Monday 30 September 2013

When Fate is against you...........

I think its fair to say that when things go wrong they really go wrong.
This weekend was to be my annual visit to Derby. Initially I intended to travel down on the Saturday, but a late night in Newcastle on the Friday watching Rod Stewart [ 49 times] led to me creeping back to bed and not driving down.
 I'll go on the Sunday thinks I, so up bright eyed and bushy tailed, into my car, newly washed and fueled, looking forward to a great days shopping and looking.

  Two miles later............


Two miles later, I found myself T packed by a jaguar full of people en route to a golfing tournament.
 My lovely  car is a right off, and I found that fate has a way of kicking you in the cods.
If that wasn't enough, I now find that the driver of the Jaguar doesn't seem to want to play ball and  provide any insurance details. Somehow I don't think he has any.
 Thinking about it, now that I am recovering from the shock of the accident, leaving me by myself with my car up a grass verge, covered in air bag and dazed wasn't really the gentlemanly thing to do, which should have tipped me off to what they were about.
 So unable to grip a paint brush tightly and down to my last four stone of metal figures you realise that some things are not meant to be.
What really capped it all was I had to spend the majority of my wargaming  cash on paying for a low loader to collect my car and bring me home...... The joys of wargaming.

Sunday 22 September 2013

A Great Way to spend a Sunday.

Several months ago, I bumped into Charlie Wesencraft at the York Show and I invited him to my home for a SYW game.As things usually pan out, the months dragged on, and things got put back. Anyway, I was finally able to get Charlie over for a game.
 I was also able to get Paul Stevenson along at the same time, I suppose it was the nearest thing to North East war gaming  glitterati one could get. So with John there as well, you are talking of a right group of veteran wargamers.  I wont steal Paul's fire as I know he is writing an article for the Minature Wargames magazine, by describing the battle.
 But it was Charlie's first try of Blackpowder, which proved interesting, and the end result was even more interesting. Instead, I will just publish some of the photographs, with a few dodgy comments.
 Just for the record, John and Paul were in charge of a Hanoverian, Hessian command, while Charlie and I were in charge of the French.

              John looking askance as his entire command failed subsequent command rolls.
A view from the French side, notice the well ordered ranks.

A view from the Hessian side, as one can see, the Hessians had taken a bit of a thumping. 

Charlie, advances the French Gendarmerie and dragoons.

Paul, taking photographs for his article.

Not one of my better ideas, sending unsupported hussars up a road in the face of Hanoverian grenadiers.

Paul opted for a sledgehammer type of move, with little room for maneuver, no doubt he will write something different in his account.

My heavy cavalry command, the photograph actually is deceptive, I never charged the infantry.

Arqubusiers de Grassin, attempting to help my attack, by taking the village.

Charlie, pondering whether it was a good idea to come. At the edge of the table are the French reserve, looking resplendent.

John did actually get his commands to move, and get amongst it.

A view from the Royal Italians.

 Another view from the Royal Italians, perhaps not their best.

Never wargame against an ex Royal Artillaryman.

A staged photograph of Charlie's successful cavalry command.

 A regular sight for my command, retiring from the table in disorder.
I must admit this was a really enjoyable game. Fighting with wargamers who really know their stuff. 
It was a pleasure to chat with Charlie about wargaming, especially when we got him to talk about his first meeting with Donald Featherstone and Charles Grant. The stuff of legends.
Charlie has very kindly agreed to do a sort of interview with Paul and me about his story and also his views on wargaming.

Saturday 7 September 2013

For the Last Time!

I promise I wont touch on this subject again, well unless someone presses my buttons in the wrong order.
 But I was laid the other night in bed reading my latest Wargames Soldiers and Strategy. The article concerned Lt Leach, winner of a Victoria Cross in the first world war.The article was by a chap called Mark Backhouse, and although not a period I game, I always like to read about different periods.
 As an aside he mentioned that he had recovered from a school skip a series of books titled The Times History of the Great war, which I found quite spooky as many years ago I salvaged from the side of a beck in my village,the self same books. I loved the pictures in the volumes, but being very young, I soon became bored by the text. The books eventually ended up in a school skip! [ I'm only joking] they actually ended up in the local landfill.
 Anyway I will return to my point, in Mark's final paragraph he wrote those words, ''I always worry about glorifying war''.
 A simple throwaway phrase.........
From there I returned to the latest Miniature Wargames editorial by Henry Hyde, where he talks of the latest Bolt Action dice bag displaying the motif of the Africa Corps.
  Henry goes on from there to say that ' some people ' would be offended by this display of a contentious badge. He goes on to counsel wargamers that we should bear in mind that our hobby might be seen in a very different light by some people' [ my words]

The Offending Badge.

So whats my beef,one may ask?
 Well its quite simple really. Has there been a diversity/on message conference recently that some wargamers have attended, and in order to show that they are on message they have decided to become hyper sensitive to ' some people'
 I emphasize 'some people' because this is a group one hears and reads about that are offended by everything. They must be a majority of persons because they can get legislation introduced, and actually get people who are not on message imprisoned.
  Mark Backhouse is worried about glorifying war, so he wargames! Surely if he is that worried, become a monk, or other worthwhile activity.

 Henry Hyde is worried that 'some people' will be offended by a dice bag displaying the badge of the Africa Corps. When my father bought me the Airfix boxes containing the Eighth army and the Africa corps, I'm certain it never entered his head that he was disrespecting his fallen comrades and he had actually fought in the Eighth army against Rommel.

 I'm not saying run around dressed as a guard from Auschwitz, but lets get a bit of balance here. We paint and play with toy soldiers. We read military history books. If 'some people' are offended, give them a voice, let them explain their offense, perhaps then I wont feel like the hobby is starting to be infiltrated by an insidious creeping political correctness which has created an atmosphere of fear and paranoia.  

Wednesday 4 September 2013

The passing of a giant.


I think by now most of the wargaming world will be aware that Donald Featherstone passed away after some type of fall at home.
 I cannot write as a friend of the great man, and therefore can only write as a wargamer inspired by Donald Featherstone.
 When I was just starting out in wargaming as a teenager, I would often envy the talk of the meetings in Southampton where some of the great figures of wargaming met to do battle.
 Without Donald Featherstone, Charles Grant, Tony Bath, Peter Young, Charlie Wesencraft and a small band of enthusiasts wargaming would not have taken off the way it did.
 I dont think one can give the total credit to Donald Featherstone, but without his drive, enthusiasm and knowledge I believe that it would have been harder for wargaming to take hold.
 One of my regrets was that I discovered his magazine Wargames Newsletter just as it was going out of business, it has taken me years to collect some of the issues. I still read them and I still find them worthy of interest.
 So 2013 is very significant for two reasons for wargamers', the anniversary of the release of Little wars and the passing of a giant of wargaming.
 Personally I think it would be wonderful if all the wargaming publications could come together and create some sort of award to honour the work done by Donald Featherstone which could be awarded each year to an individual who has done a lot to further the hobby. Just an idea but it would be nice.

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