To borrow from a writer with more skill than I, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Actually, truth be told, there was bugger-all on the best side of things.
I felt that I had not really accomplished anything, wargames-wise, over 2020, however, looking back, I surprised myself somewhat with what I did manage. Listening to Devo singing Whip It seems very appropriate for post as well.
January started well in Manila with the Taal Volcano in the Tagaytay area deciding that it would remind the locals that it was still an active volcano. It is about 60kms or so from Makati City in Metro Manila (what could possibly go wrong) and it had an eruption which caused an ash fall over surrounding provinces as well as Metro Manila. It was impossible to buy a mask after a couple of days. They disappeared from drug store shelves faster than toilet paper in an Australian supermarket during a viral pandemic!
I finished the Soviet modern fleet in February 2020 (see left) with the application of the flight deck decals to the two Soviet carriers.
A quick varnish and they are ready for the modern naval warfare table top. I will report on games that occur in the future.
In the meantime, I am looking at how I can use these vessels in some solo games.
March marched in and so did various levels of community quarantine. In Metro Manila we had an Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) from the middle of the month. Really, ECQ is simply another way of saying lockdown and it was called by the government when there were about 200 active cases of the plague in the Philippines. Essentially everything was closed down except for food, medicine and export companies (BPO, BPS organisations) and work from home was the requirement for all staff.
I quickly built, painted and based some Japanese modern ships in 1/3000 scale. These are produced by Fujimi who produce World War 2 ships in the same scale. They are concentrating on Japanese vessels only and they can build into nice display pieces as Fujimi also makes naval dockyards to the same scale. I did paint ships these as part of an exercise to display the way I make sea bases which is a variation on the method described on the GHQ website (Making Ocean Hexes). My method is described in Sea Bases from March this year.
I did not do much on the wargaming side of things over the period March to June 2020 as much of my time was spent ensuring all our staff were OK working from home, resetting machines at the office when necessary (I lived about 400 metres from the office so that walk was possible during ECQ) and generally being tired of the whole damned thing (see Prisoner — Inmate No. 6) and other posts such as (Day 25 passing, 20 days to go (hopefully) and Day 49 passing, 13 days to go (hopefully)). Of course, the bloody ECQ ended up lasting around three months in Makati and even when it was lifted to a General Community Quarantine (GCQ) there still was not much you could do.
One bright spot in May however, and a lifeline to sanity was the discovery of and acceptance into the Virtual Wargames Club. This was a virtual meeting of gamers from around the world, with the main area of interest being Horse and Musket games in larger scales, however, the group was welcoming and my Saturday nights from around midnight Manila time were booked. I also became involved more virtually with a bunch of reprobates with a certain naval bent that met for the Sunday Bristol Breakfast. Two vastly different groups, with the WVC following a fairly well organized format and agenda whilst the SBB (which was around 2:30pm my time and dinner time for the Oz members so really only a breakfast for one) not having any structure and being more like the guys from the local club, sat at pub after a club meeting and talking as blokes do, with occasional interludes from “the author” to display where he was up to with his next book.
Enter June, still in ECQ and a liquor ban had allegedly been applied in Makati City. I say allegedly as there were signs on all the liquor cabinets indicating a ban and as the delightful Hazel at the local convenience store was ringing up and packing my beer, I asked if there was a liquor band and she replied, “yes sir Ian, there is.” There were official liquor bans all over Metro Manila but Makati and one or two of the other cities did not have official bans.
June was also when I finished my Winter War collection of Finns in various fighter aircraft and Soviet bombers and fighters.
Enter July and for the Virtual Wargames Club, after displaying some of my naval models, I was asked if I would do a presentation on preparing sea bases for the club. Rather than just describe the method, I actually added a couple of ships to the bases to add some interest. I selected some French pre-World War One cruisers as they have a lot of funnels and who doesn’t like funnels and tumblehomes on vessels from that era?
The process for that was dutifully prepared into a power-point presentation which can be viewed in Painting Sea Bases (and some ships). The ships selected were the Ernest Renan and Jules Michelet and I must admit, they came out very well.
In July I also completed 6mm Anglo-Saxons for DBA — 701-1016 CE. These are part of my Dark Age project and came about from reading historical fiction based around Erik’s Saga.
It is a good looking army and I am debating with myself whether or not to paint one of the other armies from that Dark Ages set next.
August was the completion of the town of Peshawar, as part of my Aeronef/Victorian Science Fiction project. The nominal scale of the Aeronefs is 1/1200 which means figures of around 2mm size.
I started some of those figures as well but the town can be seen in the Middle Eastern Village Complete – Peshawar Project, where the town is set in a dry north-west frontier area.
Nothing much happened then until Typhoon Ulysses decided to pay a visit in November. There had been a couple of named storms already passing over Luzon however Typhoon Ulysses was quite nasty and the eye-wall passed not far from here. Six or Seven hours of a roaring wind (and I understand the term “roaring wind” now and I’d had enough.
I had lost my painting mojo but it returned after the Typhoon and December arrived and I decided that I did at least want to complete phase 1 of my coastal project. I had painted enough German Attackers and merchant vessels, it was time to get some defenders prepared.
— Thomo the Lost (@thomo_the_lost) December 27, 2020
I finished some Fairmile Motor Launches as well as Fairmile Ds. To those I added some Motor Gun Boats (MGBs) which whilst small, have the advantage of being both small, and fast!
To be fair, I was quite busy over that last part of the year, supporting projects in the local time zone as well as Canada along with the regular day job. I was also in the process of moving from Makati City to my current home in Angeles City, a distance of some 95 road kilometres.
So, that was the year that was. What’s in store for the coming year? I hope, more painting time. I also have a long term project in mind that I want to start working on, especially while I am at home and with enough preliminary work done, I will be able to continue work on it should I be called out of the country.
Do have a Happy New Year and stay safe, be good, look after each other and wash your hands!