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A Short History

History and miniature wargaming 

 

I’ve got both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history, so the topic is never far from my mind. History – of all kinds – was a popular pastime in my family when I was growing up. When I was a kid, basically every vacation we took (except to Disney World) had some kind of historical component, whether it was driving around South Dakota, visiting Gettysburg, touring Williamsburg (Virginia), doing bed & breakfast places in Vermont, etc. We were steeped in it, and it continued to be a strong interest throughout my life. The fact that in my work life I’m a reporter, producing what has been called “the first rough draft of history,” seems pretty apropos.

This has continued over into my hobbies, including wargaming. I’ve been thinking about the intersection of the two topics recently, so herewith is a selection of some of the historical/wargaming things that have been flooding my consciouness lately…

 

  • I absolutely find that my wargaming hobby fuels my desire to read more books on history. I read a lot of historical non-fiction anyway, but wargaming has pushed me into reading a lot more military history. I’m currently reading a book on the Spanish Civil War, and not long ago I read another by the same author on the battle of Stalingrad. Especially in the Stalingrad book, you can definitely see the influence battles like this have had on games like Warhammer 40K, which certainly draws heavily on the “Stalingrad aesthetic” of rubble-strewn city hellscapes full of ruins, with desperate high-stakes battles taking place.
  • I’m really finding that historical accuracy in painting is becoming a thing for me when I’m painting minis that come from a particular “real” time period. When I was painting some units for Dust: 1947, which is a Weird War II-style wargame, I wanted to make sure I was using the right kind of paints and colors to do the uniforms. Even if I’m painting sort of “fanciful” characters, if they’re supposed to be situated in a particular day and time, I’m not just painting them willy-nilly, I want to make sure that I’m at least doing something somewhat accurate with them.
  • Now, all that, of course, can be taken too far. I can see how somebody (myself included) could go nuts trying to recreate the exact hue of a particular uniform, etc. I recently completed a mini whose colors were close to the reference photo I was working off of, but didn’t come out just right, and I wasn’t super pleased with it because I was worried it wouldn’t “read” as what it’s supposed to be on the table. But, whatever. It turned out well and it’s another finished mini for the year.
  • I honestly don’t think I’ve settled on a time period to focus on, which is probably ok – I’ve got WWII minis, Victorian-era minis, 16th century, 18th century, modern minis, etc. And those all work as interesting challenges to try and master. And it keeps things from getting boring, which is even better.

About the author;

Peter Kuebeck is a writer, gamer and award-winning mini-painter living in the Midwest. He wages a constant battle against the ever-growing tide of unpainted minis in his basement, and occasionally GMs role-playing game sessions with friends. Catch his hobby shenanigans on Twitter at @popculturecube

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