A.R.T. and P.R.A.T.!

    1. Thanks Mark!

      I've been re-basing my 20mm African's lately to use with Force on Force and I've also started picking up Africans in 28mm (because why do something in just one scale...?) So hopefully tensions in Timbogo will flare up once again in the near future!

  12. A great read muchacho.

    1000 more posts.


  13. Congratulations and thanks for the great retrospective - very well done! Here's to another 1000!