Home Forums General General Miniature Wargames 398: Arthur Harman Article

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    I know that Arthur Harman’s article has provoked/inspired a couple of comments here and there (see link and link ). I wan’t going to comment on this directly, but rather ask: has anyone done a project in the simplified style he discusses? I don’t mean block painting and dip, but even simpler than that. Maybe dominant colour spray plus flesh tones only (as an example)? I think it would have been helpful in the article to have perhaps an actual example – figures and terrain – of how this kind of project would work, in terms of time taken and final look.


    For those who haven’t read the article, the very basic gist is that gamers chould consider adopting deliberately simplistic painting styles, perhaps in the style of some of the art of the period, in order to get troops on the table and gaming in the shortest time possible.


    Guy Farrish

    How about cardboard bases painted the colour of the uniform? How about cartoon drawings/paintings of the troops (Arthurian v Saxons Dark Ages) directly on the mdf bases?

    I did have 2mm blocks grey and blue for ACW (still have them somewhere). which worked brilliantly for army level games or Kriegsspiel.

    I’m with Arthur all the way. I know him and a less patronising chap you would be very hard pressed to find.

    I haven’t read his latest piece but I think that the perfect can be the enemy of the good. And if the gentlemen who wrote the responses listed haven’t heard the ‘not good enough for selling the hobby’, ‘it ought not to be allowed’ ‘why were they allowed a table’ in response to some demonstration/participation games that didn’t adhere to the ‘aesthetic’ prevailing at the time, they are very lucky.

    It depends what you want from wargaming. If it’s a panorama of beautifully crafted and painted toy soldiers on  model railway terrain – that’s fine. But some people like the recreation of history, the tactical interest, the involvement in the action. So if you want/are able to combine both, that’s fine. But you shouldn’t have to defer the latter because you haven’t got or don’t want the former.

    I’ve played campaigns on OS maps with a perspex overlay and chinagraph pencils, Ancient battles with painted mdf bases, and Renaissance battles with hundreds of lovingly painted 25mm figures. They’re all wargaming and knowing that a paper and pencil can give a game every bit as entertaining as the assembling of hundreds (thousands?) of pounds worth of painted metal figures is very reassuring  – to newcomers and old stagers wanting a change but lacking the commitment or spare change to shoot for the one style every time.

    I’m definitely with Arthur.

    And who says that the current style of painting wargame figures is the ‘right’ one anyway? Styles and fashions change – and simply because we have a fad for blending and shading in acrylic now doesn’t mean lining, washes, block painting or any of the other variants we’ve used over the years were wrong. Painting styles aren’t ‘progressing’ towards any perfect style. They’re changing. It’s fashion. Like most fashions – the best thing to do is ignore it. There’ll be another one along in a minute.

    Not Connard Sage

    Hear, hear.

    Well said Guy.


    Some meanderings

    Having dabbled for many years with railway modelling, I would have no trouble building ‘realistic’ boards for wargaming. However, experience tells me that such boards get in the way of the game. And the game’s the thing surely?

    “‘Growing’ ‘promoting’ ‘pushing’ ‘whatever’ the hobby” if I hear that one  more time I may  just do someone an injury. I am in the hobby for me. It is my hobby, for my pleasure. The fact that it has a social aspect is neither here nor there. I feel under no obligation to evangelise, so stop &*%@!/$ telling me I should.


    Now, get off my lawn!





    Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.

    Angel Barracks

    And the game’s the thing surely?

    Not for me.
    I think it was, before I started doing this for a living, maybe.

    I think I am more a world builder than gamer these days.
    I have made new factions, models and rules this year but I do not think I have played any wargames…

    The reason I have not played is not because I don’t have anything to use, so the idea of using simple plain blocks or proxies to enable me to get a game in is not it.
    I think I am just weary from doing wargames stuff all day that when I get a few hours to myself I want to do something different.
    Though to be fair I would much rather play a game with nicely* painted models than not.

    Russell Phillips

    I haven’t read the responses, but surely it’s a case of “each to their own”? I’m neither a modeller nor a painter, so my stuff will never be made or painted to a great standard, unless I happen upon well-painted models at a bargain price.

    To answer Whirlwind’s question, I’ve never quite got that simple. In 20mm, I tend to paint anything large enough for me to bother in the relevant colour, apply a wash, and varnish.

    I’ve been looking at 2mm or 3mm for ages, but haven’t yet bought any actual models. I was thinking recently about how I’d paint them, and I suspect it’d be a single colour, possibly with either a wash or highlights dry-brushed.

    Military history author
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    Russell Phillips

    so stop &*%@!/$ telling me I should.

    I think this could be applied to pretty much any part of the hobby. There are all sorts of things that some people will say wargamers should or should not do. Do what you enjoy, but accept that we’re all different and don’t tell others that they should do the same.

    Military history author
    Website : Twitter : Facebook

    Angel Barracks

    has anyone done a project in the simplified style he discusses?

    Only to playtest rules.
    I have played various sets of rules and used chits as models when deciding if I like the game before buying figures and making stuff for it.

    Fredd Bloggs

    I have a box with loads of units for ancients, they are top down pics (from a website I remember) onto self adhesive floor tiles, to give a bit of heft, and used to playtests a set of ancient rules I have been tinkering with for years.


    Quick, simple, cheap and easy to store.


    Me , I think Arthurs right but then so is everyone else….

    As someone said it’s a hobby and a pretty personal one at that. You like pretty soldiers and terrain , go ahead be my guest. You like old school and dulux paint well thats fine too. I have played all types of games matrix/commitee/tewt etc etc. in fact I’m noted for playing the wierd and wonderful Many of my armies are made from hair curlers., My present 6mm Napoleonics are cut from MDF. I like to be different. I also have a lot of well painted and based figures for various periods. I do what I like when I like. May it ever be that way. At least with haircurlers no one ever tries to count the buttons 


    Winning is not important but losing i just can't handle..
    blog http://flownlegions.blogspot.com.es
    web http://www.angelfire.com/games4/bobsgames/hair_curlers.htm


    I know that Arthur Harman’s article has provoked/inspired a couple of comments here and there (see link and link ). I wan’t going to comment on this directly, but rather ask: has anyone done a project in the simplified style he discusses?

    I have played a number of games with my Toy Soldier collection – see:




    Black Hat Miniatures -

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