Wednesday 21 May 2014

While You Are Out: Sprue Cutters Union #29

Greetings wargamers and hobbyists, and welcome. The Sprue Cutters Union is back!

It's been a while for sure, both since my last post and since the last topic provided by the Sprue Cutters Union high command (Jon over at The Combat Workshop), but now things are all in order and ready to roll. There will however be a change to the SCU posts (Sprue Cutters Union), which is that topics will be issued for consumption monthly rather than weekly.

I am happy enough with this myself, and am very pleased that Jon has been able to accommodate the Spruecutters in among his new schedule. Also, this leaves me with more time to post more gaming related topics and get some more painting and modelling done myself! There will be plenty to talk about, as I have recently picked up the new Dwarf Army Book (get ready for some truly classic models appearing in this very blog), and a new edition of Warhammer 40,000 is right around the corner!

With the introduction out of the way, let's move on to this month's topic:

"How do you keep in the hobby when you are away from the workbench?"

Now Jon has asked the Union to talk about the ways in which we stay connected to the hobby when we aren't actively 'cutting sprue', like research or collecting supplies for or inspiration for our next project. Well in order for me to answer this question, I have had to begin by asking myself "what is my hobby?".

The answer to this question has changed a little over the twenty-plus years that I have been involved in miniature collecting and wargaming, with the advent of things like the Internet, and then eventually the ability to take that wealth of information with us wherever we go.

Where one day in the past the hobby consisted of buying, assembling and painting miniature soldiers, and then using them to take part in 'Little Wars' either at home or at my local gaming store or gaming buddy's homes, it has evolved to also include more writing (campaign material, background fluff, army list generation and of course, this humble blog), and trying to be an active part of what has become a thriving internet and social networking community spanning the globe.

I think that I am fortunate that the various elements of my hobby allow me to talk gaming with hardcore tournament stalwarts, but also discuss the finer points of weathering and composition with modellers and painters that focus exclusively on the visual feast of dioramas and display pieces, and finding interest right across the spectrum.

There is it then. With so many aspects to what consititutes 'my hobby', I am able to keep my hand in when I am away from HQ:
I tend to take a fishing tackle box with me to work, so that at lunchtimes I can sit in the canteen and paint or work on assembly and conversion projects. I find a tackle box has enough room for about a dozen models or so, and twice that number of paints, plus brushes and small modelling tools like files.

In addition to this, I have a 7" tablet (the perfect size for keeping with me pretty much anywhere) which has on it all of my pre-selected complete army rosters and lists of different scenarios and missions for games. It also has on it all my digital rule books and campaign stuff, so that I can work on army lists, campaigns, blog posts and even my novel on this one handy gadget. I always have at least one Codex or Army book in my work bag, and usually a campaign note book too. I used to have an issue of White Dwarf in there as well *grumble, grumble, grumble*

Between the practical hobby goodness carried within my trusty tackle box, and the digital awsomeness that resides on my phone and tablet, I can partake of whatever aspect of the hobby takes my fancy at any given moment, and with internet access via my portable wifi, doubly so. This is why I think that being an all round hobbyist is such a boon.

Some hobbyists only paint and model, so background material, list building and campaigns are of lesser interest. Others only game, in which case they need not only a table, rulebooks, scenery and plenty of time, they also need a whole extra person! No matter where I am, I can take part in my hobby. Even driving in the car I get to listen to wargaming podcasts, so whatever happens I'm covered.

So how do you manage to keep in touch with the hobby when you are away from the workshop?

For anyone who hasn't come across the Sprue Cutters Union (#spruecutters) before, it's what we refer to as a 'blog carnival', which is a series of complimentary blogs which tackle the same topic title from the perspectives of their individual writers. 

At the bottom of each SCU post, I will include links to the articles already posted by other Union Members on the topic, and a link to the 'topic hub', which is where members post the links to their articles over at The Combat Workshop - my favourite thing about the Union is getting to read the views of other hobbyists with different interests talking about the same topic - links below!

And finally, if you yourself write any kind of miniature modelling blog, then perhaps you would like to consider joining the Union? All it takes is the dedication to produce one article per month on the topic of the moment, and include links to other members articles at the bottom of your own post as I have done. All you need to do is keep an eye on The Combat Workshop or any of the member blogs for details of the next topic!

As always, thanks for reading.

P.S. I recently felt it in my water that there must be a new Bretonnian Army Book on the horizon, and after being inspired by Wayne Kemp of the Heelan Hammer podcast, I started building my own pair or Trebuchets. Here's the progress:

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