Friday, January 5, 2024

2023 A year in review

As is by now customary, it’s time to review my year in wargaming and the hobby in 2023, and see what I managed to achieve and which hopes were cruelly dashed. Again it turns out I had a really busy time hobbywise and got a tremendous amount of things done.

Last January I created an Ovelist to help visualise my hopes and aspirations. The Ovelist is named after its creator Andy Ovel from the Hobby Support Group Podcast and is just a simple pictorial way of setting targets and goals. As you can see I managed a creditable 9 of my hoped for 12 goals.

Scarif board

My main project for the year was the building of the Scarif board. I’m absolutely delighted with the way it has turned out. This dominated my hobby time for the first 6 months of 2023 but was ultimately very satisfying. 

  • I got to work with foam and foam board to create structures in ways I’ve not done before with the highlight being Scarif Tower.
  • I used electrical ducting to create the series of transport lines and systems that surround the tower
  • I recreated the aerial and space elements of the battle giving my board a 3rd dimension towering 6ft above the table.
  • I bought in a number of different 3D prints and re-purposed some models I’ve owned for 20+ years
  • A significant number of readers of this blog or of my facebook posts have said hello - thank you for reading and for introducing yourselves it means a great deal to me. I even had some players come to the show just to play my game after they’d had such a good time the previous year with Imjin.
  • The board won best participation game and best small model at the Other Partizan
  • It’s been to Phalanx, the Joy of Six and Fiasco and will be heading to York and Hammerhead.
  • I’m now starting to look at options for the future of the board itself 

Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum Imjin event 

I retired my Imjin River board at the beginning of May after taking it to York, Hammerhead and Salute. My friend David joined me as we refought the battle one last time in the fantastic setting of the Soldiers of Gloucestershire museum. Over three days we recreated the battle with visitors to the museum taking the part of the Glosters or the Chinese. The Glosters were able to hold out until the morning of the 25th April until they ran out of ammunition, as they did historically. This is one of my all time wargaming highlights as we met with veterans of the regiment, some of whom had served with soldiers that had fought in the battle as well visitors whose relatives had fought at the battle. It was great to involve members of the public in the game, particularly those very unlikely to wargame. Of the visitors that got involved more than half were female and with only a small amount of encouragement they were quickly making tactical decisions and complaining about dice rolls!
My board is now on long term loan to the museum and can be seen by museum visitors and hopefully helps tell the story of the epic battle fought in 1951.

Permanent Hobby Space

This year was my first with a permanent hobby space. In the early moths of the year I was able to complete outfitting the space and stocking it with supplies and materials. I used it to build my Scarif board and then begin to create scatter terrain. I was also able to host games consistently.


Using my new hobby space I was able to host a small number of Big Battle Weekends.

  • The first was a huge recreation of the Battle of Prokhorovka which saw two German SS divisions crash into an entire Soviet Tank Army. We used hundreds of stands of infantry and tanks in this battle with epic quantities of aircraft and artillery. Over two days both sides fought each other to a standstill. Six friends and I had an awesome time.
  • The second game was a Battle of the Bulge refight with two smaller games determining the starting conditions for the big game itself. It was another epic two day fight.
  • I my third big game was on my small Arnhem board. It was the refight of the three days at the bridge and was very enjoyable for all concerned even if the scenario didn’t quite achieve what I wanted it to do.
  • I also managed a few games of with David and met and gamed with a new acquaintances.
  • I also host consistently 3 different D&D games, including one run be my eldest for his school friends.

3D printing 

I managed to persuade the Mrs to let me get a 3D printer and so in August I took delivery of a Mars 3 and in no time I was printing out a whole host of Turner Miniatures WW1 figures. I’m really impressed with the quality and level of detail that can be achieved as well as the versatility. I’ve created bespoke combinations of troops on bases, designed and printed my own counters and markers and begun to use Blender files to create unique figures.

This was both a success and a setback. I have been able to paint a sizeable force of British soldiers and so am really well placed to be able to game WW1. However, work on the rules, has slowed even more than it did last year as David and I struggled with so many other commitments that something had to give and unfortunately we just haven’t been able to schedule any battle time for WW1. We did make some progress and I think we are getting very close to finalising the basic rules but we just need gaming time to get us over the line.

 Passing Regrets

  • The kids still show no interest in wargaming. And whilst one has really taken to D&D and mini painting the other has given up on it. Ho hum.
  • I didn’t blog as frequently as I could have done, indeed I finished my Scarif model 6 months ago and haven’t finished writing it up on here yet.
  •  I didn’t produce any YouTube content at all. Pretty much going to have to accept it’s not for me.

The wonderful Henry Hyde giving me a trophy at The Other Partizan for my Scarif game.

All things considered I think 2023 was a great year and with my hobby space and 3D printer all bedded in I think 2024 will be even better.


Keep your dice rolling!

Charles the Modeller


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