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Wednesday 25 October 2017

Avec mes sabots- a belated part deux....

What seems like an age ago  one of my early posts was entitles "Avec me sabots" in 2012  so it shows how long I have been running this little blog.
 However those were for my 40mm figures. I have used them in the ECW/TYW collections and also for the tiny groups of 40mm Marlburians that I have painted.
The "singles" look.

As I increased the "shinyloo" collection it occurred to me that  some of my more thumbfingered compatriots at the T.W.A.T.S. might not be best pleased at having to move all of the figures about in singles so, just to be on the safe side I invested in some more of those spiffing bases by Warbases only this time I chose those with 20mm diameter holes for the 30mm figures of the "shinyloo" forces.
 Maling these new sabot bases fit in stylistically is not a problem- a bit fiddly perhaps but definitely worth the effort.. The biggest problem was making sure the base -tex didn't gum up the holes.
 I still think I prefer the single figure look overall but these are a useful compromise as they are still pretty attractive. Also an unforseen advantage arose. The French should deploy in 3 ranks- so I bought bases that were 3x3 for them so each French "Charge" type company of 18 men is on 2 bases. The British companies of 16 men are on either 1 base in 2 ranks of 8 or 2 bases each of 2 ranks of 4 . Actually I bought the wrong bases for the Brits- well too many of the 16man bases anyway- or so I thought at first, but now I have both options available and I'm even beginning to think about extending this idea into other periods.

The "sabot" look.

Cavalry will remain as singles- unless I can get bases made to order- which is certainly possible. For charge type games I think I'd do cavalry bases in 4s... still thinking about this though. It may even be that for actual melee contact in games I will make the players leave the bases behind.

Saturday 14 October 2017

More on Derby worlds

I've had this round robin email from the DerbyWorlds organiser as well as being asked to join some possibly non-existant Farcebook group to "present a cohereant front" or somesuch. Now when I followed the suggestions to join said group nothing happened and I've had nothing back from the emailer of the invitation. However here is the text of the DerbyWorlds organiser email in full

Hi All,

Here is a summary of the Derby Worlds 2017 show.  We appreciate all the efforts made by traders, tournament players, demo games and participation games to help ensure the show was a success.  As you are all aware, in March this year, Donington, with no notice cancelled our booking (which was made in March 2016!), and we still have not given the deposit back.  We were faced with cancelling the show or getting something underway.  Options were limited as we needed a large enough venue which also had that date available and as the only viable option was Hangar 42 we elected to go for that rather than simply cancelling the show.  A show rarely recovers from a missed year.  Whilst the new venue certainly has improved lighting, parking and overall facilities, the 20% less usable floor area compared to Donington was always going to be an interim challenge.  Many people think we chose to move venue, but I can assure you we did not want to.  It created a massive amount of unplanned work and substantial cost too.  For clarification, Donington no longer host events, and even the car boot sales, antique sales etc have been left in the same situation as us.

Overall the show went well with the vast majority of attendees both enjoying it and appreciating that it did in fact take place.  As anticipated, the total attendees were slightly down compared with 2016, and that was expected with the venue change.  Total number of paying visitors were 16% down at 1458 over the weekend compared to 1728 in 2016.

We advertised heavily in the press in the 6 months ahead of the show and on Facebook, Twitter and gave out over 20,000 flyers with the new location and details on there, as well as adding direction signs at all major junctions heading to the venue.

The main challenge in regard to space on the day, is that a small minority of traders took a very selfish line and for example having booked a 12ft x 6ft stand, took a 12ft x 10ft space and so reduced the aisle width as well as taking space from other traders, forcing further issues.  Others with a 24ft x 6ft booking ignored direct requests to them (and us physically moving their tables back to the stand size they had booked) and created a 26ft x 9ft stand, again compromising the aisles and other trade stands. The vast majority of traders were hugely supportive of the event continuing and were extremely helpful throughout the weekend, and a number of them even compromised their stands in light of others actions of others.  We are truly thankful to those.  Some traders and demos already have booked for 2018.  Two of our staff members who were key to running the event did not turn up for work despite having those 3 days of the show booked in their work schedule.  That situation has been resolved.  The company setting delivering and setting up the tables were scheduled to be finished at 12.00 and did not finish until after 14.00 which compounded the issue too.

The feedback on the catering was positive, especially in comparison to Donington.  Likewise many visitors liked the fact they could pay their entry by card and keep cash for the show.  The cash machines with free withdrawals were relatively popular, and enabled many to take cash out for show purchases.  The vouchers given out for the tournament entrants worked well and certainly ensure a good flow of sales from the tournament players.

As is the way of the world, it is easy to post negative comments on internet forums and I am sure you have read some of them.  Sadly none of them have taken any time to find out the background or future plans, and indeed contain inaccuracies.  Surprisingly some traders have also made posts too rather than establish any facts.  Some of you have written in, or phoned in, and given us constructive feedback for 2018.  The actions we can put in place are key to the show continuing in 2018 and beyond.  It is nice to note that there is a balance out there and some have taken a more positive tone, with a clear knowledge of the issues that Donington created for us at short notice.

Certainly for 2018 the following actions are being implemented, and I am sure further ones will too.

Marquee outside for Tournaments to allow us to create 8ft trader stands plus 8ft aisles in the main hall.
Marquee outside for Tournaments with booking-in to reduce the tournament entry queues.
Additional signs for the toilets (as although on the plan some were unaware of the 2 toilet blocks on the far side of the hall)
Even more signs at junctions leading to the venue.
Increased Derby Worlds staff.
Look at how we can have the 2nd roller shutter accessed for setup/breakdown too.
Revise the setting up of the tables to increase the start time available on Friday for setting up from at least midday.

Derby Worlds 2018 will be on the 6th and 7th October 2018.  We anticipate with the actions in place as above that the event will run much more smoothly in 2018, though any thoughts and directions appreciated as ever to ensure that Derby Worlds continues to be a key event on the Wargaming calendar.

Kind regards

Now if they put this lot into practice some of this years teething problems will go. Though I didn't need a sign to find the loos. As I said in the previous post on this subject as a new untried show it was OK . I was well aware of the short notice problem and none of the actual practical difficulties really gave me the hump other than up to a point the overcrowding of the trade area-
 So lets see if they can do what they want to do. Hope so 

Friday 13 October 2017

The Battle of Bumbletown September 1777

So there were were a mere 4 T.W.AT.S. for our September game. A  game which had been put off until the 30th for various reasons- on the 29th it looked as if 7 or 8 members would turn up but last minute work and  a case of the Squitters put paid to that!
  Therfore Gentle Reader  there were only 4 stalwart fellows for this engagement.
 to wit- Myself ,Jim the Builder , Andrew the Tekkie and Mechanical Shaun. Jim was in the chair and he elected to run a 15mm AWI game with his rather tasty collection of newly painted Blue Moon. Rules would be the  AWI  set British Grenadier.
 The stage was set for a bit of a bloodbath.....
The Battlefield a few moves in . The British navigate past the pond, The Patriot redoubt on the extreme right.Bumbletown on the left. 

 The Patriot Forces- this time commanded by yours truly were a mixed bag as you would expect . Some decent regulars and some iffy militia backed up by good artillery, This lot faced a somewhat larger British force of all regulars including Grenadiers and Footguards with a German Brigade of Hessian mercenaries and slightly less artillery than the Patriots.
 Aredoubt containing our 4 guns dominated the right and much of our centre and funnelled the British somewhat o n the left the hamlet of Bumbletown (founded by Jedidiah Bumble in 1763 pop 69) was defended by the Bumbltown Minutemen. The main American battleline was a bit stretched and despite fence lines and redoubts this was- eventually- a serious matter.

View from Bumbletown across the field.. Their are an awful lot of British. 

 However all started well for the  outnumbered Patriots with their artillery performing particularly well. The German Brigade- commanded by Shaun  however began an advance on Bumbletown whilst in the centre the British Brigade hung back somewhat because of the havoc being caused by the Patriot guns in the redoubt . Also - after hanging back for a while a unit of Patriot backwoodsmen advanced from the redoubt into the woods to their from with the intention of taking the British guns in flank and subjecting them to accurate rifle fire. This took time but eventually was to neutralise the British guns as well as seeing off a small infantry unit.
The Bumbletown minutemen resist the Hessian onslaught.

On the Patriot left the Hessian bundled the minutemen out of Bumbletown but were brought up short by the fence line and a battalion of regulars. Taking heart the minutemen saw off the Hessian Jaegers and the regulars eventually broke a musketeer battalion - with help from the militia.
 However in the centre the deluge was about to appear- no less than 4 British battalion including Grenadiers and Footguards descended upon the Patriot centre.. Enfilading fire from a militia battalion was not enough (odious cubes!) nor was a first volley from a battalion of regulars(odious cubes again) and after a brutal melee the regulars broke finding British Grenadier bayonets just too much.(odious cubes yet again).
 It is starting to go just a bit pear shaped..

With a gaping hole in the centre and the left engaged with the Hessians it was time to go - so standing not upon the order of our going we went ....

Allover me like a rash. Time to be off home I think.

The extra 2 British units were crucial here giving them a powerful reserve to which our mixed bag of regulars and militia ultimately had no real answer- yes we bloodied them and at one point Andrew was ready to pack it in, in despair but Shaun stiffened his resolve and shouted  "Vorwarts" in crusty  Germanic accents !  Guzzeling his diet Coke the while(well he was driving so his beer was imaginary)

So it all went pear shaped at the end for the Patriots.. Nevertheless a pretty good game. I do like British Grenadier despite a few foibles it is the best commercial AWI set I've come across - and would work well for the War of 1812 and possibly- with a few amendments 18th century India as well.
 As always thanks are due to Landlady Jean for excellent Beef Butties and the White Hot was very drinkable as well- cos I wasn't driving .

Tuesday 10 October 2017

Derby Worlds 2017- A traders view.

Last weekend saw the latest incarnation of the Derby World Wargames- now called "DerbyWorlds"  at the new venue of Bruntingthorpe in the middle of Rural Leicestershire.
 The high trade stand price (20% rise on last year)  gave me to decide on a smaller stand and only take the 15mm lines- which currently outsell 25/28mm by almost two to one. Customers could of course pre-order anything we  have in stock of whatever size- so chaps orders 10mm and 25mm and even some 40mm - without these pre-orders  we would have been dead and buried. Most of the other traders I spoke to said the same.
 Now I doubt not that other bloggers will heap coals of fire upon the heads of the organisers - and yes some are possibly deserved - but equally some are not.
Bruntingthorpe is 10 miles away from almost everything  but once you get there it is not a bad venue at all. I've been in worse many times- any sweaty jock-strap and wee wee smelling sports hall for a start. In theory access was pretty good and unlike some we had no problem unloading on Friday. Though loading up at shows end was a bit like wacky races.

 Blaming the actual venue  for a poor show is of course nonsense the venue problems were all caused by the show organisers- well the new one anyhow. You can't get a quart into a pint pot. This venue was about 30% smaller than Donnington yet  the same or greater numbers of Traders games and competitions were shoe horned in- like a fat bird trying to get into a size 10 frock.  So the show was cramped and oversubscribed for the size of the venue- not the fault of the venue. Lighting was a bit average but at least part of that was caused by the overcrowding and the height of some traders advertising banners.
 Trade was not exactly brisk but over the whole weekend we did OK but no more than that. Frankly not awful for a new show in a new venue- which despite its ancestry this event was.  Catering was well above normal show standards  but as is often the case at these "event venues" not exactly cheap. Mind you the roast pork butties were excellent..

 My biggest bitch with the whole affair was the tone and attitude of  Kaiser Rushforth Ltd- who now seem to own the event.- It was they I paid my stand fee to rather than as previously Derby Wargames Associates. It was obvious from the printed show guide that this event was no longer the Derby World Wargames - to present a showcase for the whole hobby- but rather a showcase foe the owning company to promote their view of the hobby and to make a few quid(nothing wrong with that last bit but  the tone wasn't half laying it on a bit thick) Indeed I'd go further the whole tone of the organisers emails was rather like a workshop junkie on speed - continually telling we traders how exciting it all was and how wonderful it all would be- as if they were trying to convince themselves or manipulate us and the customers.- and assuming we were all 10 year old boys. I could small the  patronising corporate BS  from some distance. Not only was it slightly unpleasant it was not needed.
 None of that really impinged upon the actual show but may have helped to make it rather less than it should have been.
 However taking the show as a new event with the associated teething problems of such then overall it was not too bad sort of a 5 out of 10 maybe a 6 - just(the last point for the Pork Butties alone really)

Will I go back- probably . Will I take a larger more expensive stand- no chance. We will stick to a smaller stand and take only 15mm lines for the day sales. Other sizes will once again need to be pre-ordered..
 Do the organisers need to up their game? Damn right they do for the wedge that the traders and the punters are putting out somebody needs to be less patronising and a little bit smarter.
 We'll see what next year brings