Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Trimsos - The Obsession Takes Hold

The Lure Of Escapism
My wife recently told me I was spending rather too much time in my 'hidey hole', which is her name for my small but well-stocked study. Maybe she was right. Perhaps if I was a better adjusted human being I would find escaping from 'real life' into a hobby less alluring. This is both the attraction and danger of hobbies - at their best they offer a zen-like focus that takes us away from our everyday worries and allows us to re-charge our batteries and find relaxation. At the same time there lurks the danger of obsession and cutting oneself off from rather more pressing and practical occupations. Even worse is the possibility of cutting oneself off from interaction with people who don't share one's interests. If those people are friends and family you may well have a problem.

Well, I don't think things have quite got that bad, but my wife clearly had an inkling that maybe they were getting that way. I have to admit that I was basically unrepentant, because I find escapism particularly attractive at the moment. I find I really do need to hide away from life sometimes, both for the simple pleasure of doing so, and as a way to reset and unwind prior to the next bout of 'real life'. Sometimes you just have to give in.

But this discussion should really be dragged back to wargaming before it strays too far into an exploration of my personal issues. And so we turn to the catalyst for my increased time in the study - what I have been calling the Trimsos Project.

The Trimsos Project
There's no doubt about it - this little project has captured my imagination more than I expected. Starting to put the rules together has been fascinating, but creating the armies I need has been just as involving, and rather more time consuming - hence the increased time spent in the study sticking Victrix figures together and then painting them.

The work bench in the lead-up to Christmas. My light infantry are made up,
and a couple of Zvezda war engines are nearing completion.

As regular readers of this blog will know, painting figures is not my favourite part of the hobby. Nevertheless, I really like these Victrix plastic figures and painting them has so far been no real problem. Despite this, I am always on the lookout for ploys to maintain enthusiasm. My latest idea was that I could construct and base up the figures, then use them unpainted in a small solo test game which would help in developing the rules. 

Yes, I agree - clear signs of obsession here. Not only have I started a new period when I always prided myself on being happy with the SYW and Poland 1939, I've started painting units when I swore I would never do so again, and furthermore I'm now wargaming with unpainted figures, a practice I have quite rightly pilloried in the past. At least I can claim my raw figures were only employed in private - no other wargamer witnessed my shame.

The photos below give an idea of how many figures I now have. The gaming board is 3' x 3'. This little game was actually very useful in checking how well the rules work, and pointed up many issues which needed resolving. Still a long way to go.

I still haven't finally decided on names for the 2 fictional countries which will command my small armies.
Using Hyperboria and Hyrkania is tempting, but maybe I need to put my own stamp on this project.
The defenders of the hill are losing. It would seem aggressive tactics can work with the rules as they are.
A couple of SYW generals act as command figures pro tem.

Since the above photos were taken, I have managed to get some more painting done, with the results seen below.

Three units of heavy infantry now completed (rear), with Victrix archers and slingers in front.
Each unit has 2 officers and a musician, which are important to the rules.
Victrix slingers. A very easy painting job.
Zvezda catapult, crewed by lightly converted Victrix light infantry.

The Victrix light cavalry and javelinmen are still looking rather grey, but they are next on my painting list. Then it will be time for another order. I think the next tranche will have to be metal figures, probably from Warlord Games, in order to get some heavy cavalry, mounted archers and command figures into the collection.

Unsurprisingly, I have also added some books to my shelves to add more old school ancients inspiration, notably Mr Featherstone's Wargaming: Ancient and Medieval Periods and Wargames Through The Ages Volume 1: A Wargaming Guide 3000BC to 1500AD. Both will definitely come in handy. I also now have the Kindle edition of Tony Bath's Ancient Wargaming, one of the reprints put out by John Curry. Excellent as this series is, I reckoned that the rather low production standards common to these books would mean I wasn't missing much by getting it on my Kindle. In this I think I was right, but the text itself will be indispensable in my quest to get the right feel for this project.

And now, it it's not too late - Happy New Year!


Steve J. said...

Hmmm, I empathise with the whole hobby hole (or should that hubby hole?) issue and family, though mine consists of the kitchen table when it is free. One does need these bouts of escapism to maintain some sanity in an increasingly mad World. This year I have to do some much needed DIY to be allowed to continue playing with my soldiers. At least part of it will include more storage for my books, figures etc, so not all bad;)

marinergrim said...

I used to commute an hour each way. That hour home allowed me to think through the day and unwind before getting home. Before that it was ten minutes and I'd frequently arrive home and be grumpy. Now I commute ten minutes again but take an hour each night in the hobby room to unwind and think through the day as I paint. It creates a much better atmosphere for the home. But, try and spend three hours in the hobby room at weekends and there are comments and mutterings coming from SWMBO. Balance in life is important. But so is personal happiness.

Ross Mac said...

The first item strikes a chord. I've occasionally been able to strike a compromise by having a desk in a family area where I can paint or more recently play a small, portable, game but nothing replaces the need for a few solo hours in my lair with my toys and books.

On the 2nd matter, it's always seemed unwise to me to spend a year painting figures for a new project in case one finds at the end that you don't enjoy it after all. Since I've never been very focused, I've usually had something to use as stand ins even if they were off by a century or two.

The figures painted so far look excellent.

Keith Flint said...

Hubby Hole! I hope my wife never discovers that term.

Ross, your fears that a year (or more) of work may turn out to be wasted mirror my own. But somehow small projects (for example small skirmish games, or DBA) lack the satisfaction of bigger ones. Hence my reluctance to move beyond 2 periods, where I have accrued decent armies and a sound knowledge base.

All I can say is, so far, so good...

Norm said...

The Zvezda catapult is a nice piece, I have not seen that before.

Looking through the various blogs, the Christmas break certainly seems to have caused many to pick up their paint brushes and move projects on ..... even me!

Years ago, a hubby hole used to be the garden shed for many a soul .... not the most inviting of dens, so to be able to do that inside the warmth and hide behind the argument of 'well at least I am not out playing golf all day - every day' is a pleasure to be enjoyed.

William Stewart said...

There is a fine line between a hobby and insanity. I have long since crossed this line and have never looked back.

Keith Flint said...

William, you give me hope for the future in an uncertain world.