Saturday, 25 December 2010

Only about football, this one.

MO came up from the smoke for the festivities, got turfed off the train at Coventry with no explanation only that trains weren't going any further, (found out later power lines were down between Coventry and Brummagem International), on the day before all the white stuff fell from the sky. While he has been up here he has already bought my birthday present, wait for it, wait for it...a ticket to see the Blues v the Hammers in the second leg, Carling Cup semi-final. So on 26th January, MO, my Bluenose mate across the road and myself will be going to St Andrews for the match. Outnumbered again, and I will have to sit with the Blues fans but I'm going, that's the main thing. Can't wait. Meanwhile MO, the lucky so-snd-so, has a mate darn sarth who is also a Hammers fan and the git is also going to the first leg at Upton Park on 11th January.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Swining weather!

Well, since the last a fair bit has happened -some of it may even be interesting.

You know how sometimes you don't fancy painting but want to watch the telly even less? I had one of those evenings a few weeks ago, so just for the craic I typed my name into Google to see what I had been up to on the tinterweb. I found an item that said some bloke had got a set of WWI Rules from me some 30 years ago. I traced the link and found him on the WD3 Wargaming Community. Sent a message via the forum and found out that we went to the same wargames club in Southend decades ago. Still chatting every so often. How small the electronic world can be.

The most amazing thing happened to me at work the other week. I was talking to a colleague about nothing much when he said he noticed that I was always reading in the canteen and that he had a book I might be interested in. I thought nothing more of it until a week later when he gave me a carrier bag. I opened it to find a hand written diary from his missus' grandfather who was in the RGA in WWI and it was an account from early 1917 to mid 1918 when he was sent back to Blighty. Hand drawn maps and all. Court martial offence if discovered of course, but what a read. What I have is actually a copy made by him immediately on his return to England while the original, apparently covered in muck and who knows what else, currently resides in the Imperial War Museum.A contemporary account that is over 90 years old. Fantastic stuff!

Made some trees using twisted pipe-cleaners for the trunks and some hanging-basket-filler-stuff I bought from Homebase (a DIY chain here in the Old Country). Took some each-stage pictures then, by accident, promptly deleted them all- Muppet. I'm quite impressed by them. Got some dried privet twigs left over from the last hedge trim of the year on the worktop so I'm going to try them out next. Probably not as versatile as the pipe-cleaners for bendiness but will be finished a lot faster. I also tried out the method of using old CD's as terrain bases and made a couple of rocky outcrops which look pretty good as well. Once again, due to my mechanical ineptitude I lost those pics as well. Sphericals!

I've made a decision to integrate the two blogs into this one, so all further writeups about the Sassy's and the Byz Boys will be on this one along with everything else.

The weather here -either rain, cold, overcast, wind, snow or a combination of all of them-hasn't really been conducive to external photography which is all well and good because I haven't really got anything new to show you. The 3rd unit of Sassy Levy, (Donnington Figures), is more than half finished but I had a minor Sabbatical on them while terrain building. Not much left for them now, then I might make a more serious start on the Byz Boys.
I might just start a new project.
Bit of historical background here. Years ago that nice Mr Macfarlane run a show at Birmingham Uni in Edgbaston. I was in a club that offered to help the traders to move their wares in and out of the venue and as a thank you we were given chits that were redeemable at various manufacturers. Now with my chits and some judicial swapping I managed to acquire enough credit wonga to purchase a whole mess of figures. To date those figures have sat in a box somewhere in the manse. When I can find the little monkeys they will be the start of my new period...15mm ACW. Now this is different because all I need to buy is the Rebs because I believe I already have all the Bluebellies in the shape of inf. cav. and art. I will need. I also have a copy of Fly & Furry Rules so I might use them although I'm unconvinced of 20 x 20 bases with 3-5 figs on each. Yes, alright, thats the ruleset standard but I don't want RSI from shifting all the bl**dy bases around. At the other end of the scale my usual 60 x 40's are just too big -an 8 base brigade comes in at a huge 480mm or over 18" frontage; far too much for my board. Hmmmmm, needs a bit of thought.
The other thing that has stopped me in the past is that, years ago, there was a book-shop in Brum from a nationwide chain called County Books. From the Military Section I purchased a bout 15 imported books on the ACW -the usual fare, battles, biographies etc- including books II, III and IV from the definitive Battles and Leaders of the Civil War for about £7.99 apiece. I obviously asked about the first book and was told that it would be in at some time. Well, that was about 10 years ago, the Bull Ring has been pulled down and rebuilt and you guessed it, the shop went with it. No bl**dy book. Then, last month on whim, I checked Amazon. It was there, Book I of the Battles and Leaders. So that is my Crimble pressie from YO this year. Now all things considered, in early 2011 I will finally get round to reading the whole set.

Sunday, 31 October 2010


Last Sunday, YO and I were having a chat and she said that she wanted to get rid of some of her old stuff down at the local Tip/Recycling Centre. Ha, thinks I as a brilliant opportunity presented itself. The local Wickes' DIY Superstore is near the Tip sooo, if I went with her -coz I don't drive and she does- I could pop in and check out the prices of the nice insulation boards that everybody in wargaming circles has been raving about. Using proper English measurements, not the imported stuff, it worked out at £4.99 for a 4' x 1' 6" board. After a niggle with a rather monosyllabic staff-person over an advertising display that said, plain as day, Buy 3 or more and get them at £3.99 each we walked out with three. (Never did get to the Tip by the way, YO changed her mind.)

Now, up until a few days ago I was prepared, even though my sawing is not the best, to cut them into 6 x 2' squares. Then I had a St. Paul's moment. Leave them alone with the nice and, most importantly, accurate straight edges and work on them as they are. Brilliant...apart from one thing -I only bought 3 of them! So now I can have a brick pattern of boards or a long, thin one. I know, the answer is simple, buy another one, but seeing as YO lives over the other side of the city, I don't know when she will be coming over again to get it. Anyway, there really isn't any rush, all 3 are sitting up here in the tower still in their virginal pinkness waiting for yours truly to extricate his digit and clear out some of the accumulated tat. Then I will be able to set up an 8' x 3' 6" table. Don't worry too much about the width, after all, nearly all my wargaming figures are 15mm or smaller so there will be nice open flanks for my cavalry armies.

Had a good old think about this and have decided to have the boards basically flat with some low bits of lumpiness glued on to break up the playing field look. All other terrain pieces like roads, rivers and marshes etc, will be freestanding.

Once I get going on the project I will try to post some pics but don't hold your breath, the house lights up here are good but possibly not quite good enough for photography. We will see when the time comes.

Keep yer bristles straight.


Sunday, 10 October 2010

Derby purchases

Just thought I would share with you my purchases this year at the show.

5 x 6mm Irregular WWII German nebewerfer plus tows for Das Reich
5 x 6mm Irregular WW II Russian 76.2 field guns plus tows
1 x 10mm battlepack of Irregular Ancient Gauls/British (100 pieces)plus 3 extra chariots, (making 12 in total), and some more warband to make up the numbers.
3 x 10mm cohortes of Romans (1 regular, 2 auxiliary) (90 figures)
3 x 15mm Irregular Sassanid Persian bolt throwers
30 x 15mm Donnington Sassanid Levy infantry
5 x 15mm Donnington Sassanid cavalry (general, standard bearer and 3 guards)
9 x 15mm Museum Miniatures Mongol LC. (I do like these figures, one piece castings, good variety of positions, full of animation and movement -hmmm, might even end up with a whole tumen of them later.)
6 x 10mm Pendrakan Roman bolt throwers

Bases and Terrain
Proper green paint by Vallejo for WWII Russians
3 x bags of different coloured thick flock powder and a set of 7 brightly coloured tiny bits to make flower heads from. Looked good on the Sheffield Irregulars stand. I admit it, I had a go and it seems to work okay.
6 x Timecast 6mm Russian Front buildings (for a bit of variety).
2 x packs of 14 pre-cut MDF bases
2 x pack of round bases for generals (got 2 because it was a BOGOF deal).
The last two items are from a company called Warbases, nice blokes, good deal. Unfortunately, you'll have to Google it coz I can't get the linky thingy to work.

Plus what I considered to be a real steal from one of the bookshops there, a mint copy of Great Battles of the Civil War by J. Macdonald for £5 ( do your own conversion if reqd.)

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Derby report

As I mentioned previously, I went to Derby today. Boy do I like that show, none of the hugeness and impersonality of Salute-in-the-aircraft-hanger that is Excel, but a nice sized friendly show. I even said as much to one of the organizers whom I got chatting to. A good day was had by all. YO dropped me at the uni campus then went off in a cloud of dust to go shopping in Derby with the missus -result. And guess what, I remembered the camera, in fact I took two just to be sure. 107 photos all found, some not bad, others okay and some a bit blurred but I know what they are so I'll keep them anyway.
Some really good games this year. A 40mm ACW with about 1200 figures and some outstanding and eye catching flags. A large 'L' shaped version of Waterloo and a game with a very impressive model of the granary at Apern-Essling, both in 25mm. And then I came across a game after a my own heart, a refight of Liegnitz (Mongols v Polish in 1241) by the Curteys lads, a nice 15mm version of Fontenoy and a visually impressive 25mm WWII involving a fight over two railway bridges. Got everything I wanted -and some stuff I didn't but couldn't resist, you know how it is. Also spoke to some people who gave me a tutorial on how to make some nice, flowery bases. More on this when I try it myself. Unfortunately, it was a bit uncomfortable sitting on a hard chair coz I have a mahoosive abscess on my posterior which is giving me some stick at the mo.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Pics and yet more pics

To back up the story reported earlier about re-doing the bases of my W W II Das Reich and the Russians, here is the proof. First off, the Germans. As per, all are clickable for hugeness.

Now here are the Russians, which incidentally, I didn't paint. I inherited them from a mate who gave up wargaming after a few tries in different periods. His loss, my gain. Hey, ho, such is the way the wheel of fortune turns.

I think I'm finally getting a bit of a handle on this posting malarkey; now I can move pictures around within the post for effect. (How long has it taken me? No, don't answer that, I get upset easily.)

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Problems and solutions.

The problem is -as you can read in my other blog- techno-lology based; the solution...go out and have a shopping figurefest! So I will follow my own advice and go to Derby armed with a camera and some cash. This year I want to get some more b and p's for the Sassys; a few more Mongols, but the big(ish) spend this year is going to be getting more 10mm Romans and Brits. Currently standing at Romans 4 infantry cohorts (1 auxiliary) and 2 cavalry units, all painted, to Brits...nothing, not a sausage, bugger all. However, I intend to rectify that next weekend. The Romans will be increased by 2 more cohorts (1 auxiliary) and the Gauls by getting another Irregular Battlepack plus b and p's giving me a total of nearly 300 infantry (10 units), 2 cavalry units and 4 chariot units.

Monday, 16 August 2010

The Interlude continues

Well that's it; last night I finally finished repainting the bases of my 6mm Germans -total of 110 vehicles and 11 infantry bases. One base coat, some washy blobs, two highlighting colours and finally, blobs of PVA for flock on each base. Now I've started on the Russians; in one way they are easier because there are only 94 vehicles and as yet no infantry (have to rectify that at Derby), but some of them need a bit of touching up seeing as I didn't paint them. Still, definitely not a spectator sport I can tell you! Thank God for Kerrang radio. Already got the guts ache and I've only done 21 T34/85's and 9 IS2's.  Then of course once they are done I have to make some terrain. It just goes on and on doesn't it, but in a perverse way that is what the hobby so interesting; variety is the spice of life and all that.
Hammers, eh? What can I say? Nothing really. Spoke to some Villa fans at work after the match who all said it was nice of West ham to turn up. Sad start. Mind you I have another sport I've got into over the last few months thanks to ESPN and that's Aussie Rules Football. Amazing game, seems to be a mix of rugby league, volleyball and any number of martial arts techniques. Where the football comes in is anybodies guess. The official web site is at 
and an idiot's guide (that's me)  is at
To someone brought up on a diet of football (the proper one), scoring is strange, tactics are even stranger, scraps abound -on, off and around the ball. 22 players per side with 18 on the OVAL pitch at any given time and free swappsies with the other 4 , 7 refs (umpires). 4 quarters of nominally 25 minutes each. Incredible game, Have a look, I love it.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Not 15mm Sassys

I haven't stopped posting on the other blog, it's just that that one is exclusively for the two ongoing 15mm  armies whereas this one is for everything else.
An occasional task that I have set myself is to tidy up the lid of the gaff so that I can set up a 6' by 5' table. I use the word occasional because, like most wargamers I have known over the years, we are magpies who collect and keep shedloads of bits and pieces knowing full well that the week after we throw something away we will need it. So in the next few days I will post a 'before' picture so you can see the magnitude of the task.
Now where is this leading, you may ask, and rightly so.
Reading through some of the blogs, and being somewhat of a solo wargamer, (at the moment anyway), I have thought about various periods that would work well as a solo project and a period that I already have armies in. In a flash it came to me -World War II. Now it just so happens that I  have most of the fighting elements of Das Reich Panzer Division at 1:5 -works out at 15 Panthers and 30 Mark IV's plus an attached Schwere Panzer Abteilung to start with,  as well as a sizable selection of Russians. So I dug them out from their video-case storage, blew the dust of the lids, and thought these only need the bases repainting and a coat of matt varnish and Robert is definitely your mother's brother. Now in front of the 24 half-painted Sassanid LI there is a battalion of 6mm Panthers with damp bases.
More as it happens.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

They think its all over! It bl**dy well is now!

Well, what can you say about the World Cup. Rated up there with the best and yet fell at the second hurdle. No doubt there will be much wailing, finger pointing, distancing from any limelight just in case and gnashing of teeth from any number of the footballing hierarchy but it's the supporters I feel sorry for.  The poor bu**ers spent well above an arm and a leg to follow their beloved country's  team to the bottom of the planet and what do they get... 360 minutes of shambolic ineptitude from the top down. Sort it out for God's sake! How is it we can invent games but within ten minutes the world and his brother are better at them than we are?
And another thing, possibly trivial to some of you anti-royalists but important to me at least, shouldn't you be proud to be chosen to represent your country? Next time its on, watch the England rugby players when our National Anthem is played, chests are thrust forward and they are singing their lungs out with pride. England footballers, hardly any of them move their lips and even that seems an effort. Perhaps they don't know the words? Too busy getting their heads into the 'right place/mindset' I suppose. Overpaid prima donna's the lot of them. So they got kicked out early, never mind eh? Come back home on a specially chartered plane to a safe area away from any possibly angry fans; whisked away in German cars (how's that for irony?); home to their respective companions before jetting off to the Caribbean or the Maldives or somewhere equally exotic to recover from the stress. Good, get rid of them and replace them with footballers who play for the love of the game and country not just for the outrageous salary it can bring.
 For one mistake, Ashley Cole was booed for several games afterwards. Except for Green-who to my mind was exonerated after several other keepers had similar problems with the new ball at the tournament- and James who was MotM against Germany, for such a lacklustre performance it should happen to all of them when the new season starts...for a long time.
The FA, (thats Football Association by the way, not the other abbreviation),  needs to take a collective step back away from their sinecurist positions and start getting people in place who know the game: then listen to them once they're there. Wilkinson and Brooking are the proverbial voices in the wilderness, banging their heads against a brick wall of white collar aggrandizement.
Plus, don't get me started on the new Jubulani ball and that goal. 
So now I have a bit of a dilemma. Being of Anglo-Saxon descent from way back in the genealogical mists of time and a proud Englishman, I naturally follow England. But the Saxon bit is very important because my surname is one of the few derivations of the word sax and actually means Saxon. So now I will transfer my allegiance to Germany, the better team on the night and eventual winners of the tournament. I hope. (Still, 5-1 is still better than 4-1 by my maths, so we are ahead overall.)
Bloody Hell, I could go on all night...but luckily for you I won't. I've had enough now anyway. Only two years to wait for the European Championship. Bring it on!


Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Period Building Post

The other weekend the good lady and myself  went off for a break in Stratford upon Avon. Now the last time I went there was in 1978? when I was working in Redditch and staying in Halesowen (a few miles across the other side of south Brum for those geographically challenged amongst you. No great shakes if one drives but I didn't then and still don't). So anyway a few friends and I went to Stratford for an evening out. In the darkening light we strolled along the riverside, found a pub, had a few, ate a curry and came back, end of non-eventual trip.  

This time it was a whole different experience. For starters we got there in daylight and I was armed with my trusty 7 million pixies camera -still can't work out how they all fit- and, over the two days I took sh*tloads of piccys...of buildings; over a hundred at last count. I have never seen so many period buildings in any one place. Amazing, absolutely amazing. So I am putting a few random shots on the blog as a taster. 

If anyone is interested in the look of 16th and 17th Century buildings for Renaissance generally and ECW in particular then let me know and I can post some more. 

Damp is good,


P. S.  The first is of someones house, the second is a line of someones houses. Third is of a local hostelry. Fourth piccy down is of the house of a 17th Century rather well known local playwright, Mai Will Rapesheake; the author of such oft plagiarized classics such as Thamel; and gave us such unforgettable lines like A Shroe, a shroe, my dingkum for a shroe and Beot or Botneot, tath is the nestquie (homage to the M. Python team for that one). The fifth is of a Tudor period building which is now a museum.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

The Glorious game!

It happened. Zola came to the Midlands looking for a point with a 5 man midfield, 4 at the back and young Nouble up front for his first game, and he got it. The whole team did well; Faubert, Upson, Spector and Tomkins were great in defence, ably supported by Noble, Parker, Kovacs, Collison and Behrami in the middle. I felt sorry for Nouble as a lone striker up against the man-mountain that is Richard Dunne in the Villa defence. The young lad could have put the Irons one up within five minutes but a perfectly timed off-putting tackle kept the scores level.  Green played out of his skin with at least 3 great saves.
Then you look at Villa. An attacking side if ever I saw one with Heskey (later Carew), Young, Agbonlahor, Milner and Downing all playing. AND THE HAMMERS HELD THEM, speaks volumes, don't it? I ran out of superlatives three days ago. Now last night the local claret and blues put 6 past Blackburn with a response of 4. Amazing, innit? Excellent game last night as was the one the night before between the real Manchester team and the one in red.
There, that's the end of that.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Not a thing about wargames

Well, not much has been happening outside of 15mm at the mo (check out other blog). BUT the good news is that I have found out that EO and one are going to watch The Hammers on Sunday afternoon at the local club, Ashton Villi or something similar. Should be good, hopefully the Irons will come away with all three points although even one will be okay.