Wednesday 22 February 2017

I dream of Banana Oil.

My last post regarding the poorness of the latest Wargames Illustrated seems to have created a bit of debate, although the alternative views are not on my comment pages but on other blogs [which is a shame, because we need debate]

   I think I should clarify one thing that I clearly failed to get across on my 'observations' re WI.

 I DONT look back on the early 1970's and 1980's as a great time for wargamers, well it wasn't for me. [ but a great time for music]
  Clearly I was younger then and had other priorities, like money, work, family etc, but wargaming itself was a constant struggle, due to a lack of information, dreadful one man wargames businesses that struggled to fulfill any orders you sent for [ postal orders, remember them] crap paint, poor glue,and as for wargames magazines well until Miniature Wargames came on the scene you had to subscribe to Military Modelling to read the odd page about the hobby.
 The Newsletter had gone as had Miniature Warfare so there was a real shortage of wargaming reading. As for the shows, well they were 'interesting' in the widest sense and in some very strange locations, so nothing new there then.
Anyway like all hobbies nowadays it is a buyers market with everything one could desire at the press of a button, so that has to be better doesn't it? However what I was actually attempting to say in my post was that I am very happy to re read my old magazines even after 30+ years, simply because they still contain information that I find of great interest whether it is a scenario or a refight of an obscure battle. A good example is an article Paul Stevenson wrote in Practical Wargamer about Union Zoaves with Bob Marrion coloured drawings, Oh! that WI should produce a piece of similar quality.
 The last few years worth of WI would never justify me returning to them to re read an article. That was my point. In fact I actually give them away after reading, to would be young wargamers.
 Another criticism leveled at my post was that if I dont like the WI, then dont buy the damn thing, which is a logical point except if I didnt buy it as many wargamers now state they do, then another wargames magazine would go under which is the opposite of what I want. So I foolishly still buy it.

   Also another point was that I should contribute an article to the magazine if I'm not happy with the content. Well over the years I actually used to do that, but then I realised that younger wargamers should take up that mantle, but guess what, innovators like the excellent Andy Callan [ remember his hair roller armies] seem to be as rare as hobby horse sh##.
  Instead we are fed numerous reviews/ advertisements regarding the latest rulebook, figure range, and just how innovative they all are, usually by someone with a vested interest in the said book, figures etc.
 So perhaps I should simply just stop buying all the magazines and sit like a miserable old git thumbing through my well read Newsletters and dream of banana oil, except I never used the stuff.
  [ I always hated the smell of it, that and patchouli oil ]

 Oh and by the way, here's my latest Zoave regiment, painted and based.  [Half plastic/half metal. and not a figure under ten years old ]

Tuesday 21 February 2017

All Fur Coat and No knickers!

 Now that I have some standards available I have been able to complete another brigade of figures from Jim Sweeny's influx of reinforcements.I touched up some of these figures to cover knocks and other little things but overall I didn't do too much to them.I did have to add the odd figure to complete them, but really it was pain free. I keep telling myself that I need to have a target to aim at and then stop, but honestly I cant. I have never been like that and tend just to carry on until I get a bit sick. It also doesn't help if I see some new eye candy that I then go and buy, ie the FG Mini range of ACW figures.I couldn't help ordering a regiment of the 14th New York Volunteers resplendent in their distinctive chasseur uniform. Hopeless really. I think its the red chasseur pants.

And now onto a little rant / critque.
 I like to read in bed and I am currently re reading my collection of Practical Wargamer magazines that were edited by Stuart Asquith in the late 1980's and early 1990's.  [ I live the life ]
 I always loved that magazine and still find them an interesting read. Its a bit sad really because I can virtually remember the details of my favourite articles from the magazine without having to read them.
   Anyway the latest Wargames Illustrated dropped through the letterbox this week which unfortunately caused me to compare the two magazines. Its a wasted exercise in some respects because one has to accept that things move on and readers want a different experience from what was originally in the Practical Wargamer.
  I mean in a lot of respects the WI has to be better in that its production values are so much higher, with better quality images of the figures and just a more professional feel to the whole thing.
 But like most things nowadays it may look better but the looks are deceptive. [ I always think of supermarket apples, they look wonderful and taste of absolutely nothing ]
   The WI seems like a hefty tome of wargaming goodness, but for me it was just well, 'all fur coat and no knickers.'
 We had 'articles' [ advertisements] about the new Flames of War rules  which I suppose should excite someone. Then we had an 'article' about a new rulebook called Maelstorm's Edge [Good name] and a new set of figures to go with this new concept. I took the time to read the thing, and came away with a Groundhog Day moment. Hadn't I read something similar several times before in earlier issues concerning other futuristic worlds and other ranges of figures?

 We then had a scenario regarding the up and coming Battlegroup Tobruk supplement which is about to be released. [ Advertisement, product placement? ] Then I enjoyed? a piece about a new continent for the Congo rules [ South America!]  Followed by a Rules Showcase for Flames of War. [ You know where I'm going with this]

 By this time I was beginning to simply flick through the glossy pages looking for anything that I might enjoy. 'Godslayer'  concerning a set of rules?  [advertisement ] to be released in April which is about a pseudo fantasy Bronze Age game. [FFS ]

   I flicked onto a Perry Miniatures affair regarding their Desert range and their future plans. [advertisement ]   I was really beginning to struggle by now to be honest. Barry Hilton held my attention briefly regarding a scenario for 1694 but it is a very neat way to keep one's range of figures for that period in public view. I shouldn't be too critical of Barry's enterprising efforts I suppose.
I finally found a brief article regarding the German's use of reconditioned tanks at the close of the war mildly interesting. But it was just a nibble of interest. There needed to be more depth to what could have been informative to say the least.
So my point is this. Should I be alive in ten plus years time, would I make the effort to sit an re read the WI as I am currently doing with Practical Wargamer, absolutely not for so many reasons.
 It may look like a Wargames Magazine, it may have lovely photographs of stuff that wargamers should like, it may give itself  the title of the Premier Tabletop Gaming Magazine but frankly it ain't.
  There were some lovely real advertisements [on a positive note], which will no doubt lead onto a new series of 'articles' sometime soon.

Thursday 16 February 2017

Steve Hezzlewood, a further follow up.

I received a contact from Lee at The Kings Shilling who has created a wonderful post regarding the late, great Steve Hezzlewood on his site.
 He has included pictures from the two Echelon Miniature ranges that never saw the light of day. Both the ACW and ECW ranges created by Steve Hezzlewood are as good as a lot of the newer ranges and frankly deserve to see the light of day in people's collections. Check out the post at

 Thanks for getting back to me Lee.

Wednesday 15 February 2017


 The recruitment of my rebel forces has lagged behind the reinforcements that I received from the bold Jim Sweeny but I have managed to complete this unit of Perry Miniatures resplendent with early uniforms.I just cant seem to make my efforts look 'rebel' enough, I must admit I have always liked to exaggerate the colours of historical units, simply to catch your eye when viewed.

 I have also finished basing one of the Hinchliffe/Echelon Miniature units. They are waiting for their standards but I do like them. They are a mish mash of figures that are over 30 years old, maybe  should call them my Old Guard. The Steve Hezzlewood figures stand out from the older Pete Gilder ones, but I like them both for different reasons.

 I also finished basing a Redoubt Miniatures Iron Brigade unit, courtesy of Jim, they are brutes but have a lot of life in them.The Union is gathering pace.

Sunday 12 February 2017

A Steve Hezzlewood follow up.

Following on from my last post I have been 'dinking' about the internet regarding those damned Hezzlewood ACW figures and came across a company called The Kings Shilling who had posted the following on their site regarding a 28mm ACW and ECW range from the late Steve Hezzlewood.
 I know that Steve Hezzlewoods life was 'complicated' to say the least but Alte Fritz aka Jim Purkey had kindly commented that the 28mm ACW never got into production and look like they never existed. Jim knows his stuff, but now I am really intrigued as to whether Steve Hezzlewood may have created some master sculpts in 28mm but didn't sell them with the rest of the Pax Britannica ranges back in the early 1990's and instead sold them to someone in the UK. I've contacted the Kings Shilling just to see what their take is on their post.All I want is a bag full of Hezzlewood's ACW figures, its not too much to ask is it.

Steve Hezzlewood’s Designs

The original idea behind setting up The King’s Shilling was to launch our own range of figures, based on the work of the late Steve Hezzlewood. Unfortunately right now, this is not looking too promising although we do have a number of master castings the master moulds are no longer viable meaning any ranges we could produce would be small and not up to the standard we would have liked.
Having said that, we do envisage a time when there are a range of TKS Miniatures also available via The King’s Shilling website, so for those that are interested please watch this space.
If you’re eager for the return of Steve Hezzlewood’s ACW and ECW ranges in 28mm or would like to share any memories you have of Steve’s designs then please drop us a line, we’d love to hear from you.

Pax Britannica ACW figures, what happened to them?

Well things have improved, and I would like to say thank you for all your kind comments. My long suffering wife is a bit better but still not 'right.' That's NHS speak for we dont know what went on but take two paracetamol and see what happens. Its no point being angry because where would one start. Anyway I have been pottering on between my wife's naps and doing some rebasing of the figures I got from Jim Sweeny.
   Amongst the stuff Jim sold me, was three regiments of what he called 'back of the table figures' which he gave me for free. Some Yorkshiremen can be generous, honest.
 Now I take a different view with these figures because although they are old, mainly Hinchliffe they still have the magic for me. I normally touch them up and reuse them. However included in the batch were a small number of ACW figures designed by the great but flawed genius, Steve Hezzlewood and released originally as Pax Britannica.
 My SYW armies originated via Steve Hezzlewood's range and are still amongst the best sculpts as regards proportions and sculpting.
 I never owned or saw any of the ACW figures, but now I have a few, I would dearly like some more. The Dayton Painting Company took control of the SYW ranges, but I dont think they could have bought the ACW range, which wasnt the biggest. I would love to know who has the original castings because the ones I have are still brilliant figures.
 If anyone has any knowledge of what happened to the Pax Britannica ACW range than I would be very interested.
 Probably not the best images of one of Steve Hezzlewoods ACW figures, but you can see [I hope ] some of what I like about them.I touched up some of the paint on them and gave them new faces. They certainly wont end up at the back of my table. The other two figures are from the original Hinchliffe range, I still like these chaps, althought they are of their time.

    Re based regiments of Elite Miniatures kindly provided by Jim with a couple of artillery pieces from the same source. Looking pretty good to me.

Wednesday 8 February 2017

A kick in the cojons.

Sometimes what appears to be a 'given' in life turns around to kick one right in the cods. My last post mentioned my eagerly anticipated trip to the York Wargames Show and everything I hoped to buy and the people I needed to meet, and then wallop a kick in the cojons fettles all your plans.
 Needless to say I didnt get to York and instead spent 12 hours in the A@E with my poor wife hoping to see a Doctor.
 There's little point in explaining the whys and wherefores of what happened, but upon my wife's discharge from the hospital we still had not seen a doctor and had instead been dealt with by the NHS phenomena of an Advanced Practitioner [senior nurse] No one at hospital emergency that night was treated? by a doctor as they were needed elsewhere.
 Ten hours later I had to recontact the paramedics to deal with the collapse of my poor wife again. I could go on, but after a further two visits to a doctor, numerous tests etc my wife is well enough to allow me to type this post.We still dont know what caused her severe pain and collapse, and probably never will.
 So I missed my favourite show and its fair to say I am gutted, but grateful that my poor wife is still around to put up with me. U darent think about Salute in case I jinx that as well.

 I have still managed to continue with my wargaming between caring, cooking etc, [ I am fairly useful at times]
                                              My new Texas cavalry. Plastic Perry figures.

 I would love to say that I had painted the figures below, but they are part of a contingent that had belonged to the excellent Jim Sweeney and handed over at York.This is the first unit which I have re based. Annoyingly this is exactly the dark blue colour I have wanted since I started this damned ACW project. Jim is a great painter capable of some seriously good work.I cant wait to re base the rest of the units.

 Further figures that I was due to collect at York. This time Saxon SYW generals painted by the legend that is Phil Robinson. A very kind gift from him.


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