First things first. I’d like to wish a belated very happy and prosporous new year to all of you who regularly (and not so regularly) read my blog.
I, for one, am really delighted to see the back of 2008 – it was a very trying year on the hobby front. I didn’t paint anywhere nearly as many figures as I’d hoped; my dalliance with the idea of entering a painting competition didn’t come to fruition; I’ve wrestled with inconsistent photography and the saga of the Calpe vulcanizer of doom has been depressing. All sorts of people have asked me questions about that and the impact on the release of the Saxons. It’s been difficult at times to know how to respond. Clearly, I’m lucky to have inside information and to know about the struggle Peter F. has faced. And it has been tempting to share more of the details to help people understand and appreciate the situation but I also feel a strong sense of loyalty and friendship with Peter so I’ve always ended up saying less rather than more because I believe that it should be Peter’s decision what to say publicly and when. After all, it is quite literally his business and not mine!
But 2008 hasn’t been a total hobby disaster. I managed to attend both Salute and Colours and I even showed my face at the local Devizes club’s big Napoleonic game. I’ve also acquired a second hand digital SLR camera at a bargain price and started to understand how to get good results with it. Best of all, BfK continues to thrive. Traffic to BfK has gone up by 82% in 2008 compared to 2007; and comments on BfK increased by 19% in 2008 compared to 2007. All that extra activity is down to you kind people. So thank you all and I hope you continue to visit, enjoy and participate in BfK during 2009.
And what of 2009? Well, those who know me will tell you I’m not one for new year resolutions. Frankly, I think that they’re artificial. If there’s something new or different you want to do in life, why do you have to save it up for a new year to come along? Having said that, a year-end does make for a convenient time for reflection and planning and here are some things that, when we get to the end of 2009, I’d like to be able to have ticked off the list – they’re not new year resolutions, you see, because they’ve been on my rolling list for quite a while:
- Get some Prussian units completely painted, varnished and based. At present that probably means battalions for the 2nd Kurmark landwehr infantry regiment.
- Get at least one Saxon unit completely painted, varnished and based. The first release of the Calpe Saxon musketeers is really very close now so they’re the likely target.
- Settle on a final design for my casualty bases. There was a lot of positive feedback to the SBS I did this year but I’m still not quite satisfied with the design. I’ve got some ideas for improvements and I hope to be able to demonstrate those for you over the coming weeks.
- Achieve a consistently high standard of miniature photography. I’m pretty confident on this one. I’ve got a really good camera now and I received a wireless shutter remote control as a Christmas present. All I need to do is find a value-for-money tripod and set up the lampshade lightbox I described back in July.
- Actually enter a painting competition. Either one at a big show like Salute or Colours or possibly the regular one on Steve Dean’s forum.
Now, if all that goes well, there’s a second tier of not so crucial objectives on my rolling list. These aren’t well formed ideas but I’d like to share at least the flavour of them with you and invite your opinions on them:
- Terrain pieces: I’m hoping to build a few of these in 2009. I’ve got some books with nice photos of farm buildings, houses and churches in Saxony that I’m using for inspiration. I’m not quite sure what I’ll go for yet but perhaps a couple of small complexes of a couple of buildings that can be used as farms or villages. The other option is some landscape pieces. I’ve got a fascination with ditches, hedgerows and dykes. I can imagine constructing some of these as places where skirmishers might deploy to take advantage of cover.
- More interactivity on BfK: you might recall the experiment with a voting poll a while ago. That’s something I might do more of in 2009. I’ve also got a bizarre pipedream about audio. I have some friends who are RPGers and they create their own podcasts. I’m not sure that I have the time and resouces to commit to anything so regular or intensive but I am toying with the idea of making digital recordings of certain visits or events later in the year. On top of that, I’m flirting with the Flickr photo-sharing service and the Twitter micro-blogging system.
- Leveraging BfK traffic for pocket money: some of you may know that I have a small BfK bookshop set up on Amazon. So far, it hasn’t been a spectacular success but it costs me nothing to run and provides a few pennies to pay for paint. At present, the rules of my hosted blog service provider (WordPress) forbid certain sorts of commercial activity like advertising but I’m considering options that would enable me to overcome that legitimately. So if you happen to be a potential advertiser, now’s a good time to get in touch. I may not attract vast amounts of traffic, but what I get is top quality and highly relevant. Commenters during 2008 have included several top figure painters and gamers as well as well-known book authors like Dave Hollins, Stephen Summerfield and Anthony Dawson. Er… that’s quite enough self-promotion!
So that’s enough about me, as they say. What about you? Any grand plans for world domination in 2009?