Category Archives: commentary


No, not more Belgians! Just an update and some ponderings as progress has been slow of late and I feel the need for an update…

Well, last weekend was meant to be a serious wargaming weekend for me. Saturday a trip to Middlesbrough for SMOGGYCON where I had bases to collect and the usual risk of buying new stuff for a new period! But snow descended and my lift, Phil, could not get his car out of the drive so the trip was cancelled. Apparently 205 still made it through the door so kudos so the Smoggy guys for keeping it running and a real shame I missed it. It’s on my calendar next year so I WILL be going!

Sunday, the next game in the 1980s CWC game run by the North Shields Club was due. Again weather intervened and my lift fell through, but the club meeting was cancelled and I’m still waiting to see when I can make it again. It’s not looking good for this year though as tomorrow (4th) is my daughters 5th Birthday so this weekend is ‘dead’ and so are the next two with various children based festive activities and then it’s Christmas! I’m hoping I can get some gaming related stuff done over the holiday though. Maybe round off the Belgians into a full force?

Blog – I’m now up to 91 Followers, which I’m rather proud of! It also seems like I’m following 91 other blogs as well! I don’t get time to post comments on all but I do check them all. There is some good stuff out there, entertaining and inspiring.

I’m also up to 29778 visits which again is pleasing. I may do the inevitable stats analysis when I hit 30000! It would be nice to make 100 Followers by the end of the year but for that I would really need a couple of good posts with progress and pics and I can’t see that happening!

The guys over at the WD3 Forum are also planning a gathering next April which I hope to attend and partake of the 18th Century Imagi-Nation game planned. This will involve a brief foray into painting 28-30mm figs. Only a battalion and maybe a few cavalry but it will be interesting to do. My plan is for a sort of Irish Legion (a la the AWI British Legion) in Austrian/Germanic service and under the command of Oberstleutnant Seamus Gunter von Donovan! Uniforms likely to be green and black I think…

There is also talk of a Dark Age skirmish so I’ll be facing the inevitable urge to do a ‘warband’ for that!

I’ll not start on my plans for 2011 yet, and I also have plans for a post on ‘Obsessive Diversions’ as a way to explain/justify the funds I spend on new projects.

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Wot I done on my holidays…and some musings

Spent the last week down south and in the Midlands on a friends and family tour. It was a lot of travelling and the kids were ‘trying’ so they’ve been in nursery today and myself and Ingrid took the day off to recover! I managed to spend a bit of time in the attic listing all the stuff I’m selling at the moment and also tidying up a little so I can actually see some of the surface of my desk!

Anyway, to the matter at hand. We started the trip last Thursday travelling down to Gosport to visit friends who were over from Dubai. As last year, I managed to wangle a little time to pop to Southsea Models and Games over the river. I’d popped there last year but the owner had been away and his son had little clue as to what stock might be hidden away so I ended up coming away with just a single Osprey book. This time I had a longer chat with the owner discussing the popularity of Flames of War and the new 28mm plastic ranges. The consensus being that a lot of the new blood in the historical area had been raised on the Games Workshop plastic figures and are used to the type of figure and the whole assembly thing. I’d hoped to find some old micro-armor stock or something but he has had to trim down radically what he stocks and concentrate on the stuff that sells. Good business sense but it takes away a little of the fun of rooting round a crowded shop.
In the end I just came away with three Osprey Elite books. All old editions but fine for the 1980s based stuff I’m doing:

  • Elite 10: Warsaw Pact Ground Forces
  • Elite 12: Inside the Soviet Army
  • Elite 20: Inside the US Army

Either way, it was good to see that the shop was still there.

Our return journey involved a stop in Shrewsbury and although I’d have liked to pop to Timecast we didn’t really have time. Best I could do was to negotiate a stop off in Donnington, Telford and a visit to Sanda Games which I’d last visited about seven years ago! Again, it was good to see them still there and although the range of stock didn’t cover much of interest to me I picked up some fine hollow brass rod for mounting aircraft, some Silfor tufts and a few trees for my 6mm stuff.

The conversation with the owner was similar to that at Southsea. They could only stock what would sell and was popular locally (again, FoW and plastics). Although they stocked some Xyston and Corvus Belli there was no way they could stock an entire range and relied on getting local orders where they then contacted the supplier and got stock in a few days. I assume there are local buyers who are happy to give them the business and can’t be bothered doing the whole internet ordering thing themselves. Given the recent hassles at Scotia I can see how some people may still be cautious.

It is good to see a couple of shops thriving and when visiting areas I always like to seek out the local game shop and if possible give them a little business. When I started out gaming in the 70’s there were two shops in Shrewsbury and couple in Birmingham. When I moved up to Newcastle in the 80’s there was a couple as well, albeit small. The internet has made a big impact on the traditional wargames shop and more now have to follow the GW model or at least stock their ranges to attract custom. I’d rather see a shop with GW stock and a small range of historical figures to try and spread the word rather then there only be a Games Workshop option.

I still do most of my games shopping online but I still have a soft spot for the days when you waited for new stock at your local shop or travelled to the shows to get your lead fix. The problem with the easy online access to the vast ranges available is that I have a large lead pile, many incomplete/unstarted projects and a greatly diminished bank account!

So, would I go back to the good old days? Hell, no! 🙂

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The Painting Master Plan – HOWTO

I’ve been asked to comment on how I created the Painting Master Plan on the right. It’s basically a spreadsheet. I use a Linux system and Open Office but I’ve put the file I used at: 2010Plan.xls as an Excel spreadsheet if anyone wants to use it.

Once created I then printed to PDF (easy with OpenOffice but I think you can use CutePDF under Windows) and then used the ImageMagick command ‘convert’ to convert the PDF to a TIFF. I then edited the image down to the correct size using the GIMP image software and I use this still for filling in the red boxes!

A bit fiddly but it works for me. There are no doubt better ways of doing it.



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Bye Bye Lammings

Well, after a little deliberation I decided to pass on my Lamming medieval figures that I’d found and detailed here. Although I’d painted some of these when I was 14-15 and at school I’m certain I’ll never do anything with them. They’ve gone to a good home where they will be appreciated: Vintage Wargaming. I’ll probably put the remaining odd and ends of Hinchcliffe and Garrison on eBay. Better they be put to use than gather dust.

When I dropped the figures off I got to see some lovely old Hinton Hunt minis and some of the excellent Peter Gilder Napoleonics with pins for swords etc. Very nice stuff and nice to see in the flesh rather than just photos.

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The Waiting Room…

As it seems to be taking me forever and a day to get the next stage of any figures completed I thought it might be an idea to pop into the waiting room, browse some magazines and chat about a few things…

On the table are the three latest wargames magazines: Wargames Illustrated, Miniature Wargames and Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy.

First up: Wargames Illustrated, to which I subscribe, highlights he main problem I have with ‘themed’ mags. This months ECW theme is of little interest to me and overall the mag was a disappointment. Nice pictures as usual but I skimmed most of it as the ECW just doesn’t grab me. I almost got tempted by the period when doing an archaeological desktop assessment on a site in Newcastle where we identified a star fort from the 1644 siege slap bang in the middle of a proposed development site. This was pre-plastic days and no one else was doing the period so I managed to pass.

The Genappe article was the only one I read right through. Now I subscribe to this mag and some issues have been excellent but to be honest I’m not sure how much longer I can justify it.

Next up is Miniature Wargames. This has undergone something of a overhaul over the last year and there has been a significant improvement. I still think the Show coverage is excessive but I’m finding the range of articles more interesting and even the SF/Fantasy column is proving an entertaining read.

The subscription offer this month was for a K&R accessory case with tape and dice which was quite a good offer (better then a t-shirt!) so I finally succumbed and subscribed. As I’ve been buying it each month for the last year this seemed a good idea!

And now we come to Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy. This had always been a hit and miss for me and is the one mag I don’t buy every month. Again, the dossier approach can make large parts of little interest. Even if a period I know well the level of detail is likely below what I already have access to so in the end it comes to eye-candy. This is often good but the mag itself always seems a little thin and for the price, not always worth it. It’s not one I’ll subscribe to in the near future…

Finally, I had hoped to cover the latest Battlegames mag but it hasn’t arrived yet. For me this is by far the best of the mags out there. I think it is a well targeted mag for gamers of a certain age with a certain outlook. I also think it’s a good sign of the state of the hobby that such a magazine enjoys success. Maybe the postman will be kind tomorrow.

And in other news… this last week I took delivery of a few more Adler command figures and some more Baccus Prussian Landwehr. I can’t recommend too highly the service I’ve had from both companies and if I could only get a little more time I’d have a lot more 6mm figures painted!

And finally, this coming weekend will see me heading off to Blackpool for the Advanced Squad Leader Heroes Tournament. I’ve mentioned ASL before and I have a considerable amount of time and money invested in it over the last 6-7 years. It is an excellent game system and it has only been the arrival of my second child (Zach) nearly two years ago that curtailed my playing – and re-launched my figure gaming! As this is not a period specific blog anymore I may import the posts from my old ASL blog and drop in the odd post about the game.

Anyway, as I’m snowed under at work and then in Blackpool from Thursday until Sunday it’s unlikely I’ll get any more figures painted/based so hopefully catch up next week.

Now, time for bed…

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