Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Back from Bogota...and workbench

The view from my hotel room in Bogota

Well, I'm back from my trip to Bogota which was pretty exhausting given I think it took me longer to get to and from there than I actually stayed there.  I'd also forgotten that the city is at 2800m altitude, which made walking around urban regeneration sites quite tiring.  The Radisson Royal hotel had a nice bedroom and an OK restaurant but the bar was rubbish.  In fact all they did was push a drinks trolley into the lobby lounge in the evening.  Decidedly lacking in atmosphere.  Next time I go (and this is looking likely) I think I will stay at the Marriott again.  

Typical decor in the Hotel Zaza

As I booked so late I had to overnight in Houston on my way over so stayed at the trendy Hotel Zaza again. My particular friend S from Vancouver managed to get over too, so that perked up what could have been a dull eighteen hours.  Even better she came on to Colombia as well so we could catch up on news.  She spent much of the time (other than jewellery shopping) trying to persuade me that I should paint sixteenth century conquistadors, given they were so active in Colombia, looking for Eldorado!  I think I have quite enough on at present!

I was pretty jet-lagged the whole trip so actually didn't have a vodka Martini!  I mainly stuck to beer, which in Bogota was the ubiquitous Club Colombia.  This was a perfectly acceptable American-style lager with, perhaps, a bit more character than US equivalents.  It evaporated remarkably rapidly, however...must be the altitude.

In Houston we had a nice Oregon Pinot Noir with dinner. Erath was very satiny and smooth with an intriguing mixture of slightly smoky sage and plum tastes.  Anyway it went very well with our Texas steaks!

On the way back I had a four hour stopover in Houston airport and as soon as I arrived I found out that my plane was going to be an hour late.  S had a six hour wait before her flight back to Vancouver.  So a long lunch was called for! The choice of places for lunch in the airport, however, is not good at George Bush International.  The Sports Bar (death by tortillas), Ruby's diner (death by burger) or a seafood restaurant (death by salmonella).  Given neither S or I thought it was sensible to have seafood before a ten hour flight we went for Ruby's where, we have to say, the burgers were rather good.

Better still, beer of the month was Sam Adams Octoberfest, a nice red beer, which was actually not at all bad in a caramel sort of way.  The only way to remain in the restaurant for any length of time was to keep ordering more beer.  Next trip (next week) is to Serbia, which I haven't been to before

27th Jaeger's commander, Luitenant-colonel WJ Grunebosch, under way

I've managed a bit more painting this week but am currently working on 32 figures at once (24 Prussian line and 8 Dutch Jaegers) which, given that they are all Napoleonics makes for slow going.  I reckon each figure needs about forty separate stages and I am only getting one or two applications (e.g. two shades of a colour) done per session.  I was looking for a Dutch mounted officer for the 27th Jaegers and was about to order one from Perry Miniatures when I had a look at some of my file boxes full of "in progress" figures.  I had already got one and had even cleaned him up so just needed to base him.

The big question is, although it is still some time off, what unit do I paint after I have finished these?  The obvious thought is to do a unit of French infantry and I have based enough Perry plastics and metals for a 36 man French battalion but don't think I can face any more of these yet.  I have around twelve A4 file boxes full of "in progress" figures.  To qualify for this status they have to be based at least.  Some are well on the way so maybe I just need to look at some which have  a reasonable amount of paint on to go next.  I would like to paint a whole unit again, though, so I need to do an inventory of what I have.

I went to Bath today and when I visited a couple of years ago I bemoaned the loss of Bonapartes model soldier shop and the shrinking Games Workshop.  More bad news on this visit as this nasty orange shop front is all that is left of Bath Model Centre.

I always used to go in here to get paint and modelling supplies, at least, but, after 66 years, spiralling rates and loss of customers partly due to extensive building works nearby have done for it.  Shame.


  1. Fun to read about your travel exploits!

    I must admit I do not 'travel well' anymore, I loath the experience...waiting at the airports for hours before the flight, then delays, overpriced airport food, crammed in 'cattle-class', getting through customs, etc etc...then disturbed sleep patterns (I don't sleep well at the best of times and certainly cant manage it on a plane), and variable hotel experiences...

    Just about the only thing enjoyed during the whole of my last holiday oddly enough, was the inflight movies... if I hadn't had to spend half the movie filling in customs and bio-security forms...

    I have really become a stay at home bird...

    I can't advise you what to paint next sadly, but your box files of unpainted/part painted work sure has similarities to my own stash ;-)

    Shame about the world of bricks and mortar hobby stores, and their demise... I guess in these frugal times folks have less to spends on leisure items, and the stores will no doubt find it hard competing with cheaper online suppliers...

    I look forward to hearing about your next trip! ;-)

  2. The model shop closed at the start of the year, not really a surprise as it had been going down hill since the previous owners sold it a few years back. If you have time on your next visit it is well worth making the trip to Frome (about 25 minutes drive) to go to the Frome Model Centre - a fantastic place crammed with figures and kits! It's now the only place around here for miles that is any good.


  3. Shame the Modellers Den in Bath has gone, but it was never as good as I remember it in the 70s.

  4. I'll echo the comments re. the shop - the current Mrs Steve the Wargamer and I go to Bath every Christmas (have done for years) and I always pop in. Having said that though, the last few times I've been in there I've been slightly disappointed - all collectors model race cars, expensive model trains and little else - nothing stand out... I would have thought that the new shopping centre across the way would have been a boon for passing footfall, so they were clearly doing something wrong..