Kick-Off 2020

As promissed, instead of closing the year with a summary, I want to look ahead into 2020 with a proper Kick-Off.

I could begin with the usual new years resolution, setting unrealistic goals like not buying any new miniatures before the others are painted and such. But I want to focus on activities that are fun, that are pro-active. And as such, I want to have a good time in 2020. The goal is not necessarily to have a better time, but to keep on having a good time with(in) my hobby. As pictures speak more than words, more of this:

Warhammer Fest Europe 2018 Kick Off - 2020 Hamburger Tactica 2019

Painting Get Together Brunnenfest Oberursel Kick Off - 2020

So let's answer some questions.

What was the biggest challenge of 2019?

Most certainly time management. I wasn't overwhelmed with the time reduction a kid brings along, but I expected to be able to balance it better. Sleep has become an unexpected important part of my daily schedule and as such, I want to enjoy and invest the spare time that I can spend with miniature wargaming as best as I can. Such said, combining two things is even more efficient. My parents did that as often as they could. With my dad being a self-employed businessman, travelling a lot, often on the weekends, was combined with family times. Sometimes just my dad and me, sometimes the four of us. A trade show in Munich? Arriving the day before it starts, watching a game of ice hockey, going to the show, enjoying a game of football in the Olympic stadium and head back home. Or being on a three day business trip in Benelux and talking the route back home via a amusement park.
Our child is a bit to young for that, therefore I hope to add a few city trips incl. museum visits to my event schedule for this year and that answers another question - Dates and plans for 2020? In addition to some fixed events, like Rhein Main Multiversum or Crisis, I'll try to add further visits to museums to the event category, like the Senkenberg in Frankfurt, and some sights, like the Hermanns Monument or the Monument of the Battle of the Nations this year. I'll post a schedule in a couple of days.

Te Papa Gallipoli - The Scale of our War Deutsches Panzermuseum Munster - Stahl auf der Heide 2016 MUPAC - Museo de Prehistoria y Arqueología de Cantabria

What were your favorite "large" wargaming companies of 2019?

I am a huge fan of plastic kits, in that category two companies amaze me by quite a bit. Games Workshop is ace on large kits. Nobody else is capable to produce that level on larger kits and one of the last kits they released in 2019, the rohan buildings shows the planing ahead and modularity. I'll cover that in a review. And in historics it is certainly Warlord Games. Due to their size, they are able to produce things, we wouldn't have otherwise in plastic. I have build their first Bolt Action plastics, the German infantry and to see how that range has developed to the latest kits like the DAK Grenadiers or US American GIs. And beyond that I am absolutely happy to have such niche items like the vessels for Black Seas or Cruel Seas in plastic.

Games Workshop - Warhammer World Exhibition Centre Bolt Action - Deutsches Afrika Korps German Grenadiers Black Seas - 3rd Rates Squadron

And your favorite "small" miniature company of 2019?

It would be unfair to compare the big players to the little one, therefore we split this question into large and small. I am quite amazed by the sculpts of Westfalia Miniatures and the quality of their casting. I got myself a few halfling knights mounted on goats, great sculpts and as said, superb casting. The Dark Eye kickstarter was amazing, similar to their other halfling projects, with sculpts by Michael Anderson and Paul Hicks. The second company that made an incredible jump in terms of quality to their sculpts it Claymore Castings. Don't get me wrong, the Hicks sculpts are amazing, but the new dynamics. Wow. They sold parts of their range to Antediluvian Miniatures, and cover a couple of new, very dynamic poses for their HYW range, sculpted by the very talented Matthew Bickley.

Westfalia Miniatures - The Dark Eye Claymore Castings Claymore Castings

What games did you gave a try in 2019 and what you're looking for in 2020?

Just a few. I had the chance to try out Longstreet by Sam Mustafa with Gregor at Games n Dice in Düsseldorf. At the Rhein Main Multiversum Dino and me played a match of Shootout in Dingstown, hosted by the author himself Axel. And I had the chance to play Cruel Seas with Dino and a few workmates.
I am currently preparing a few test rounds of Black Seas, and Holger and me want to give the original Rogue Trader rules a go. That might be replaced with "regular" 2nd edition, in case it turns out to be to much of a stretch.

Sam Mustafa - Longstreet 7. Rhein Main Multiversum 2019 Cruel Seas - Battle Report Game 1

Which video or podcast did you enjoy in 2019?

I don't really follow many wargaming or tabletop, mostly history and cooking to be honest. On Youtube I enjoy the updates by the Miniac (Paint more Minis!) and Mel, the Terrain Tutor (as he did some really great stuff early on, it is hard for him to top that) and just recently got to know Little Wars TV. As for Podcast, I listen to some of the Joe Rogan Experience episodes, especially on longer car journeys and the german Krauthorn podcast.
But as I said, on Youtube is mostly cooking and occasionally history for me, so I can recommend BonAppetit, Binging with Babish, and Sam the Cooking Guy. I draw a lot of inspiration of the things that I cook from there. I enjoy cooking, and I enjoy cooking for others and we often combine our gatherings with proper food. And to catch up on eras or conflicts, I enjoy the older Crash Course History and Alternate History hub. In the upcoming Bolt Action Korea review I'll probably embed one of the videos, as many people aren't familiar with that conflict and it is an easy intake.

Korean BBQ Style Pulled Pork Black Ops - Battle Report Deer Stew

Do you want to expand the Chaosbunker as a video or podcast?

It was suggested multiple times to me, that I should do the reviews on twitch or talk about them in a podcast. I did a few video reviews a while back with Brückenkopf, but due to the workload and lack of equipment back then (that was roughly 10 years ago, so far before full HD was standard and cheaply available), didn't follow on with that. I like the one-take style of the Held der Steine videos and I can imagine doing something like the weekenders like that. Simply what has been on my mind during that week, in a brief 10 minute-ish video. But that's something when I'm done with the mans cave and I can use that as a studio.
As for the podcast, I have said above time is a scarce ressource. So I don't really see that as an option, but if - and that is a strong if - I would do something like that, I would probably go for a miniatures wargaming themed JRE style podcast and interview / talk with other wargamers about the hobby, what brought them into the hobby and what keeps them going.

What was the biggest surprise 2019?

Tough question. I think the announcement of Warhammer The Old World, but I am still rather sceptical on what's about to be released. There is a certain pattern with Horus Heresy, but it strongly builds upon a very present brand of Space Marines and with fantasy being less popular than 40k, and the old world races being less played compared to Space Marines, I am not sure how this will play out. Games Workshop did a Forge World for Warhammer Fantasy with Warhammer Forge and it went so-so. So beside the expection of it to be pricy, I am not really sure what's coming for us.

Other than that, I was amazed by the two naval games, Cruel and Black Seas that got a proper range incl. plastic sprues and not just a repack of existing models like Blood Red Skies did (a lot of the aircrafts are Zvezda kits). Not funded by Crowdfunding, not half-assed. Great.

Warhammer The Old World - Dan Tunbridge's Goblin Raiding Force Black Seas - Master & Commander Starter Set Black Seas - Frigates and Brigs Flotilla

What are your realistic goals for 2020 and how do you plan to realize them?

I want to reduce the pile of shame - one way or the other. I enjoy doing most of the reviews, as due to the fact that this is a hobby blog and I am not running a news portal anymore, I have much higher freedoms on what to cover. That is one of the reasons why the average conclusion on the reviews is positive. I managed to develope a rather good eye for products, and as I neither have the time nor will to work on something that displeases me I don't request them or refuse the offer. Due to my personal expectations on my reviews, I spend between 6 to 20 hrs on a review. Assembly takes much longer when interrupted to take pictures, which I recently was reminded of while assembling a few Rubicon kits, that won't be covered as an extended review. Selecting and editing pictures as well as research and the writing of the article itself - in two languages is time consuming. But as I enjoy especially the building part of the hobby (and that is most likely one of the reasons why I enjoy similar activities, like building lego so much) it isn't as hard of a task for me, but still rather time consuming. Time that I could free up to be used for painting or gaming. And thus I will cut back on reviews further. In addition, steady arrivals of novelties will work against my goal to reduce the "pile of shame".

We're planning on building a house in 2020 and I don't want to move dead weight (and I am aware of the time consumption that this project will add to my schedule). So the things that go with me into my new "studio", shall be the things that I really want to keep and work on. That's why I used a solid portion of my hobby time to sort out miniatures and projects. I want to keep a broad variety, that scratches multiple itches, but doubles will go. For example I don't need three german armies for Bolt Action, so the Afrikakorps will remain and the remaining stock will be condensed to an autumn/winter force that can be used for Late War / Bastogne. Everything else will have to go. Similar approachs on Saga and so on.

Stock Inventory Stock Inventory Bolt Action - Panther M10 Ersatz & Ford M8(a) Greyhound

Any changes planned for the 'bunker in 2020?

Not really. I am happy about the theme. I am glad about the support of regular and guest authors. Maybe the articles will move from the reviews and showing of assembled / based miniatures towards interacting with other wargamers, depending on what is possible. You know, having a good time as I wrote in the beginning. Oldhammer will be an important topic for this year. I explained the emotional connection towards that epoche of the hobby and I hope to spend more time on those projects.

Closing words?

Take care of yourself and the people, who matter to you. Life is short, too short to be spend on things that don't matter or "sparkle joy". If you need exchange hard tackles on the board at tournaments and such, as a contrast to your everyday life, do so. I work in sales, so competitive behaviour is a very present topic for me during the day, that's why I enjoy freeing up my mind while building kits or playing a narrative game.

And I really mean take care of yourself. Enjoy the little things (what a beautiful thing to say about miniature wargaming). Don't settle for bad food, bad company or bad decisions. Get yourself checked regularly, a to some degree healthy live is important to get at least halfway through your own pile of shame 😉

Kick Off - 2020 De Panne - La Plage

Sláinte, ¡Salud! and Prosit to you and your kin!



Posted by Dennis B.

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