Sunday, April 28, 2013

First two figures for In Her Majesty's Name

I sat down and painted these two yesterday.  The "Consulting Detective" from the Scotland Yard company and a cultist follower of Akhenaton from the Servants of Ra company.  Yesterday evening I also cleaned up and based the rest of the figures from these companies plus the Lord Curr's Company as well. Still two more companies to go though!

A number of issues have presented themselves, however.  The first relates to the quality of the figures.  Not the quality of the sculpting, I should add, which is characterful and excellent. There are two issues here.  Firstly, several of the figures have been slightly misaligned in the mould which necessitated more than a bit of filing and some actual carving with a knife to get the two surfaces aligned. Nothing fatal, but time consuming. Several figures were also pitted and all had quite prominent mould lines. The second issue is that the metal they are made from is quite soft (usefully given the above) but, as a result I am concerned for the durability of some of them.

Lord Curr himself brandishes a long and exotic gun but the top portion of this is very susceptible to bending to the extent that I expect it to fall off shortly. Likewise he dancer, Sairah, is connected to the base solely by one slender ankle.  She is also looking fragile.  The upshot here is that compared to the Perry and Aventine figures I am working on at present, they have used quite a low quality metal.

The final two issues relate to aesthetics.  A large part of my interest in these figures was because of Kevin Dallimore's splendid paint jobs on them.  Unlike historical military figures, however, you can paint them any way you like and, yet, Mr Dallimore's artistic choices are so spot on that you are tempted just to follow his colour scheme.  If you did, however, you would just end up with an inferior copy of his figures.  This became an issue with my very first cultist figure.  Everyone knows that Pulp cultists wear red but I didn't want to go down that route for the reason given above.  Red would be appropriate for these figures too because of  ancient representations of the Eye of Ra (depicted on the mummified priest figure).  Instead I have painted mine a sand colour (Humbrol 121) as they look appropriately Egyptian.  This is the colour I use for my Sudan bases as it is very close, coincidentally, to the colour of the sand in Egypt and the Sudan, as you can see from my profile picture further down on the left.  The turquoise-blue shade is going to be used throughout this company to reflect the lapis lazuli used in a lot of ancient Egyptian jewellery.  I have decided not to attempt to paint the Eye of Ra symbol on their tunics as this would be beyond me.  I am amused to see that Mr Dallimore has used the Stargate version of this ancient symbol rather than anything more archaeological.

This wasn't such an issue with the Sherlock Holmes figure as a grey coat and deerstalker are common.  Jeremy Brett wore something very similar in a number of his Sherlock Holmes episodes.  I thought that the figure looked enough like the late Mr Brett to give him black gloves which he wore so often in the superb ITV series.  The other civilians, also, will be easier to de-Dallimore and I am currently researching late nineteenth century gentlemen's clothing which is rather more colourful than formal wear today.

The second aesthetic issue is more fundamental.  How do you depict the figures' bases when they may be deployed in both urban and rural settings?  Earth and grass would look odd inside a building (I am having grandiose thoughts about attempting to construct a museum interior).  Equally, a paved surface would be strange in the country.  So I have left the bases as a compromise bare earth.  I'm still not sure on this one.  My daughter says that obviously I need differently based figures for the different environments!  Given it took  me around seven hours to paint these first two I don't think that that is likely.

So, I have some more time today so try to get some more prepared.  All in all they are very enjoyable to paint but take a lot of time as I am using four or five shades rather than my usual three.  Watson is under way so maybe one of the young ladies next!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Renedra Ramshackle Barn

One thing I don't spend enough time on is scenery and in skirmish wargaming, in particular, large amounts of scenery are often a necessity.  I've got some trees, hills and now even a small river (which still needs some work) but very little in the way of buildings.  I have quite a few resin ones from Grand Manner but very few are painted.  

So when I saw this new Renedra plastic kit of a ramshackle (from the Middle English word to pillage, ransaken and hence ransack) I thought it might be a useful item for a number of periods from ACW onwards.  Immediately I thought it could form part of my vague ideas for a board for In Her Majesty's Name.  Normally I would bring it home and forget about it but my lack of good condition paintbrushes (since remedied) meant I couldn't paint any figures properly so I set to work on constructing the barn instead.

It went together quite well without it being completely easy.  The nature of the roof meant that achieving a snug fit was impossible and the small outhouse was tricky to get straight but I soon had a reasonable approximation of the one on the cover.  I decided to mount it on a base as it didn't feel that robust without one 

"Are you my mummy?"

A quick undercoat of black paint and then four or five shades of dry-brushed Humbrol number 98 brown saw it looking suitable scruffy.  I know it looks grey but however I photograph it the colours won't come out properly.

Anyway, I enjoyed painting it so much I am going to work on a building for my Darkest Africa campaign next.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A post Salute frustration, Victorian fluff and nearly a nasty moment...

In Her Majesty's Name - not as much progress as I would have hoped

Usually on my return from Salute I immediately base a figure or two and try to get something painted straight away.  This is exactly what I intended to do today, given that I possess nearly five dozen new figures for In Her Majesty's Name.  I based a dozen yesterday and undercoated three today intending to finish at least one (probably Sherlock Holmes).  Alas, I found myself in a position this morning with not one paintbrush with  a decent point on it.  The one drawback of enamel paints is that they mean your brush life is measured in weeks.  My recent productivity has had its inevitable effect, so no painting today!

What could I do, instead?  I made a nice cup of Lifeboat Tea (my favourite) in my splendid new Salute Jason and the Argonauts red figure-style mug and looked down at my new Renedra barn, sat in the pile next to my chair (I had carefully scattered all my new purchases in different corners of my study to avoid the inevitable Stasi-style raid, but cookerhood woman was safely at work).  Light bulb!  I could have an Airfix sort of day instead!  Now I haven't made any of these new plastic building models, mainly because none of them have suited any of the periods I do and also because, on the whole, I prefer resin (the attempt at thatch on the Perry medieval house is tragic).  But needing some scenery for In Her Majesty's Name I thought the barn could be used on my gradually coalescing Manor House scenario.  It would also work for the ACW as well.  I put it together pretty quickly (although the fit of the parts isn't perfect) and decided to base it for some added strength as the design of the piece meant that there was not much in the way of areas in contact where you could apply glue.  I wanted to leave the roof unattached so it could be removed but I don't think it would have been strong enough on its own.  I've now textured the base, black undercoated it and got the main colour down.  It now needs some detailing and the base painting.  I hope to finish it tomorrow (or, more likely, considering the number of meetings I have tomorrow, the next day).  It's a shock to be working on scenery though!

One is cookerhood cleaner, one is the opposite

I don't use black undercoat that often but as it was a comparatively warm day I took advantage of the warmth to undercoat my new Warlord Caesarian Romans as well, which I decided would also benefit from black undercoat, given the amount of metal on them.  As a result I nearly had a disaster!  I left the can of paint on the worktop in the kitchen.  When my wife came home from work she decided to clean her new cooker hood which has a stainless steel flue.  The electrician had left dirty fingerprints on it so she had ordered some special cleaner in an aerosol.  Looking at the flue in the bright light this afternoon she decided to give it a squirt. Fortunately, I was in the kitchen at the time as she reached for my black undercoat instead!  She was about half a second from spraying black paint all over her £1,000 cooker hood!  It would have all been my fault I'm sure!  

In order to keep me focussed on a project I like to indulge in a bit of background fluff to engender the requisite engagement.  Usually this is just a bit of reading and appropriate music while I paint.  So I've been listening to the Hans Zimmer Sherlock Holmes soundtracks, the Patrick Gowers TV soundtrack and even David Arnold's Sherlock soundtracks.  Sometimes something more visual is needed and so the other night I watched the Sherlock Holmes (2009) film again as it is quite Steampunky in places.  Having been kicked off the TV while Guy played Xbox yet again (he was recently chosen for the UK Call of Duty team and offered an all expenses trip to Las Vegas for the World Championships - that's how much he plays.  Fortunately he was too young!) I decided to finish an episode of the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes which I had started but not finished some time ago.  Quite a lot of these are shot in and around country houses rather than the foggy London I imagined would feature more often (which is why I need to locate my unpainted model mansion which I originally bought for using in ECW games).  This episode, The Man with the Twisted Lip, did have some good dark alley Victorian London scenes however which gave me some thoughts about a London scenic board (eventually).

Eleanor David in The Man with the Twisted Lip

However the scene which really took my fancy was when Holmes (the North Star IHMN figure really looks like Jeremy Brett) and Watson turn up at the lady in distress's house in the country.  Played by Eleanor David, one of a number of splendid actresses to appear in this series over the years, she offers Holmes and Watson a cold supper after their long journey from London.

They never eat it but this sumptuous looking collation of pie, cheese, ham on the bone and cold pork chops quite distracted me from the action.  I proceeded to shop for a version of this to have tonight with a nice bottle of claret while I watch the next episode...  Inspiration comes in many forms!

Salute 2013

Nice scenery for the In Her Majesty;s Name demo game

So, I went along to Salute today but didn't stay too long as I had some stuff to do for work.  Still, I arrived at my usual time of just after eleven and drifted in with no queuing whatsoever.  My first impression was that it was a lot more crowded than last year, which is the opposite of what I would have expected.  In fact, I had to go back to several stands on my target list as I couldn't get near them initially.

The first job was to pick up my In Her Majesty's Name figures and rules.  I had pre-ordered everything and so ended up with 55 figures plus four stretch goal bonus figures.  My initial impression of the figures is that they are excellent although I have to say the casting on many of them is only about 8/10.  Some flash and heavy mould lines caused by slight misalignment on some figures required quite a bit of filing work on the dozen I based this evening.  It's nothing too serious but compared with the immaculate Aventine figures which I have been buying lately it's a bit disappointing.  

There is nothing disappointing about the rule book, however.  I was a bit concerned about the fact that North Star may only produce these five companies for the game as they fell so far short of their pre-order target but the book uses lots of Foundry Darkest Africa figures in their illustrations and some of the other companies such as explorers, cowboys and French will be easy to build with appropriate figures from Foundry and others. They will give me an excuse, for example, to buy some of the new Artizan French Foreign Legion figures without having to commit to a whole army's worth.

They're back!

I've always wanted some cowboys and looked at some of the Foundry ones on their small but busy stand.  It must be some years since Foundry were at Salute and my first thought was how the mighty had fallen, looking at their modest stand compared with the likes of Gripping Beast and Warlord Games. Still, I have a great affection for Foundry and bought a nice giraffe for my Darkest Africa games.

I did end up buying rather more than I intended but was quite good.  I picked up the latest copies of WSS, and Miniature Wargames (both at a discount, although the MW lady just inside the entrance was so pretty I probably would have paid extra just to buy it from her).  I picked up the next two MW DVDs which means I can clear some more space on my shelves. Hooray!

I eventually got to the Crooked Dice stand (they seemed to be two deep in front of it much of the day) and bought their stylish new 7th Voyage rules designed for Ray Harryhausen type adventures.  A quick skim of them indicates that they are everything that the sadly simplistic Tribes of Legend wasn't.  More on these in the future.  While there I bought my first non-planned buy: a Sinbad and sorcerer figure which are made by the Canadian firm Harwood Hobbies.  Hopefully Crooked Dice will carry the rest of the range.  If not I'll have to get Sophie to order them for me and then I'll pick them up from her.  I've always wanted to do an Arabian nights game!

Not only were the Dux Bellorum games attractive but their display material was excellent too

Another unplanned purchase was the Dux Bellorum rules brought on by seeing two very attractive games under way.  I have always been a Dark Ages fan (my first 28mm figures were Gripping Beast Vikings).  The friendly chap at the game pointed out that you could have a reasonable army with not too many figures and showed me some units on 4Ground bases which enable you to use individually based figures.  I bought some of these skirmish bases as an experiment and need to look into this further.  I had held off on DB as it used the dreaded element basing but this may be a way for me to cope with it.

I bought Dux Bellorum on the Osprey stand and also picked up the new Myths and Legends Jason and the Argonauts book.  This is very attractive but a quick flick through it suggests it is quite lightweight, but that is only because I have quite a lot of books on the Argonauts.  Still, any inspiration is good inspiration.

Big skeletons in the South London Warlords game

Incidentally, there were at least three Argonauts games I saw: a Crooked Dice one (nice scenery - or "set" as they would no doubt have it), one with 40mm figures and the Warlords' own one with 1/6 Action Man sized figures.  I couldn't see the point of the latter, really, as the larger scale didn't add much to the game and the scenery was rather basic (if large).

Two more unscheduled plastic purchases included a Renedra barn (which I am thinking of putting in the grounds of my ECW mansion for my first attempt at In Her Majesty's Name) and a set of plastic Velites from a new company called Agema.

These are more anatomically correct than many plastic wargames figures (I have been very disappointed with the big headed Gripping Beast plastics for example) and they said that this was deliberate.  They are promising legionaries later in the year and then, if they sell well, Liby-Phoenicians.

Victrix had some 3 ups of Punic Wars period Romans on their stand but I think I have seen these somewhere before.

I didn't get any of the new Perry 8th Army plastics (although I was tempted, but reasoned I could get them in Orc's Nest) but they did have the 3 ups of their plastic American Continental Army and ACW artillery.

Finally, I picked up a figure of a Viking carrying off a young lady over his shoulder from Heroes of the Dark Ages.  Not very politically correct but she looked so like one of my ex girlfriends that I had to buy it. I may paint this sooner rather than later!

There were a few things I nearly bought but didn't (mainly because my bag was filling up) such as the Ainsty Castings pirate ships which I hadn't seen "in the resin" before.  These are all lovely.  Secondly, some nice terrain boards from Wargames Terrain Workshop which are similar to the Citadel ones but cheaper and free from horrid skull pits.  I might get some of these.  Also I wished I had bought the Ironclad Miniatures VSF tunneling machine.

Left to right: 4Ground factory, terrace houses and police station for Victorian London

Lastly, were some of the new Victorian buildings from 4Ground. I nearly bought the splendid police station but, oddly, what stopped me was that it had red bricks. Observing what few old buildings are left as I travelled on the DLR through the East End I noticed that nearly all the buildings had yellow bricks.   They'd all need covering in soot though.  I remember how grimy the buildings in London used to be when I was small.  These don't officially come out until next month.

Probably not the laser cut model to begin with

Another thing which caught my eye at the 4Ground stand was there massive "Beowulf" type hall.  This I will have to get eventually once I have a bit of practice at assembling these laser cut buildings.  Where I would store it is a different matter: it was huge!

What's the collective term for a mass of wargames bloggers?  A stand?  A sprue?

Finally, I bravely headed to the "red dot" to find dozens of bloggers, as loosely arranged over the last few days by the likes of Wargaming Girl and various Postie's Rejects (ooh er, social networking).  I did have a chat with Big Red Bat but was a bit intimidated by all the other happy bloggers (maybe its because, deep down, I'm not really a gamer!).  Still, an impressive turn out, although I agree with Mike at Trouble At T'Mill blog that next year maybe everyone should wear badges (we shall refrain from the Alfonso Bedoya quote).

The Plancenoit portion of the Waterloo game

I was slightly disappointed in the quality of the display games this year.  There was a large and impressive Waterloo game but not any real show stoppers I thought.

The nicest terrain was probably the Wargames Illustrated (I think) Gettysburg piece.  A really nice hill effect.

So now I need to get down and paint some more stuff and maybe even play another game or two!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Salute Eve

I really don't need any more figures at present but hope to pick up my In Her Majesty's Name packs at Salute tomorrow which should effectively put the Romans on the back burner for a bit.

Other than this it's mostly rules I am after; particularly the Black Powder Waterloo supplement and the Crooked Dice Harryhausen rules.  I have just been going through the plan of the show in this month's Miniature Wargames to identify my favourites to check out and noticed that Wargames Foundry are listed to have a stand.  If so that's their first for a very long time.  Another manifestation of the change of management?

I need to be good this year as we have just done the maths on how much it will cost to keep my daughter at Edinburgh University for five years.  I think I could buy my own wargames company for that!

I must remember my camera this year! 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Back of Beyond Wargame

In a particularly green part of Central Asia the Warlord sends his White Russian lancers forward to recce

Thanks to Alastair for setting up a very rare game for me at Guildford last night. The first I had played on a regular club night for two and a half years, I think!  It was a Back of Beyond game with his Bolsheviks against my Warlord Chinese using the Triumph and Tragedy rules, which neither of us had played before.  His take on it is here

Getting me to explain how a set of wargames rules works is like asking Kelly Brook to explain the workings of the Large Hadron Collider (does it collide large Hadrons or is it just a large machine for colliding normal sized Hadrons?  I suppose I could ask my daughter but she is upstairs with next door's cat asleep on her bed again).  

The right teacher is so important to proper comprehension

Basically, each unit has a card and you can chose which order to activate your units and what they are going to do (move, shoot, recover, charge etc).  Each player lays down one card per unit in whatever order they chose to activate all the units until they are all done. This made the choice of which units to activate in which order quite tactical and I was nearly getting the hang of it by the end.  Small units of about ten figures gave a nice manageable game with throws to hit (on a D10) and throws to save (in a D6).  All in all I thought they were good rules and, initially at least, there were far less casualties than in the Chris Peers Contemptible Little Armies set which I used in the only other Back of Beyond game I have had.  It does require markers to indicate the status of units which I am not a big fan of but Alastair had some funny Litko skull markers which were better than most I have seen.

What Russian sailors are doing in the middle of Central Asia I am not quite sure.  You can tell it's the Back of Beyond because there are Yaks!

The scenario had a group of Russian Navy sailors holding a railway station with the Chinese attempting to blow up the railway.  There was also something about the Russians telegraphing for an (invisible) armoured train.  Given its invisibility I don't know whether it arrived or not.  

Somewhere I have an armoured train model for the period which I bought from Mark Copplestone.  It all reminds me of the Anthony Conway Caspasian novel The General's Envoy which featured a Chinese armoured train and a warlord army.  I must read it again!

I didn't have a lot of cover on my side of the board so just advanced in lines.  Obviously my army had been trained by a German officer who had gone to China before the Great War.  I was worried about the close proximity of my troops faced with a machine gun but the rules don't penalise this; it is just a score against the unit - how closely packed they are doesn't matter (unlike grenades).

Although advancing into a machine gun is not usually a good idea I was lucky and my own machine gun soon put paid to it.

I had attacked Alastair's weak flank but he soon had some troops racing to plug the gap which they did quite well but eventually I ground them down.

My general makes a break for the abandoned station while my elite unit prepares to engage yet another wave of Bolsheviks.

At first I had no idea what I was doing (as usual) but by the end of the game I had a plan and was using the threat of my cavalry to pin down a couple of units while (I hoped) my force on the left could turn Alastair's flank.   All was going well until my cavalry charge came up short (it's a set distance plus the best of two D6) and my lovely newly painted lancers were sent off.  Still, they did better than most newly painted units.

Meanwhile my general had dismounted inside the station and was soon involved in a vicious hand to hand fight where he put his sword to good use.  Things were looking bad for the general but some more of my troops piled in and he survived (admittedly by running away).

One more move failed to resolve things.  I had lost my machine gun and my lancers but still had three viable units, one of whom was still at full strength.   Alastair had four units left (I think) but they were down to a handful each.  I could still have gone either way which is why we decided to leave it there (and it was late and he had to walk the dog!).

I am very grateful to Alastair for the game as there was a fair bit of paperwork he had to prepare in advance for it.  He even made me a unit card for my cavalry which had a picture of my actual figures on it!

Now, hopefully, it won't be two and a half years until my next game at Guildford!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Getting ready for Salute...and three more Romans

Lucius Verus and friend.

I don't know why I am so excited about Salute this year.  Perhaps its due to the prospect of picking up my In Her Majesty's Name figures, although how I will explain such a lot of new metal to my wife is tricky.  However, I feel she should cut me some slack as she is prizing the tiles of the kitchen floor in readiness for a new one and we have a man coming to install our new cooker hood this afternoon, which was my Christmas present to her (she did ask for it).  It must be worth it to stop all of her moaning about my cooking staining the ceiling and filling the house with mould-inducing water vapour (according to her anyway).  She doesn't really cook (she went to Winkfield Place finishing school (as did Princess Diana) and that bit of the curriculum must have completely passed her by...she does arrange flowers nicely, though) and my cooking is often of the Italian variety which does, admittedly, seem to lead to a large circle of sauce around the pan and up the wall.  How a cooker hood is going to cure this I'm not sure.  I think she has visions of stray droplets being sucked heavenwards by this hideously expensive piece of German technology, which will have to contain the equivalent of an Me 262 engine to generate the expected suction.

I keep telling her that it is a kitchen and not an Ideal Home Exhibition display home.  Not that I have anything against the Ideal Home Exhibition (which also seems to be at ExCeL these days) as when I was small our holiday house in the South of France was paid for on the back of an Ideal Home Exhibition house my father designed.  Still, kitchens are supposed to get messy.  All in all, therefore, I am reasoning that given how much I am forking out for the kitchen she might ignore my Salute stash.

Anyway, a bit more progress on the Romans this weekend with the Praetorians all now based and undercoated..  All of the Caesarian plastics are assembled and based but I seem to have lost one of them.  I cannot think where he has gone at all but I have the new metal command so his absence won't be felt. 

This morning I finished my second Emperor for the 2nd Century force I am building, Lucius Verus.  Rather than an officer I have giving him a nice Syrian slave girl to accompany him.  Verus had fair hair, we know, but I resisted the urge to replicate the gold dust he used to sprinkle in his hair.  I have taken a less than historical approach to his armour and have dressed him up in a version of that worn by Richard Burton as Mark Anthony in Cleopatra.  The original was owned by Debbie Reynolds and it was put up for sale in 2011 with a  starting price of $20,000.   I wonder if anyone bought it?

Sadly, no one makes a figure that approximates the ne plus ultra of Roman cinematic costume as worn by Burton in the same film.  

I also painted the first figure for my Caesarian army, a veteran centurion.  This is a Copplestone-sculpted Foundry figure and he looks suitably stolid.

Thanks to Scott I also bought into the other Victorian steampunk range, Empire of the Dead and had to choose which figures I wanted for that this week.  Much to my surprise I have gone for some of the more vampire-like ones and so watched Van Helsing again this week for inspiration.  I really liked the completely inauthentic Transylvanian village in that film but reproducing that would be well beyond my modelling skills!  Still, it has got me thinking about an Eastern European rather than a Victorian London setting.  A few houses and some woods seems more achievable!

One thing I am going to try and get at Salute is some more CDs of Miniature Wargames so I can get rid of some of my bound copies off my shelves.  Space is everything at present!  I need to check which ones I have already got before I go, though!  I am wondering about picking up some of the Empress miniatures Jazz Age tribesmen too for Waziristan.   Other than that I don't have a big list this year.  Let's see what happens!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

60 Years of James Bond

We couldn't possibly let the sixtieth anniversary of the publication of the first James Bond novel pass without mention.  Casino Royale was published by Jonathan Cape on April 13th 1953 with this very uninspiring cover which was, nevertheless, designed by Ian Fleming himself.  Originally priced at 10s 6d only 4,728 copies were published and first editions in good condition can now fetch up to £50,000 each.

The first copy which the Legatus owned was the 1977 re-issue by Panther books which had striking covers featuring a specially commissioned giant 9mm automatic and were photographed by Beverley Le Barrow, who shot a lot of book covers in the seventies.  As a seventeen year old we were very choosy about which girls we liked but on these covers, I am afarid to say, that Casino Royale's big haired blonde never did anything for me.  I preferred, at the time, the slutty obviousness of the Diamonds are Forever girl.

In 1955 the first paperback version of the book was published by Pan Macmillan and it featured the first pictorial representation of James Bond which is, incidentally, nothing like his description in the novel!

When the book was first published in the US in 1958 they changed the title to You Asked For It; probably because Casino Royale sounded too foreign.

The 1960 edition of the paperback has a Bond looking much more like Fleming's description of him in the book, particularly down to the errant quiff of hair over his forehead.  This is an illustration by top London illustrator Sam Peffer (or Peff as he signed his work).  The model for Vesper was his wife Kit.

Here we have (above) the 1963 paperback cover which is almost identical to the 1961 (top) cover with the exception of the removal of a small portrait of Bond from the bottom left corner, presumably done because by this time Sean Connery had been cast in Doctor No. 

This is the very dull 1965 version which is sadly totally lacking in any artistic interpretation of Vesper Lynd.

This is the film tie-in version for the entertainingly strange film version from 1967.  The illustration is by Robert McGinnis who did so many of the classic posters for the Salzman-Broccoli film series.

Only a small glimpse of Vesper in the 1974 edition but lots of props mentioned in the book are included in this one.  

The next UK edition would be the one with the golden gun pictured above. This is the Dutch version which uses the same prop and girl but in a different pose.

By 1988 the girls had gone and we had these rather tedious covers instead.

Eight years later and it's back to the casino theme.

After the 1978 golden gun covers (and sadly the Casino Royale one is one of the less appealing ones) my favourites are the retro ones from 2002.  This one features a particularly seductive Vesper.  

Here is the 2006 film tie-in version featuring Daniel Craig with Vesper just appearing as a silhouette, which is a tragic waste of Eva Green.

This is the 2009 reissue with cover illustration by Michael Gillette.  They are sixties rather than fifties retro in style, going back to the birth of the cinematic rather than the literary Bond. My friend Bill gave me complete set of these for Christmas a few years ago.

I have never wanted to wargame James Bond, despite the rather good figures available, largely because the elements of Bond I respond to are the drinks, the women and the glossy hotels (I can't think why).  The actual action sequences are less interesting; its the brand name fluff, which Fleming essentially created, that is more appealing.

Anyway, happy birthday James Bond!