Monday, 2 July 2018

Arnhem Battlefield Tour, and a family coincidence.

Arnhem Battlefield tour. The Oosterbeek Perimeter 1944

Bit of a coincidence. Walked into the Airborne museum at Hotel Hartenstein and came upon an exhibit of a piece of wallpaper with some graffiti on it taken from a house at 34 Pietersburgseweg which had been defended by two British members of the 21st Independent Parachute Brigade. One of which was named in the exhibit as my great Uncle Fred Hocking and his mate Tony Crane. The graffiti reads (excuse the language) "Never Surrender. F**k the Gerrys. 1st Airborne Division. Germans Killed or wounded" and then a tally of over five days as they defended the house from attack. On the 25th they made it down to the river and crossed under fire. The picture above is myself with a photograph of him next to the graffiti, the video interview with Tony Crane, and then myself outside the house which they defended during that time in September 1944.

Friday, 8 June 2018

15mm Sudan. Mahdists vs British and Egyptians

Bit of a change for the gaming table today. Last weekend I found a box of Sudan British that I'd painted but hadn't got round to basing. Feeling a bit inspired I decided to get everything out and see what it was like in full battle array so to speak.

They're all 15mm, so give a nice sense of mass. I'm quite pleased with myself in having painted so many over the years to give myself two completed opposing armies. Too often I've pushed myself too hard on a project and jacked it in part way through. The fact that I've done well with these I think is because I've limited myself to finishing just a handful at a time. 

The models are mainly Old Glory and Peter Pig. Usually two ranges that don't mix very well size-wise, but are fine kept in separate units.

The buildings are Timecast I think, and the desert battle may is by Deep Cut Studios.

Monday, 28 May 2018

Versailles TV Series

When I'm painting in the back room I've usually got something jabbering away on the BBC iPlayer. A typical choice would be a documentary, but a work colleague suggested the Versailles drama series. It was a risk, as I normally consider these historical dramas more my partner's domain than mine (she absolutely loves The Tudors). Anyway, I thought I'd give it a shot.

It's lavishly filmed with both outstanding costumes and sets, so that caught my attention initially. However I was also gradually drawn in by an excellent storyline that involves a carousel of court intrigue and plotting (they're definitely handy with the old poison, with quite a few characters gruesomely taken down while coughing blood and clutching at their throats). It seems that the weakness of the French aristocracy was that none of them knew how to prepare their own meals, which gives endless opportunity for some ne'er do well to slip arsenic into the spiced partridge.

The acting is very solid. The background of a few of the main cast is quite surprising once I'd had a search for them on the internet. George Blagden for instance, who plays Louis XIV also starred in the recent Wrath of the Titans film, absolutely shines here. As does my favourite, Tygh Runyan, who plays the King's Chief of Police. He appears as the plotters nemesis, and is quite often equally as bloody minded when it comes to protecting the Crown. 

The DVD set of series one and two are available at a reasonable amount. I picked it up for £15, knowing well that it'll probably be taken off the iPlayer after a few weeks. Definitely worth a viewing!

Sunday, 20 May 2018

King Richard III Retinue 28mm Wars of the Roses

Today myself, Chris and Dave went to the Partizan Wargames show near Newark. It's a very good show, and the venue is the same as the Hammerhead one which was a few weeks ago - so naturally I was pleased with what is now a familiar place with plenty of light, cafeteria facilities etc.

Being only thirty minutes away, it resulted in us getting home before 3pm and I decided to set up my painting station in the garden and make a start on the figures I bought (painting figures on the same day I'd purchased them would have been unheard of a few months ago!). Clearly a sign I'm getting back on top of things.

Anyway, while the undercoats were drying I dug out my Wars of the Roses Richard III retinue and took some photos. As with the Warwick one they're all Perry's plastics and still a part of the eBay haul. I did have to chop and readjust some of the arms and legs, as the previous owner had been a bit overzealous with the glue! Something I was guilty of with my first set of Victrix Napoleonic many moons ago.

I'm really pleased with these, and how the Wars of the Roses project is coming along in general. Next time, some Burgundian Pikemen perhaps?

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Wars of the Roses, Earl of Warwick Retinue 28mm.

I had a painting commission for some 28mm Perry Miniatures Wars of the Roses, and found myself with some leftover figures. This prompted an eBay search and the purchase of  three hundred assembled but unpainted plastics for the meagre sum of seventy quid. I decided this would be my 2018 project, plus I could fit it in with the customer's requirement of different WotR retinues. Followers of this blog may recall that I had some lovely Perry's Plastics a few years back which attracted the eye of Wargames Illustrated. It also attracted a buyer who gave me what I considered a silly amount of money for them. That said, there's part of me that wished I'd never sold the collection.

Anyway, it turned out to take a lot longer to begin this project due to my health issue and being parked on the sofa with a hot water bottle stuck to my stomach whilst staring at the ceiling. Luckily the worst is now passed and I'm back into a regular routine of painting and being upright again.

I decided to base them for the Hail Caesar! ruleset and the middle ages supplement. They're going to be an average retinue size of forty figures, archers on the wings with three per 4cm x 4cm base (to give a loose formation) and then the centre consisting of men at arms (four figures per 4cm x 4cm base) and one base of foot knights/command.

The command base with standard will be interchangeable, which is why I didn't apply any heraldic badges on the figures. For instance it means I can swap the standard of Edward IV for Richard Duke of York as both retinues had the same livery colours.

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Hammerhead Show 2018

Today's haul from the Bring and Buy at the Hammerhead show near Newark saw a huge increase in my 15mm Napoleonic collection. This pile of 424 figures cost me just £45. Primarily Old Glory with a few minifigs early Austrian artillery thrown in. The Portuguese will serve nicely for the Peninsula war scenarios Chris will be putting on.

I'm slightly pained that I forgot to take my digital camera, but running on just two hours sleep meant that I was likely to leave something behind. I only just remembered to print out the tickets, which I did while contemplating yet another torrential downpour out the back window. The flooding around here can be ridiculous, as when I witnessed the canal boat stranded in the middle of a farmer's field some weeks back.

Nevertheless the turnout at the Show itself was very good, despite it being rescheduled from earlier this year (again due to weather conditions - snow that time). I must say I've wondered if Newark hasn't experienced an overkill of Wargames shows with three situated there over the year: Hammerhead, Partizan and Other Partizan. The difference with Hammerhead is that it gives a good balance of trade stands and participation games. The latter being a successful feature of American shows apparently. It's nice that it gives the customer an all round experience of gaming and socializing, rather than just trying to empty your wallet.

Speaking of which, I've noticed that as I get older I'm more inclined towards a degree of comfort (even at a Wargames show). Some of the first things on my mind when stepping through the doors these days are "can I get a cup of tea?" and "I hope the toilets are decent!!" I can imagine Napoleon himself uttering these same sentiments on the way to St Helena. Thankfully Hammerhead comes through with the goods. Excellent facilities including two Cafe areas with plenty of seating, and bathrooms suited even for an Imperial posterior!

Monday, 16 April 2018

Salute, 2018

Salute 2018 came and went. In all a very enjoyable show, if only a little exhausting. It's quite a different experience when running a game or stall and I'll be looking forward to being an average punter at Hammerhead and Partizan.

The "Druid" participation game we put on for Wargames Illustrated was enjoyed by both young and old. The table (by Dave Marshall) attracted a lot of attention in itself. As mate Chris mentioned, it was probably the busiest of all the games. At one point the prospective players were about three deep on all sides.

I won't publish too many photos, as I'm sure others will be putting up many of the same. Instead I'll just post a few eyecatchers. The amazing warlord aircraft carrier for instance, and the Bolt Action game next to us complete with Stuka's and an amphibious landing. Amazing stuff. Oh yes, and the WW1 replica tank!!