My hobby obsession.

My hobby obsession all started for me when I was given toy soldiers to play with as a kid. I’m guessing I’m not alone in this.

I have very fond memories of setting up the rug in the living room in England to make hills, trenches and crevasses. Actually my Dad showed me how to do that.

I would spend hours waging war, usually green V grey soldiers. It wasn’t until I got a little older that I realised most of my green soldiers were in fact American Marines and all the grey soldiers were Germans. I would play Cowboys and Indians too but it was clear, when looking at my annual list to Santa, that toy soldiers were my passion. Every birthday, every Christmas and pretty much any chance I got I asked for soldiers. This was even before I was watching movies like The Dirty Dozen. By the time I was seven I had four plastic shopping bags filled with soldiers, tanks, planes, jeeps and trucks. Oh and those old barbed wire and sandbag barricades that clicked together. I was forever asking my parents or my sisters to click them together for me hehe.

Sunday’s was the best day because Dad would play his old vinyl records, mostly the Rolling Stones (his and now my personal favourite band). Mum would be cooking the Sunday roast. I would conduct battle after battle. Of course the green men always won, being English I think it was inherent in me to make sure the grey lost every time haha. It was always a tough fight though with only my favourite soldiers surviving the huge battle. I think I still have these favourite soldiers somewhere. I’ll have to dig them out and take some photos. I remember practicing sound effects with my mouth for rifles, machine guns and explosions and spitting on myself a lot haha. Ahhh good times.

When we packed up and moved to Australia mum said I could fill a suitcase with my favourite toys. I filled two suitcases. One with soldiers, the other with He-Man figurines. Castle Greyskull and snake mountain.

Australia, being a tad warmer than Slough, offered a lot more options to play with soldiers. I headed outside and made diorama style battlefields in the dirt and sand. I dug trenches with sticks for my armies to take cover in. I would drop large rocks onto both sides creating huge explosions of dirt.

A couple of years later I discovered Star Wars in a big way and collected the figures, then GI-Joe.

More years passed and I took an interest in building model planes, although I always cut bullet holes in them or burnt the wings to make them look battle damaged. I have never really liked the clean cut pristine look.

Then I found a book at the local library about soldier dioramas. I was so excited. I would sit in my room just staring at the pictures of these amazing snap shots of battle in miniature. My imagination was captured.

My first diorama was called “Blood Bank”. The scene was of a collapsed building. All the walls apart from one had fallen outward. One wall had crushed a jeep. Another wall had squashed three poor soldiers (Germans haha). Lots of blood haha. The third wall had just fallen apart. The last wall was still standing. There was one British Commando standing in the middle of the ruined building, with a couple more dead Germans at his feet, holding a pistol and pointing to something in the distance. Maybe more German buildings to blow up hehe. It wasn’t an amazing first attempt but I loved it.

Then one birthday a friend of mine bought me some citadel miniatures. Half a dozen skeleton warriors. I really enjoyed painting their flimsy fleshless bodies. Not long later I bought some metal Catachans. They were fun to paint too.

Not long after that I bought a car ( a real one). Started going out, drinking, hanging out with my mates and girlfriend at the time.

It wouldn’t be for another couple of years before I started modelling and painting again. My girlfriend bought me a 40k starter game pack. Black Templars and Dark Eldar. I cast the Eldar aside. Attempted to read the rule book (many, many times) but mostly gazed adoringly at the pictures. I built and painted the TEmplars but wasn’t overly thrilled with them. Plain black and white. Red eyes. They stayed in my cupboard for many years.

It was a long time later that my mate and I started getting into it again. I was now a home owner and a Dad and had plenty of bills to pay.

I managed to scrape together some Orks and Imperial Guard and we started having a few skirmishes. It was fun. We came up with our own scenarios. We used any terrain we could find. Kids toys, books etc.

After that, life got a little wild and a little hectic. I concentrated on one of my other passions, music. My mate and I formed a two piece Blues and roots band and had some nice local success. Lots of gigs and an album release. The hobby laid dormant but occasionally I would Google image 40k hehe.

About 18 months ago the band kind of went on a hiatus and needing something to occupy my mind I picked up the hobby knife again. My band mate talked me into starting a blog and here I am. My wife is also very encouraging which helps.

I was pleased to find this little community and relieved to see there are no trolls or judgemental knob jockeys on here.

I feel like, in a relatively short time,  I have got a little better at the modelling and painting and put it down to you, yes you. The bloggers reading this. I find you all quite inspiring and encouraging.

So there you have it. My little life story on hobbying.

I’ll be honest, I’m at the airport waiting to catch a plane to go see mum and dad so I wanted to pass the time haha. Before you ask, no, I won’t be setting up the rug at mum and dads to play with my soldiers hehe.

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27 thoughts on “My hobby obsession.”

  1. Cool beans – with you all the way mate, though my toy soldier battles took place in the dark forest under the dining table 🙂

    You’ve definitely improved on the modelling front dude, and it’s great to see! You’re right, it’s a great little community with hardly any fuck-nobbery, at least as far as I can tell… keep on trucking dude & safe travels!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your post reminded me of setting up trenches, walls and fortifications in the “sand pit” that served as the base of our swimming pool come summer before coming back down for the rest of the year. Then throwing large marbles at the assembled opposing troops. Nothing like sand walls and castles exploding with the little guys going flying.

      There are a lot of cool people out there, and the “social media” aspect of the hobby makes it easy to communicate, and talk about techniques and ideas beyond what it used to be with pretty much the local group(s), and agreed with Alex that your stuff has come along nicely in the time I’ve been viewing your blog. Keep up the tattoos and eyes!

      On the other hand, there are still plenty of fuckwits out there, and those who are simply stupid. It’s gamers + the internet, after all. Luckily the blogging aspect of the hobby makes it much easier to avoid the fuckwit aspect of the hobby than something like forums. 😉
      Of course, I spend time on both…

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I used to have facebook but got sick of all the not-so-like-minded people. On here we all have a passion that we share. I dunno, it’s just much nicer. I’m very much in the shadows kinds of hobbyist. I don’t want to join groups in the real world because I basically don’t have time. On here I can choose the time. Hope that makes sense? Thanks for the comments and encouragement man.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for a nice read, you’ve got me feeling all nostalgic now! I remember the days of setting up buildings with jenga blocks and old boxes, only to knock them down with a thrown plastic missile. It’s weird to see what the games of our youth have developed into.
    I completely agree with the blog thing too, I’ve been feeling so much more motivated since starting mine. It’s nice to be able to share inspiration, criticism and praise with other like minded hobbyists. Enjoy your trip 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’d love to do that! I’ve just added a chat box to the side of my blog, you can message me on there to discuss it if you don’t want to clog up your comments haha

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Cool man. If we do something, you’ll have to be the brains of the operation. I get a bit lost with the history of it all. My fluff is generally quite basic and a snippet of time not a whole historically correct saga like over at Iron Sleet.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Playing with 1/72 scale toy soldiers back in the day, oh nostalgia. Wasn’t the brits in brown plastic? I remember getting my hands on a set of rules, a scruffy photocopies with details blurred out. God knows how many times it had been copied and passed from hand to hand. I think is was called Attack and was really generic wargaming. But good fun, you built your armies using points and all that.

    Then the whole RPG thing exploded in the mid-80s …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I came to Australia my Grandma, who was already here, bought me a big mixed bag of 1/72 soldiers. To be honest I didn’t like them as much as 1/32. What I did like though was the fact there were lots of Napoleonic soldiers and US civil war soldiers too. This sparked an interest for me in all different historical wars. When I was 15 I actually bought an Alamo Play set. It had so many Mexican soldiers and about 30 Texan defenders. It was great. I should have kept it hehe. Thanks for the comment mate. Memory lane is a great place to visit.

      Like

  4. Aw man, the toy soldiers! I used to play with my dad’s toy soldiers, the green allies vs. the grey axis. Good times, still have the weird stale plastic scent of the figures in my mind’s nose! Haha

    Sorry to hear about your band, hopefully you guys get on the go again at some point. Always love reading the blog and checking out your work, mate. Thanks for the blast from the past, and have a safe journeys.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I loved the band and I don’t think we’ll ever call it quits, it’s just not a priority. I’ve always been a home person, especially as I’ve got older, so I’m happy twiddling away on miniatures, writing fluff and reading/posting blogs. Thanks for your comments mate.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It was the sandpit for me and 1:32 scale Airfix soldiers – British Infantry Support Group, German Alpine Troops, Ghurkas, Aussie Infantry were my favourites. I never really was into Wargames until the last couple of years. I used to play a lot of RPGs in my teens (with miniatures), then stopped when I discovered music and booze at 16. I got back into games in the last five years (I’m 44 now) – something about being a parent legitimises doing childish/playful/immersive things I think. This lead me back to painting minis and it’s only now that I realise that painting and playing with toy soldiers is the best bit of the hobby and that I’ve loved doing it since I was in the sandpit! Really like your blog and your story – cheers for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi. Seen you around a few of the common blogs we both follow, but didn’t know you had your own! Great stuff on here – I’ll be following along.

    Like

  7. I’m starting to feel I may be the only one on here who didn’t grow up with toy soldiers! For me books were the gateway drug (oh yeah – I just out-nerded the nerds – reading whilst the rest of you were engaged in the healthy pursuit of making tiny plastic men shoot each other!).

    A friend of mine – a little older than me – painted little models for a mysterious thing he called “Warhammer”. When I saw those little dudes my mind was blown! He gave me a ratman (Skaven to you kids!) as a present (and I still have it to this day). I remember when he handed it over he said “Mind now, it’s made of lead” and I wisely replied “Oh yeah, so it’s toxic, don’t chew it!” (I’d have been about ten and thought I was relating a gem of worldly wisdom). He looked at me like I was nuts and said “I was going to say it’ll bend if you drop it but yeah, don’t chew it either!”

    Oddly, although that Ratman has lived like a talisman on my shelf ever since, and kick-started my (still mostly unrequited) love of the Skaven, I didn’t find my way back to miniatures until I was in my 20s.

    Anyway, great post – very much an inspiring trip down memory lane. The blogging side of the hobby is something I took a lot of pursuing to get involved in but now I wish I’d done it years ago. So many talented and enthusiastic people and, as noted by others, a distinct lack of the knobbery that blights a lot of forums. Your work is improving all the time – keep it up mate!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Evening bud, just found the time to read your post and I’m glad I did. I really enjoyed the personal insight, it made me take my own trip down memory lane. Dragging the cushions off of the sofa to build a near unassailable fortress that suffered an endless number of attacks from infantry, tanks and the occasional transformer (normally the t-Rex one, he lost so many teeth gnawing on plastic tanks, poor bastard). Have an ace eve bud, hope you have a great time with the family.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Nah, just Grimlock (finally remembered his name) out of the DinoBots. He regularly fought Spider-Man, usually because Doc Ock had him under some kind of mind control. I really miss my old school action figures now! Did you have a favourite figure?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I loved Optimus Prime and also the one that was a large cassette player. The tape inside him could come out and could transform into a bird. Very cool. I was also right into GI-Joe. Hey another blogger and I are looking at doing a collaborative blog. Iron Sleet style. Would you be interested in contributing to it?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. So old school, brilliant. My favourite’s always been Starscream, never had the toy, such a cowardly bastard. Great cook though, I hear.
        Apologies about the tardiness of the reply btw, life. Collaboration sounds interesting, however I feel like Iron Sleet and the Pilgrym project have set the bar pretty damned high. I’m open to ideas though.

        Liked by 1 person

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