Sunday, April 26, 2009


The current symptoms (I know they are over exposed but I can't be bothered to re-photograph them as I fancy some Cotes du Rhone Rose, some cornichons and French Saucisse and an episode of something mindless (Howard's Way, Bergerac my new Star Trek box?) 0n TV.

I'm suffering from a malady that very occasionally I succumb to. Tricornicitus. The first time this happened was about ten years ago when I started to paint a lot of the Accurate 1/72nd Plastic AWI figures. I stopped because at about this time I started painting metal figures and also because you couldn't build an army (or anything like).

Then again when Foundry started to release their AWI figures I bought some and nearly finished a few, but other things intervened and I sold most of them To Giles Allison to boost his wonderful armies (yes somewhere in all that Gilesian magnificence are a few soldiers bought by me!).

Latterly, I started on the Musketeer Miniatures GNW figures and, like everyone else got frustrated by the slow progress of the miniatures (although recently with the annoncement of the Russian Pikemen I started on my remaining three Russian musketeers and got all the base colours down this afternoon).

Now I am being hit by another bout of Triconicitus. I have started work (like nearly everyone else at Guildford Wargames Club) on some of the Black Hat Marlburians for an undisclosed "club project". I am painting a unit of 16 Languedoc infantry and have six under way. Mike, the owner of Black Hat, is the club's very own Evil Emperor, gobbling up other lines and manufactureres like Pac Man. When I left the club last week with my three packs of figures I thought they looked rather squat (and I am very fussy about anatomy). However, as I start to paint them they look better and better ( at least from 14" away and with me not wearing glasses) so I hope to get my first little base of six done soon. It won't be for a couple of weeks though as I am off on another trip on Tuesday. I could have done some tomorrow night but it is the first meeting of the office Martini Club at a nice West End hotel. I mustn't have too many Martinis as an 11 hour flight the next day with a hangover would not be a good idea.

Fairly new member Keith also got some of the Black Hat figures the same time as me but he is making better progress (probably as he is an aficianado of the "Dip" method and fielded some very nice "dipped" Warlord Romans last week). He has just set up a blog and I notice that he is as bad as me with his multiple projects (he has only recently embarked on historical gaming after years of Warhammer).

Work continues on my 1670s period Languedoc figures from the Mark Copplestone range. I didn't do anything on these today as they are stressing me out. They are so nice thatI just can't do them justice. Hopefully a break will enable me to come back and finish them next month.

Finally, my latest Tricornicitus flare-up was this afternoon when looking through my various books for WSS uniform details. I kept coming back to look at Seven Years War uniforms. In particular, I keep looking at Mark Sims Crusader figures. I think it is the Grenadier mitres. I am seriously contemplating getting a set or two...

Oh dear, I really must lie down!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Wargame! Shock!

My Celtic Warbands wait for the off

I actually got along to Guildford last night for the first time in five months! We played a very traditional WAB Romans v Britons game which was just great.

So I came away thinking that I must paint more Germans or Celts (Germans are quicker) but then I picked up some of Mike's 15mm Black Hat Marlburian French for a club project. Oh dear, I haven't tried to paint 15mm since some Peter Pig Romans about eight years ago. I only have to do an 18 man unit but... let's see. I'll either enjoy painting them or not. We shall see!

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Exactly 1,000 points of WAB Celts

I'm having one of those phases when I don't feel like painting, largely because I am overwhelmed by what I could paint.

I was getting on well with some early Germans for our game at the club tomorrow but then when I saw the player's instructions for the barbarians it became obvious that it was really an Ancient Britons rather than a Germans game. So having prepared a load of Germans I had to redo the army as Celts. I don't have quite enough Britons for the 140 figures I needed but a few of the younger less beardy Germans filled out the centres of the units and shouldn't be too noticeable. Above is my 1,000 points worth and Andy is bringing another 6 warbands. Should be about 325 figures with the slingers. My little boy is on half term so he can come along too. I will make sure he does the dice throwing, he is much better at it than me. This is the first picture for one of my blogs with my new 10 megapixel, 12x zoom Lumix. It certainly takes a lovely picture. Maybe too lovely as it will show up all my blodgy painting even more!

I've been upgrading all my technology lately. First, I got the nice 22" flat screen for the computer as I was having trouble reading stuff on the old CRT one. Then I bought a new PC as mine was really on it's last legs: it only had 80GB of memory and a combination of iTunes and photographs meant that it was struggling. It would take about 15-20 minutes to boot up in the morning and the daily anti-virus update download would bring it to grinding halt for 45 minutes. So, I am very pleased with my shiny new machine. I've got 1TB of memory now and it starts up in seconds rather than minutes. Much better! We've also just invested in a Playstation 3, theoretically for Guy, but having said he didn't need one I gave in when I found out it would play Blu Ray discs. I immediately went out and bought King Kong, Close Encounters and Kingdom of Heaven, which I watched last night. I have to say the HD picture is fantastic and it seems to have dealt with the issue of "image float" where something moves quickly on the screen and the image has to "catch up". Of course it made me want to go and buy a load of Perry Crusaders (I have quite a few painted Turcomen already) but so far I have resisted!

Spears in the top, Thracians on the bottom

I couldn't get any more of the units in B&Q for my lead pile overflow but I bought something similar but with bigger drawers. I have taken those figures from the smaller drawers, where I have a large amount spread over multiple small drawers, and put them in the big drawers. Interestingly, the figures I had the most of were WW1 Germans, ECW and Thracians. The lead pile overflow is now neatly stored away.

I now need to find some figures to get working on again. I've got quite a few nearly finished: Uruk Hai scouts, Dutch Jaegers, German WW1, Baluchi matchlockmen, Zulus, Normans, WW1 Highlanders, Sudan Highlanders, Late Saxons, Celtic slingers, French Napoleonic...

Working on the Ancient Germans has got me thinking that maybe I should just try to finish at least one army. The ones which are closest are the Celts, the Germans, Early Imperial Romans, Wars of the Roses and Chinese Back of Beyond. The Celts put me off because I need to do a load of chariots. The WotR need knights which means heraldry, ugh! The Germans and Romans are more straightforward but at the moment I am thinking about doing some more Chinese as Guy has shown an interest in them.
Some of my Warlord Chinese. Copplestone Castings figures

I did have a game with them a few years ago with someone at the club who had Russians. Recently, I also watched the Tom Selleck film High Road to China, although I had to buy the DVD in Sweden as it's not on sale in the UK or US for some reason. It's not a brilliant movie but it does have bi-planes, Waziri tribesmen, British Infantry and must be the only one out there that features a 1930's Chinese Warlord Army. They even got the cap badges right!

Anyway, I will see what I feel like in the next few days. I won't have much painting time, though, as I am in Manchester for two days next week and then I am in Canada for a fortnight.

Finally, I have ordered some more of Artizan's new Arab Revolt figures as the Arabs on camels have come out and I really like painting camels! I am reading Michael Asher's biography of Lawrence of Arabia at present and am just getting to the Arab revolt bit. Oh dear, this could be a bad one!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Howard's Way

All aboard the Skylark!

Giles appears to be casting aspersions on my choice of DVD, which were seen behind my lead mountain in the post below!

Well, I love Howards Way! It's so eighties! And cheap looking. And always full of scenes of shivering actors trying to pretend the weather is nice!

For readers who were lucky enough to escape this "aspirational" BBC series from the eighties it was all about the boating set in Hampshire in the south of England. The dreadfully wooden Tom was made redundant from his job as an aircraft designer and set up as a boat designer instead working with old-fashioned, drunken, dinosaur boatbuilder Jack and bringing in all sorts of trendy working techniques and practices (A Thatcherite allegory, perhaps) to the disgruntled but forelock tugging local workmen at the Mermaid Boatyard. Tom designed an ugly new racing yacht, the Barracuda, and a local boatbuilder actually put them into production in real life. My father in law sailed one once and said it handled like a brick.

The slimy Ken Masters: look no shirt!

Tom was soon cosying up to Jack's daughter Avril and Tom's wife was soon having an affair with Ken Masters, possibly the slimiest creature ever to grace a BBC series (you could tell he was no good as he liked powerboats instead of sailing yachts and wore jumpers with no shirt on underneath).

Wooden Tom, dreary Lynne and stupid Leo on a nasty plastic boat.

Also involved was Tom's moronic son Leo and daughter the vacuous but outrageously curvy Lynne. Also on the scene was dreary Abby, daughter of local nympho Polly (very much the best thing in the show) and bi-sexual Gerald. Also introduced in series one was oily big businessman Charles Frere who had a Bentley (but the cheap one with the mesh radiator grill not the proper one with the vertical struts). My (then) future father in law, who had a Mulsanne Turbo at the time, was particularly rude about that! Charles was played by Tony Anholt who was always acting at Windsor Theatre whenever I was dragged there by my mother. The actors playing Charles and Lynne ended up married (although not for long).

My father in law kept one of his boats in the Hamble right next to the Elephant Boatyard which was the fictional Mermaid Boatyard in the show. We used to eat in the same pub as in the series!

So Howard's Way is part of my new nostalgia kick caused by being in my fiftieth year! I am getting more nostalgic for things that remind me of when my life was much less complicated: no demanding children, no school fees, no wife getting me to spend £1,000 on three lights, no having to tell stupid foreign government ministers how to sort out their infrastructure and no commuting. Instead a nice comfortable life at home, just starting in the City and spending most of my salary on classed growth claret and weekends with the engagingly voracious and curvy V (who confirmed everything my father had told me about convent girls).

Those were the days. I think I'll go and watch an episode of Bergerac now...

Monday, April 13, 2009

The lead mountain overflows..

The overflow pile...

I keep all my unpainted figures in those little plastic drawers you can buy at B&Q for screws and such. I have six units of 15 drawers each...and they're full! Now I literally have a lead pile building up behind my chair and nowhere to put it! I could get some more units (if they still sell them ) but where do I put the units? All my shelves are full! Time to sell one of the children and steal their bedroom I think.

The other disaster is that the units of file boxes I used to buy at John Lewis for painted figures have been discontinued. Argh! They were perfect!

Thursday, April 09, 2009


First warband and a bit ready to go

I don't get to Guildford Wargames Club very often as I am out the country about a third of the year and quite often have evening functions to go to as well. So given the few days I am around it's then rare to find a game I actually want to play. I much prefer to take part in games where I can field my own figures but as my collection is (meaning that I have lots of armies of 20 figures) I don't often find a game I can make and have the figures for. However, on 20th April we will be doing a Romans v Barbarians game. It will be a rather unhistoric alliance of Celts and Germans against Romans. Well, not that unhistoric as the Celts and German tribes did sometimes collaborate but in a rather earlier period than the Early Imperial Romans that John and Keith will be fielding.

My contribution will be to field half of the barbarian force: 1000 WAB points of warbands. So, over the next ten days I will be trying to get a few more Germans finished, make some movement trays and tidy up the bases on my Germans.

I bought a lot of the Foundry Copplestone Germans years ago and have since picked up more on eBay. I have about 48 painted and based properly with static grass and about another 40 where the bases need re-doing as they were done in my pre-static grass period. Today I managed to get about 20 figures well on the way and I should get these done by the end of the long weekend. I'd also like to do another half dozen cavalry but that may be pushing it. We shall see. Finished units will be posted on my Roman blog.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Painted: Régiment de Carignan-Salières 1665

Well, I have actually finished another figure: my second in five weeks!

This is one of the new Copplestone Louis XIV range which depict figures from 1665-1680. French troops of this time had only just started being issued with uniforms and Régiment de Carignan-Salières was one of the very first we know about to have received them. Typically the coat would be one colour and the linings, which were turned back on the sleeves, would be a contrasting colour. It was about this time that many French regiments were being issued grey uniforms with coloured linings although this process took some time to complete and even by the late 1670s not every unit had uniforms.

Next I think I will do a couple of figures from a more traditionally uniformed unit. I've still no idea what to actually use these figures for and am contemplating something I don't usually do which is having a non-historical historical approach. These means the uniforms are right but the units I paint may never have engaged each other.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Ian Allan Bookshop Waterloo

I read today on TMP about a bookshop right next to Waterloo Station that stocks wargames figures. Well, I got along there his afternoon and whilst it is mainly a railway bookshop it has a few packs of Great War Miniatures and others, some 1/35 stuff and quite a good military book section. I bought about five packs of GWM, some Crusader pirates and two books on the Zulu War I didn't have. So £54 gone and I still caught my train, as it is literally less than five minutes from my station. Bad news! The very helpful ladies said that they could order me anything in, which would save the postage.

Ian Allan
45/46 Lower Marsh, Waterloo, London, SE1 7RG - click here for map
Tel: 020 7401 2100
Fax: 020 7401 2887

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri 9am to 5.30pm, Sats 9am to 5pm,
Suns & Bank Holidays Closed

Coincidentally, Ian Allan himself lived about 100 yards from where I did when I was younger. His nephew was in my class at junior school. He was quite a well known character in my village, Laleham-on-Thames: famously he had lost a leg as a youngster and had an artificial one, which was a fact of great interest to my schoolmates! His publishing house HQ was at the end of the railway line in Shepperton where I caught my train to senior school every day.

Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy

This is a magazine I pick up occasionally as it isn't that easy to get and also, because it has themed issues, sometimes the content just doesn't appeal. Nevertheless it is usually interesting and has a better figure review section than the other magazines.

I bought this month's issue because it featured the Roman invasion of Britain in 43AD which definitely is interesting to me. Now, I haven't done anything but flick through it but it's almost unreadable as the translation is so bad. I actually thought it looked like it had been done by a computer programme but, in fact, they list no less than five translators. Now I speak Italian and know that Latin languages don't translate that well into English but, even so, someone could have gone through it and tidied up the sentence construction a bit. I don't remember it being this bad before but they better sort it out before I buy another one!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Blog Hit Parade: March

General Gordon Brown prepares to see off anarchists trying to break into the Bank of England (if only...)

Sudan Armies passed the 50,000 views mark this month and stays at number one. I really need to do some more stuff for it! Cavegirls dropped a place but there is a lot of new barely-clad stuff in process at the moment! The big climber was the Lord of the Rings blog indicating a lot of interest in the new War of the Ring rules. The Zulu War and the Great War blogs saw big increases too. (Last month's rankings in brackets).

1 (1) 19th Century Sudan Armies 9,983 (50,283)
2 (3) Legatus' Wargames Armies 3,464 (23,505)
3 (2) Cavegirls in Fur Bikinis 1,595 ( 99,888)
4 (4) Spartan WAB 1,200( 12,123)
5 (12) Lord of the Rings 1,283 (3,986)
6 (9) The Great War 1,020(3,190)
7 (10) Great Northern War 991 (5,172)
8 (8) Return to Darkest Africa 857 (8,007)
9 (14) Zulu War 843(2080)
10 (5) Dark Ages WAB 834 (4,9804)
11 (13) 1st-4th Century Roman WAB 532 (4,203)
12 (7 )Punic War WAB 379 (4,579)
13 (6) Byzantine WAB 279 (3,228)
14 (15) Swashbucklers 163 (737)
15 (11) Pulp Warriors 54 (48,905)