It’s that time of year when we look back across the year and reflect on what’s been happening with our favourite hobby, what we have been doing and even a bit of what we thought of it all. You can join us on our Youtube chat on Wednesday 20th at 19.00 (GMT) to hear some of the team chat about their recollections of 2023 and what we are up to for 2024.
For me 2023 has been a quieter year than 2022 with my time fairly limited by real life. It started with the finishing off, of the Late War Berlin Soviet release culminating in a major restocking of the cupboard of opportunity and some games with Duncan “the Hobby Hipster” playing the new Berlin scenarios. I particularly liked the challenge of the “Buying Time” scenario with the German defenders trying to hold back the Soviet Breakthrough Forces.
After that it was all about the minor Axis power Hungary and in particular Huszars. I started the year with the somewhat crazy idea of making a Cavalry Force and after some goading from Mark, I rashly agreed to play with it at the UK Nationals, run by Mark at Battlefield Hobbies. As it was a Mid-war period event I figured what could possibly be wrong with that? Little did I realise quite what a journey this project would turn out to be.
This decision also focussed my limited gaming for the early part of the year, getting in some thematic games representing some of the Hungarian/Soviet clashes of 1942 with Duncan commanding his Hungarian Rifles and Nimrods s against my Soviets, whilst I got my own Hungarian Force built and painted. This taught me a lot about the weaknesses of the Hungarian Force and helped me shape my UK Nationals list even if I wasn’t going to get many games in with them beforehand, one to be precise with a Rifle Company list vs Eddie as a warm up for him for the ETC in August.
As Cavalry armies need to have not only the cavalry teams but also the equivalent infantry team to represent them when dismounted this proved to be a much bigger project than I envisaged back in January, and it wasn’t until after eight months of the year had passed that I had finally managed to amass enough finished models to field all 100 points as I wanted.
Now I must confess this was partly my own fault as I got a bit side tracked during the process and ended up painting a T-38 Tank Company as well during this time and in fact by the time September and the Nationals came around, I had completed enough models to deploy 3 entire 100 point armies (Huszar Company, Motor Rifle Company and T-38 Tank Company). The 80mm field guns and Huszar howitzers were also particularly tricky to find luckily someone pointed me here.
As a warm-up for the Nationals I played a small 1 day event in August at Table Top Republic in High Wickham my first competitive games of the year but as it was Late War I took the opportunity to try out my Lapinsota War themed Finnish Force that I built back in 2021 as part of my “To The Finnish” project and placed it a respectable 2nd getting pipped on the “strength of opponents played” decider by Graham Wilmott.
With the release of the new NATO Forces for Team Yankee, something I have been dabbling half-heartedly since 2020, again I got a bit distracted for a couple of weeks doing articles for the blog. This occupied me up to the Nationals where my Cavalry caught many by surprise and I remarkably galloped off with the first-place trophy!
My year is always back end loaded in terms of gaming opportunities and next up on the horizon was Warfare hosted by Reading Wargames Club, this was again 111 points Late War, so it was back to the painting table to add a few extra Support Units to my Hungarians to bring them properly into Late War, I was not using the Huszars in LW just the infantry elements forming a Rifle Company. Let’s be honest here, I added an entire StuG, Zyrini and Turan Formation to my collection meaning by the time November 11th came around I had purchased, painted and based the equivalent of 5 complete Formations totalling some 432 points – comprising of 163 teams in total (69 Infantry, 62 tank and 32 gun teams), a decent hobby effort overall meaning I had completed 41 platoons, basically 1 platoon per week for the period.
Warfare went well for me, and the Hungarians and I finished in 2nd place thanks to the tie breaker going in my favour, this time beating Graham back into 3rd place on “Most enemy platoon kills!” I managed a whopping 20 platoons over my 5 games to conclude my playing year on a high. This also completed my set of Warfare Wyvern glass trophies and I now have all 3 sizes of trophy for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishes, by some odd quirk of fate, despite 20+ years of competing at Warfare I had never previously managed a 2nd place tournament finish before in any games system.
To close out my 2023 the latest iteration of the Flames of War Mid War Dynamic Points arrived. This time Battlefront have a adopted a broader scope taking in both Infantry and gun teams as well as tanks this time around. I generally liked the 2022 adjustment, and I am excited to see what further impact these will all have. Certainly, on paper it looks a very positive step, my Soviet Rifle Battalion could yet see the tabletop again, some of the more extreme 2022 changes have been reigned back a bit in no small part thanks to the feedback from across the community which shows Battlefront are listening to us all and things are looking good for generating more interest in Mid War.
For 2024 I have 3 primary objectives 1. Paint some of my TYWW3 French so I can actually play a game. 2. Project 716 more on that in the New Year. 3. Paint my 6mm Romans which are sitting next to me just where I left them last December so I don’t haveto keep using my Hordes of Chaos to represent a Barbarian horde in Warmaster!
2023 saw me take a stab at being a “pro-painter” by taking a commission. This was a mistake. All of a sudden, my painting output for a good few months was effectively lost to doing someone else’s army which did not help reduce the pile of shame any! Still, the output was good and the money in the bank account was welcome. I’d say its not to be repeated but Brett asked if I could fit in some extra Stuarts so…
Anyway, turning to my own hobby misadventures, I’ve been a bit of a hobby butterfly and flitted from one project to another. This year has seen me paint:
Three Battlefront Mil-8 Hip
Some Plastic Soldier Company 10mm Chieftains for my Dad
Some more Games Workshop Horus Hersey Alpha Legion
Battletech Davion Succession War era Mechs
A platoon of Battlefront Centurions as Fate of a Nation Sho’T
A whole bunch of Plastic Soldier Company Halftracks
Before finishing off the year with some Battlefront LAV-25 for an ANZAC force.
Work and family have conspired to limit my gaming so I missed Warfare but did at least get some games in at Dice Saloon and the Barn. The latter saw some great gaming days with the big Team Yankee “Whiskey Run” game starting yhe year, followed by the D-Day games day and the Italian games day.
In terms of Breakthrough Assault, you’ll notice I’ve been writing less this year. I have handed the editorial reins over to Martin who has been doing a “cracking” job whipping the team to get content in the hopper. I’ve been focusing on the digital media side with our unboxing videos and the new videocast venture “Time of Day”. Of course, the biggest effort on that front continues to be the “Shoot and Scoot” podcast which will be hitting it’s 100th episode soon!
Next year should see plenty of gaming with Warfare, some one day tournaments, more barn days and the Patron D-Day event all on the cards.
Painting wise, I need to return to the Six Days War IDF project, get the VDV BMD and BTR-D painted, finish off the 28mm Alpha Legion and try and fit in some 8mm action with Legion Imperialis. I’m going to limit any new projects, but I always say that…
In typical fashion I have to get out my phone and look back over my modelling pictures for the year to stand any chance of writing this! What I do know is that my time for painting, modelling and gaming has improved this year as my twins start their second year and become (slightly) less demanding (and I start getting sleep!).
I think this has been a odd year for FOW players (less so if you play TY) due to the very limited number of releases. The Berlin book was great but thats really been it so I have found myself really completing outstanding projects and then preparing for ETC before getting my mountain of Volksturm complete.
Early 2023 saw sa lot of work on my 2023 ETC army ‘Hero Moto Rifles’ with a mighty 7 x KVs. It was fun to play and saw Team England come a respectable 5/18 teams and I bagged 4/108 on individual score. This was really the highlight of the year and a chance to meet up with some gaming friends from all other the world.
An interesting side project was the use of the BF Chinook model to make the famous RAF BN airframe. The only Chinook to survive the sinking of the Atlantic Conveyer in the Falklands War it went on to see combat operations in Afghanistan. My brother had the honour of flying it and also flew in it on my way to Lashkar Gar. With custom decals for the Sqn markings its a great piece of history.
After the ETC I had a bit of a ‘palette cleanse’ from Historical and painted up some GW kill team stuff, even getting my 6 year old into painting a Ultra Marine thanks to the ease of contrast paint and dry-brushing for power armour!
September saw me running the UK Nationals which proved a great success. A highlight was the sheer volume of amazing player made tables which were supplied. Alongside these I also provided 1 featuring the lovely buildings donated by Micro Art Studios. If you haven’t got your ticket yet then Nationals 2024 is LW and held on 28-29 Sep @Battlefield hobbies.
I have also managed to go back and paint up a load of the excellent BF obj markers I have collected over the years. I still have another 10 to do though!
As the year draws to a close I managed to finish what was the ultimate marathon of painting 65 stands of Volksturm to produce my ‘no reserves’ army. As I write this I am finishing off 4 x Railway guns and an extra KT (to make 3) ready for the tourne season next year.
As for next year I am excited to try out some of the MW revamped points with a US Sherman Force as well as the (hopefully) arrival of EW.
Is it this time already! 2023 is almost over and I don’t feel like I have painted or played half as much as I had planned. I am not nearly half as productive as Mark, but I still managed to finish some units and I also got to travel a bit to play abroad.
Painting wise I finished my Gebirgsjagers early enough to take them to Finland for the Nationals, but their main objective was to go to The Barn and play on Mikes epic Italy table. I ended the year with painting my Chaffee army and playing it in Italy and Spain with great success. In all it have been a great hobby year, with painting gaming and good times with friends. I leave you with a ton of photos from my gaming and painting as pictures says a 1000 words.
This is our last article for 2023 so it’s just down to saying have a great festive season however you are celebrating, stay safe and we hope to see you all again in 2024.
Bit of an odd year 2023 has been – it feels like it was very busy and the same time very absent of hobbies, especially in the second half of the year. A year of what-might-have-been and strangely a lull in the production of enthusiasm for upcoming releases… I mean… I still only own three S-Tanks! That is surely a crime against me.
I need to thin the hobby pile-of-opportunity next year so currently I plan to try and work my way through my backlog in 2024 so that I can create a frontlog again (…that doesn’t sound right…) and getting some cool stuff like the Basij horde, my Fallschirmpanzer Division HG stuff and the million Sdkfz 251s I have assembled and not painted feels like the correct thing to do.
Despite this end-of-season slump in painting, I’m happy to report that in 2023 I managed to crank out 217 teams for Flames of War and Team Yankee to the tune of 524 points with a further 605 points making it as far as the assembly point.
I think that my proudest achievement this year is the street fighting Hungarians that really pushed my hobby boundaries. Urban bases with weathering powders and sculpted bases were something that I never would have even attempted a few years ago. I love this army and I think that it is even fun to play so, again I need to focus on playing games and getting things actually ready for the tabletop.
So there it is… #NothingNewFor24
Let’s see how long that lasts… there are only so many German 10.5cm guns that I can paint I guess…
Seasons Greetings from Martin and all the BtA crew