Saturday, July 2, 2016


THIS READER’S ARTICLE takes us to a place that we haven’t covered much at SMN. Perhaps we should though, for miniature wargaming is hugely popular. Games Workshop alone has more than 300 dedicated stores around the world.

Lee Carnihan: From childhood through to older age, most men never lose their fascination with models, whether it’s constructing, painting, assembling - or even just looking at them. From showpiece Spitfires and ships in bottles, to military battle scenes and miniature cars, we can all connect to the enjoyment, relaxation and craftsmanship of ‘playing’ with models.

Model miniatures have a way of taking us back to early childhood memories, sparking our interest in history, and encouraging us to admire the craft of model making. Take a few minutes to look over the paintwork on a miniature vintage car model and it’s likely to evoke some kind of memory - perhaps the first time you unwrapped a toy car? Or maybe the hours you spend playing with it.

OK, so we’re not all into cars. Maybe you recall the thrill of opening a new model Airfix kit, taking out the runners fitted with intricate parts, and carefully examining (or discarding!) the instructions before starting to build. It’s a pastime that has been passed down from generation to generation, regardless of the many digital distractions of today.

Military miniatures have a huge following, and they are just as popular today as they were before the rise of war-based computer games. From classic hand-crafted models to huge brands like Warhammer, military figurines provide endless fascination. And that’s not just from the design and painting, but also from setting them up into battle scenes and bringing the action to life. Don’t tell me you’ve never walked past a Warhammer store without looking twice!

So how come real models are so popular when there are so many simulation options - World of Warcraft and the like - to distract fantasy enthusiasts, history buffs and geeks? The answer is simple. It’s an affordable hobby that can be enjoyed for life and shared with others. And it’s one that, for me, never fails to create a welcome sense of nostalgia. 

For older fans, some of whom may have fought in action or heard family stories of war, painting military models is a way of keeping history alive. For others, it’s about remembering the models they played with when they were younger, or enjoying a collection that once belonged to their father or grandfather. They may be cool, but computer games just can’t compete when it comes to delivering a good old dose of nostalgia. 

Building and painting models also offers a sense of accomplishment, and freedom to create any scene with the finished models. Computer games are great for immersing yourself in world of adrenaline and explosions, while painting military miniatures is perhaps the opposite. It’s largely a relaxing exercise in discipline, concentration and interpretation, allowing the painter to explore a scene in detail, and express some creativity - arguably the more rewarding venture of the two.

About Lee:
I'm a father of two and writer with a love for painting lead figures of the Warhammer variety and setting them up in dioramas. I also like biplanes such as the Sopwith Camel, and building boats out of balsa wood. However, they usually sink, because I haven't mastered the art of ballast yet.

Click here for a look at the fantasy world of Battlefront Miniatures at the London Toy Fair.