View from the Veranda – Episode 1

vftv1 title

Welcome to episode #1 of View from the Veranda (VftV).

Download Episode 1

VftV is a spin off from the Meeples & Miniatures podcast, and features Neil Shuck in conversation with Henry Hyde, editor of Battlegames magazine.

In each show, we take one or two subjects as our theme, and simply ‘have a chat’ about the wargaming hobby, with these subjects in mind.

In this first episode, we discuss some of the contents of the latest issue of Battlegames magazine, and also chat about why historical wargaming doesn’t seem to be as popular as sci-fi and fantasy gaming.

So, pull up a chair and join us on the Veranda!

28 Comments on View from the Veranda – Episode 1

  1. Richard Clyne // May 16, 2009 at 17:35 // Reply

    I’m looking for the RSS feed for this podcast but can’t find it – either here or on the iTunes store. Where should it be?

    • Sorry Richard
      I’m not sure what has happened, but the show hasn’t turned up on the iTunes feed for the show yet – it may be a problem with libsyn – I’ll query it with them


  2. Richard Clyne // May 16, 2009 at 18:23 // Reply

    Thanks. I’ll keep a watch for it

  3. Richard Clyne // May 17, 2009 at 00:06 // Reply

    I think I must have misunderstood what you meant – I was expecting this to be a new feed rather than a show in the existing feed. Looks like I had already downloaded it!

  4. Excellent episode, Neil and Henry. I sat in the comfy armchair in my study, Tiffany light the only illumination, rain beating down outside, and spent a happy hour or two listening to you guys chat about the
    hobby. Sheer bliss!

    Loved your finish with the ‘Over the Hills’ song, too … very fitting for my current love of Sharp Practice! (I’m looking forward very much to your interview with Richard Clarke of Too Fat Lardies!)

  5. rgregory1 // May 18, 2009 at 22:12 // Reply

    Neil, great conversation. I think your discussion of the future of historical wargaming is very accurate. It seems that historical manufacturers (other than battlefront) have retreated to the web for stores and sales. Very much like the American army, they are trying to fight the last war. Many refuse to update websites to modern standards and expectations. As a consequence, they will miss the next generation of gamers completely. To todays young person (from just out of college on down) if it isn’t on google, it doesn’t exist. I run a web design company for gamers and work for almost nothihg for companies that I’m a fan of, one of my favorite manufactures has a horrid website that I offered to redo for a song. When I informed him that his site wasn’t even searchable from google, he said that he accepted that and there you go. I was flaberghasted. It is this old way of thinking that will allow the hobby to fade away as the histoical gamers age. Very akin to the old shop the you talked about where you didn’t get noticed by the shop keeper. This is the digital equivilant.

    If historical wargames are going to survive on the web, they need to invest in their storefronts and have lots of great pictures. Today’s youth is very multimedia based, text descriptions aren’t going to do it. If you’re not on the front page of google, give it up as well.

    I’m not talking about the 50 year old die hard that knows what he likes and gets it. I’m talking about he guy who’s outgrown GW and is looking for something new, but doesn’t know what’s out there. That’s who I was 4 years ago, if it wasn’t for (a company I left behind a while ago) who had a strong web presence, I never would have found the online gaming communities that I am now a part of.

  6. Great show again Neil. I must comment on Henry’s metalaphobe crusade. I am one of those numerous gamers that dislikes plastic. Why don’t I like plastic? Simple, I don’t like the look of them on the battlefield. I don’t like the feel of them. And they cost too much for what you actually get. Being a disassembled miniature that I should feel privileged to put together because the Perry’s made it. A recent TMP poll on plastic v metal had
    47% of voters preferring metal, 16% of voters preferring plastic and 37% who did not care.
    I say let everyone game with what they want to game with. Don’t try and force plastic down my throat.
    That’s my humble opinion.

  7. Great Podcast Neil and Henry, I listened to it sat down painting away at some plastic figures and enjoyed very second. It was like listening to a chat by 2 old friends in a gentlemen’s club.

    And I have to say I didn’t think Henry was on a crusade against metals from what he said, he was just giving his views on plastic figures (which are very much in the news at the moment)and announcing that he’ll be doing an article to help people who have never used them, what’s wrong with that?



  8. Wow, Paul, I’m sorry to hear you have reacted so badly to what I had to say about plastics.

    As Mike says, I’m certainly not on a “metalphobe crusade”. What on earth makes you think that? My intention is simply to encourage gamers to overcome “plastiphobia”, as I’ve coined it, and at least consider them as an option. You’ve evidently already made your own decision about plastics, so fair enough: and you’re under no obligation to buy them!

    My own collection is about 60% metals and 40% plastics (both ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ types), and I make my decisions about what to buy on a per-period, per-army and per-scale basis depending on what’s on offer and how much I feel prepared to spend. I certainly don’t like ALL the plastics on offer myself, but some of them are real gems which, as miniatures, surely deserve to be given a chance? Is that so unreasonable?

  9. Henry, It’s good I got mad because that means Neil and yourself are doing a great podcast. It’s like talkback radio for middle aged nerds. I think plastophiles (not that there is anything wrong with that) can enjoy the hobby as they please. I just want to be left alone with my lovely metal lads. I don’t want to hear I’m dumb because I don’t convert. I think there needs to be balance in reporting the pros and cons of plastic. So far its all one sided plastic pushing.

    • Apologies that I’m late to the party on this – I haven’t turned my computer on all night…

      ‘The great plastic debate’ has been raging for a long time, and I have to agree with Henry that many people in the hobby are looked down upon because they play with plastic figures – especially 1/72 scale – why?

      This is one question that has come up again and again in the last few months – and we decided to address it.

      However, I don’t think either Henry or I can be accused of “pushing plastic down people’s throats”. It’s a very hot topic is historical miniatures at the moment, one that has never really come up before because it is only now that we have several companies actually taking it seriously, and producing very good products as a result.

      Love the new plastics or hate them, you cannot simply ignore them from an industry standpoint.

      As I think we’ve said before, the new plastics are exciting because they make the historical hobby accessible in cost, and in a scale and a material that a younger generation can relate to, because they may very well have been brought up on plastic 28mm figures from buying GW products since their early teens.

      Are we saying that everyone should condem their metal collections to the dustbin and buy plastic, or that plastic figures are ‘better’ than metal figures – by no means. However, what we are trying to say is don’t simply condem a new product simply because of the material it is produced in.

      It’s ironic – exactly the same debate (or one pretty close to it) has been happening on the Privateer Press forums, because they have decided to start producing plastic figures for Warmachine. That decision was made for economic reasons and because the technology was at a stage where the palstic kits could be produced with enough details to rival the existing metal ones.

      The result – complete uproar. Many Warmachine players were accusing PP of all sorts of nonsense about selling out ‘their’ hobby – so much so that Privateer’s CEO went on the forum and told everyone to STFU (his actual words) until they saw the results – which are pretty incredible, actually.

      I think it’s a debate that needs to be aired, and I accept that people on both sides feel very passionate about where they stand…

      …which is a good thing, because hobbies survive on passion – just let’s not fall out over it, or at least not for too long 🙂

      As with the whole ‘Sci-fi/fantasy vs historicals’ thing, we are all gamers first and foremost.

  10. I think, Paul, that the fact is that for as long as I can remember, until the lasst twelve months or so, there was nothing but plastic-bashing, rather than plastic-pushing, in the historical gaming community. And as I said, I can’t be accused of plastophilia (especially as it sounds depraved!) as I’m actually a mix and match man.

    In fact, case in point, my Perry ACW collection contains both metals and plastics as they don’t make all the figures one needs in plastic, and side-by-side, their metals and plastics are pretty much identical. This seems to be true of Warlord and Victrix too, who are supplying metal command and special figures to complement their plastic ranges, a matter of the economics of scale of production, no doubt.

    We never intended to imply, incidentally, that anyone was ‘dumb’ if they don’t convert to plastics, and I’m scratching my head about why you would think that. I think the only quip that I made was actually do do with anatomical correctness, and how puzzling I find it when people choose less ‘real’ looking figures (regardless of whether they are metal or plastic) over better ones, but I truly do find that bewildering.

    Well, as they say, vive la différence!

  11. Neal – thanks for listening to your fans and going ahead with publishing VftV. I’m just 20 minutes into this episode and I’m already loving it!

  12. Oh, and as noted above I haven’t listened to the whole show yet, but I wanted to chime in on the plastics vs. metals debate. They both have their uses. Personally I love plastics – they are generally easier to clean up than metals, more customizable (if the sprue is designed right), and easier to transport. But – a friend of mine recently bought a large lot of the plastic Wargames Factory Zombies (I believe 100+), and was lamenting that the money he saved buying the cheaper plastics was offset by the time-cost of having to put each zombie together. In addition, the ability to customize each zombie was lost on him – he just wants to get his horde on the table in as short a time possible so that the games can go on!

  13. Don’t push anatomical corect figures down our throats, either 😉

    Said jokingly, of course, Well, maybe half-jokingly, as I’m one of those who prefers slightly (not grossly) chunky figures, finding true proportions too willowy on the table. I often see statements that seem to imply that the type of figures I like are less-than-good and it is implied they would be better replaced by that skinny style.

    But I do stop at gangly arms or really short legs, so I guess I do have some limitations as to how far I like to veer from anatomical correctness.

    • So what’s all this “forcing things down people’s throats” all of a sudden…? Sounds far too violent to me. 🙂

      I believe that my only mention of anotomical correctness was a throw away comment that I made with Henry, which basically inferred that the ‘standard’ 28mm is not anotomically correct. We all know it, and (most) of us accept it. I’m not about to start any sort of ‘damn fool idealistic crusade’ about this, because it simply isn’t worth it.


      • Sorry, Neil, I was being flippant. Well, half flippant 😉

        Anyway, as said earlier, a fantastic show, and look at all the interest it has stirred up!

        Now, I’m off to email Henry to find out the best way to subscribe to his mag – listening to his knowledgable and entertaining discussion with you on your show has convinced me that I want ‘Battle Games’ … so there’s one bit of advertising that has definitely worked!

      • No need to apologise Roly – flippant right back at you! 😉 (and even managed to get a Star Wars reference in!)

        If you can’t have ‘banter’ around the table on the Veranda, where else can you go? 🙂

    • Roly

      go here

      and you can subscribe to battlegames in a few minutes

      btw, it’s well worth it


  14. … oh, and I agree, Henry, vive la difference!

  15. Just finished listening to the show, and found it very interesting! More please!

    I love “industry” discussions, and while I dind “hobby” (i.e. stuff like reviews, reports etc) interesting, my ears always prick up at the sniff of a chat about the ins and outs of the business side of the hobby/”industry”. So more props you both for not being afraid to venture into these areas.

    On the plastics front I pride myself on my pragmatism!

    Given two equally well sculpted, cast, in-need-of-assembly, and priced models I’d generally prefer metal to plastic. Purely because the finished model “feels” more valuable because of “heft”. However, I have got to recognise that in the battle between metal and plastic miniatures for the contents of my wallet, the sides are rarely even.

    It is a fact that prices are not the same, that sculpting quality varies from company to company, as does the level of assembly (I have assembled some truly devilish metal kits in my time!)

    It isn’t therefore as simple an argument as preferring metal to plastic or vice versa. Anyone who dismisses all metals as being featureless, monoposed lumps simply because they don’t like range X from manufacturer Y, is missing out on some fantastic offerings from other ranges and manufacturers. Similarly those who dismiss plastics as all being “featureless”, “bendy” or “hard to assemble” is guilty of the same.

    I agree with your plea to everyone to have an open mind. Many amongst the historical crowd are simply guilty of ignorant bigotry, (although thankfully many more are not, and have come to a conclusion based on balance of evidence). Similarly, I have had many a conversation amongst the GW-faithful who just as ignorantly see all plastics as superior to all metals!

    My advice to all gamers is to keep your mind and your eyes open. Don’t be afraid to try new things, but don’t be afraid to stick with your choice when you’ve made it. It’s your hobby, and if leaden, banana-fingered urang-utans is your personal style of choice, then be satisfied in that! 😀

  16. Good lord, Neil, there appears to be such an astonishing gathering here, perhaps we should ask my man to make up a large jug of Pimms and bring some extra glasses, what? Oh, and do ask them to be careful of the croquet lawn, we’ve just had it mown. 😉

  17. Darren Comeaux // May 23, 2009 at 12:50 // Reply

    Hi there… long time listener and first time poster. I really enjoyed the VFTV program since it was casual and laid-back. Seemed just like a casual conversation on the porch.

    Anyways, I personally don’t care about the debate between metals and plastics. I generally don’t see much of an appreciable difference in the price. Most concern is the casting and figure quality. With the high cost of plastic molds, I think most small companies will be unable to compete. And asking for any plastics in Assyrian forces is gonna get you a laugh.

    That said, I personally took Troy McClure and the TWIW fellow’s comments about the inevitability of plastics with anger. The proponents of plastics are often inconsiderate of people who like metal or those on the fence and tend to make grand sweeping comments like TWIW’s. Not even GW is all-plastic as their low-run minis like leaders are usually in metal.

    Also to the multitude of rules in historicals, is fantasy and sci-fi any different? Outside PP and GW, what about the graveyard of other “Product and Universe” centered systems?

    Vor? Void? Starship Troopers? B5:ACTA?

    When one of their systems die, like in my case Rackham Confrontation, one has to scurry about like a madman and sometimes pay a premium to collect what you might need or hit ebay yourself. Sure sometimes you can import some 3rd party game but if the minis are no longer available… you have to jury rig.

    With historicals, the death of one company or a line of minis is of negligible repercussion. At worse, I must rebase if I feel really serious about it. Just onto the next set of rules or manufacturer.

    Finally, I’m terribly envious of you guys. I live in Japan and it is tough to get regular games together.

  18. I really enjoyed the podcast. I don’t really care what my miniatures are made off but I do find plastic much easier to work with – I was cleaning up some Pig Iron metal infantry as I listened to it, the first metal figures I had touched in ages and though pretty good plastic does rather spoil us.

    Mr. Hyde’s suggestion as to why some of the old guard might be resistant to plastic is very thought provoking. Presumably WW II gamers would be less resistant as they already have plastic experience from 20mm plastic AFV kits – which does rather beg the question as what the uptake and acceptance of the 20mm (ish) hard plastic figures from Valient has been like.

    This was an expensive podcast, I subscribed to the magazine and as I type a back issue is downloading.

  19. Paul Caspall // May 26, 2009 at 07:40 // Reply

    Just listened to the podcast.

    Verdict: GOLD.

    May there be many more of these, as you both communicate your thoughts extremely well together in a manner that is a pleasure to listen to. The ‘state of the hobby’ was particularly incisive.


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