Goonhammer Historicals: a year in review

Every year we’re inundated with lists and round-ups, and in what is becoming a tradition for the Goonhammer Historicals Team, we’re here today to continue this trend. As we pry our contributors from their painting desks and handcrafted tables, we inquire what they’ve been up to this year.

Which projects have you been working on in 2022? 

Zuul: My 2022 has been a bit scattered. I worked a little bit on some practice knights for Baron’s War, attempting to perfect my hand at freehanding heraldry. The big project has been a Gothic Line German force for Bolt Action – a mixed force of Luftwaffe Field Division infantry and some specialist Fallschirmjäger & Gebirgsjäger infantry, along with some support vehicles and weapons crews. 

Credit: Daniel “Zuul the Cat” Rucker

Enzo: This year was my first full dive into historicals, having played tabletop games since 2017. I started with the King and Country box from Warlord games. That project is ongoing, and I’ve been painting my force up to play either Thirty Years War or English Civil War battles, though a lot of my infantry are intended to look like the New Model Army. I’ve played a few games of The Pikeman’s Lament with my force, including a demo game for a small crowd at the NOVA Open. It’s a great system, simple rules, easy list building, and it plays fast.

My big historical success this year was getting my article on Perry Miniature’s foot knights published by Goonhammer. Now i just need to paint more than three of those models.

Finally, I’m ending the year with some WWII. 0200 Hours seems like an awesome game, and I’ve gotta paint up the British commandos. After that, I have some Flames of War German tanks to coat in ambush pattern camouflage

Lupe: I’ve been mostly consumed by space historicals this year (Horus Heresy has become a big part of my hobby in 2022) but I’ve still had time for a few things. I’m currently gearing up for Aztecs, painted some Conquistadors and also put the finishing touches to my 10mm Normandy board and some tank platoons, mostly to get to work on a wargame I have in development currently.

12 mm Tiny Tanks! Credit: Edwin “Lupe” Moriarty

Lenoon: I’ve been working on a personal wargaming transformation into Napoleon, as you might have read and this has dominated my hobby time to an absolutely unprecedented degree – but during all the blue, white and red, I’ve also put some serious time into reading and painting Aztecs at the end of the year. Other projects have fallen hugely to the wayside as a result – my English Civil War guys even ended up ripped off their bases to salvage the tufts and flowers I’d used on them!

Ilor: I too have been working on some Aztecs in preparation for our upcoming game collaboration, being very happy with how my first six test minis turned out. I’ll be assembling and priming more soon. I did some Victrix Normans for review and would like to assemble more of those and my Victrix Vikings to get to some viking-era Dux Britanniarum.

But by far the most progress I’ve made in historicals hobby stuff this year has been in Blood & Plunder. I’ve worked my way through the English starter set (minus my “Forlorn Hope,” who are still works in progress) and a big group of English Musketeers, along with a couple of long boats and a completed Brigantine. I’m stoked about the brig in particular because a) it’s freaking huge, and b) the rigging turned out even better than I had hoped. Look out for a “How to Rig Everything” article in the coming year! 

CSS Georgia – a floating ironclad battery (because the engineering sucked and it couldn’t actually move, lmao)
Model by Thoroughbred Miniatures

Michael O “Mugginns”: When I think about the last year I really didn’t think I had done too much historical stuff – it’s been a long ass year, and I forgot a bunch of stuff I had done, including a pretty huge one.

This year we had our first Lard America event at AdeptiCon. You can find my event journal here; it was a great time and brought a lot of Midwesterners out to play some sweet participation games. If you’re not familiar with Lard America, we’re an online club of people who love TooFatLardies rulesets. TFL writes historical rulesets that focus on character and friction (or fog of war). We write about them a ton here.

I also painted a ton of 1/600 scale ironclad/cottonclad/steamer ships for my ACW naval games. I really love the sculpts by Thoroughbred Miniatures and there are some great STLs out there as well for purchase.

Credit: Edwin “Lupe” Moriarty

Jackie Daytona: It’s been a weird year, having to move house under less than ideal circumstances had thrown my projects (historicals or otherwise) all out of whack. In my previous place I had a large gaming/hobby area, which I don’t have right now, so I had to sell off a lot of scenery and models simply because there I don’t have the space anymore. It’s still very much first world problems.txt since I have the luxury of a home office/gaming space still, and it was a good opportunity to take stock and see what I actually played vs what I collected. The big historical thing this year has been Saga age of Hannibal, which I’ve played less then I liked, but have painted up Romans, Greeks, and have started assembling some Gauls. 

HardyRoach: The first half of my year was completely dominated by Blood Bowl, but I’ve been working on Napoleonics, and of course, on my Soviet Women’s Rifle platoon. The Aztec Flower War project we’ve been working on has also been quite the source of creative drive. I’m in that position now where I’ve started the ball rolling on way too many projects, and it’s time to just pick the next one to finish and get to it.

A pair of Night Witches, here used as a CoC Jump-Off Point. Credit: HardyRoach

Last year we took a look at the state of Historicals, did the situation change or evolve as expected? What are things you’re keeping an eye on?

Lupe: I predicted some issues with global supply chains and that certainly was a factor but things seem to have cleared up well. One big shift I didn’t see coming was the continued demise of metals in favour of hard plastics. Resin? Sure. But there are so many new hard plastic kits dropping now, it’s incredible. As tooling costs continue to fall I think that will continue but it’s an exciting trend.

Credit: Edwin “Lupe” Moriarty

Lenoon: I’m really happy to say a lot of my focus on the state of historicals has been here at Goonhammer, where I think we’ve achieved something pretty awesome this year! We’ve gone from a few writers to many, and our articles are only improving as we get more people involved! If we’re an indicator of how Historicals are slowly moving away from button counting and occasionally hostile communities, then Historicals are doing really well! We’ve been putting out more reviews, more guides, more roundtables and we’re making our own game. With all pretense at objectivity dropped, If there’s anything to keep an eye on in historicals for next year, it’s us!

Ilor: I too have been intrigued by the number of hard plastics kits coming out. The Raise the Black kickstarter for Blood & Plunder finally dropped, and while I didn’t back it (it closed before I got into the game), a lot of the older metal minis now have multi-part plastic kits as replacements. In particular I am excited to get my hands on a box of the new plastic sailors.

Jackie Daytona:I’m going to address the elephant in the room called Brexit, because for me and a lot of gamers in the EU its impact on smaller hobby shops and sculptors has been a major factor in how shows are organized (or even canceled) and how difficult it is to support your favourite model range and games. I’ve decided against ordering stuff a couple of times (because it’s a hassle and expensive) and it’s frustrating because there have been some releases I wanted to get my hands on and give my support to some companies. I think the age of large shows with lots of vendors is over for a good while. That being said, you can’t keep passion down and shows will go on, albeit in another form and probably a lot more based on club activities in the EU.

HardyRoach: Just on a personal level, I’ve been delighted at how I’ve managed to find three different historicals communities near me this year, all of which are full of nice people rather than weirdos and fascists. I hate to play into the stereotype, but for me it’s been a pretty rare treat to be in a community that doesn’t have at least a couple of people I try not to talk to.

Slovak Cavalry in the streets of Rostov

Michael O “Mugginns”: I’ll be looking out for the new What a Cowboy! rules from TFL and the new Eastern Front supplement for Bolt Action focusing on the Caucasus that I helped collaborate on, creating a Slovak army list for BA =).

What was the most surprising/fun release/event this year? (ruleset, model range, scenery, stl…) 

Zuul: For me, it has to be the Outremer kickstarter from Andy Hobday, an expansion to Baron’s War that takes your warbands to the Crusader States of the 11th – 13th centuries. I’ve been obsessed with Knights all year long and happily backed this Kickstarter when it launched, choosing the All the Franks option. It’ll be great to plan out and paint up the force!

Credit: Daniel “Zuul the Cat” Rucker

Enzo: 0200 hours, a game focused on stealth and asymmetric combat, meant to let you play scenarios from either WWII raids or the movies inspired by them. Think Dirty Dozen or Where Eagles Dare. I haven’t played it myself yet, but I’ve seen some demos and I’m excited to get it on the table myself. It’s got a clever ruleset for putting stealth mechanics into tabletop.

Jackie Daytona: I got my hands on a copy of Lunar, from Black Site Studios, which is alternate Moon History, and not necessarily new, but hard to get a copy of in the EU. I’m excited to finally try it out. 

Lupe: For me it’s been the breakneck pace of releases from Wargames Atlantic. I don’t normally single out a single producer but my goodness they’re not pumping the brakes any time soon. I’m also excited to see where Warlord takes their Epic Battles series – an ancients game could be a very cool addition.

Lenoon: I’ve really enjoyed historicals-adjacent stuff going on this year – Turnip 28, Andrew May’s amazing output, seeing more historicals stuff crop up in places like Wyrd Science and online. I feel a little like I’ve been exploring the full range of smaller suppliers this year as well, picking up a few models here and there from dozens of different manufacturers. In terms of a big stand out event for me it was going to the Britcon Lard Day – the Too Fat Lardies demo game days that Jackie covered in his article – I’d not been to one before and managed to head up to Nottingham for a combined Warhammer World and Lard Day Trip and it was absolutely fantastic! If there’s a Lard Day near you, you should go.

Ilor: I’ve been waiting a long time for the plastic Bersaglieri from Warlord to drop, and I’m glad that’s finally out. I’ve wanted to add Italian Bersaglieri to my North Africa collection for a long time but couldn’t justify the expense of doing an entire platoon in metal. The new plastic kit makes this purchase much easier to justify to myself.

Michael O “Mugginns”: I really enjoyed the full release of Dawn of Iron, the Ironclad ruleset I like a ton. It had been in beta for a bit and stuff was available, but now it’s in full release with gloriously well done cards and graphics and it’s awesome. I actually got mine printed and bound by DriveThru, and it came out great. 

What’s on the table for 2023?

Zuul: The aforementioned Outremer kickstarter will be top priority for me in 2023, along with painting up the knights I already own for combat in England. Aside from this, I also want to finish up my Gothic Germans for Bolt Action so I can work on a force of Chindits for battling in the jungles of Burma in the Pacific for Bolt Action. Lastly, I happened to get really lucky a score a big lot of Black Scorpion Miniatures’ Tombstone line of Western miniatures – with them I’m planning on painting up a few more posse’s for Dracula’s America. 

Enzo: I think World War II. Like many Americans, I’m a WWII buff, but I didn’t think I’d want to game it out that much. But in the last few months I’ve read a lot of books and noticed that Chain of Command and Flames of War are really popular in my area, so I’ll need to dive into both of those. Following that, I’ll have to decide whether I want to lean into a Thirty Years War Imperial Croat cavalry, or my Neapolitan army for the Italian Wars. Finally, I bought the hilarious Richard III commemorative model from Perry Miniatures, and I want to paint him up for a contest.

Lupe: More tiny tanks (some tinier than others) and possibly some other stuff to go with them – I’ve been eyeing 3mm battalion scale ww2 stuff. Then I’m going to be taking on a project to rival Lenoon’s March to Austerlitz: my own march to Waterloo. I’ll be building British and French armies for the famous conflict using the Warlord Games Epic Battles range. I’m very excited to get started.

Credit: Edwin “Lupe” Moriarty

Lenoon: Looking forward to seeing that Lupe! My own March to Austerlitz will carry on in a much more irregular form, if only to give me a bit of a break from painting endless French Guard Infantry, so it is on to pastures new for me. 12mm WW2, Aztecs, more Haitians, maybe a Lion Rampant force or two. I think it’ll be a year of whatever takes my fancy while I wait for the rest of the historicals crew to paint up all the Napoleonics I’ve peer pressured them into buying this year. Of course, all it will take is another trip to the Musee de l’Armee in Paris and I’ll have another 150 Greatcoats to paint.

Ilor: So my FLGS just had a massive sale, which included like 50% off their entire Blood & Plunder stock (I suspect they’re trying to clear out inventory to get shelf space for the new plastics coming out). This was a perfect time to finally pony up and get the massive 6th Rate Frigate kit. This thing is gargantuan. Assembling, painting, and rigging it is going to be a substantial effort. I also have a WW2 Japanese platoon that’s sitting in various stages of unassembled that I’d like to knock off my table, along with a couple more DAK support units (an MMG team and Pionier wire and mine clearing teams). 

Jackie Daytona: I actually have some Blood and Plunder coming my way as well with the new Raise the Black! 2 player box, so I’m excited to try that out. I want to finish my Gauls and Aztecs, and the 15mm ww2 stuff that has been gathering dust for a bit. Besides that, I finally want to crack the American revolution as a period. I’ve been reading and researching, and finally have an idea on what units I want to paint up. I really want to try out Rebels and Patriots (from the rampant stable of rulesets), and maybe some Sharp Practice. Besides that I need to decide on a Blood Bowl team and paint up some big stompy machines for Titanicus. 

Michael O “Mugginns”: I am thinking about painting up an Italian WW2 eastern front army using Warlord / Wargames Atlantic minis and tanks. These dudes are definitely underrepresented in Bolt Action when I go to tourneys etc. Not interesting uniforms, but it’ll be fun to paint and play with and probably go quickly.

I’m also going to be painting up a French Napoleonic force for Sharp Practice and then at some point Brits too. I have a Lard American who wants to play a game at AdeptiCon so I’ll be doing the French for that.

Lard America Logo

Speaking of AdeptiCon, I’m organizing our Lard America effort there to offer a ton of great games. We will be running games on Friday and Saturday where you can sign up and play using our terrain and models. I attempted to run an open event last year, where people could show up with their own minis and play, and the reception wasn’t great. I am choosing to run my own game this year with people signing up to play.

HardyRoach: In the immediate future I need to get my Senegalese Tirailleurs ready for both a Case Yellow campaign at one of my local clubs, and for another deep dive article like the Soviet one. Otherwise: Aztecs, finally getting my Napoleonic Hungarians done, and maybe finishing one of the several little projects I took up done, like Burrows & Badgers or Gaslands. If all that gets done, I have a temptation to order a bunch of Wargames Atlantic’s Conquistador boxes and Landsknecht Ogres and put together an Warhammer Empire-style fantasy force.

How’s that painting backlog coming along?

Zuul: Great! I managed to paint up some test knights for Baron’s War and I’m about halfway done with all the infantry for my Gothic Line German army for Bolt Action. Not so great! I also added a full Italian army, U.S. Marines and Chindit armies  for Bolt Action, 100 western miniatures (Native Americans, Lawmen, Bandits & others) for Dracula’s America and a number of knights that I’m afraid to count. 

Enzo: Lol. Lmao. Can I ignore my 40k backlog here? I’m looking at the British half of the 0200 Hours starter set, 35 late Medieval knights, 15mm WWII German tanks, about a half dozen pike-and-shotte era cavalry plus some cannons and crew of the same era. It’s not bad, but that’s less than half of my TOTAL backlog.

Lupe: Right now it’s fine! But I am going to thoroughly ruin it soon. I have some Sisters of Silence and Custodes to paint for Heresy, half a dozen Aztecs to get starter warbands done, and then it’s tiny napoleonics as far as the eye can see.

Credit: Edwin “Lupe” Moriarty

Jackie Daytona: Selling off stuff has made it a lot more manageable, and I’m looking at about 400 minis if you want to get technical about it, so definitely doable with a bunch of batch painting for those pesky colonials and redcoats. 

Lenoon: I still haven’t painted everything I bought in the great Napoleonic Christmas of 2021, so I am going to keep more or less silent about my backlog! One thing I have learned this year is to not beat myself up about it, and if I’m not going to realistically paint something, ever, why do I even have it? I’ve been giving away a lot of sprues and I’ll carry on doing so I think.

Ilor: Even though I have painted a fair amount of stuff this year, in terms of backlog I am shame incarnate. There is much work to do to even put a dent in it. Combined with my Infinity backlog, it’s, uh, it’s not good. I’m definitely going in the wrong direction. We’ll see if I can reverse this trend in 2023. Spoiler alert: my odds don’t look good.

Michael O “Mugginns”: Not great. I’ve been painting a bunch of Necromunda and other GW stuff lately. I did paint a bunch of Ironclads but still have a ton left to paint from Peter Pig and STLs. This year I’m going to focus on getting a Napoleonic game to run for Sharp Practice and probably paint some ACW minis for 28mm at some point because I always do.

Soviet T-34 with lady tanker. Credit: HardyRoach

HardyRoach: Oof. Critical hit. Got I think 8-9 Blood Bowl teams, 4 Burrows & Badgers gangs, a dozen Gaslands cars, an entire Napeolonic Hungarians force, two WW2 French platoons (one Senegalese, one not), and god knows what else burning a hole in my model boxes. To boot I backed the Turnip28 Kickstarter, so that’s going to land in my pile of shame with a sickening thud. I’m a slow painter at the best of times, and the pile is only getting bigger.

Well there you have it folks! Exciting prospects for 2023, except when everyone realises they have to paint a bunch of horses. We’ve got some interesting reviews and projects planned for 2023, and of course… A Game. All of us from Goonhammer Historicals wish you a very happy new year indeed, and hope you all get some nice games in and some new period or model range to explore!