Tuesday 28 September 2010

My perfect wargames room.

Five years ago,my wife and I decided to sell our home, buy some land and build our dream home, what a naive pair we turned out to be.
  Between the perfect storm of the banking crisis,buying land at the height of the boom, having to fight the local planners for three years, and then being hit by a labour government intent on bankrupting the nation,its fair to say things have not gone to plan. The last factor has been the inability to sell my home, not withstanding the four sales that I have had throughout the process. Grand Designs my bottom.
  Part of my dream was to build my perfect wargames room. I am one of the lucky people that already has a wargames room,replendent with a 10' by 6' table, what more could I want.
 My hope was however to create a wargames room similar in standard to the one in the Callan film with Maximillan Schell, book shelves and all.
 Anyway we are now in the process of selling our home for the fifth time,and this time I hope to finally build my perfect wargames room with a larger and more refined table.Amongst the many chores has been the five designs that I have had to submit to the planners for my home, unfortunately due to financial constraints I am now in the process of submitting my sixth, with what I hope is the ultimate design for my dream room. The table in this one will be 12' by 6' with various sophisticated add ons a la the Wargames Centre,ie under table shelves and better lighting.
 If things for once go to plan I hope to be able to post photographs of the completed room on this blog in  eighteen months time. We all have a dream..................

Tuesday 14 September 2010

Model Soldiers for the Connoisseur.

I remember reading someones blog a few weeks ago [ sorry for forgetting which one ] mentioning the book, Model Soldiers for the Connoisseur which is by John G Garratt, [Weidenfield and Nicholson]. This sparked an interest in what the book contained and I managed to get the book from an  Amazon seller for £10.00. The book actually contains a potted history of most figure producers and collectors of that era,aka 1972,which probably wouldnt hold much interest to a person who paints Flames of War or Warhammer. However I found the book thoroughly charming and actually very informative.  The book is crammed with photographs and is 240 pages of nostalgia.
   It contains a potted history of many names from the wargaming past,but my favourite chapter is the authors trip to visit Brigadier Peter Young at his home in Tewksbury. I would give my back teeth to have met and talked to this man,what tales he could have told.
   It was interesting to find out that Peter Young had a large range of 30mm Stadden figures,which even in 1972 were expensive. He also posessed some of the figurines of Madame des Fontaines, figures  which featured in the early Military Modelling magazines, in bold bright colours. I can remember using a magnifying glass to admire the paintwork on these figures and hoping to be able to attain the painting standards of this woman, sadly I never did.
 I think it would be a great idea for a new book of todays collectors and sculptors to be created and published,mind you most of todays collectors would have to smarten themselves up,to compare to the ones in this wonderful book. Anyway,this book was well worth a tenner,and of great interest.
 Although I intend to stick to my Rsm figures, I was especially taken with the Hinton Hunt and Les Higgins figures.

Saturday 11 September 2010

A Strange to do with Durham Wargames Group?

I remember years ago in the magazines Miniature Warfare and Wargamers Newsletter an account of a big dispute regarding some allegations between two wargamers that led to legal action.Letters passed between the two litagants with claim and counter claim.  At the time I thought the whole thing pretty riduculous,as it concerned the playing with of toy soldiers. Also over the years I have also witnessed fallings out between wargamers over rules and the interpretation of such.Again I thought it really sad,because really its just meant to be a game,nothing more, nothing less.
 Which leads me on to the cause of this rant,because really that is what this is.
 I am the member of several Yahoo discussion groups,amongst them is the Durham Wargames Group,which is the group nearest to where I live.Most discussion groups are pretty innocuous and usually are about being in contact with like minded people. The group have been around for many years and its fair to say I have come to know quite a few members. I never joined the group,hence my blog title Independent Wargames Group but I always put a demonstration game on at their show,and also have gamed at their club when invited.
  However this year I didnt get an invite to put a game on,which whilst I thought a bit strange suited me as I was out of the country at the time of the show. John my long suffering wargame opponent decided to go through to the club prior to the show,to check to see if we had our normal table,where no one actually said we didnt have a table,mind you, no one actually said we did, ergo no one spoke to John at all!
  Needless to say John was not impresssed by the bad manners shown. I put it down to a new committee and tried to laugh it off.
 Which finally leads to this rant,.......... Our local council each year encourage local people to go to public buildings that are normally excluded from the public,amongst the buildings is the Durham Wargames Group one,which is the old 68th barracks in Durham, a fine old building. 
 However a member of the group posted a trite and sarcastic message on their site warning of this impending event and basically calling for members to go to the building to 'guard' the centre.He also likened the council to the 'Stasi' of east German fame, more like Herr Flick fame I'm afraid. 
 The mistake I made was to suggest that  it would be a great oppourtunity to stage a couple of exhibition games at the group to perhaps recruit some more members and would be wargamers.
 I did expect a reply, but not to be kicked out of the discussion group!!!
 I know its petty,I know its not important,but I also now know how those two guys felt like all those years ago when they went to the courts. Anyway tomorrow I am excercising my right as a member of the public to get a tour of the 68th barracks in Durham. I will keep you posted.

Sunday 5 September 2010

Border Reivers Newcastle Arena.

Well autumn is drawing on,signalled by the show at the Arena Newcastle.This year,I didnt put a game on at the event. One of the reasons is the actual lighting in the place. Dont get me wrong its great there is an actual show at Newcastle,just the lighting in the place is not good. This year there was a lot of trade and as a result I had to resort to plastic to continue shopping. I also made a purchase of the new Jackdaw French SYW charging Dragoon. I really didnt need them,but couldnt resist the look of the figures,well recommended. Andy was telling me that the next releases are the Saxe Dragoons and the Saxe uhlans. Oh well a nother two units to buy.
 I bumped into Charlie Wesencraft who was still bemused at the popularity of his reprinted wargames books. I honestly dont think that he realises just how good the books were.Again I would recommend wargamers to buy a copy of both books. The ideas are still very relevant and they are well written.the new print copies are available from John Curry books,on E bay.
 I was able to purchase the new Osprey on the Hanoverian SYW army. Its a thin book but does help with the painting project that is pending.
 I had a look at the few games actually on show,and there were a couple that stood out. I did like the ECW/thirty years war game in 28mm,I can only apologise for the lack of knowledge of who presented it.

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