Monday, 11 November 2019

General Jumbo.

When I was young, before the hormones kicked in I used to dream of being General Jumbo Johnson. He was a child who had command of a radio controlled army and air force. He was able to use his force to help people out and right wrongs including kicking the backsides of all bullies he came across.
 I was watching Channel Five's final of the Great Railway Challenge last night and General Jumbo came back to me as I enviously watched the competing teams of train builders attempting to out do each other with action models.
 Smoke, real flames, moving monsters, moving scratch built merry go rounds, windmills etc etc were all on show. Add a load of moving trains and people being flung from the said trains and you can see why I was reminded of Jumbo Johnson.
 Naturally this lead onto wargaming and wargaming shows. I think the only moving piece I ever saw at a wargames show was the lovely windmill created by Phil Olley. Wouldnt it be wonderful if animation and digital electronics could be used to enhance wargames, especially at shows.
 I know its superficial but after watching the train challenge I can understand why children etc find train exhibitions interesting.
 Whats not to like? Things move, there is sound and sometimes flashing lights and smoke.
 Many years ago John and I used a DVD of Austerlitz to enhance our display. I think it was used at Gateshead although I may be wrong. The reception was mixed. I remember getting into a bit of a discussion with a fellow exhibitor who complained about the glare? from the tv and the noise of cannons etc.
 Perhaps its time wargamers took up the challenge to enhance their games by introducing gimmicks to catch would be wargamers eyes.
 I was particularly impressed with the use of 'flash paper' in the train challenge. Imagine model houses bursting into flames ??
 Obviously Im joking, especially given the HSE mania wargaming shows have adopted.
 Anyway I think I will re watch the train challenge final to see if I can blag any ideas.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

An ECW wagon Train.

 As I stated in my last post I have been painting some lovely Hinchliffe wagons to create an ECW wagon train which I 'need'? for a project that is coming to fruition soon.I added a couple of Mini Figs to help tie the pieces to my armies.
 I must admit I like various pieces of what I hope is interest scattered around my battlefields.To add a bit of colour I put a couple of spare dragoon flags on the wagons. Not accurate but hopefully they lift the pieces.




 A few images of my first Romans. The figures are Victrix and are lovely models to paint.When using SPQR I will have these in 8 figure units simply because they are so expensive points wise to use.


 The shield designs also from Victrix are excellent things in their own right. I was very taken with the graffiti etched on this legionnaire's shield.It appealed to my low sense of humour. On the battle front John kindly arranged a brilliant 10mm battle using his new armies of the Jacobite campaigns in Ireland. We also trialed the new version of Lily Banners. Barry Hilton has done a good job with the latest edition and the battle was a brutal affair before William's better armed forces finally beat James's Irish. It was a great and very exciting game.


Thursday, 31 October 2019

Back from my travels.

Well I'm back from my travels and the clue to where Ive been is in the image, and its not Hadrian's Wall. Im still jet lagged after a very long return journey from Shanghai via Bejing and Heathrow. But then the holiday was a full on cultural overload.
 I dont think Ill be eating noodles for a longtime and dont mention Pak Choi please. But it was a great experience and gave me some insight into the giant that is growing in the Far East.
 I must admit I have missed wargaming. As one gets older you finally have the time to appreciate what you have and wargaming is a big part of my life.
 I have started painting up my Republican Romans sculpted by Victrix. These are beautiful figures and very err Roman like. The Republican armies offer more choice than the later Imperial armies, well they do for me.
 I have also been constructing and painting an ECW wagon train for a large game I have coming up fairly soon.Peter Gilder and Hinchliffe produced some wonderful pieces. Hopefully I will do them justice.
 I also have a couple of SYW units on my desk ready for basing. I saw them on Hinds Figures site after a tip off from a wargaming friend [thanks Shaun] and 'had' to have them? They are painted in old school style but are top quality. I only wish I had purchased a few more but there you go.
 So hopefully I will get back in the painting groove once Ive conquered this damned jet lag. The only consolation is Ive been able to catch up on all the rugby I missed and also on the Great Train Challenge series two which has become a bit of a cult watch for me.
 The modelling skills have been very high this series and hopefully I can pick up a few ideas from the programme. Saying that the competitors struggle with what to me seems basic modelling skills, especially water effects. Still a good watch.

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Brits completed and now onto some Romans.

 Well this weeks games were two scenarios using SPQR, one against the Romans and the second against a marauding band of Gauls. My Brits lost both, but were very tense affairs and very enjoyable. I used one of my chariots and a band of British light cavalry. Both proved very disappointing, my chariot being overwhelmed by Gallic warriors whilst my cavalry simply ran away.
 But then that's the way SPQR plays, make a tactical mistake and one cannot recover. My mistake against the Romans was my initial disposition which allowed John to pile into my confused slingers who didn't stand a chance against legionnaires. I then had to suffer consistent rounds of piliums as my war bands charged in. Being British my armour is poor and they tend to rely on their large shields which are temporally disabled by piliums.
 Anyway the battles give me an excuse to display the entire British command, although eagle eyed viewers will see I need to complete one chariot base. But my Brits are now complete, well apart from six light cavalry, but given their poor initiation I just might not bother with them.



 The Victrix chariot set contains a lot of extra figures, including three druids. The figure is so good I painted two up to lead my fanatics.
 You also get three Boadicea figures, so naturally I had to paint one up as a 'champion.'

 So my next little project is the Romans, using mainly Victrix figures. I like the Warlord version but think the Victrix transfers for the shields are much better. Anyway I managed to knock off a Warlord Roman commander to test the look I'm going for, and it isn't red I'm afraid.


 I 'found' some Black Hussar civilians that cried out to be painted. I want these for a few weeks time and very nice sculpts they are to.
 I will be quiet for a couple of weeks but hope to be back soon, hopefully full of thoughts and controversy.
 Talking of found figures, I was pottering around today and discovered a draw with four completed ECW artillery pieces in it.I had forgotten I had placed them there for safe keeping and simply left them unloved and abandoned. What I found worrying was I re ordered some extra guns and crew from Hinchliffe because I thought I needed more so I now have too many!





Thursday, 3 October 2019

I really must get out more.

Since my last tirade Ive concentrated on more important issues ie wargaming and painting. I cannot think of a greater pleasure than sitting down listening to Spotify and daubing paint on figures. It is for me a therapy which I probably need.
Battles wise Im pleased to say Ive had a few. John and I staged two humdinger  SPQR battles which were tense but great fun. Sadly his Romans managed to desecrate the druids ring [painful that] but they did get their revenge in the second battle. I also fought a brilliant [game not me] battle against Paul Stevenson using his yet to be published ACW rules. For Paul, these rules and scenarios are developing into his retirement 'project.'
Paul has expended a lot of effort in the research of the American Civil War and it shows in the rules we were play testing. The scenario was a toughie for the Union ie me but produced a cracking battle that showed the brittle nature of the Union regiments when faced by the smaller but better motivated rebels. You guessed it, I lost.
 I really hope he finds a publisher because they are very good rules and Paul's hard work has paid off and the research gives the rules a great period feel without bogging down the game in excessive detail.
I then fought another ACW game but this time against John using the venerable Volley and Bayonet rules. We love these rules and return to them time and again. Easy to learn, quick to play and brutal they are very subtle and allow you to think about your tactics without worrying too much about the rules. Leading the Union again I nearly pulled off a surprise victory only to see a rebel off table division and some horrible rebel cavalry turn a victory into a ruinous defeat. It was a great game and I had to lie down for a nap after the exertion and I was only throwing the dice! Maybe next time. 
The images is of my first Victrix chariot. What a bugger to construct but now I have worked out what to paint before gluing it together Im pleased with the result. I know plastic has its detractors and I 'get' the point but Victrix have made some lovely stuff and these chariots are a great example of what you get in plastic. There is one drawback and that has nothing to do with Victrix and everything to do with one of the immutable laws of wargaming, ie. when something pings off the painting desk it disappears into another dimension where all the other important bits go. This time it was a small rein. I felt it fall, I thought I knew where it had fallen but could I hell find the piece. It shows how daft you become when you retire because I had a sleepless night [honestly] thinking how and where the rein had disappeared. Early next morning I was back on my knees searching for the piece. I found some plastic heads, muskets, kepis [ you would think I never hoovered the carpet] a whole bag of Crann Tara French Garde that I 'forgot' I owned behind some boxes of other stuff I 'forgot' I had before yes I found the offending rein. Talk about relief. I really really need to get out more.
 Here endeth the lesson. 

Sunday, 15 September 2019

INCLUSION?

I was a bit late in getting my copy of Wargames Soldiers and Strategy, [issue 104]  this month. Unfortunately this is not a review of the magazine but actually an observation regarding a small article? written by a chap called Chris King titled, INCLUSION.
 Nowadays such a word is sadly a weaponised one [God I hate that word]

Mr King is one of those worthies that unfortunately seems to inhabit every part of modern life. Clearly by his own admission he feels guilty that he is in a privileged position being White, European [ I assume he meant British] Heterosexual and sadly for him and the vast majority of wargamers? we have had it easy?
 He then takes the position that his article shouldn't have needed to be written [so one could ask why he did write it anyway] and certainly not in 2019, because lets face it we are all so WOKE [another hateful word] and on message.

 Chris has taken umbrage with the way women are depicted in wargaming and the responses that his viewpoint elicits when he comments on their depiction. He then states that should he take his young daughters to a wargames show they will be confronted by images of women that he describes at best as denigrating but normally much worse ie. utterly unpleasantly represented. ie. unrealistic body shapes?sexualised, infantilised and sexualised?? bimboesque etc etc. You get the picture.
 Being a positive, woke chap he then tells the reader things are improving and companies like Bad Squiddo headed by 'Annie' is producing more sensibly represented women.

 An example of a more sensibly represented woman from Bad Squiddo? Another druidess, war dog handler [ who said I dont include women in my wargames?] By the way I love the figure and was very impressed by the range from Bad Suiddo. Note to Chris King, Annie was very proud of her range of sculpted female figures.

Unfortunately he spoils that improving vision by stating that the beer loving privileged wargamer is upset by his [always a man ] inability to display, buy or own his over developed women and show them on his wargames table.Its political correctness gone mad!

                         Three well blessed females. The moral depravity is shocking!
  [Bought from under the counter at Colonel Bill's, a well known purveyor of such filth.]

His argument continues [as they always do] to state that wargamers are effectively excluding women who are disgusted by these dreadful depictions of the sisterhood AND we are also tainting the opportunities for boys and young men to join the hobby because of the failure to depict 'women for men?' by not providing positive female images in a totally wholesome manner so that young men can realise that not all women are 'up for it.'

Of course the article has to include 'race' [where would we be without that thorny subject?] For some reason he cites the example of a wargamer modelling a vignette of a slave market in North Africa' and questioning the morality of the vignette.

To prove his credentials he then throws in the inevitable slogan; 'Keep it civil. Include not exclude!'
Warning the reader of the evil that clearly pervades the wargaming hobby he declares that he has only scratched the surface of the scandal of inclusivity and wargaming.
He then goes on, and on before once more offering us hope by stating; And times [at last] are changing.

And my point?
Well firstly I struggle to understand who this article is actually written for?

Being a historical wargamer, women very rarely get a look in simply because war was very largely a male domain and women were luckily under represented and very lucky they must have felt at times.  Im not one of those people who believes we should socially engineer history so that it becomes basically a huge lie, ie, a black Privy Councillor that was depicted in a new film earlier this year. How can we learn if we don't understand what went before? 

 In my 50 years [ is it that long?] of wargaming the scenarios depicted by Mr King just haven't occurred and if the had I'm very certain one of the thousands of wargamers would have definitely commented upon the event.
 Most wargamers have children or more probably nowadays grandchildren. They are responsible adults. The depiction of a wargamer as painted by Mr King is not anyone I know, in fact I would argue very strongly that what Mr King is depicting is virtually non existent in wargaming.
 And this is the rub because what this article seems to be describing is in fact something that is now identified as wargaming but for me is more accurately fantasy and sci fi gaming where ridiculously modelled warriors, dragging ridiculously modelled weapons that no one could ever lift, never mind use inhabit. The women inevitably are a pre pubescent boys wet dream and are frequently seen on the Internet and in computer games.

 As for the accusation that wargamers need to provide a more positive image where we depict              ' women for men' is so naive and sadly deluded simply because young boys and men are bombarded with real life pornography every day of their lives. So believing a dubious female model will somehow corrupt their pure minds is laughable.
 As for the idea that wargamers somehow exclude women from their hobby. I don't think that's just a female gender issue and certainly is relevant for any would be potential wargamer.

And the point of my post?
 I refuse to be lectured to, we suffer this type of pontificating every day of our lives nowadays.
I certainly don't identify with the wargamer that Mr King describes, white yes.
But privileged?? I wish.
 I love toy soldiers. That admission alone should tell Mr King that any issues I clearly have aren't concerning the exclusion of  women because lets be right why would a woman want to associate with such a person? Its a miracle that war gamers actually have a female partner at all.

As for my latest SPQR project, this is the first time I have owned and painted a couple of naked women so don't feel the need to apologise for their inclusion in my collection.
 I don't believe its political correctness gone mad because like most wargamers I have a pretty decent understanding of taste and morals.
  I dont need anyone telling me that wargaming has an issue. It probably has quite a few, but 'Inclusion' isnt one of them.
 Here endeth the lesson........

Monday, 9 September 2019

This post contains gratuitous nuditity.

WARNING; This post contains nudity and jolly nice it is to....
Now that I have more or less completed my ECW armies I can concentrate on completing the two small 'warbands' for the new Warlord SPQR game. 

John and I decided to take advantage of the introductory offer for the SPQR game and after playing two games we have been furiously buying additional units, buildings and animals.
My main warband/army will be the Ancient British. I blame Airfix for this, as it was one of my original armies when I was a teenager. They didnt win many games but were lovely to look at. And of course they have war chariots. Now I have time I will be painting up the maximum number of chariots, naturally.
These 21st century ones are no different although there is more nudity and 'tackle' on show, as there should be. I am still waiting for the Victrix sheild designs which will add to their look.
I picked up these painted standing stones at the Border Reivers show on Saturday. Yes they are fantasy ones but are so nice I couldn't help myself. They complement my female druids courtesy of Colonel Bill's naked women range.
The British are allowed several units of war dogs, I had to have the maximum number
I painted up a couple of Renedra huts yesterday and added a couple of heads to give them a homely look.

My main druid, ready to hex the Romans. In SPQR you can use a druid to downgrade one of the Roman champions virtues.
   My new huts with a semi naked female druid with attack dogs and highland cattle ready to be stolen..

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.
Austria 1809.

Austrian Hussars

Austrian Hussars
Hinchliffe figures

Austrian Grenzer

Austrian Grenzer
Austrian Grenzer

Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2013
Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2012

Smoggycon 2012
Smoggycon 2012

Smoogycon 2009

Smoogycon 2009
My French getting another beating