About three years ago I put mini painting and any thoughts of tabletop gaming to the side. I was trying to focus my productive hours on work (I have kept up with reading, though). Lately I've had some more free time, and I've been feeling burnt-out with work, so this month I started looking up my old favorite hobby sites. Browsing for models was always relaxing, and the idea of breaking out the old paint box really appealed to me. But I was a little startled to see how much has changed in just the past couple years:
Warhammer Ancient Battles is gone
When I first got into mini painting like 15 years ago WAB really impressed me (ancient history is my favorite time period to read about). I never knew anyone locally who wanted to play, but I bought the rulebooks and painted some Celtic and Roman armies anyway. Based on what I saw online WAB seemed really popular, so it was a surprise to now see that the rulebooks are out-of-print and The Miniatures Page doesn't even have a message board for it anymore. The WAB Forum still looks active, though. I wonder why WAB lost popularity in favor of the more recent ancient rules like Field of Glory and Hail Caesar.
Lots of mini manufacturers are gone
I was bummed to see that Mega Miniatures went out of business. They made some really nice animal models and villagers at a really low price. It looks like their molds have been scattered among other manufacturers. Amazon Miniatures had some nice animals and monsters, but they're gone too. The lesson here? Hoard as much lead as you can because you never know when someone will close shop.
Game Workshop's Lord of the Rings game has diminished
About a month ago I visited a bookstore that just happened to be next to a hobby shop. My local hobby shop went out of business a few years ago, so I hadn't been in one for a while. I expected they would have GW's The Hobbit models to go with the movies, but the guy at the store told me no one plays that game anymore. You can barely find them on GW's website. Online I did notice that GW sells the Hobbit minis, but they're more expensive than the old LOTR minis used to be. I guess fewer people are into them, so the price has gone up to make the most profit from the few remaining fans.
Some of my favorite hobby bloggers are gone
A lot of the blogs I used to frequent are either gone, or they haven't been updated in 6 months to a year. Of course, I can't blame them—I'm equally guilty of that.
My paint is dead
I dug out my shoebox of Citadel Paints. Most of my colors are dried solid. I had one color in their current paint bottle design, and it's still good. So, it's nice to know that these modern bottles are really air-tight. And when did Citadel Paints change all the paint names? So confusing for a guy trying to replace his paint supply. And one little bottle is four dollars now? Ugh. (check out this video on various model paint brands) I went into my local hobby shop for new paint, and when I walked in the shop every head turned to look at me—just like when a cowboy from out of town enters a saloon for the first time.
It's not all bad
So, anyway, I'm looking forward to getting back into painting and gaming. There are lots of new minis and models out. And I thought this was interesting: Wargames Strategy: Soldiers and Strategy magazine held a recent poll of 7000+ wargamers. The results are an interesting way to see what's going on in the hobby today.