Sunday, November 06, 2016

Daleks, American football, SF babes and ACW infantry.

Well, you don't get any posts from me for weeks and then there are two in two days.  Although. one might say that the second is as unwelcome and pointless as two buses arriving together.  This is the first Sunday for two weeks that I haven't been at an NFL match.  The brandmeisters seem to have successfully changed the name from American Football to NFL in the UK.  

Just to spite them, I proudly wore my CFL Toronto Argonauts sweat shirt to both games, Mainly because it is thermal and really, really warm.  I went and watched the Grey Cup final in Edmonton in 1997 (it was the coldest place I had ever been -36 degrees) and later bought the celebratory sweat shirt in Toronto. 

I hadn't been to the new Wembley Stadium before and at least it had escalators to get you up to the top levels, unlike the long, dizzy-making spiral walk at Twickenham. The sound system wasn't so good, though so listening to the commentary was harder.  I had an aisle seat this time which was good as regards getting out but bad in the number of times you had to stand up while idiots went to get beer and then, of course, needed the loo. If you can't hold it don't drink it!  I felt like there were about 250 people in my row. Lots of Germans again. I left early, to avoid the rush, which was just as well as the game was drawn in overtime.   

It was nice to see the Washington Redskins play but the Bengals have always been one of those "couldn't care less teams" for me.  The latter were nominated as home team so they brought their cheerleaders (the Ben-gals - good grief!) with them.  My scientific research showed that they had a lot more 'blondes'' than the Los Angeles Rams did, which probably says something about the ethnic mix in LA compared with Cincinnati. Not that any of them have real blonde hair of course!  I remember striking eighties actress Sean (Blade Runner) Young being asked once: "What do brunettes know?"  "Most blondes aren't,"  she said. 

Now at 25 figures painted a year...

Less than ten minutes walk from Waterloo station is Dark Sphere "London's biggest gaming shop." Dark Sphere is almost entirely a SF and fantasy miniatures shop although it does carry a lot of Warlord's Bolt Action stuff and 4Ground scenics.  I just had enough time to go in there and pick up the new Perry Union infantry on my way home (they have a few boxes of Perry figures but seemed bemused by historicals).  However, because I am working on the Union cavalry at present I will do some Confederate infantry first, I think. I found a box of old Perry ACW plastics in my plastics pile today. They were not well thought of, I seem to recall but I can use some as unit fillers, I think.  I suspect they may be smaller than the newer figures in which case I will get rid of them.  I hate different sized figures in my armies.

Today the Old Bat made me go for a walk/jog in the woods near our house for thirty five miniatures.  It was nice and dry, fortunately.  Now you can get in by a new metal gate whereas before you had to apply for a key from Windsor Castle (it is Crown Estate).  We used to do this a lot but haven't for several years. It was just the sort of sunny, crispy autumnal day I like and I was surprised at the amount of  distance I manage to run without stopping for a walk.  ALthough my legs really hurt now!  Unfortunately, by the time I got back, had some lentil and bacon soup (200 calories), took a phone call from KPMG Botswana ("are you free to come here on 27th November?") and finished a document for them, the light had gone.  I did do the shading on three more horses but not really the progress I had hoped for this fine, sunny morning. At least it helped my decision as to how many cavalry to paint at  a time and I will do six rather than all twelve together.  Hooves, tails, eyes etc next.

 Last night, while watching Strictly Come Dancing, I assembled the other three Kurganova SF girly troopers I bought at Dark Sphere the week before. I thought Victrix Napoleonics were a pain to assemble but they are nothing compared with these.  I have lost a number of pieces from them as they are so fiddly.  Fortunately they come with spare heads as two disappeared completely somewhere on my floor.  Each figure has seven parts made form that hard plastic-type resin which, even with superglue, takes ages to set for pieces to join together.

These were very much an impulse buy (suggested by the evil Tamsin) and some of the other figures in the range suffer from Games Workshop rococo encrustation syndrome but these are fairly basic trooper types.  "They have very pert bottoms" my friend, A, observed when I met up with her at the Archduke wine bar after buying them. I explained that was because they were French.

Raging Heroes, the manufacturers, are planning to bring out rules for the figures but I am not sure whether I will buy into that.  Wondering what to do with them eventually I saw the announcement of the new Warlord Games plastic Daleks.  The whole history of plastic 28mm figures, since the first Perry ACW ones has been leading to this.  Little plastic Daleks! Excitement! It's like reading the words "Kelly Brook in Playboy."

I watched Dr Who from the beginning (yes, I remember William Hartnell) and loved the Daleks, of course. Actually, I didn't watch it quite from the start but I became aware of it through a large cough sweet tin I had which had this completely unappealing image on it (isn't the internet marvellous?).  Did they actually think this would help them sell more cough sweets?  Anyway,  I kept Lego in it but my mother said the man on the front looked like Dr Who (Hartnell, of course).  So next time Dr Who was on TV I insisted on watching it.  I remember several creatures other than the Daleks.  The  Zarbis (1965) were weird insectoid men in suits (I realised in retrospect).  I also remember some not very scary robots called the chumblies (not exactly a sinister name, either).

Mine will be these colours!

When I was little, a truck load of Daleks drove past our house on the way to Shepperton Studios for one of the Peter Cushing Dr Who films. I haven't watched many of the new Dr Who episodes yet (except a couple of Christmas specials with my sister) because I insist on watching TV shows in order and Charlotte has had my Dr Who DVDs up in Edinburgh for years.   Of course like James Bond actors you tend to relate to the one actor as the real Dr Who and for me that was Tom Baker.

Another Dr Who fan who lived nearby was our neighbour's son who was an only child and seemed to have far more toys than we did, including a train set layout in his loft.  What he had, which I coveted even more than the train set (and his Mousetrap game), was The Dalek Book.  I'd love to buy a copy of  this today but they go for over £100 on eBay and you can get an awful lot of Perry plastics for that!

I loved this book and my friend kindly lent it to me (again and again).  It had some pretty terrible comic strips and stories (I remember one about a Dalek invasion force being destroyed by diamond dust blown out of London Underground tunnels by tube trains- I suspect the physics was quite weak). I also remember a story called Monsters of Gurnian which featured what looked like two headed  dinosaurs taking on the bizarre two legged Marsh Daleks.  Daleks with legs! You would have thought that the Daleks would have developed this technology further!

My favourite story was a strip called City of the Daleks which was, basically, an excuse to show you what the Dalek city on Skaro looked like.  I subsequently built the Dalek City out of Lego.  My favourite bit was the Dalek War Museum which was full of exotic space ships (it looks a bit like the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum).

Another favourite part of the city in the strip was the golden Emperor's quarters which I built out of yellow Lego.  In retrospect, it seems a bit odd that the Emperor Dalek (an invention of these books and not seen in the films or TV shows up to this point) had quarters.  What would he need quarters for?  Being a robot you would assume that he wouldn't need time off.  Did he relax and sip cocktails and listen to Mantovani?  

I populated my Lego Dalek War Museum with little model spaceships that had come with packets of Sugar Smacks cereal.  This was my favourite cereal (appallingly, it was 53% sugar by weight - it is now known as Honey Smacks) as they often had little free gifts in them and you would have to search around in the opened packet with a spoon (or my hand if my mother wasn't watching) to find them,  The little plastic packets would emerge, covered in sugar and cereal dust as you hoped that you hadn't got the boring Apollo Command module again. You would then have to clip the pieces together.  This sort of thing is probably not allowed now, due to health and safety (Kinder Surprise eggs are banned in the US for these reasons). They did quite a lot of Gerry Anderson giveaways too but these ones were a mixture of real and fictional spaceships.  

 Similar clip together (no glue necessary) fun looks like it will be had with the Warlord Daleks.  Looking at the Warlord Games website I noticed that the Dr Who figures are not 28mm as I thought but they describe them as 38mm (including the base).  This will be fine for the Kurganovas though, as they appear to be about 35mm tall.  So it will be Daleks versus SF babes! 


  1. The Kurganovas look good - glad I was able to work my evil on you! They are quite fiddly though, which makes them a pain to glue. And to find all the parts once you've cut them off from the sprue and cleaned up the flash...

  2. cheaper to buy the Daleks on ebay - the ones they used to have on the front of magazines - eventually my Dalek Army will see the table...

    1. Don't like the style of those. Want the more retro looking ones!

    2. I'm not a fan of the new Dr Who, really. Anything past Tom Baker I don't watch!

  3. Can't think why Strictly should remind you of those troopers...

    Want a Zarbi? - Or how about the equally unlikely Menoptra? -

  4. Retrieving the plastic toy in a cereal packet with a spoon - you must have had a very middle class upbringing!!! Surely half the fun was to reduce most of the packet to dust fragments by jamming your forearm right to the bottom of the (obviously) full packet and then rooting around .......?

  5. Black tree do all the various doctors and opponents in chunky 28mm, no assembly and with their regular sales might even be as cheap. I agree on Tom Baker, heroes with scarves there's a thing.
    Best Iain

    1. I notice that Black Tree's Daleks are now no longer available (apart from one suicide Dalek) I suspect that they will have to take more and more things out of their ranges as the Warlord range builds.