The galley so far
Things have not gone very well on the hobby front in the last week or so. I was making slow but steady progress on my Roman Galley for the Thapsus game at Colours this weekend but work crises got in the way and ate into all my evenings. I was hoping to have most of Saturday last weekend before taking Charlotte to Edinburgh but various pre-trip issues saw to that. I had to admit to Big Red Bat that my galley was not going to be ready, about which I feel very guilty. I sort of lost heart when I realised that one steering oar was missing and the other was broken with a missing bit too. Fortunately Dave at Grand Manner has promised to sort this out for me. I am determined to finish it soon!
The Legatus takes the healthy option by having scrambled eggs
Despite booking the tickets back in May I could only get an evening flight to Edinburgh and then the plane was two hours late! Charlotte and I were very tired when we arrived at the Crowne Plaza at 12.10am only to be told that they had let our room go as we arrived after midnight and they didn't have any others. Edinburgh was full because something like 15,000 new students at the city's four universities were all arriving that weekend. The man at the desk said he would try and get us something outside the city. Now, the Legatus is (on the whole) a placid sort of person who prefers to avoid conflict and tension. On this occasion, however, I had had enough. I firmly pointed out that I was an Inter-Continental Hotels group platinum cardholder and nothing like this had ever happened to me in any of the sixty two countries I have visited. Ever! The man disappeared into the back and the acting manager appeared within about two minutes. Within another ten minutes they had got us a room at the Sheraton (a much better hotel) which was only about 200 yards away. Even better they told me I wouldn't have to pay the bill which, considering the outrageous £220 a night the Crowne Plaza was going to charge, was the least they could do. Even better than that, when we checked out the next day they didn't charge me for breakfast either so my total bill was £4 for the two diet cokes we had when we arrived. Actually £2.00 for a coke from a hotel minibar is pretty good. I think I will stay at the Sheraton again. The breakfast, complete with haggis and black pudding restored my equanimity somewhat. Just as well considering the amount of shopping I had to do for Charlotte that day.
A Salute Troop Transporter was roped in to help get all her stuff up to Edinburgh
Charlotte, cunning as ever, used the fact that I hadn't had to pay for the hotel to extract extras from me which were not on the John Lewis shopping list my wife had prepared. "Daddy, I don't like the scratchy duvet cover they have given me!" "Daddy, I think I need a rug!" "Daddy, I need a clutch handbag to go with my Ted Baker dress for the fresher's James Bond party tonight and here is a Ted Baker bag that is perfect!" Good job we get 25% discount in John Lewis. The £220 saved was disappearing very quickly!
Returning to London I had to employ some fancy footwork to avoid being sent to run a training course in Colombia and Brazil the week after next. Fortunately, I managed to find someone else to do it. I need a break from long distance travel for a bit.
Really love these!
As I mentioned in a previous post I picked up some of the new Bolt Action plastic Japanese from Warlord Games. These were not really the Japanese I had intended getting, to be honest, I was expecting to get going with some samurai for Ronin. While watching the Tour of Spain on TV over the last couple of nights I put together five of them. Scott, from Middle Earth, commented that he couldn't really be doing with all this plastic assembly nonsense and I have some sympathy for this view. I reckon it took me well over an hour to put together five figures (I've since done another seven).
There are five identical sprues of six figures which includes one kneeling and one prone one. Unlike some people I don't mind prone or kneeling figures, especially for conflicts of the last 100 years and, in fact, I would actually prefer more prone figures for, for example, the British BEF for 1914. Oddly, although 25mm plastic bases are provided for the standing figures there are no bases for the prone ones. I don't usually use the supplied bases for plastic sets but am rationing myself on my usual 20mm washers which I use for skirmish figures. Also, these are the first plastic figures I have bought where the figures don't have the usual base moulded on. You have to stick the sole of the boot directly onto the bases. As three figures per sprue have one foot off the ground I decided to use the plastic bases and bond them to the figures with polystyrene cement, which I also rarely use. for strength.
Arms are separate but fit very well for plastics and there are nine head variants per sprue. There are various bags, water bottles and such like that can be added and, again, I found these went on easily without looking at all awkward. Usefully, the instructions identify each piece (Victrix take note) so you know the difference between the mortar bomb bag and the sub-machine gun magazine bag. I had to have a sword waving figure amongst my first set as a nod to my Airfix armies. I will do a bugler and a standard bearer too! The poses are rather more active than, perhaps, I would have liked but they work really well for the Japanese and their frightening charges.
My only issue is that I'm really not sure what colour to paint them. I have ordered the Osprey but it is one of those which they print to order so it will take some time to arrive. My trusty Blandford has the Japanese in quite a dark green which was certainly the colour I painted my 1/32 Airfix figures. However I painted my 1/72 figures in a kahki drill. Books I have seen seem to have them in all sorts of shades.
Rooting through my DVD pile I found that I had bought the HBO miniseries The Pacific and put the first episode on late one night. Big mistake, as several hours later I had watched three episodes! It really was a tremendously well done series and the military aspect of it had obviously been meticulously researched; with the changes in the Marines uniform over time, for example, being accurately reflected. Now, however, I am getting stressed as to whether the plastic Warlord marines will include early uncovered helmeted heads (for Guadalcanal) or will they all be the later covered helmets. I wish I could relax about these things and just contemplate games which aren't recreations of actual battles!
My command at Thapsus
Speaking of which I managed to have an afternoon off and took part in a game of Big Red Bat's magnificent Thapsus recreation at Colours today. I usually go to Colours on a Sunday, the second day, but it seemed particularly quiet today. I spoke to Mike of Black Hat Miniatures and he said it had been much busier yesterday. Maybe it will shrink to a day but, it seems, they need the second day to handle the wargames tournament games. I did buy a a couple of steampunk things for In Her Majesty's Name from Mike which will fit very well with my planned set-up. Disappointingly, I couldn't find any of the 4Ground Victorian buildings and apart from the IHMN scenic items all I bought were two of the factions for Ronin. It must be my smallest wargames show haul for years. Partly this is because I was hunting through my boxes to locate my Boot Hill Mexicans, as I have just bought an interesting, revisionist book on the Alamo. I couldn't find them anywhere and all the exercise did was make me realise that I have far too many figures for too many periods. No more periods! As the menopausal actress said to the Bishop.
I had a good look at the Warlord Pegasus Bridge model (which is huge!) but didn't photograph anything else except the Thapsus game where I was pitted against a trio of boys aged between about eight and fourteen (I would guess) who were making mincemeat of my command. They picked up the rules far quicker than I did (needless to say). Mr Bat's rules, which we were using, were card driven ,which made for quite a dynamic game where units could make a number of successive actions in one turn if the cards fell right. My cards, needless to say, didn't fall right and I was reminded of the time I played strip poker with three girls from one of the women's college's rowing squads. Hopefully, I will do better at the next attempt! I might have had a chance to read the rules by then too!
Fortunately, I had to escape to pick up my wife from work so avoided being present at yet another tragic defeat. Big Red Bat's armies looked magnificent and defined, for me, what a proper wargame should look like. His recreation of the Mediterranean Sea sorely lacked a galley, of course, but I have a few weeks reprieve to get it done before SELWG, which I haven't attended for more than ten years.