Home Forums General General We have had first times, but what is your origin story?

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    Avatar photoThuseld

    So I am curious about how people get into this hobby, and the various forms it takes, so thought I would share my story and see if others share theirs. There might be another thread about this from way back, but I feel like doing another one is probably okay?

    My dad was a soldier and was into model making and WW2, Napoleonic and ACW wargaming back in university. I never saw him play with them as he was more into model railways once he had children, but we played with his old models. Me and my older and younger brother would put them on our children model railway and just have fun with them making pew pew noises.

    At some point we made our own models and then tried our hand at wargaming with the old Airfix Guide WW2 rules that were actually quite complicated and considering we would play with like 200 soldiers per side on a 2×4 table our games never finished. Rifles were overpowered as we were always too scared to charge in to machine gun range because the scale looked weird. 1mm = 1m so a road became like 100m wide, not crossable in one move.

    This lasted until I was 14 (2001 or so). I remember making a large order or Fujumi models from a model shop in Manchester and they arrived during my birthday party. I opened them that morning and was excited by my Valentine tank and other things. In all honesty this is the last memory I have of actually being excited about wargames, even though the Valentine did get completed. I also tried my hand at painting Airfix commandos, but they were dreadful, the wrong colour and the paint came off them anyway.

    From 14 onward I didn’t play or model anymore. When I was 18 I looked online at some free rules, because I thought it would be interesting to see what else is out there, and I also looked at models and wargaming websites. My interest was still there, but I did nothing about it. I downloaded a set of rules called “Hit the Dirt” which I never played, but it looked like it had a more realistic ground scale, didn’t worry about time and seemed less complex. I also found a set of rules called Sam’s Rules or something. It was written by a guy, hosted on his website and downloadable as a Word document. Never used it.

    Nothing happens, but then in 2008 I discover Star Wars Miniatures. I begin to collect the pre-painted figures and playing battles with them. In 2010 I moved to Hamburg for my year abroad and I took the plunge and started modifying them, chopping them up and making new characters with them. This began to give me an itch I couldn’t scratch enough. I ordered DnD miniatures that I could make new Star Wars characters out of, bought my first ever Green Stuff and got building.

    I banned myself from hobbies during the final year of uni…until Skyrim came out, but I didn’t do any model making or wargaming until November 2012. I was unemployed, applying to train as a teacher and living at home. I decided to just dig out the old WW2 modelling stuff and fill time doing it. Then I started my blog. I investigated rules to buy and started getting new models. I got a part time job for funds and then settled in for a good spell of modelling, all the while preparing to play wargames. Still didn’t play anything though.

    I got my first game in in February 2013 I think. It was at a club in Winchester, Bolt Action using someone else’s miniatures and enjoyed it. I sort of did this half wanting to be a wargamer thing for a while after that, lived in Czech Republic for 4 months in 2013, played some Flying Lead at Christmas 2014 and then switched to Sci fi in October 2015. Since then I have been finding time to play a game on average each month with my 6mm sci fi stuff.

    Still don’t have any regular opponents though.

    Avatar photoRod Robertson


    See here:

    Do You Remember the First Time .Ahem First War-game You Ever Played!

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson.

    Avatar photoJemima Fawr

    It all started when wise men beheld a star in the West… 😉

    My wargames blog: http://www.jemimafawr.co.uk/

    Avatar photoAngel Barracks

    ah yes…

    So I started buying model tanks when my dad took me to his train shops with him.
    I would push the tanks around his layout when he was not there.

    One day we went to Beatties in the Palisades in Brum (looking at you NCS) and it was chocked full of cool.
    I bought robot kits, tanks, planes etc.

    Then one day, many visits later I ventured a couple of doors down from Beatties into Games Workshop (which was a different beast back then) and bought a blister of Imperial Dwarves and a blister of Barbarians.

    That turned into WFB, acrylic paints and a whole world of lost evenings and weekends…

    Avatar photoRhoderic

    Well, I’ve always been a “geek”, to begin with. I suppose I had one of those awkward childhoods that geeks tend to have, relatively safe and sheltered but just… awkward, due to a veritable cocktail of annoying reasons I won’t get into, other than to say that disability was one. Always loved fantasy and by extension sci-fi – any sort of escapism, really.

    I’m maybe 3-4 years older than you, Thuseld, but still young enough that by the time I could appreciate “gaming” as a hobby or an aspect of a lifestyle, video gaming was the prevalent form with all us kids. I followed the crowd, but as a video gamer I nearly always gravitated to non-action-oriented strategic/tactical games and adventure games… too much of a Nervous Nelly for the action games, I suppose. I did form a fascination with the more glossy sort of “analog” games – due to all the evocative artwork and the promise of a “deeper”, more creative, more hands-on experience than one could get with video games – but it was a slow entry. I mucked about with Magic the Gathering for a while, but it felt like a racket and I wasn’t anywhere near competitive enough at it (I really just liked the pretty pictures and the weird-and-wonderful fantasy world they evoked in my mind).

    A few computer games based on GW IP (Dark Omen, Rites of War and Chaos Gate) indirectly brought miniatures gaming into focus for the first time (but only in the form of GW games at that point) and that coincided with GW’s first significant push into my corner of the world. Frankly I might have been a bit older than their target demographic by then, at least going by the hobbit-sized crowds in the newly-opened Stockholm GW store. Still, the idea that I could craft my own army as both a set of painted miniatures (with background stories all my own) and a statted-up army list that made it function in a game was something new and alluring to me. And to think I could craft my own little world of trees, houses, roads, hills, rocks, etc (all charmingly miniaturised, which BTW might have been an interest I inherited from my father, who liked that kind of stuff), and make little stories come alive in a deeper way than could ever be communicated by the programming of a video game… this was all sort of a new revelation to me, despite my having passed into the later half of my teenage years by then. Maybe I’m just a bit slow on the uptake 

    A few years as an overzealous GW fanboy followed before I soured on GW, had a lengthy sanity break (another few years as I transitioned into adulthood), and casually returned to the hobby in my early twenties discovering the fun of the “indie” miniatures wargaming scene – even if that did entail transitioning via Warhammer Historical.

    Avatar photoDeleted User

    Coincidentally this little ditty seems to sum up my origin:




    Avatar photoIvan Sorensen

    The literal start was reading an issue of White Dwarf with a 40K battle report, not knowing the rules I took all my Space Crusade figures and tried to make up my own game based on what I read in that bat-rep.

    It even sort of worked.

    At that time, I had played RPG’s for a little bit of time, which had all started with Fighting Fantasy and Lone Wolf choose-your-own-adventure books.

    Avatar photoBlackhat

    Saw a piece on Nationwide (the news magazine program on BBC1) in 1974 about a wargaming convention (probably Salute) and got talking to a friend about it on the walk back from school (I was 12 at the time) and went to the library that weekend and looked for books on wargaming…



    Avatar photoMartinR

    I started with Airfix in the 1960s and then Charles Grants ‘Battle’ in the early 70s.

    It is what you did then.

    Usual progression of boardgames, D&D (White Box, which I later sold, aaaarghhh) and other RPGs and computer games. Had a break from figure games from the late 80s until the late 90s, when my interest was re-kindled. I  played a lot of a boardgames, some of them really a lot. I played Third Reich a sufficient number of times to see the french counterattack  against the German bridgehead counter on Paris in 1940 succeed  not once, but twice (1:32 chance each time), to much cursing and wailing by the Germans on each occasion.

    Oh how we laughed.





    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    Avatar photoJemima Fawr

    For me it started aged 11 in 1982, when I saw the pilot episode of ‘Callan’, which was being re-run on the newly-created Channel 4.  The local stationery shop was selling 1/72 Airfix Waterloo figures, so I bought a few boxes and started painting… Esci Napoleonics soon followed and then I discovered Prince August moulds while working as child-labour in Cardigan Market.

    After stripping the entire neighbourhood of lead-ish metals, my best mate Gary and I managed to build two ‘armies’ and we created a board game with our own rules.  We also did a WW2 game along the same lines.

    Then we went on a family bus-outing to Stratford-upon-Avon and it was deadly dull until I found the magazine section of the local WH Smiths and something called ‘Miniature Wargames’!  While my family wandered on a dreary and tedious exploration of Shakespeare’s home town, I was glued to the wonders contained within those hallowed pages and was instantly an expert on the Battle of Leibertwolkwitz and the Swiss Army of the Cold War… I also now knew that there were things called ‘wargames rules’, but had no idea what they might entail.

    Upon returning home, I discovered another magazine in my local newsagents, which was a one-off magazine by Stuart Asquith from the Military Modelling stable, called simply ‘Wargames’.  This too, was quickly devoured and I became an instant expert on many new things.  I was especially taken by an article on wargaming the wars of Tolkien’s Silmarillion by some incredibly hairy bloke called John Treadaway.  This coincided with a friend of mine turning up in school with something called ‘Citadel Miniatures’, which apparently could be bought for the eye-wateringly expensive sum of 30p EACH???!!!

    However, there was still little about what these oft-discussed ‘wargames rules’ actually consisted of, so my research continued… Christmas was coming and on the back of my treasured issue of Miniature Wargames was an advert for a book called ‘Charge! Or How To Play Wargames’ by Brig Young and Lt Col Lawford.  Unwrapped and devoured on Christmas Day 1982, my mate Gary came round on Boxing Day and we spent the day mostly arguing… But had a BRILLIANT game!  We both agreed that we needed more models, so once again started stealing lead in earnest, to cast more figures!  We didn’t have any reference books to research uniforms and the internet was still over a decade off, but we did watch ‘Waterloo’ on the telly, while frantically taking notes on uniforms!

    Six months later we discovered in a ‘local events’ flyer that a town 15 miles from us had something called a ‘wargames club’ and that they were having an open day!  We begged Gary’s mum to take us and we spent an incredible afternoon watching two grown men arguing over 1/300th tanks and nitpicking over the exact meaning of a semi-colon, as opposed to a comma, in WRG WW2 rules… But had a BRILLANT game!  We both agreed that we needed more models, but as we’d stripped the entire county of lead and in any case, didn’t have moulds for tanks, emptied our piggy-banks and begged our parents to order 1/300th armour for us from Heroics & Ros.

    In those days, ‘Allow 28 days for delivery’ REALLY meant 28 days and there was none of this ‘order acknowledgement’ that the kewl kidz get so upset about, so we paced the hall every day, waiting for the postie to stuff a parcel through the letter box.  In the meantime, we were regularly attending the club and playing more and more periods – especially with a guy called Sidney and his son Chris (a little older than me).  Sidney had been wargaming since the 1960s and had a VAST collection of beautifully-painted 25mm Minifig Napoleonics, among many other things and I was soon introduced to the ‘joys’ of WRG Napoleonics.  Heritage Miniatures, Minifigs and Battle Honours 15mm Napoleonic armies soon followed and we were in teenaged wargaming heaven.

    However, all good things come to an end and Gary and I left school to become RAF officers, leaving ‘childish things’ behind us.  Nevertheless, I eventually managed to escape and soon picked up where I left off.  A job which allowed me to paint on shifts certainly helped my armies expand and my bank-balance to contract…  Despite now being a very senior bod in the RAF fast-jet world, my mate Gary admits that he’s secretly jealous… 😉

    My wargames blog: http://www.jemimafawr.co.uk/

    Avatar photoEtranger

    It all started when wise men beheld a star in the West… 😉

    That’s just Plaid Cymru burning holiday cottages!

    Avatar photoMcKinstry

    I had Airfix soldiers and Rocco mintanks as a kid and remember games more on the ‘pew pew, they blew up’ kind of thing than any rules but the models/miniatures were always intriguing. I also remember some Avalon Hill games in high school but nothing I’d call a hobby.

    Having done a year of college badly enough to get drafted I was working post-service (1974) to get back to college when I saw in some store window, a copy of SPI’s Dreadnoughts and was intrigued enough to go in, buy it and proceed to play the heck out of it solo. Returning to that same store I saw a copy of the magazine Wargamer’s Digest and some C in C 1/2400 ships. The magazine had the contact for a Club and the folks there introduced me to rules (General Quarters 1) for those ship miniatures and despite going back to school, marriage and kids plus a career involving tons of travel, I found the time and desire to keep painting and playing and now on the edge of retirement, I’m going to do more of it!


    The tree of Life is self pruning.

    Avatar photoJemima Fawr

    It all started when wise men beheld a star in the West… 😉

    That’s just Plaid Cymru burning holiday cottages!

    Nothing was proved…

    My wargames blog: http://www.jemimafawr.co.uk/

    Avatar photoPatG

    Well, I had the usual Britains, Swoppet knights and Airfix but didn’t do much with them beyond the usual games.  Then my Dad brought home Avalon Hill’s Panzer Blitz.  I did a lot of board war gaming and of course D&D (and WH with the same figures) and other RPGs. 1980’s “moderns” was my first proper miniatures collection. Later WRG ancients re-used my old Airfix figures. Then life intervened with school, work and children and gaming went quiet.  In 2009 I dug out the last of my old ancients based them up and got back into miniature wargaming.

    Avatar photoDarkest Star Games

    Weeeell… I played board games with my uncle when I was young as well as built a lot of models, and the obligatory “green army men and rubber bands” type of war game using scrunched up bath towels for terrain.  Not too long after I took D&D as a class in 6th grade (I kid you not!) at a summer school for gifted kids.  That was pretty cool, as we had to take 2 “serious” and 2 “fun” classes per term (so I took typing and biology, and D&D and Rocketry that first term).  So had to buy the Red Box D&D as well as a mini for my character, and there began my true miniature buying!  Soon after I had three dozen minis in my collection, all painted rather poorly with Testors enamals, and began to branch out.  We played a lot of the Robotech RPG in 7th and 8th grades, necessitating having to buy the plastic models to use.  But I don’t think I did “true” miniature war gaming until 8th grade when I bought the box of plastic Beakies, some metal Orks and a hardback copy of Wh40K RT (still have it, pages falling out and all!). From there I started using my plastic models and just bought miniature after miniature and ruleset after ruleset and I haven’t really stopped!

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    Avatar photowillz

    I started out playing with Airfix figures (WW2) in the bedroom or back garden with my brothers, progressing to wargames in 1971 when my school friend (Kim Watts) introduced me to the wargaming club at school, Battle Game and The Wargame on continual loan from the library.  I spent several years building a Napoleonic army using Airfix figures.  My dad got me a subscription for Military Modelling and bought me my first metal figures (Hinchcliffe), this expanded my horizons.  Did lots of 54mm figure building and loads of conversions and painted lots of Hinchcliffe figures.  After joining the RN, I still kept my interest in this hobby going, taking board games to sea with me (King maker and D+D).  In the 1980’s I got into Warhammer 40k among lots of other things, 18th century, Napoleonic, medieval, and more.  By the 1990’s my interest in WW2 was rekindled by Rapid Fire, 1200 20mm tanks and vehicles, 20 odd years later I have restarted my 18th century armies.  The joy continues.

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