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Welcome to Big Andy's Blog.

Hello this is my first attempt at a Blog. Hope you enjoy my ramblings. Andy

Monday, 21 July 2014

I seem to have started a tiny furore !!!

Oh dearie dearie me  don't some chaps really hate laughing !
 My article in MW seems to have started a (very small) fire- which was perhaps its point as always better dead than bland  Oscar Wilde was right ...
 Now I've only seen one of the supposed discussions - the TMP one
http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=351083

 there but I'm told there  is at least one other but I don't have access .
 As it happens TMP is the only forum I can be bothered to visit and evn that not too often the others I have dipped in the past are not for me - usually too much fantasy at high volume - metphorically speaking -  and even more spats and rows than PMT often for less reason.. I was told by omne of that ilk  that the kind of anonymous nastiness I encounted  on a couple of these fora in the past was "socialising" - but of course none of the spineless nasty whiners there had the balls to "socialise" to my face they had to keep thier nastiness anonymous and  underhand as they thought it clever ... so that explains my prejudice against some of the forums out there.
Incoming!! Big Andy under fire ???? - well it's a larf ain't it !

 Now the current discussion isn't like that at all  heated yes at times somewhat misdirected - certainly amusing yes  pointless- well rather as one thing I've learned over the years is that its impossible to  use mere facts to outshine prejudice or  personal interest.
 However I'll say this until I'm blue in the face and have it put upon my bloody headstone in letters of fire.

 Having  actual knowledge is NEVER a bad idea.

Those who - for whatever reason- in our hobby usually financial - try to restrict and own  such knowledge can
  "garn ferk theresels"
 and that goes for you wargamer or more especially not ... 
Why is knowing HOW these bloke did what they did  more boring than pushing them about the table as mere gaming pieces- Pikemen from the collection of Jim Main.

The Resistance Lives On 

Now as it happens I  perpetrated the offending  article for several reason- Like Lord Reith to Infom to Educate and to Entertain  but not in any particlarly Reithian order but also to stir the mud at the bottom of our pond- to make chaps think about what we do and also just for the fun of it  after all not all of us think like accountants or office supplies executives or systems administators(and no I still don't know what one of those actually DOES) some of us like a bit of intellectual argy- bargy- it keeps the braincells in order. as of course hopefully out of debate and discussion will come new ideas ..... hopefully . .
 Believe it or not thinking is important even in our little world . and there used to be a lot of it about- much more than there is now . Okay some it of got silly- Anyone remember the "Great Rhomphia debate" or the "National Characteristic" furore over Bruce Quarries Airfix Napoleonic  rules? but surely better than than the bland exceptance of the  "Games designer dudes"  inflicting their views on us without our comment. for their profit..
 I did get more than  a bit narked by a dude  who opined with one breath that having books and knowledge was elitist and the  told us in the next that HE had 2 degrees  Hmmmmm???
 Equally the same dude thinks its OK for chaps on a limited income to buy rulebooks at £30 quid a pop but not OK for them to buy half a dozen books at a fiver each - Sod that ! now I'm not exactly skint (or flush either mind) but I'd rather have half a dozen useful books than one overpriced over glossy  overproduced rulebook any day of the week
 Equally  I was just a smidgin peeved with another chap who  said I should  not have refered to dude 1 as a patronising pillock- well maybe pillock was a bit harsh  so I apologised- needless to say this passed without remark by siad chap as did Dude one using similar terms(minus the pillock) toward me- double standard anyone- no thanks already got one.
Now the reason I'm carrying one here rather than there is simply one of convenience- I can go off and do a bit of work  whilst thinking about what to scribble next and blogger will save this for me  whilst TMP doesn't - or at lest I can't make it so .....
However having had a  right moan there were several useful posts a couple of which stated  more clearly than I the postion  I and they were in favour of so by no means a complete waste of time overall - there ARE thinking chaps out there.



Later .......
is it me or has the hobby become bland?
 Answers- wrapped in a £20 note to ....

 But somehow there simply isn't as much ... well flavour in it as there used to be. It all seems at times to be decending into games for children  usually unpleasant adolescent boys  but then thats the GW influence... apparently readin' is borin' if there no blood .. or torture or cannibalism...
 Nothing stays the same but does the  intellectual spiral always have to be downwards ?



Thursday, 10 July 2014

Another Smorgasbord.... Tanks and Stuff ...

 Found some rather battered 15mm  T-55 's in a box a while back  that Jim had painted in green . They'd had a hard life and needed a good tarting up . So checking out the relvant Osptey on modelling the T54 /55  I found a section on making a Northern Alliance T-55  for the Afghanuistan War of the 1980s,
 This will dio thinks I for another bit of a parody
 Now I'd wanted to add some armour to my "second line" troops in the on off "Harraq"  series of games- read Iraq of course so  with the current contretemps in that unfortunate country the "72 Virgins Martyrs Brigade" have now become members of IZAl.The Islamist Zealots Alliance.
Why IZAl  well chaps of a certain age may remeber a medicated toilet paper of incredible hardness... of the same name ... Seemed obvious to me.
The "Fist of Islam "Tank company ... the Oil drums have been added from the apparoriate stowage pack 
So thetes tanks were painted to look pretty nondescript and frankly a bit worn out nad hard used nad will be joining the "72 Virgins Martyrs Brigade" (read ISIS)  in our next game set in this period along with other stuff on the  painting table at the moment.

Also  newly photgraphed are some OOP Drabant figures- these have had their pictures taken before but not like this- again a couple needed repairing - bayonets cone and sundry chippings from the time they were in the show display case.
40mm Drabnat figure newly re -tarted and slowly starting to look like a unit.
And finally  a pic which recntly appeared in MW  with an article of mine
Parlimentarian Curassiers in 1642- Lobster before the lobsters as it were .... 
and put here simply becasue I like them.

Monday, 7 July 2014

A Rose by any other name.

 As you know Gentle reader I'm a fan of Drabant Miniatures. Their 40mm are the Dogs wossnames and increasingly so is the growing 28mm Dark Ages Range- for which more figures are due this coming Autumn. More Norman Knights and some crossbowmwn so I'm told- can't wait.
 So whern fellow enthusiast Ian Martin sent me some pics of his Vikings- painted by Jez at Shakespear studios  I thouight I'd get them up for other to see. Then as I'm thinking bout this Lo nad Behold Nick Biuxey of the "Like A Stomewall Group sent me a bunch  of pics of Dale  Askews  recently painted Normans from the same range- pinted by Dale . It therefore seemed a bit of a No- brainer really to put both sets of pics together so that readers can get a good look at these speldid figureswithout me telling you how tasty they are- let other chaps do that for me.


Mostly Saxons  from the collection of Ian Martin- Painted by Shakespear Studio and photographed by Ian.


Normans Painted by Dale Askew- and from His collection  Photographed by Nick Buxey.
Photographs used by the kind permission of the owners of the figures.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

New Fireforce Miniatures Masters

 Had a nice parcel yesterday from Pete the Sculpt. Thext 12 new figures in the growing  Fireforce Miniatures 15mm figure ranges.  All for post WW2 conflicts these are
 a/.FFM3 Rhodesian Troopies Command.
 4 poses
 Officer/NCO
Radio
Mortarman with mortar
 RPG man
Now in theory the Rhodesians used the 3.5inch "Bazooka" but all the photos I've seen  show RPGs as the captured so many of them that they had more than they did bazookas so it seemed obvious
Rhodesian Command- the radio man has "big means"  on his back  the ability to contact the Airforce and bring in the Hawker Hunters...

 Dress is the usual mixture but with the cap more in evidence than in the 2 already released troopies packs likewise long trousers rather than just nutcracker shorts- both were worn .
b/. FFA6 Argentinian Special Forces.
 4 poses- all armed with Sterling Pratchett SMG
Pete has put plenty of action into these little Dudes.
I love the active poses of this set of Argentinian "Buzo Tactico of  Units  601 or 602

c/.FFB6 British Special Forces-
Actually SAS for the Pebble Island raid
 again 4 different poses with plenty of action .

A couple of shots of the SAS set  .Again loads of action rahter than the same old same old ... .
Packs in all the above cases will be 12 figures- 3 of each pose. These- along with afore mentioned Hawkwer Hunter and the  re-moulded Alouette 3 Helicopter should be out in time for Claymore .
 Hopefully I'll also have  the 3 Scorpion/Scimitar/Sabre models that went to the mouldmakers in the USA 3 months ago....

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Home from the Sea

Now we are back from War Torn- and finished most of the post- show catching up it may be apparopriate to say a word or two about the show, especially in the light of the following on TMP

 http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=351398
 and here
http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=351317

Whilst I  mostly agree with the review- and the Sheffield game was a biggie- with a good selection of Old Glory figures on it so no complaints there. I'd put the overall standard of the games as mediocre - especially when you factor in those lazy gits who promised but did not perform- ie didn't turn up.
 Since two of these were professional companies then you wonder what was going through what passes for their braincells or braincell .
 Allegedly Warlord had promised 3 games- certainly  there were 3 blank tables in front of their stand- and none appeared
 Likewise fantasy outfit Mantic had also promised games and trade stand- neither appeared..
 Now in a club a lapse is easily forgiven -  though the bad manners of not informing the organiser is not so easily forgotten after all these chaps a volunteers.  But in a professional outfit- especially of the size of Warlord and Mantic- or at least the size they profess to be such lapses are less easy to understand or forgive . It just makes you look like such  a bunch of pillocks ......

As to the games that were actually there  most were "Club night" standard to be honest though the best were  well above this level. Unsual was Scarborough Colleges War of 1812 game- the Burning of the Whitehouse complete with nice model of  said building  all done by schoolkids which I thought excellent.- they could even tell you about it- which most of the other games completly lacked- though give half a chance Peter Bradford and Martyn Knight would talk your ears off at their Crossed Lances display. they were the exception- and good at it too.
 So moving quickly on past a room filled with GW  yawnarama .....same old ......same old zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.........
 3 of the games were Western Gunfigts- which is too many but 2 at least were well done the 3rd seeminly of unpainted card buildings and no- one playing .... Odd  but the no-one playing was  not uncommon .. I saw  at least one other game that I never saw palyed at all- and no labels or indentification on it
 Now none of the above is really down to the organisers but- once they are there to the clubs/companies providing the display should provide the display ....
 Other stuff was well up to standard- the Vulcan display alone was worth the trip - Bloody Magnificent  Likewise the Battle of Britian Flight and the Big Yellow Chopper !!!
 Once again the Ale at the Cask Inn was fine and- if your are staying in Scarborough  the BandB 17 West St is  superb  not the cheapest but far far better than many I have stayed at in many a town across the UK.....

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Magazines- Hmm Nice ....

It has been a while since I've mentioned magazines here. Mostly becasue I've been short of time to actually read any . What with boning up on the ECW- First Battle of Newbury  and reading a strange book called Grey Wolf about how Adolf and the lads  made it to Argentina along with a very very big sack of money each. There is a lot of strange stuff about how Bormann was siphoning off cash to Argentina as ealy as 1943 and how apparently Argentina gold reserves more than doubled during the war years Hmmm  Not sure if I'm convinced but its a fascinating idea- Mr A Hitler apparently snuffing it in 1962- well he'd had a hard life !!!

So not much time for mags but then I picked up MW 374- Not at first sight one of my favourite issues- the cover put me off. but you can't have everything so I pressed on  and yes Gentle Reader there was stuff in it !  Hidden in an article on Chotusitz- a Frederician battle- was a set of amendments for Black powder- now regular readers will know that I'm in 2 minds about this over produced set  but had thoght of a few ways I'd fiddle with the "system"  to give it more historical versimilliture. I'm not the only one- these amendments were very much along the lines I was thinking about- but they've gone further and seem to make better sense- Well done those Grimsby dudes !
 There was also a strange- well strange to me- article on Competition gaming - not my thing but worth reading as it exposed the mindset of at least some of the competition crowd- man, these chaps are obcessed 2 - 3 games in a day "learning the rules" ( never have never will )   nary a pint in sight  long rows of tables like a Bangladeshi   sweat shop for wargamers- albeit a friendly one. This lot are games players par excellence- not my thing but nevertheless an interesting if somewhat dry look into a part of wargaming I've avoided since the early 1980s
More on the Mongols- again interesting and the first of a two- parter on develping campaign rules- worth a closer look this when I get the time
 so another good issue- after all if there are 2 or 3 readable articles in any given issue then it can't be bad.
 Now no 375- the latest
 More on the Mongols- this time the Polish Campaign and part two of the Campaign rules article continued from 374 - both worth a read. An intrestin one off  well game really  on Ponsonby at Waterloo- a nice idea for  a simple one off post prandial game perhaps but to play it more than a couple of times  well not really  but it did hide what might be  with a bit of fiddling a nice set of Cavalry skirmishing rules for out posts and such... maybe.
The article on the use- or indeed missuse of Dragoons in late 17th century armies hit a chord. I've thought about the use of Dragoons in the ECW for some time  and given that this article is for around 30-40 years later it still has some relevance
 Ther was also a nice piece from an Austrian group about what I can only call  growing table wargaming- if you have the facilities this is excelelnt. I've done similar in the past but not to this extent and again its nice to see how chaps in other parts of the world do stuff. .
 Now next up I have to be a bit careful  since I was the perpetrator of the article- though the title in the mag was Henrys not mine likewise the Introductory paragraph . Together these change the thrust of the article just a smidgin For the record the origonal title was "Upon the Building of Wargames Armies" and  was not meant as merely an attack on Idiot books - though they deserve all the kickings they can get !
No major beef mind just thought I'd mention it .
  So all in all 2 more good 'uns in a row

Friday, 20 June 2014

Off to the Seaside- again...

War Torn.

It's that time of year again when  my crew and I start to think about the seaside- Jim with a Bucket and Spade (Oh now there's an image to shake you to the core !)
 This year the Scarborough show is going to be bigger than last year with 30 traders- including of course yours truly -and something over 30 games plus a number of exhibitions and possibly a lecture or two. Of the games one will be my mate Peter Bradford and his team running a Crossed Lances participation  game- a medieval tournament.  I might even have a bash myself .....
 We are also told that the Battle of Britain flight will be overflying the bay as will a helicopter display and a Vulcan Bomber.
So  there will be plenty of stuff to see as well as the standard wargames show stuff that people expect..
Now as for us we'll be taking our usual show stuff plus some new releases
 Well definitely be taking the following ranges.

 15mm

 Command Decision -

Command Decision German Vehicles from my Desert collection.

 

 all we have both WW2 and Modern including some new vehicle packs- the Chaffee and the Sherman Jumbo and the 155mm Long Tom SPG.
All of the Fireforce 15 scenics and Miniatures including the Falklands range.

 Blue Moon 

- the lot All We have including new releases for the Seven Years War The AWI- Lauzuns Legion and Saratoga uniform British to join the already released French not to mention the other 50 or so packs in this range. Also new are the Apaches for the Plains Wars  range.  Both mounted and Dismounted.
 Add to that lot a BRAND NEW Blue Moon range- The Mexican American war of 1846-48 (not to be confused with the Texan War of Independence of 1836 - already out).
 So we'll have around 30 or so new packs of figures at the show. 

28mm Ranges

Sash and Sabre. 

The American Civil War and Napoleonic Ranges

Drabant

The Excellent Dark Ages Rane - Normans Saxons and Vikings/Rus.

Old Glory 

Sikh Gunners- Old Glory Figure with Sash and Saber guns- a lovely combination.

 

As many as we can pack into the van  but definitely including.
 Italian Wars- Landsknechts, Swiss French Spanish Italians.
 Wars of Religion  1550-1600 Later Landsknechts Huguenots  Spanish English French
Colonials- Zulu War Sikh Wars Indian Muting, North West Frontier, Sudan, Maoris Wars and French Foreign Legion and Arabs .
 Dark Ages- Normans Saxons Vikings Rus  Scots and Irish.
Crusades. Armies of Outremer Military Orders Turks and Fatimids
 Hundred Years War- English Scots  French Spanish
 Wars of the Roses.
Samurai .
Ottoman Turks
Turkish Spahis- or Suvallieri  17th century .

Updates as I work stuff out .
 Update- 23rd June.
 We are in the "Grand Hall" - same as last year which - this year according to the Floor plan I recieved this morning is full of Traders- as previous years the show is spread over several rooms so search it all out as many of the games are in  other rooms amd halls. The Spa is not a small venue.  Nice though and yes the food is above wargames show average and yes there is a bar ...
 Good News all round then....