Saturday, December 23, 2017

Victrix War Elephant Part 1

I have decided to have a Christmas painting project, so ordered the Victrix war elephant for my Carthaginian army.  It arrived today and I have started constructing it.  You can see how far I got on my long neglected Punic Wars blog here.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Paint table Sunday...back from my travels

I have lost the last four weekends to travelling but am now back home with, thankfully, nowhere to go to until well into the new year, hopefully.  The process of going through airports is now so ghastly and stressful I wish I never had to travel again anywhere.  I have done ten flights in under three weeks which is like the bad old days.

I have, at last, finished my North West Frontier Sikh artillery crew and gun.  This completes my initial force for The Men Who Would be Kings rules.  Initially, I painted the Sikhs with a red turban but someone on the TMWWBK Facebook page suggested that they would probably have had khaki turbans (or dastaars, to be more precise) at this time, so I repainted them, even though they look less striking,

So here is the full force (with artillery still with red turbans).  I now need to complete a force of Afghan tribesmen although, at present, I am slightly hampered by the lack of any suitable Afghan cavalry, although the Perry brothers are reputed to be planning some (they seem to have given up on the workbench section of their website) but I still have quite a few infantry to complete.

I have been buying the wargames magazines but increasingly I am finding it difficult to read them as they insist on using grey print in a really tiny font.  I had another eye injection last week but I have begun to realise that I will never be able to paint properly again,  The finish on the Sikhs is very blotchy and things I could paint with no trouble, like collar trim, earlier in the year are just impossible for me now.  There are a couple of things I am looking at on the wargaming front including Footsore Miniatures new Gangs of Rome range, although the figures for this skirmish game are an eye watering £8 each!

More immediately interesting, is the issue of the Games Workshop Lord of the Rings Battle Companies  rule book (for a surprisingly cheap £25).  I collected the rules for this many years ago from White Dwarf but this is the first time they have been published in a book.  Guy, Charlotte and I enjoyed our games of this a lot in the past and the new rules also have companies for the Hobbit which is useful as collecting enough figures for a bigger battle for the Hobbit would be ludicrously expensive.

My only issue is that I was gradually tending more to skirmish gaming but now my eyesight is so bad I am thinking that mass units may be better as painting quality is less critical for en masse figures.  Painting a GW LotR figure now would really be beyond me.  At least I have some Battle Companies already painted, like this Isengard one from 2010.

One thing about subscribing to some of the rule specific wargames pages on Facebook is that I spot things that otherwise would have passed me by, like the new campaign supplement for Congo which features the adventures of a lady explorer.  I haven't played Congo yet, as I missed the one game played at the Shed but I think I would enjoy it.  I ordered mine from Foundry which came with  a number of figures representing the key characters in it.  Maybe I will do some Darkest Africa figures next as I was in Africa earlier in the month.

It is typical that I hadn't had any overseas trips for over a year and then two came along in successive weeks.  First off, I was back to Botswana in a trip which had been rescheduled from earlier in the year.  A horrid little plane from Johannesburg didn't help and then we had 41 degrees centigrade.  Even the locals were complaining about the heat.  We had to wear suits and ties, of course, as that is what the locals in business wear.  It was a successful trip and we will probably be going back for a couple of weeks early next year (or June, given Botswanan urgency).

I was back in the UK for less than a day and then it was off to Houston, on my way to EL Salvador.  I met up with my particular friend, S, there and we had a very enjoyable dinner in the Hotel Zaza (nothing as exciting as Eland and goat which I had in Gaborone for the first time ) but which included the best steak I have ever had in America; really first class and perfectly cooked (i.e, hardly at all).  While in Houston, the firm I was working for (not my usual one) sent me the FCO travel advice for El Salvador.  'There are no safe areas in El Salvador' it began, worryingly and then spent  a page talking about bandits, muggers and kidnappers.

"I'll look after you!" said S, doing a few kickboxing kicks in my room.  Apart from the fact that I didn't know she was planning to come with me, I pointed out that you weren't supposed to fight back.  "No-one is taking my Rolex!" she said, fiercely.  In fact, San Salvador was a pleasant, if slightly ramshackle city, built beneath an active volcano.  "Don't worry it hasn't erupted for a hundred years!"  I was told.  "And a hundred years before that!"  This was starting to sound like a sequence to me but I was assured that the country (the 70th I have visited) had top notch volcanologists to predict such things.

Anyway, the most offensive thing about El Salvador was the fact that they had all their Christmas decorations up, even though it was mid November.  We bravely went out to a restaurant too (it did have armed guards outside) and they were playing Christmas music there!  Fortunately, not Andy Williams Christmas Album.

Ana and Ana!

I had two very helpful assistants to look after me while I was there, make sure I didn't go to the wrong places and help translate (although El Salvadorean Spanish is very clear and I understood about 60% of it).  "Why don't you ever get ugly male assistants?" asked S.  Because it's Latin America!

I flew there and back on United Airlines (actually very good, long haul) and you could pay a few hundred dollars for extra legroom on the Houston/London legs which was well worth it, even though I paid myself and can't claim it back.  So I arrived back home in a better state than usual, only to discover the Old Bat fulminating over her new car.  I won't go into all the issues she has with it (some of which are valid, like no spare tyre and nowhere to put one) but they all, basically come down to baffling technology.  This car (from 2011) is theoretically the same car as her old one (from 2005) but is a completely new model and, in the interim, technology has exploded in cars.  We have no idea what most of the myriad buttons ("I don't want buttons I like knobs!" she says) are for and it has lots of things we will never use like Bluetooth and satnav ("by the time you work out how to programme it you will be where you want to go by using a map!").  We still don't know how to operate the climate control or programme the radio and there are all sorts of buttons on the steering wheel which are equally baffling.  "Just more stuff to go wrong!" she says.  The biggest bugbear was the rear view mirror that automatically darkens to reduce glare from car headlights at night.  She said she couldn't see a thing behind her as a result but she solved the issue by sticking a blob of Blu Tack over the sensor.  When the garage who sold it to her rang after a few days to see how she liked it she harangued them for half an hour about how useless it is and wanted her old car back, except they had already sold it.  The Old Bat doesn't like change and she hates technology even more than me, which is saying something.

I was back just a few days and then it was up to Edinburgh to see Charlotte in the flat that is costing me £8,500 a year! "It's very nice," she says, with its en suite bathroom, central heating and her own kitchen,  Grr!  Students are supposed to suffer!  Luckily for her she is my dear little kitten so gets anything she wants!  Edinburgh was freezing.  Three degrees but the windchill was horrific.  I had had two weeks where the temperature was never less than 29C!  We walked miles and had to have tea in the John Lewis cafe to warm up.  I nearly bought a TV in the Black Friday Sale but I object to Black Friday on principle as it is an unwelcome American import, like grey squirrels, trick or treating, baseball caps and saying 'mac and cheese'.  I didn't buy the TV as it had no Scart sockets which my DVD player requires.

On the last morning, Charlotte took us to the fossil shop and I got a pair of trilobite cufflinks on the basis I like the idea of walking around with something half a billion years old on my cuffs.  Cheaper than a new TV, anyway and I also got an excellent ankylosaurus model there too!  Coming down from the shop, and walking through Grassmarket, the Old Bat pointed out a man dressed as a Viking and asked Charlotte if she knew him.  She did (most of Charlotte's friends in Edinburgh appear to be Dark Ages re-enactors).  He was selling mead, a drink I had never had (I suspect it may not be very diabetic friendly) but he gave me some and it was very good indeed.  Pricey, though at about £20 a bottle.

Now, the Legatus hates Christmas but Edinburgh does Christmas really, really well and after wandering around the huge Christams market, seeing all the lights and decorations on the shops and visiting the ice sculpture exhibition (the advertised minus ten temperature didn't feel much colder than the streets outside) even I was starting to feel a bit Christmassy.  Horrors!

Desnudo de mujer (1902)

Today's wallpaper is by Spanish impressionist Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (1863-1923) who was best known for his bright sunlit landscapes and beach scenes.  He studied in Madrid and Rome and had a great success at the Paris Universal Exposition of 1900.  A very productive painter, he was financially very successful.  His widow left many paintings to the Spanish state and they are exhibited in his old home in Madrid.  This is a full on boudoir effort, very different from some of his social themed pieces and atypical in many ways but, none the less, magnificent in its handling of pink satin.

Today's music is Howard Shore's Lord of the Rings Symphony, an interesting reworking of the main themes from his three films.  Recorded live (although you wouldn't know it) in Switzerland in 2011 the orchestra isn't a patch on the RPO but still does a pretty good job.  My iTunes LotR playlist lasts 21 hours so there will be plenty of music to paint by!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween!

It's Halloween today, although, for the first time in many years, there will be no pumpkins to attract greedy children in our house, as Charlotte is up in Edinburgh.  Here, on our Wargames Ladies Blog, is an appropriate cartoon by Angus McBride from his pre-Osprey days.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Paint Table Saturday: Rocks and Sikhs

This week I had to go to Epsom hospital and have an injection in my eyeball which, I have to say, I was not looking forward to.  This is because the laser treatment I have had around the edge of my eye can't be done in the centre of the eye. I have noticed a real deterioration in my vision in my left eye since June, to the extent that not only couldn't I paint figures but I was having trouble using the PC if there was bright light out in the garden backlighting the screen. .  I had to shut my left eye to be able to see clearly and couldn't paint figures as I had lost my ability to judge distance.  Well the two nurses at Epsom looked after me very well indeed and after some anaesthetic drops all I felt, as they had explained, was a slight pressure on my eyeball for a second.  I did not need, as I thought I might, a piratical eye patch and the only inconvenience is the ointment I need to apply to the eye every three hours, which makes it a bit blurred and gummy feeling.

Today, for the first time since June, I had a good half day's painting (my vision is certainly improved) and got on with the Sikh artillery, to the extent that I may be able to finish them tomorrow.  They are not brilliant but they will do for me.  I am, at least, now contemplating getting back to finishing the next batch of ACW confederates. 

I have also got two coats of grey onto my aquarium rocks for Savage Core and The Lost World.  I reckon they need another two shades of paler grey before they are done and then I will add some follidge with the hot glue gun.  I really like the cave in the one at front left and need to work out some sort of dicing table for what will spring out of there to take on my explorers or whoever; ape men? velociraptors? saber tooth tiger? under-dressed cavegirl?  Unfortunately, I am going abroad next weekend for the first of two consecutive trips and by the time I get back and then go up to see Charlotte in Edinburgh it will be well on the way to Christmas!

My friend Bill suggested we go and see Blade Runner 2049 this week which we did at Esher cinema, which has recently been turned into an Everyman.  I don't go to the cinema very often (I haven't been to Esher since Titanic!) and as soon as I got in I realised why.  The entrance hall is now a full on restaurant and you get your tickets at what looks like (and is) a bar.  Inside, the seats are large and comfortable but they all had little side tables attached and everyone was eating.  They had (very pretty) waitresses bringing hot food into the cinema auditorium.  This is disgusting.  The noise is bad enough but the smell!  People who eat in cinemas should be killed and their bodies used for organ donation.  I didn't really enjoy the film either as I am getting sick of the unremitting trend for gritty and dark in visual entertainment.  In addition, there were a number of foreign actors in the film and I had trouble understanding what they were saying.  Despite superior special effects, I didn't think the production captured the feeling of a teeming, multi-ethnic city like the original did.  There was too much space.  I won't bother with the DVD and the music was awful.

Today's music is an old favourite, Carmina Burana, which I haven't played for some time.  I first heard this when the German TV version, by opera director Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, appeared one Saturday night on the BBC in October 1976.  What on earth is this, I asked myself at the bizarre mixture of musical and visual styles in the TV version (prepared in co-operation with Carl Orff, who always saw it as much a theatrical as an orchestral piece).  Recently, I saw another German TV version from 1996 by Hohlfeld which was better photographed, slightly racier and less straight to video looking but didn't have such a strong orchestra or singing cast.  On CD I prefer the Previn version, which is very good indeed. 

Kiss of the sun (1907)

Today's wallpaper is by the Polish painter Jan Ciągliński (1858-1913). Although born in Poland, he spent most of his career, other than a brief time in Paris. based in St Petersburg. In his will, however, he bequeathed most of his works to Poland and many of them were on exhibition in Warsaw over the last few months. He visited North Africa and the Middle East and painted a number of orientalist pictures, of the realistic, rather than the harem fantasy, type. He taught at the Imperial Academy in St Petersburg and became a professor there in 1911; teaching many well known Russian painters.  

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Paint Table Sunday: Rocks 2

A brief entry this week as I have had no time to do hobby stuff, lately, and am trying to evade potential oversea trips.  Nigeria has been postponed (hooray) and I shifted Saudi onto a colleague (double hooray - at least Nigeria has beer and statuesque women to look at) but still have two week long trips in November (I get back from one on Saturday and have to fly to the next on Sunday).  In fact we are going to see Charlotte again in Edinburgh that month, so I will have to do 10 flights in November.  I hate flying and will probably expire on one of these trips.  At least my blood pressure is down, thanks to my glamorous new doctor.  190 over 100 not so good, 130 over 83, much better.

Yesterday, I did get a bit of paint on my Savage Core/Lost World rock formations.  I have three big aquarium pieces and will add some smaller CD and MDF based ones to scatter around them.   I still haven't tried painting any figures lately but have to have an eye operation next week (I don't even want to think about it).

I haven't bought much hobby stuff, either, although I did succumb to this Star Wars kit on the basis that I will probably get Star Wars Legion when it comes out next year.  This AT-ST is, it seems, exactly the right scale for the 32mm figures.  It's a long time since I made a complex model kit (Renedra buildings apart) so I am not sure how this will go, given my dodgy eyesight.  I'm not going to give up trying yet, though.

I have had several requests to become friends on Facebook lately but when I have looked at the person's page they are usually full of the standard political drivel so I don't bother with them.  Facebook can be useful, though, and recently there was a post on the Death in the Dark Continent players page which highlighted the fact that the old BBC series, The Search for The Nile, from 1971, had been put on DVD at last.  I saw this when it first came out and have been hoping it would appear at some point but it disappeared.  Great to see it again now.  Shot on location in Africa and with James Mason narrating I can't wait until mine comes from Amazon!  There seemed to be a feeling that the BBC wouldn't release it given they regarded it now as politically incorrect.  Interestingly it is labelled as "as seen on the BBC" not an actual BBC disc.  Should be good African inspiration anyway.

I need to clear out some old figures and rules of periods I am never going to realistically paint or play.  First up is Frostgrave where I have some of the books and a few figures.  Eric the Shed played a game or two and was not impressed with the rules mechanism which he found a bit blunt (especially combat).  I found all the descriptions of how magic worked totally confusing and well beyond my poor brain.  As a fantasy world I would rather stick to Lord of the Rings, especially with the news that the Battle Companies rules (which only ever appeared in White Dwarf, some years ago) are coming back.

J interviews the Legatus

Speaking of Lord of the Rings, Guy, who is on the Oxford Union Committee this term, was a bit miffed that Liv Tyler cancelled at the last minute but this week he met JJ Abrams (which made Charlotte jealous).  I used to enjoy his Alias (although I still haven't watched the final series, where Jennifer Garner was pregnant and Rachel Nichols came in to do the action stuff).  One of my past lady friends, J, a kickboxing infrastructure journalist was the motion capture body double for Jennifer Garner for the Playstation Alias game, which is why it is the only computer game I own.

Now we live in pretty much equidistant from three supermarkets (Tesco, Sainsbury and Waitrose) so I don't get over to Morrisons in Weybridge very often any more, now Guy isn't rowing but I went there earlier in the week to take some books to the charity bookshop (most charity shops won't take books any more and the price you can get for them on eBay makes it not worth the effort of selling them).  Anyway I was staggered to see that Morrison's sells Cloudy Bay sauvignon blanc (the best sauvignon blanc on the planet - well, it used to be).  I had to buy some.  I had the very first vintage of this wine when I visited their sister vineyard in Western Australia, Cape Mentelle, in 1987.  I tried to get it back in the UK but it wasn't imported then.  The initial run was very small, not like the 100,000 cases plus they produce now, now that they are owned by LVMH.   In fact it was the Cape Mentelle, Australian team that chose the name, against the wishes of the New Zealand winemakers who wanted to call it Tua Marina.

I might have some time this afternoon to do some painting so might see if I can do a bit on my Sikh artillery which I really want to finish as it will complete my TMWWBK's British force.  So far it looks bright this morning.

It's all a bit Austrian this week (my family on my mother's side was Austro-Hungarian) and today's wallpaper is a painting by Austrian artist Franz Eybl (1806-1880) who by the age of ten had already entered the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna.  Most of his paintings were landscapes or portraits so this lovely nude, from about 1860, is unusual.  Portraying an everyday scene, rather than a classical or mythical story, was somewhat unusual and daring for the time.  Her figure (especially her posterior) is very reminiscent of J, the computer game body double, I realise.  I did do some drawings of J rather like this.  I wonder where they are? Viennese bakers, in this period, were famous all over Europe and the croissant (as seen on the bottom left), as we would call it now, was very much an Austrian not a French creation (the modern croissant was created by a former Austrian artillery officer (inserts desperate military reference) who set up a Viennese bakery in Paris in the late eighteen thirties).

Austrian music too, in the long and expensive form of the complete Mozart symphonies by Jaap Schröder, Christopher Hogwood and the Academy of Ancient Music, using period instruments.  I remember going along to Blackwells Music Shop in Oxford, when the first boxed set (not box set, pig ignorant Millennials), came out in 1980 and finding that they had all sold out in four hours.  It has taken me 37 years to buy them and discover the complexity and controversy over authorship of these symphonies.  Being a late romantic aficionado I have always had a rather schizophrenic relationship with Mozart (50% hack, 50% genius) but they certainly make calming background music when writing reports on US education models.

Mirabel machine made

Now, Mozart also reminds me of the world's most sickly chocolate: the Mozartkugeln, a disgusting amalgam of chocolate and praline marzipan which has also been the subject of bitter legal battles in the cut throat world of European chocolate.  The originals are hand produced by Fuerst but other firms, notably the better marketed Mirabel, are allowed to produce their versions under slightly different names.

Fuerst, hand made

I discovered these hideous chocolates in Switzerland in the mid nineteen eighties when I had a girlfriend who was just about perfect (39D-23-36), apart from her penchant for sickly food and drink  (she loved Bailey's Irish cream. embarrassingly) products.  My mother always wanted me to marry her and, indeed, invited her to dinner the night before I married the Old Bat, as a sort of 'you've made a big mistake' gesture.  S would do anything (literally) for Mozartkugeln and so in the (we shamefully admit) four year intersection between her and the Old Bat (Plastic Woman, the Old Bat called her, on account of her wearing, shock, horror, makeup) I plundered the duty free shops of Europe to feed her insatiable appetite for these stomach churning treats. The complete Mozart symphonies is, I admit, a sort of aural box of Mozartkugeln and there is only so much you can listen to without feeling queasy.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Paint Table Saturday: Rocks!

Not, of course, Paint Table Saturday rocks, as I am not a faux teenage American.  No, in my actual hobby time on Saturday today, I did not actually paint anything but I did do some work on my progressing scenic project for the Lost World and Savage Core (had one of those today with an apple from our tree which contained a nasty little visitor - although we are getting some lovely apples, on the whole, this year).

Last week, at Colours, I bought a couple of scenic rocks and during the week I sprayed them black and painted the base the same colour (Humbrol 29) as the bases on my figures.  You can see one of these in the picture at the top, which is now ready for the first coat of dry brushed grey.  I also painted all the little stones black as they will be grey too and not just the earth colour of the original.  I have envisaged a rocky landscape with added 'follidge' so was looking for one more large piece to comlpement the two I bought.  I found an excellent one on eBay which arrived this week.  I liked the look of this a lot but thought it had too much follidge for my purposes.

Like Monty Don attacking a bed of weeds, I set to and removed all the follidge, putting it aside for replanting later, where it will be scattered amongst the three pieces to give them some visual unity.  I discovered that each piece of follidge was planted in a little recess filled with (I assume) hot glue.  Having pulled the plants out (like real weeds, some came out easier that others) I then prized out the little hardened pots of hot glue (on the right) which, with a bit of help from a sharp knife, popped out like the scarabs in the wall in that scene in The Mummy.  One or two even skittered across the floor.

I admit to doing all this in the kitchen rather than at my desk, which meant doing so in the presence of the Old Bat.  Having worked out where some paths could go, I started to fill the recesses with filler, only for the Old Bat to point out that if I stuck some stones in the holes they would look better and also mean I would have to use less filler.  This never occurred to me but the Old Bat is good at crafts.  Fortunately, the Old Bat had a bucket of small rocks outside, left over from her demolition of the rockery, and after bashing some to bits with a hammer I  dropped them in the holes and topped them up with filler.  I have left some unfilled for the replacement follidge but now have some clear paths through the piece.  Tomorrow I will put some PVA and sand over the filled parts and, if it stays dry, spray it black.

All of this scenic effort compensates somewhat for a dismal attempt at figure painting last Sunday, when I tried to paint one of my Savage Core Amazons.  I have problems with my left eye (basically a blurred patch) and have now discovered that I cannot paint faces on my figures any more.  I tried and tried but just can't see what I am doing.  Hopefully, if they are roaming around lovely rocks no-one will notice but I found it frustrating not to be able to paint her features. She has a hood on, which makes it more difficult, admittedly, but I was quite depressed about it for a few days.

I went into Kingston last week to get September's wargames magazines and some spray undercoat and ended up buying a new chair for my desk.  Mine broke some months ago which meant that its spring loaded reclining function had gone, so in order to not fall out the back I had to sit perched on the front in such a way that the seat was cutting off the blood from my legs and giving me cramp.  Now I have a nice new chair, although Charlotte, who is now back in Edinburgh, said that I must have really tidied up my floor for this photograph, which is true. 

Today's wallpaper is a particularly enticing looking odalisque by the American orientalist painter Frederick Arthur Bridgman (1847-1928).  Originating, like the airmen, in Tuskegee, Alabama, he studied in Paris under Gérôme  (of Pollice Verso fame).  He spent a lot of time in Algeria and Egypt, making sketches and collecting clothing and props to give his paintings an authentic air.  Many of his paintings were accurate records of life in North Africa at the time but he produced a fair number of more exotic odalisques as well and none more enticing than this one.  Like all orientalist painters, his work fell out of fashion from the mid nineteen fifties but now they can  fetch $250,000 and up.

Today's music is the new CD by the principal harpist of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Elizabeth Hainen, which she planned out when stuck in her house in a snowstorm for several days.  An eclectic mix of composers from Bach to Glass it provides the requisite relaxation my glamorous new doctor says I need in order to reduce my very high blood pressure.  My musical niece, who is staying with us during the week while studying at the Guildhall School of Music, had a bit of a coup yesterday evening, when one of her compositions was played on Radio 3.  A proper composer, now!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Shopping at Colours...

This used to be the grass car park

Honestly, you get no posts for months and then two in a day! I was up early this morning to walk to the station (the Old Bat refused to drive me) to get over to Surbiton to meet up with Eric the Shed, who drove me to Colours with John, another Shedizen.  Unlike Salute, which I go to on public transport, I always drove to Colours (last time I attempted it in 2015 I had to give up as the M25 was so bad) so I tend to focus on buying scenery when I go there.  Since I went there last time in 2013, Newbury race course have built loads of flats (the sort that IT people live in) there, meaning a different way in and a more sophisticated car park.  Good job Eric was driving as I wouldn't have found the way in at all.  Fortunately. the M25 Gods smiled and we were there by just after ten.

I didn't take any pictures inside, partly because it was so dark (it made Salute look like a Hollywood sound stage in comparison) and partly because there was nothing to take pictures of, really. Some of the traders were in areas so dark that they looked like caves.  My deteriorating eyesight struggled.  The games, on the top of the three floors, looked rather dull and were right on top of each other, so getting at them was almost impossible.   I always considered the show as number two after Salute and above Warfare in Reading, in ranking of those I go to regularly but this year it seemed a bit dingy and sad.  Not what it was.

I didn't really have a shopping list except a vague plan to look at trees and I certainly wasn't really planning to buy any figures.  The first thing I saw were some Congo style wooden shields at the Foundry stand.  Now I have wanted these for some time but they weren't on the Foundry website so I was very glad to pick them up, despite the usurious price of £10 for 12 shields. 

Having said I didn't like MDF for scenic basis I couldn't resist these for some intermediate follidge pieces.  They are mid-way between my washer bases and the CD one I have made and are quite thin.  I might try and sand the edges a bit as we have borrowed the Old Bat's father's corner sander.  However, I have a fear of power tools, generally, so I will have to be brave as it is never as easy to use them as it appears.  When it comes to using tools I am always seconds away from A&E.

Next up, were some trees for Africa.  No acacia types but these have the requisite tall trunks and high canopies I was looking for.  I need a lot more like this.

I wanted some big rocks for Savage Core as I had always liked the publicity shot they produced early on, of simians on a rock in the jungle.  This, I suspect, from the cave/opening in it, started life as an aquarium piece but I was very happy to buy a based one.  I then went back and bought another smaller rock.  I will re-paint then and add some follidge.

When I got back home and looked at the Savage Core Facebook page I realised, to my delight, that the rock model I had bought was exactly the same as the one Lucid Eye had used.   Very happy with this!

I did get a few figures.  Recently, Lucid Eye have announced that the various factions for Savage Core will be appearing in cold weather Ice Age type garb, so I picked up the first of the Amazons (although heavily dressed Amazons goes against my aesthetic sensibilities).  I had no idea why the range had a man dressed as a German officer holding a rock but the rules make it perfectly clear, so I picked him up too.

I got the Lucid Eye figures at the Crooked Dice stand, so took the opportunity to pick up the new female cultists who will probably see service in In Her Majesty's Name.  I added nine figures to the lead pile but I really am going to start selling some unpainted figures off as I desperately need the space and Eric the Shed was appalled by the number of unpainted figures I have got.  He reckons he has only about a hundred unpainted figures, whereas I think I have about eight thousand!

All in all, I was very happy with my purchases and it was very kind of Eric to give me a lift.  I whizzed around the show pretty quickly and we left at about one o'clock.  I had a chat with Eric and Matakishi, who I once played a game of Prehistoric Settlement with, at Guildford Wargames Club.  Staggeringly, he remembered me!  I also had a long chat and a bacon roll (my glamorous new doctor would not approve) with Mike of Black Hat Miniatures, who originally invited me to my first game at Guildford many years ago.  This was all remarkably social for me!

Sadly (well actually not), we heard last night that we had won a big bid I did a lot of work on for Colombia, which means six to eight frantic weeks of work (I will try and avoid the Bogota section as I am due to go to Africa again in early November and, possibly, Central America later that month).  It will put paid to my hoped for more hobby time, though.  Tomorrow, I won't have any time either as I have to take Charlotte to the airport to go back to Edinburgh.  She left it until the last minute (as she does with everything) to decide on her flight and, as a result, it cost me £293 single (British Airways are advertising flights to the US for £325 at the moment!) plus £60 excess baggage for an extra suitcase.  Think how much follidge I could have bought for that.  I could have got my naked girly statue for that too!  The children's university accommodation is going to cost me about £15,000 this year.  The least they could do is empty the dishwasher once in a while.  Children!  Who needs them?