Monday, February 14, 2022

The Hobby Shortens My Winter Season


The local pond in Hesse Seewald during the Winter

Winter. It is like death and taxes, something that we simply have to live with. There is no avoiding Winter for most of us, unless we are lucky enough to live in a warm climate. We are faced with two choices: be cold and miserable, or embrace the Winter and treat it just like any other time of the year. The temperature over the past three days in Hesse Seewald has seen highs in the mid to upper Teens (~15 Fahrenheit today) and this clearly does not make this the best of times.

The key to surviving Winter is coming up with something that will make the time speed up and get us to Spring and Summer. Now this all supposes that you are not a Winter sports enthusiast (You know who you are. Stokes) and thus you do not look forward to the Winter season. You are looking for a way to get through Winter in the shortest/fastest amount of time.

Here are a few options that you might take to help you get through the Winter season.

Option 1

Travel to somewhere warm.

Not an option for me: Palm trees, warm Gulf breezes and swimming pools.

Option 2

Just deal with it. 

Start by wearing a dead animal on top of your head

Option 3

Exercise, Get a dog. Heck, get two dogs. Walk them. Frequently.

Take the hounds on frequent walks. They will love you for, it will make you feel better
and it helps to chase away the Winter Blues.

Option 4

Alcohol. Nuff said.

Serve yourself one of these and you won't care what season you are in.
However, being fat, drunk and stupid is no way to make it through life.

Option 5

Start a new wargame project and paint lots and lots of figures.

Start a new war game project to see you through the Winter months.

OK, so I have presented you with five options for ways to make it through the Winter. Your options are not limited to these five, but they tend to cover the bases of possibilities for most of us. I am going to go out on a limb and guess that Options 1 and 4 would be the winners were I to run a poll on this blog. Actually, the two go together like a hand in a glove.

How Fritz Makes It Through The Winter

My go to method for making short work of Winter is to start a new wargame project and then paint my brains out until the warm weather returns to Hesse Seewald. I could easily spend hours every day hunkering down at my painting table in the cellar Man Cave. Good figures, good tunes, some Diet Coke and maybe a little bit of Option 4 when the sun goes down and I'm good to go for the Winter. Unlike the Ground Hog, I make no attempt to emerge from the Man Cave to see if I can see my shadow. For one thing, it's still too cold to go outside and search for my shadow; and for another think, I'm wasting time away from the painting table if I go outside. Nevertheless, Options 2 and 3 have a way of elbowing their way into my day so I do have to spend some time away from my subterranean comfort.

Regular followers of this blog will know that my current Winter Season Wargame Project ("WSWP") is centered on the painting and building of a armies for the Second Punic War. I am using 54mm (1/32 scale) plastic toy soldier figures manufactured by HaT Industrie. I commenced this project in early September of 2021 and have made considerable progress up to this point on the calendar. I have painted a total of 248 Carthaginians and 216 Romans for a total of 464 figures. This averages out to about 90 figures per month. (remember, I am retired).

Because most of my infantry units have 32 figures, I reckon that I can finish painting one unit per week and this would seem to result in 128 figures per month painting production. However, the numbers say otherwise, more like 90 figures per month or 22 figures per week. Undoubtedly the need for sleep, meals and life's intrusions such as Option 3 cut into my painting production time. Nevertheless, I go on and build armies.

The beauty of a WSWP is that as the figures begin to roll off of the painting desk you begin to see the progress of your project. I like to set up the painted figures on my game table and organize them into their respective armies, either Hannibal's Carthaginians or Scipio Africanus' Republican Romans.

Hannibal & Carthage - The Good Guys

Scipio & Rome - The Bad Guys

Now I begin to view the coming month not as cold and miserable February, but rather as Adding Three New Units to My Armies February. Each week of the month presents a challenge to finish a unit of 32 figures. My week is focused on my painting and production goal and when I finish the unit, another week has been knocked off of the calendar. I find myself looking forward to the next week as an opportunity to add another unit of infantry or cavalry to one of my armies. I no longer view the Winter weather with dread because I am too busy painting Carthaginians and Romans to care about the temperature outside of Schloss Seewald.

Before I know it I have made it to the end of March/beginning of April when the annual Seven Years War Association Convention is held in South Bend, Indiana. Often my painting project, the WSWP if you will, is geared towards running a convention game with my newly painted armies. Last year I was working on the British and American armies at Saratoga for my convention game. Obviously I will not be hosting a Second Punic War game at this year's SYW convention. I would be drummed out of the Association if I tried to pull off such a dastardly deed.

And Then Le Printemps Arrives

Come the Spring, so cometh the seasonal pond in the back yard.

While meteorological Spring begins on April Fools Day, April in Hesse Seewald can be a very messy, rainy and miserable affair. Tons of rain turn the back royal gardens into a muddy mire of muck and guess which two members of the household revel and delight in running through the mud. They gain even more joy from sprinting into the house and making a beeline for the nearest carpeted floor in the Family Room. Never mind the Kitchen, which has wood floors that are more forgiving to muddy paws. The opportunity for chaos and muddy paw prints on the Family Room carpet is one that any hound would be remiss in not taking.

Hounds will be hounds. Dogs are gonna be dogs.

Then the Little Wars HMGS Midwest convention rolls around mid April. I get to play in some games and maybe try out some new rules or spend some money in the dealer area. The weather is hit or miss on this convention day. It can be cold and rainy, sunny and ice cold, or warm and sunny - rarely.

Base Ball season gets underway and now I feel as if Winter has truly passed. I survived Winter and I have some new war game armies to play with. That's a win-win in my book.

Congratulations - you made it through the other side of Winter.


  1. Perhaps you are a vicarious Hannibal crossing The Alps.

  2. Family honour requires me to say "Carthago delenda est"!
    Lovely figures and I hope the Romans win, even if they are the bad guys :)

  3. Great article, Jim, the dogs and their antics especially brought a smile to my face. My own dog is very small and short hair, so he hates winter as much as I do.
    What can I say, you are a painting machine!


  4. Seems like a very good plan....I do remember "real" winters from the first twenty five years of my life in Scotland but since coming to New Zealand in 1988, I have not been any closer to snow than fifteen or twenty miles away in the distance, on a picturesque looking mountain or some such....currently around 930pm and its 26 deg C!