Monday, 31 December 2012
You know how it is something sets your brain going and you just have to follow it through sometimes its like Robert Frosts "Road Less Travelled" or whichever poem of his it was but nevertheless you have to go down that road as a thought experiment of somesuch. This time its Art. I know I kniow but then read my biog I do a bit of Arty Farty every now and then- can't help myself- man shall not live by Wargaming alone. However this time I was pondering wargaming and Art.. his as I was making up some more multi- part 40mm ECW figs prior to getting a brush on them. And again later watching a TV piece on David Hockney. Now of course a lot of this is how you define Art- in whatever form. For me its about making you think, saying something about the Human Condition. In a smaller way Military art is the same though it often speaks in a lesser tongue as it were. You can't compare Harry Payne for example with Sir Joshua Reynolds or Howard Pyle with Jackson Pollock- (though Frederick Remington might be in with a shout there). There is a difference between Art- and Iluustration though they both have common ground most of the Military art we look at is of course Illustration but not all - Dobsons portaits of Royalist during the ECW are more than that. Remrandt 's Night Watch may show us what the Officers of s Dutch Civic Militia looked like but it is far far more than that. I often find art of all types to be inspirational- especially when making figures for my collections. Why wouldn't I want my Spanish pikemen to look like Velasques "Las Lanzas" or were I to be into the Plains Wars my US cavalry to look like a Remington sketch ? Are our models merely counter decoration or can they aspire to be- in a teeny tiny way a very minor art form or perhaps a way to create an art form. Now there will be blokes out there to are mumblish Tosh and Twaddle at this point - well fine their Philistine armies will simply get larger and who know they may be right but the creative process is a strange thing and I don't make my models merely to shove about the table......
Thursday, 20 December 2012
It may not be a surprise to regular readers of my ramblings that I'm an ECW fan. Of all the periods I've collected its probably the one I've fiddled with most over 40 years- though medivals of various types may run it a close second. I first had ECW armies in 1977 indeed they were my first all metal armies- mostly minifigs but later with generous helpings of Garrison and Hincliffe. These are long gone now and my current ECW Armies are all Old Glory 25mm or increasingly Romanoff/Jacdaw/Sash and Saber/ Drabant 40mm . With these last I tend to mix the bits up to get precisly the figures I want. However with the 25mm - or 28 if you prefer- It's the standard Old Glory range- I have a few redoubt- which I like and some Foundryand an entirely separate- and small- collection of Les Higgins 30mm Jason but I don't really count those as part of my armies. Should the happy day come when Bluemoon do and ECW range in 18mm(I'm not saying never here it has been discussed- but no timeline) then I'll do some of those too doubtless. However this group of pictures are from a few years backand show some of myECW Units
Sunday, 16 December 2012
A bit of showing off to the bloggersphere here as this fine journal has - as its front cover a photo of some of my slowly growing 40mm Wars of the Roses Collection. Further inside is an article by Stephen Maggs again illustrated by photos from my collection. Also present is an article featuring fellow blogger Robbie Roddissand his huge collection of tricorn hats! or 7YW figuresand rather a lot of Grey Hair - yes I'm being cruel but truth must out- of the 5 pictures illustrating the article both of those containing humans pictured grey hair... now this may have been pressure of the game but somehow I think not.... However enough irreverant waspishness back to the magazine which aside from the 2 articles under consideration contained other useful stuff - mostly a review of the Derby show at its new venue which which I couldn't disagree at all - as I was there. I MIGHT make the point that the Kharzis only became insalubrious on Sunday morning after many of the gamers found the neeed to unload Saturdays beer a little pressing. I went as one does for a wee wee about eleven of the clock in the forenoon to find my ears assailed by some noisy - and subsequwently noisome- wretch evacuating hiomself in one of the cubicles- since I was at the other end "in the stalls" so to speak perhaps 20 feet away and could still HEAR the results its no wonder that the loos were less than fragrant... as for the noise of the car racing man if it hadn't been for the customers I'd have been THERE . Paul Johnstons article on Competiton gaming gave me pause to think . Its never been my thing but I see his pointand one day I might even have another bash. Aside from the "fine" illustrations Stephen Maggs article on The Battle of Barnet covered most of the expected bases though IMHO he fluffed his terminology a bit "Currours, Hobilar Cavalry and Northern Border Horse" are - in Wars of the Roses terms all the same troop type Currours are sometime called in comtempory texts -"Afore riders"- hardly the Heavily armoured cavalry as Maggs has them. However aside from that Nit -pick the article covered the campaign well. There were other articles including one on Staligrad- not my thing- and a wierd one called Keep Calm and Bop Bop about which after reading the piece I'm no wiser except that it was some kind of PP game for kids involving no soldiers at all but run by a systems administraor- whatever the hell one of those is and won a prize for best PP game at Colours. Nevertheless a good mag and these days the only one I read- By the way anyone want the firstdozen or so of Battlegames they are largly twaddle and are cluttering the place up.
Monday, 10 December 2012
Now the desert dust has settled and a modicum of calm has returned to the town of Al-gebra I thought I might make a few notes on the logic and method of this my first attempt at a "modern " game- given the exceptions mentioned earlier. For a start I wanted some meaty tanks- back in the bush whacking days in Zingola Hi Tech was a T-34/85- even then a bit out of date. Also in previos "post WW2" games I'd never deployed any meaningful air support- never to put it one way - had my chopper (s) out! . Also in those early 90s days ther wasn't that much kit about- sure you could get some in 20mm- mainly Vietnam and some Cold war but no real 15mm and the next down were teenies- "what's that hiding under that speck of Fly shyte- Oh is a chieftain tank " No not for me. The 2 forces on the table last Saturday hadn't existed 6 months ago but I suppose the genesis was when I first laid eyes on the OG 15mm Challenger tank modeland soon after when I got Percy to do the Apache for the Lil' Flyin' Fokkers range. There had to be I though a way to get such tasty kit onto the table. A bit of ebaying later I got hold of a set of "Combined Arms" the Command decision "modern" set- actually 1980s but with addenda in the Command post Quarterly magazine which brought the system more up to date. Now I've been a CD fan for years. IMHO its the only WW2 set I've tried that doesn't patronise the arse off you or is so oversimplistic that its "WW2 for the Hard of Thinking" so I do keep going back to it. So Combined Arms - having similar systems was a bit of a No-brainer really.I even had some Iraqi strengths and equipment lists in various books and magazines- Mil Mod and Military Illustrated as well as the aforementioned CPQ. However I hit upon a bity of a problem when building the British force. Now normally I shy away from Imagi-nations! yeaach) It just doesn't suit . But here well how csan I put this. It simply didn't seem right or proper to pick one Real unit over another 40 Cdo over 42 or 45 1 Para over 3 Para etc etc. Yet I still wanted units that- however dimly reflected the style of the British Army So enter 69 Commando Royal Marines- Regimental Knickname the "Muffs" . The Queens Malabars have featured in this blog previously and the Prince Regents Own Heavy Hussars first saw the light of day in a small piece by Richard Nelson in a Mill Mod a couple of decades ago.Organisations would be as correct as I could make them. In game terms the opposition would be a problem. I couldn't assume that my players be they ever so under the influence of beer would fight as stupidly as the Irquis did- even though Jim the Painter(in real life a Builder and Roofer) expected to get a kicking So enter the Great Leader
Battle of Al-Gebra December 8th 2003 69 Commando Royal Marines Battle group. OC Col. Myles Overlap DSO. Intention. Prevent the destruction of the oil facility by the enemy if at all possible. Secure the town of Al- Gebra. Drive enemy Irregular forces from the banks of the Schatt –an Harab waterway. Enemy forces. The garrison of Al-Gebra is of low morale and is not expected to pose much more than a Token threat. These forces strength Approx. 1 understrength Infantry battalion with minimal heavy weapons.They are however dug in . Local Irregular forces from the “72 Virgins Martyrs Brigade” of the Fedayeen al Rufa however pose a more serious immediate threat s they are highly motivated if poorly trained. They have mortars and some RPG and may have heavier weaponsd. They appear to be based in the Old fortess of Hal- Farta on the banks of the waterway. However Republican Guard Armoured forces are in the area to the North of the town in strength with T-72 tanks and APC’s . Own Troops. Elite Morale 10 HQ 69Cdo Royal Marines 1Command stand 1Landrover. 1 HMG stand 1 Recon sniper stand 1 81mm Mortar stand 1 Milan Stand. 2 companies each with 1 command Infantry stand 2 infantry stands. Any stand from the HQ company (other than the command stand) may be attached to either of the infantry companies Manovre Support group. 1 command WMIK 2 WMIK Armoured group HQ no1 Sqn Prince Regents Own Heavy Hussars 1 Command Sultan 1 FV432 TOC. 1 landrover 1Sabre Squadron with 1 Command Challenger1 2 Challenger 1 Attached armoured Infatry – 3rd Bn Queens Malabars 1Command Warrior 1 Warrior 1 command Infantry Stand 1 infantry stand 1Weapons stand Air Support In addition you may call upon “Ugly Six Nine “ callsign 1 x AHU64D Apache gunship –Army Air Corps
Battle for Al-Gebra. December 8th 2003. Jhimhi Hussein Al- Rufa Al Kahol. President and “Great Leader“ of the Republic of Harraq. (Allah Help Us !!!) Objective. Deny the Town of Al-Gebra and its Oil facilities to the invading British Forces. Troops Infantry Battalion 19th Reserve Infantry Division Trained Morale 6. Bttn HQ with 1infantry Command Stand 1 Recon BDRM AT Weapons Company with 1 81mm Mortar stand. 1 weapons stand. 3 infantry Companies each with 2 infantry stands. These troops may occupy any of the trenches and bunkers on the table. Elements 3rd Saladin Armoured division. Experienced Morale 8 Tank Battalion with 1 Command T-72 1BMP TOC. 1 “Shilka” SPAA 1 Recon BDRM AT Tank Company with 1 Command T-72 2 T-72 2 Tank Companies each with 2 T-72 Mechanised Infantry Company 1 Command Infantry Stand 1 Weapons Stand 1 Infantry stand 3 BMP2 1Recon BDRM AT These troops deploy anywhere along the North edge of the table or may be held back off table for 1 or 2 turns before appearing.As it turned out Jim couldn't make it until late so Flaoting Jeff was deputised as commander and his command was dropped from the game- deliberately withoput telling the British. I enclose their OB for completness.
Mullah Mustapha Narsul High Commander “72 Virgins Martyrs Brigade” Fortress of Hal –Farta. The Infidel Cruasders are upon the Holy soil of Harraq. They must be destroyed , slaughtered Martydom is upon us Brothers. Allah a Akbar !! Available forces Trained Morale 9 1 Command Stand. 1 Recon Jeep with HMG 2 Recon Motorcycle stands 1 Jeep with sneb Rocket pod. Mortar Company with 4 81 mm Mortar Stands (ROF1). 2 Infantry Companies each with 2 Infantry Stands 1Weapons stand You must protect your base if it falls to the infidels and they discover your stash of Heroin – which you wish to sell to finance the Holy War....All Politically Incorrect Jokes are entirly intentional. THE RESISTANCE LIVES ON.
Sunday, 9 December 2012
In the best part of 40 year Wargaming there are not many periosds I NOT had a bash at in my time. Napoleonics- more times than I can count in different ways- Various Ancients Medivals and Feudals for years. Colonials Pike and shot but aside from a bit of Bush whacking in Africa Modern warfare has eluded me. Until now. Readers of my recent ramblings will have noticed an upsurge of 15mm Modern figures being painted. I now have 2 "fightable" forces so it seemed logical that the TWATS last game before Crimbo should be a modern affair using "Combined Arms" the Command decison post war set plus the various add ons and extra stats that CPQ could provide. I thefore hand you over to our embedded war reporter Leon Gett of the Soaraway Daily Blurb the popular Red top in the trenches...
Battle For Harraqi Town. Al-Gebra Falls to Britsh Battle group. Saturady December 8th 2003. The men of the 69 Commando Royal Marines Battlegroup ably supported by their comrades of the Queens Malabars and the Challenger Tanks of the Price Regents heavy Hussars advanced against dug in Harraqi forces. With AT missles doing no harm to the tanks (Sgt Knocker was heard to swaer foully as his newly brewed tea spilled squarely upon his b******s as a missles struck the front glacis plate of his Challenger. Other than that minor incident "Not minor at all it was My tea and My b******s!" Only sporadic and inaccurate mortar fire hindered the first phase of the British advance. However this was to change dramaticlly
The initial British advance.
On the British right Infanrty element had taken the first unoccupied trenches and now British mortar and tank fire flayed the second line. A BDRM2 Spandrel was seen to explode and the Harraqi infantry were in the bottom of their trenches after taking caualties determined to take no further part in the battle. However T-72 tanks hull down in dunes behing Al-gebra now opend fire. These concentrated on the Warrior IFVs of the Queens Malabars destroying or damaged both of them. British retribution was swift. An Army Air Corps Apaches - Call sign Ugly 69 was on call and launched Hellfire Misslies at the T-72s
Ariel photo of the aftermath of the Hellfire attack.
UGLY SIX -NINE on station.
The way was now apparently clear for a British advance - but their was one last despairing Harraqi act. As the Challengers of the Heavy Hussars advanced the left hand troop showed a flank to T-72 on the edge of Al-gebra - A challeger was destroyed-(Jubilation in the Harraqi camp here!!) and over on the right a Sultan command vehicle fell victim to a T-72 as the Harraqis tanks pulled out. Not thay they would get far. The Challengers vented swift revenge and only 1 T-72 was to escape.
What it was all about- Top pic- "The Great leader- actually a much abuse pic of Jim the Painterand below 2Oyston Oil- one of the British objectives.For those who want the technical details - rules were Combined arms with the additions from Command Post Quarterlyand - with a couple of exceptions- the Sultan command vehicle being one all the vehicles Infantry and Helicopter were Old Glory UK products. We discovered that in game terms the Apache was queen of the battlefield in 1 turn it destroyed half of the 8 T-72 on the table. The Challenger were almostinvulnerable at longer ranges whilst the T-72 needed numbers to be effective. We'll be having another bash at this as we learn the rules, systems and equally the equipment.
Monday, 26 November 2012
So thats it for this year- no more shows until York next Feb. Which frankly suits me. Smoggycon was fine but aptly named as visibility home was at time about 20 metres which meant a bit of slow driving before we got to the pub for a pint on the way home. Now as for the show itself- see Robbie Roddis blog the independent Wargames group as I didn't get to see much of it being too busy selling soldiers. Nevertheless I'll be back to the Southlands centre in March for Smoggy's youger cousin and back for the origonal next Novemeber. One of the things that- perversly I like about smaller local shows is the fact that they enable me to talk to chaps. Gigs like Salute hardly allow that there are usually plenty of chaps waving money at me and all I tend tyo say is Next please !! or pass the shovel Jim! - Not that I'm complaining mind but Salute is a commercial show first and foremost. Not all the shows I choose to do are done for primarily commercisal reasons. As for the funny hats- I realise that the statement I'm about to make may heap coals of fire upon my head but here goes-
I HATE TRICORN HATSThere it's said phew done it. This will not be a permanent condition but currently I'm finding the 18th century just a tad on the tedious side. I find this happens to me with all periods from time to time. To be fiar tricornes have lasted longer than most- only the ECW outlasting them. I've had my current25/28/30mm 18th century collection for the best part of 20 years but its going on the back burner for a whileas I want to do other stuff. In other sizes- 15mm and 40mm mostly. So here are some pics of other stuff in my collection which may see the light of day on the table next year- NONE of these have rolled a dice in anger in the last twelvemonth.
Thursday, 22 November 2012
No chaps not a Swedish General but rather to indicate that this post is a bit of a mixture, an assortment. I've been busy of late what with the arrival of a shipment and prep for Smioggy this coming Saturday. Nevertheless the odd soldier or two has been painted - and not all 15mm Moderns either though they have been taking centre stage recently. However in addition I've still kept bashing on with my various 40mm projects
Not the second Gulf War at all -even slightlyproject the first being group of regular infantry weapons team- RPG and mortars next a couple of pick up truck for the fedayeen then finally some BDRM with Spandrel AT missiles- how long these will last against Challenger is anyopnes gues as long as its less than 10 seconds.. So there we go a right collection just what you'd expect from a bloke with a restless mind- still better than being boring ain't it.
Friday, 9 November 2012
The Siren Song of Simplicity.So here I sit wondering why other wargamers do stuff the way they do. For nostalgia- I find that ain't what it used to be.Because they can- a good reason one I use myself. Becasue its cheap- never the best of reasons for doing anything in my view becasue its easy- heard it not always good, because its simple- aye well serves you right. There are as many reasons as wargamers and I suppose most of us wargame and collect the way we do for many reasons but I've also met just as many chasp whio have trouble telling you WHY they use a given system or collect a given range other than "cos its good innit" which may be expressive but isn't very illuminating. So putting my money where my mouth is I thought I'd try to sit down and work out why I wargame and Collect the way I do NOW rather than the way I did then- 10 years 20years or Gawd 'elp me 30 or 40 years ago Howver first a small timeline.
40 years ago- as far as I can remember. Collection Mostly Airfix. A few Higgins Garrison and later Hincliffe. Periods Napleonic and WW2. Rules Terry Wise, Featherstone or home grown. Figure painting reasonable down to vile.
30 years ago Still some Airfix but now a good few metal armies Lamming, Garrison and Minifigs. Periods- Ancients and Dark Ages. ECW. Lots of Medivals a bit of Dwarf Fiddling on the side!! Rules WRG5th ,WRG Gushand a set called Lance for medivals. Painting reasonable to awful
20-25 years ago- but before Old Glory QT,Citadel,Irregular some Stadden.Hotspur. Periods- all sorts ,I remember- Pike and Shot- Elizebeths Irish Wars. Hundred Years War Colonial. 20mm Moderns, Ancients- Romans and Carthaginians. Dark Ages and Early Medivals AWI ACW at the end of this era . Not all at the same time but mostly . Rules Tactica for Ancients Home grown for Dark Ages and ACW. Still the odd bit of Dwarf fiddling Painting Good to reasonable. I even win some painting comps and modelling comps with my few 54mm and 90mm figs. I still have my Stadden AWI from this period.
Stadden 30mm AWI cavalry- these are the "longest posessed" figutre in my current collection being about 25 years old. They've been touched up and re-based a couple of times but I've has the castings since the late 80s20years ago- after Old Glory- as above but adding French and Indian War and a large ACW collection 20mm Moderns More Dark Ages Wellinton in India and Indian Moghuls. Makers Old Glory- obviously but also Redoubt, Connoiseur and Eagle. Still ac little Dwarf Fiddling but I've got it under control. Rules more or less as above but adding Age of Reason for FIW and Revenge! for medivals.
10-15 years ago All the plastics have gone now. As has the ACW collection the Ancients and by the end of this time the Moderns and mostof the others to be replaced by a Seven Years War and ECW collection and the first of the 40mm. However in between times I amass a 25mm Peninsular War collection- which goes after abouout 3 or 4 years and a 15mm FPW collection likewiseand the first- but not only 15mm WW2 collection . 20mm WW1 which I still have. Dwarf fiddling finally cured. Painting- still getting better. Rules ECW-Forlorn Hope< 18th century AOR. ww2- Command Decison./blockquote>The last 10 years or so. Armies Still ECW and 7YW.15mm WW2 but for the Desert War. Allsorts of bits and pieces amassed for the display case at shows. The Wellington in India have gone but I have 40mm ACW and Napoleonic Peninsular and most recently 15mm Moderns, as well as various projects on the go-40mm Marlburians and ECW 40mm Dark Ages.. Rules-more or less as above but with a homegrown accent for the 40mm. Painting - getter better or perhaps more satisfied is the correct termSome of my more recently completed models- the Warrior IFV'S are Old Glory the shilka AA a QRF piece.So a potted history of my wargames armies- what does it tell you? Possibly that I'm an impatient SOB.I prefer to see it as a progression throught my chosen craft- which sounds pretentious but I work at this almost 24/7 so it is a craft. So no I'm not having a second childhood. If there was a "Golden Age" for me it was the 1990s but I'm not even sure about that. It might be now. I can do things now that I could only dream of when I was 15 or 25 or even 35. I can should I wish and as ever finances permitting commision my own figures and cast them- could do that 20 years ago. I have far more choice not only in what I do but more importanly -to me at least HOW I do it. So no I don't pine for some mythical "Simple Golden Age" The siren song does not ring in MY ears.
Monday, 5 November 2012
Who moans at those who buy like cattle, Only the montrous Anger of the wives. Only the rolling dice's rapid rattle, can measure out the length of gaming lives....With heartfelt apologies to Wilfred Owen .
Some few days ago in an email conversation with longtime friend and sometime wargamer Rahul Sarnaik. He let slip that he was thinking of ressurecting his Airfix ACW armies, now nothing wrong with that but he also let drop that his wife was of the opinion that he was having a second childhood. This and some remarks of Robbie Roddis on his blg - a mutual friend as it happens. set me thinking. How much of Wargaming- especiallyas we get older IS an attempt to re-kindle out youth or childhood?Now I've thought about this for a while and find the idea intriguing. For myself the answer is a heatfelt
No Chance been there done that move on boyNow some of you willdoubtless reply " Cobblers, you collct old out of production figures so you must be having your second childhood. In Wargaming terms no 'fraid not. All of the Staddens, Higgins Minot etc that I have now aquired I couldn't bloody well afford when I was younger. I'd been wargaming for almost10 year before I could afford a completly metal army until that time the vast majority had beeen Airfix. With assorted Higgins, Hincliffe and Garrison aquired when I could afford them. My early Wargaming days were spent in Manchester - founder memebr of my schools Wargaming society and a memebr of the Manchester Area Wargames Society. - Anyone out there remeber that- Northen Militaire in Swinton? - I could walk to that in those days- or such minor Luminaries as John Leigh, Ian Ossoway or Dave Hulland? No? FYI chaps, without John Leigh et al there never would have been a Northern Mil Well Dave also emigrated North and is still in the game though he's pushing 80 and wqhile as a youth I was less than the dust beneath the Hon Sec's chariot wheels I now count Dave amongst my friends. However having said that I don't really want those days back- I might have walked to Northern Mil but I couldn't afford much when I got there and I've never seen the point of window shopping. If you need to ask the price you can't afford it- I couldn't so I didn't 'Nuff said. But to hear some of these "Old School" dudes talk nothing is better since 1975 !. Soory chaps it just ain't so. Now don't get me wrong I've a fair retro collection myself and some stuff was fine back then but when I look at some of the figures and rules Jeez- I'm glad it's 2012. I can - if I choose -build a retro collection and play or run a retro game but I don't HAVE to. In the same way I don't HAVE to use the stuff the figure fascists and the Nottingham Mafia tell me I should. That's the point there is so much more choice now. I don't have to use Airfix- I don't want to go back to those ingenious but impecunious days. I don't want plastic armies been there done that move on boy.
Thursday, 25 October 2012
Opens to the strains of YES..... In his estimable Blog - Wargaming for Grown Ups Trebbian poses the question
Are Wargamers Boring?Well it depends- stories about wargaming often are as I can surely witness..... A good few years ago OGUK used to have a stand at the show in Eindhioven in the Netherlands or this incident may have taken place in Essen Germany- certainly it was not the UK. Some years we'd put on games as well- unusual at the time as we were historically based and not All conquering Workshop junkies. I remember doing Dark Ages, Hundred Years War and WW2 games . After the show the evenings could get a tad convivial. - There should have been a sign saying
"Here Be Monsters".On this occasion I found myself cornered in a restaurant by a Dutch Geezer who was boring the arse off me recounting his list of Workshop Victories. My eyes were glazing over, my brain turning to mush. I applied myself to my beer and looked about me in despair and at last gasp caught the eye of my savior. Todd Fisher - he of EHQ- also present- enviegled me into a more historical conversation. Sighs of relief were sighed and later after the meal Todd says to me in pure Chicargoan.
I was in a bar last week at home and caught sight of a biker guy I know sitting there looking deeply pissed. All of a sudden he cuts loose and wrecks the place. Just before he started He had EXACTLY the same look on his face as you had- so I thought I'd better rescue youThanks Todd you were not wrong. If you are a a show and see Jim the Painter - say to him
Pink Jacketand even after a dozen of so years his face will screw up with distaste. This fellow was to put it mildly a complete tosser. For3 or 4 years we would dread his appearence. He'd demand to open sealed packets then scatter the contents- then ask why stuff weas missing. He'd usually do this at Salute when we had chaps 5 deep at the stand waving wads of cash at us. The last straw was when he demanded- never asked always demanded that I break open 2 packs of latex roads to give him the selection of bits he wanted. Now leaving aside the fact that this buggered up the product for other chaps his manner was so dammned offensive that- at Salute- I 'd had enough. No I didn't rend him limb from limb and dance in his blood- though for a fleeting second that was a possibility, I merely tore his credit card reciept in half and told him to make way for a bloke that wanted to buy stuff and never to darken my sight again. My restraint was admirable.
The other side of the coin.Salute again. Two Spanish chaps are buying some toys. Both are spending sizable sums for the time. I start to process the first chaps credit card and it's rejected. The Spanish chaps is understandably dismayed. His friend gigglesand in a perfect Speedy Gonzales voice says
He- he he - He have no moneyAnd then without a seconds hesitation hands over his own card to pay both bills. That of course is what friends are for.
Derby this time- possibly my favouite story ABOUT wargamers and their foibles... Evening -after the show my team and I are booked into a Mexican restaurant of our aquaintanve along with our good friend Mike Mc Nally- now an almost famous Osprey author. A couple of chaps- aquaintances of Mikes inveigke their way into the company. In my memeory they are both Thirtysomethings overweight and bespectacled with the definite look of the- to use a splendid Americanism
pussywhippedabout them. So there we are in this eatery when I and Mike notice on a nearby table several Toothsome females of the species- proper eye candy forsooth!- Phoarr - may have been uttered- were enoying a meal . One- a Blonde as I recall in a fetching LBD- is ,to coin a phrase, having trouble with her puppies. It's pretty obvious to Mike and myself that they need restaint. Jim - with his back to the action curses under his breath, eyeing us balefully. Finally the young lady succeeds in wrestling them more or less back into harness and I take a moment to look and listen elswhere and am shocked- not to say aghast ! While all the monumental events has been proceeding these tow wothies - despite the fact that they had at least as good a view as I, had I realised, continued the conversation I had noticed out of the "corner of my ear" . What you may ask was this about- eye candy? Blondes? Sassanid heavy Cavlary.. A games a game lads but sometimes.... Jeez...
Tuesday, 23 October 2012
For those of us of a certain age and diposition the current continuing trend towards eye candy above all is at best lightweight at worst mind numbing. Rows of minor Z list celebrities with enhanced silicon knockers parade before us with the glassy eyed stare of the truly vacant (and that's just the blokes) . We are told that a picture is worth a thousand words and so it might be if your vocabulary is that of a ten year old - and a retarded 10 year old at that. No I'm afraid there are times when I'm reminded of the old fella who upon seeing TV for the first time opined that he preferred radio as the pictures were better. In Wargaming terms- we are supposed to OOH and Ah over the magazine eye candy and because we bask in its magnificence entirly miss the fact that the intellectual content is nil or less. These pictures are meant to inspire us. Gawdamighty!! Mind you at least the pictures are usually respectable. I have before me the book "The Wargame" edited by Peter Young published in 1972. It contains chapters by Young Grant, Featherstone , Chandler etc - all the Wargaming Luminaries of the day on famous battles Austerlitz, Gettysburg Agincourt- 10 battles in all and -with a few exceptions- the photographs of the wargames are horrible- even by the standards of the time they are at best average. The written narratives are fine enough- tasters for those interested but inexperienced if you like and on that level the book succeeds. Its succeeds with the stories it tells rather than the mediocre pictures it shows. The writing is far better than the eye candy. Wheras now the reverse is often the case which is a shame. While I am far from averse to a bit of eye candy whether it be in the wargames arena or otherwise it should never dominate, surely the story is the thing, every picture might indeed tell a story but the caption is always worth reading- or at least should be. Are we no longer capable of using our imaginations to conjure the pictures we need?. Or do modern publishers think we must be patronised or are too thick for long words.... The pictures should add to the story not BE the story.
Friday, 12 October 2012
I've finally got around to doing some infantry to go with those tasty Charlie 1s I did a month or so back. I have even kind of sorted out an organisation. each stand will - depending upon game level represent either a platoon or a section so a base unit will be 4 stands ie Platoon HQ and 3 sections or Company HQ and 3 platoons. HQ stands or "Command stands" in CD ese will have less firepower. At the company level a "Weapons stand" can be added at platoon level such are more likley to be in the Fire Support Group.
Sunday, 30 September 2012
Well the Drabant 298mm stuff has been ordered up so I should have them in about 3 weeks with luck. All the way from Moscow. Rather than ramble on here are pics of 3 packs painted up - by Nick Bokarev -
Wednesday, 19 September 2012
It's been a good while since I blogged last- whatwith assorted shows and other fol-de -rol. Work as ever gets in the way. What !I hear you shout" but you LIVE in the Sweetie shop" "Pecisely !" I reply "sometimes you get sick of the little lead gits". "Man " as I have opined previously "shall not live by Wargaming alone" Nevertheless I have been slowly adding to my 40mm Wars of the Roses collection. Making new figures which - assuming I iron out the bugs -will in the fullness appear as catings added to the range. To be fair I'm really only converting existing figures but those few I've done look fine so I'll do them again as masters for future release. So here is a picture of a small punch up somwhere in Northern England in the 1450s between the Percies and their rivals the Nevilles
and this one a close up of the Hurly- burly
Thursday, 13 September 2012
Yet more previews of the up and coming Drabant 28mm dark Ages range
Monday, 3 September 2012
Man I'm knackered.. 2 shows in one weekend is what Jim the Painter calls a "f****N hard shift" Saturady at the new venue for the Border Reiver show- of which dear reaqders I am the sponsor- not too bad at all give or take the odd organisational glitch by the chaps who do the actual work- as if a sponsor is ever supposed to do more than get out his chequebook and let the light of his countenance fall upon the event. Nevertheless those annoying little glitchjes apparently associated with a change of venue will be sorted out for next year. The venue itself is far better thabn the arena - it actually has light and doesn't small of stale beer and wee wee which the arena sometimes did. It was a tad on the warm side as sportshall shows tend to be- its the left over negative waves from all that leaping about after shuttlecocks and the like I supose . So after that little lot load up the gear nip back home for a few hours kip then up at first sparrow cheap and away down to Partizan at kelham- about a 2-21/2 hour trip is God is kind - which He was so there at 8 in the forenoon and unload again - bit more of a bugger as Kelham is for unloading but not insurmountably so . Show pretty crowded and some tasty looking games but to time for playas there is work to do in the stygian gloom- not enlightened by the fact that some of the venue power points are out. Still sorted in the end and all's well which is what counts. One point of interest Saw a copy of the now Dutch owned "Wargames Soldiers and Strategy magazine and you know I was pretty impressed. Hadn't seen a copy for over a year and last impressions were a bit mixed. This one was a deal better not only was it pretty it acutally had stuff in it to read and didn't talk to me as it I was 14 . The eye candy was not there as a cover for lack of actual content. There was interesting stuff in it . I'll be keeping an eye on thisa one- Perhaps even spending a few quid of my advertising budget ! Right now back to stock checking all those 15mm Bluemoon so I can re-order them from the US factory... Ho Hum.. A Traders work is never done... Always remember what you Dad taught you... If you can't take a joke you shouldn't have joined
Tuesday, 28 August 2012
My current fascination with Modern Warfare and Wargaming continues more or less apace. I've posted pics on TMP -v as part of a notice about the coming weekends shows but here are some others.
Here is a pic of a Warrior IFV Technically its the W.R.A.P. variant - ie Warrior reactive Armour Package- but I didn't put all of the extra armour on this one as I wanted it for a few years prior to WRAP availability. I've stowed it up a bit with items from the CD stowage pack and put on the Turret armour which may not be quite the thing for accuaracy but to be honest I'm still learning about this stuff.
This picture shows the first of the compleated Iraqis. A pair of T-72 no less. I'll need a good few more of these I think . As it happens just after I painted these I found a pretty indepth article about Iraqi vehicle markings. Now once I work out the system I'll mark these up properly.Currently I'm awaiting a shipment from the USA due to arrive today- so any new stuff it contains will be taken to the coming weekend shows. Hope to see you there gentle reader !
Tuesday, 21 August 2012
Following fairly hard on the heeels of those lovely Drabant 28mm Saxon thegns - shown in an earlier post come the first pic of some Saxon Fyrd. Again in 28mm. I'll let the pics speak for themselves except to say that I will be carrying these as soon as they become generally available. I'm told September so not too long a wait.
Sunday, 19 August 2012
Saturady the 18th August- temporarily 1643 saw a smaller than normal number of TWATS gather at the pub for this months game Farmer Dave and Lawywr Tom had cried off so present were Floating Jeff Andrew the Tekkie Scribbling Steve and your gentle Author- who as Umpire might well be forced by brute circumstance to be anything but gentle. For the first time this Year I decided to run an ECW game. Rules used woud be forlorn Hope as I simply have not yet found a better commercial set- and to be honest I like these so much that a little tinkering aside, I couldn't write a better. I've heard good word about Pike and Shotte - but as it comes from the Black Powder stable the 30 quid price tag for a 10 quid set of rules is a bit off putting. I might try FOGR but not for ECW. So to battle. The scenario was based loosly on the 1st Newbury campaign but the available forces and briefings were as follows. First the Royalists.
The 2nd Battle of Theakstons folly 1643. A Scenario for Forlorn Hope. GOD SAVE THE KING!! The Year of our Lord 1643 18th September The Rebells have relieved the Town of Ambridge and are seeking to make their way back to London. This we must prevent From Ye Lt-Generall of the Horse 20 th May 1643. “Ye Horse are in 2 Brigades Not including His Mat’ies Lifeguard who are fit for service. As for ye others there are somme who will doe goode sevice and yt some who are but new Troops howsoever being mostly little gentlemen and their servants think themselves fine fellows of souldiers but yt they have seen noe service.” From Ye Major-Generall of Ye Foote. 19th May 1643. “Ye foote are mostly fit for small service consiting of 3 Regiments. Wee could wishe for more shott and there are few corselets among Ye Pikes.” His Mat’ies Lifeguard of Horse.GALLOPERS TRAINED/ELITE 12 figs The Earl of Carnavons Regt. of Horse GALLOPERS TRAINED 24 in 3 TROOPS OF 8 Sir Thos. Astons Regt. of Horse.GALLOPERS RAW/ELITE8 in a single troop. Lord Northamptons Regt of Horse GALLOPERS TRAINED 24 in 3 troops. A Company of Dragoons Trained 10figs Col Chas. Gerards Regt. of Horse.GALLOPERS RAW/ELITE 16 in 2Troops His Mat’ies Lifeguard of Foote TRAINED/ELITE 2to1 48 figs Lord N’thampton’s Regt. of Foote RAW 1 to 1 44 Sir Wm. Pennyman’s Regt. of Foote TRAINED 3 to 2 52 A Saker ARTILLERY TRAINED ------ 1 medium gun & 4crew. LEADERS. Prince Rupert of Ye Rhine Ld Generall lv2. Ld George Goring Lt. Generall of Ye Horse. Lv2 dropping to lv 1 after lunch ’ cos he’ll have had drinke.” Colonell Sir Chas Gerard. Lv1 The Earl of Nor5thampton. Lv1 And May God Have Mercy upon Ye for Ye UMPIRE shall nott. and the Parliamentarians For God and Parliament!! The Yr of our LORD 1643 September 18st. The Malignants bar our way to Lomdon If yt please ye Almighty wee shalle prevaile. They are mightier in horse than wee but oure Foote are better menne . As Lord General of the Forces of ye Rutshire Association yt is your task to engage ye malignants and continue your marche to London.. Youre forces consist of. The Lord Generals Regt of Foote VETERAN 2 to 1 96 figs Coll. Dezil Holles Regt. of Foote TRAINED 1 to 1 88 figs e Lord Generals Lifeguard of Horse CURASSIERS TROTTERS TRAINED/ELITE 10 figs Col. Arthur Goodwins Regt. Of Horse.TROTTERS TRAINED 24- 3 Troops of 8 figs each Col Robert Balfours Troop of Cuirassiers. Cuirassiers Trotters Veteran 8 figs in a single troop. May brigade with Ld Gens Col. James Wardlaw’s Regt of Dragoons Dismounted Dragoons TRAINED may use open order 30 3 companies of 10 figs each Commanded shot Foot Trained 15figs 3 guns Artillery RAW ----- 3guns and 9 crew. LEADERS. Ye Ld Generall lv 2 Ye Major Generall of Ye Foote lv1. Ye Lt. Generall ofYe Horse lv1. And May Ye Lord of Hosts have Mercy upon you for the Umpire shall not!!.
I'd deliberately built in a problem for both sides. The Royalists had a force geared to the Offensive - yet their brief argued a strategic defensive. For the Parliament the precise opposite was the case. Right from move 1 the Parliamentarians hugged their baseline- I'd structured the game aling the long axis of the table as I wanted to see if the Roundheads dare advence -even with moderately secure flanks against the masses of Cavalier Horse- not so after lining a hedge with Dragoons and Commanded shot and sticking their guns out on a limb- of which more later- they stayed put leaving the Royalists to advance along the table
this pic shows the mass of Royalish Horse that seemed to mesmerise the Roundheads.The first picture sgows the Parliamentarian position. They would hardly move from here for the whole game.
Lord Northampton finally takes the parliamentarian gun line.In the centre the dragoons of both sides bickered over the hedgeline but the destruction of the roundhead artllery caused 1 company of Warlaw'sdragoons to retire and a second to halt disordered. The Royalist drsagoons- supported by Horse were able to insert themselves into the gap thus created and enfilade the roundhead line. The Floodgates now opened,as the Royalist Foot came up and engaged the Roundheads in the hedge the rest of the Cavalier horse flooded through the gap. The 2 troops of Rounhead Cuirassiers put in a charge but despite manful resitance it was clear it wasn't enough. By hugging their baseline the roundheads had sacrified space and couldn't manovre. Even if they beat the off the first attacks of the royalist horse there were plenty more- at this point Andrew the Tekkie conceded.
Thursday, 16 August 2012
A good few years ago Just after the OGUK website was started up I wrote this article http://www.oldgloryuk.com/disp_article.php?a=24&p=51&m= Which you might find a bit of a laugh to read... Now some of the facts and figures are out of date - 3000 items on the website its now nearer 5000 and still growing- but all in all the opinions have stayed the same. Mainly because I've seen no evidence to cause me to change my mind. Indeed rather the opposite if anything. That article is almost 8 years old or thereabouts. However I would add a codicil to those opinions and not in my own words but rasther those of one Dave Nilsen as they appeared in Issue6 of Command Post Quarterly -published around 1993-4. In context Dave is replying to a letter from a US army Colonel who congratulates him on his work on the Organisations and Data for Command Decision for the Gulf War of 1991 part of Dave's reply reads "It is my firm belief that if all we do in this hobby is play games without respecting the reality beneath the miniaturesstands we are merely killing time until we die.. These units relect real flesh and blood people who gave up their comfort ,safety and sometimes their lives for reasons which bear at least examination and respectt if not always admiration.If these games are not tributes in some fashion to their humanity and call us to think about them and the meaning of what they did then this is a vain enterprise indeed." Now Dave signs himself "Romantic Wacko " which IMHO does himself a disservice as while he may perhaps be coming on a tad strong I can't think of a better way to explain why I do my hobby the way I do. When I add those excelent words to my own poor article it just about explains the whole nine yards. Whilst Dave's word pertain to more modern warfare I'd say that they are equally relevant further back in history.. Its possibly one of the major reasons why I tend to concentrate on campaigns where the source material is in English- while I can blunder about in Frenchand just about mange menus in other Western European Languages most other tongues completly elude me. So in order to understans and therefore respect I need to read their wordsas they wrote them. This feeling if anything become more the point as I get older the games themselves are merely the tiny tip of a huge iceberg. Frankly if pushing a few(or many) toy soldiers about was all there is to our hobby I'd have knocked it on the head years ago.
Tuesday, 14 August 2012
For many years I've had an on - off relationship whith what you might call modern Warfare wargames. Its all Mike Hoare and Black Jack Schrammes fault really -though they wouldn't know it. Mike Hoares Congo Mercenary is a very readable bookand Peter Mocklers The Mosdern Mercanry likewise- though both dated now they were de rigeur when I first became interested in Post WW2 Bushfire Wars . I first did forces for the period in 20mm - strictly speaking for a little later- more the Angolan war of the 70s. FAPLA, mostly Airfix Cubans- from Hotspur some Airfix T34 85 some nondescript resin trucks and a hotch-potch of assorted figures for the mercenaries. Games were played with this motley collection until at least the mid 90s. Then I sort of lost interestand sold the stuff on. Since then I've 'ummed and 'awed and not taken any decision - but have still bought bookson various post WW2 conflicts with the exception of the Arab-Isreali debacle somehow that just didn't appeal. Nevertheless recently these assorted Bushfire wars have have given me a little kick again. Hence the production of the whole CDMOD range,the Fireforce range the Lil'Flyin' Choppers range and for the large scale the aquisition of the Brooks Minis 28mm Mordern range. All of which will recieve additions in the course of time. Regular readers of this will have seen the 15mm Rhodesians and their Helis which should be very suitable for small engagments. However I wanted something a bit meatier something with a bit more wellie... so...
Tuesday, 7 August 2012
Now Claymore is done and dusted for this year- A good evemnt best for a couple of years- I can start to think about other stuff for a bit. I want to get moving with my 15mm Bushfire Wars project indeed all the 15mm post WW2/Modern stuff needs a good sorting out from the bits and pices of display stuff. The whole period needs a good organising. I have a respectable "Fireforce" 4 Aloette Helicopters a Lynx ground attack aircraft and a dozen troopies but so far haven't paionted a single fig for the opposition. I really am going to have to ressurrect the Peoples Democratic Republic of Zingola circa 1978 but to be honest its hard to find the time. I fit in the odd hour here or there between running my business and being an unpaid government bookeeper and Tax collector or as its put these days "running your own business". I once worked out that for every hour I spend selling soldiers I spend another 30 minutes farting about with paperwork so Dave and His Rich Mates - or as it was the Tone and HIS rich mates could slip all the profits into their already overlarge wallets. We are repeatedly told "we are all in this together!" which is a best a downright lie and at worst the most utterly patronising piece of self serving arse gravy I've encountered for some time. We all know how to tell if a politician is lying- his lips are moving and noise comes forth but the complete and utter lack of connection to the electorate of the average arrogant slimy career political apparatchik still amazes me. Ah well I you can't take a joke... I've also got to do more 40mm ECW. The 28mm got a few new units recently and thesde will get an outing at the next TWATS meeting later this month. Not sure what the scenario will be... not that I'd say as you wouldn't want the players to know beforehand now would you?
Wednesday, 1 August 2012
Regular readers of this will know that I'm a big fan of the 40mm figures from Drabant Miniatures of Moscow. So much so that when they first appeared I wasted no time in Contacting their supremo Nick and buying some bth for myself and as a trader. Since then time and distance permitting I've tried to stock all they do to a greater or lesser extent - depending upon loval market popularity. Nowe as you expect I'm always a bit behid- there are about half a dozen figure I don't have yet- that soon to be fixed. Now in my view these fine figures deserve to be more popular than they are but- and its an aficionardo here 40mm is never going to be as popular a scale as so called "28mm" . That's just a fact of life . Nevertheless hold on to you hats for Drabant are doing a 28mm rangeand here are some pictures of the first few.