Saka Light Cavalry

Saka Light Cavalry

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The Commandos at Dieppe Book Review

This book refreshingly takes a look at one successful part of the disastrous operation that was the attack on Dieppe. This book I gave away as part of my blogs giveaway and I am happy to say it was a good read. Typical of most books of this type it goes into detail regarding the formation and original training of the Commandos which is very welcome and a run through of the war to this point, which is not. It's a specialist book so why do we need what is essentially filler. Anyone who does not know the order of things up to that point really are unlikely to be reading the book anyway. So the question has to be, was it filler to pad out a thin book or worse was other more interesting detail missed out? I really think it's a mix of the two and whilst the actual engagement is well covered further information regarding the run up or after affects of the action could and should have been included in the book. So it's a bit like being cheated out of some detail for the lack of being prepared to go the extra mile. Whilst this is a little unfair it stands up as long as they continue to waste our reading time by putting the usual Germany Invaded Poland etc etc shite in books that clearly the reader already knows. Rant over.

The detail of both the run up and raid itself is both good and well presented. Whilst the area of the fight was relatively small Will Fowler does a great job of keeping the action separated into compartments but also knitting them together. The section on the battle is chock full of possible scenario's for small actions and whilst the famous mortar round would be hard to replicate you have plenty on other small actions that warrant table top representation. As for those just wanting a good read they will be happy with the way it is written. The human element comes through very well and we get a view of the action from all three sides.

What makes this a hit for me is that given the strange habit the Brits have for highlighting our failings in war and the seemingly desperate attempts to make all Generals seem either plodding, stupid or most often both, this book celebrates the part of the action that went right and where it did not, the action taken to get it back under control. Yes the raid was a disaster and yes it was one of many but reading so many other books it's a surprise we ever got to France never mind Germany. It's nice to read a book for a change that does not paint up Tommy as a accident waiting to be shot and as such thank you Mr. Fowler, I will forgive you for the potted history, maybe.

Nothing to do with a gaming blog!

Nothing to do with a gaming blog? Well almost nothing. You see my excuse for staying in all day Saturday and painting was that I was waiting in for a phone call to go fetch three 'point of lay' hens to bring my back garden brood back up to strength after a hard winters campaigning. So here are the new ladies in my life.

Warren Hybrids.
These are Warren's but bread so that they are slightly better egg layers. That is to say the already great layers become super layers. The old battery farms (and vast majority of commercial farms) use this type of bird though they also pump them full of chemicals that make them lay even faster and sell them off for turning into hot dog sausages etc. Mechanically reclaimed meat is code for whole birds, beak, legs and all just minced into puree. Don't go there! Our original birds were rescue birds that would have had that fate but are bought by a charity and whilst not in the worst state they could have been were fairly bad. Broken toes, urine burns from sitting in their own mess and 2/3rd featherless. Well post having these which against the odds all survived (many of these birds die after coming off the heavy dose antibiotics that allow them to stay alive in such condition - junky chickens coming off crack is not fun to watch), we could not take other ex-bats as we do not have a separate place to put the rescue birds whilst they recover. Putting them in with full strength chickens is a death sentence as the others will just peck them to death.

So since then we have just had young 16 week(ish) birds. Last time we went for something different, Light Sussex and Black Roc hybrids. These produce less eggs but we don't have them for the out put. So what did the old gals think of the new?

Chicken Stare!
Not impressed! Blossom, the white one has been the boss for well over a year and when ever new birds get introduced a new pecking order has to be established. The new birds will not challenge her position, well not for some time but the whole who's boss has to be ran through. It started really bad as one of the two originals fetched blood of Cath's new girl Phebe. Fortunately with the heat it dried quickly as running blood to chickens is an open invite to attack after attack. We kept a close eye but really did not want to separate them. Anyways they all settled down later and apart from the odd flap they have settled in well, just like all the others before.

Ollie, that's my girl.
Olli is mine, a Black Roc who is black all over except the neck and wing/tail tips which are golden. She is the one most in danger of slipping down the pecking order and she knows it. She is a smaller bread and has always been at the bottom of the chain. This is no problem though as they have plenty of room .

Anyways, next post will be back to what you want to see, honest.

Monday, 28 May 2012

6mm Buildings Painted in Record Time

As you may remember I  bought some 6mm buildings from Total Battle Miniatures at Triples 9 days ago. Well I put the finishing touches to the last of the buildings yesterday in a week were my painting time was much shorter than normal. So it's fair to say they paint up quickly but do they look good? Well I like them and I am first to admit painting buildings is not one of my strengths. So you want to look at the pics? well before you do I'd like to go over a few points on my quick review in the Triples post.

The models hid a little flash which came off with a sharp craft knife and a file or two. You do need to do this in good light as some of the detail may look like it needs cutting whilst other flash is hard to spot. It's well worth taking the time at this stage as the detail is really crisp and whilst the 2' rule is great in theory peeps will want to take a look at 2" so beware! Lee recons he does not wash his resin models in soapy water. DO!! I even had to do so again with the smallest buildings as I think I did not give them enough attention first time around. I found the spray primer was failing to cover well and standing on the surface, instead the more time consuming white paint wash was used. I also mentioned last time that I saw little evidence of bubbles in the casting, well once primed a fair few more stood out. Nothing drastic but if you buy these based on my comment about almost none then you may have reason to lynch me. In honesty it's still very few and most paint out though the church for instance is missing the corner of a window ledge. Not a disaster but not 100% perfect. But in the example, the church cost £4 so it's more than acceptable. OK I know you skipped ahead anyway but here they are.

The Whole Village
All 6 buildings laid out in the sun. I will use them in clusters of two to three buildings in most games. I plan to add a good deal more to the collection at some point in the future and will also mix in Timecast as well once I have plenty of these. It was a real pleasure to paint them.

Baccus Invades TBM!
I bought two barns, the straw is a different colour to the thatch but did not come out as such on the photo. I plan to sink the buildings in to bases later which will hide the resin lip. The thatched row in the background really has a nice feel to it but it's the barn hat steals the show. On the other side next to the double doors is a indent in the stone work that is intended to hold a boot scrapper! I told you it was detailed, no pic of it but will do so first game with them.

Much needed supplies taken from this warehouse.
I struggled with the roof tiles colour. I knew what I wanted and it took so many attempts before I was happy with the result. Cath kept it real with the odd "Looks crap", nothing like positive encouragement to spear you on and she was positive it was wrong! I am happy to report she gave it a "looks better" at the end.

The timbered house was very easy to paint and at only £3 I think you will be seeing a few mixed in with the thatched row of houses. I bought two barns by accident so turned this one into a coal store to stand next to the warehouse. I plan to make the base for this one a little interesting.

The blue door is still debatable, I tried looking at paintings of buildings but could not get a good view, so should I keep it or drop back to a plain wooden one? The church has possibly seen better days as it's a bit dingy and it seems no one has bothered painting the copper dome.

As per TBM's excellent websites pictures I have opted for a kind of off white, theirs is a green to brown whilst mine was a sepia brown wash with a very very weak white painted over it. I then used a full white to paint the stone pillars and ledges etc. for a worn but still well kept finish. To say it's a fairly fast procedure (all done in part of a afternoon) the result really works. In fact all the buildings had inspiration taken from the pics provided and in a couple of cases just a total mugging. My only suggestion is for the site to have two pics of each building showing opposite views as the models have such detail it's a shame for them not to show it off.

I can not give them a big enough thumbs up. They are nice and local to me which only adds to their charm. If I had made Partisan this weekend I would not have been able to resist buying some more. Next plan is to buy at least one of their village or farm tiles that has a number of buildings on a base. I just know that at some point I will also have to get the fortified town but that is some time in the future.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Terribly Obsure (E) Rebellion: The Eureka Stockade.

Whilst Australians may wonder why this Rebellion features in a Terribly Obscure I am fairly sure it fits the bill, especially with mt Pom followers ;-)
1851 saw the discovery of gold and with it an influx of migrants other than the usual agricultural workers. A great strain was put on all professions as many left their normal jobs and went to seek their fortune seeking gold. The Governments answer to this was to create expensive licences that had to be renued every month at a cost of 30 shillings no matter how successful the miner had been the previous month. The idea was that the shear cost would deter some and many others would go back to their professions as they failed to make ends meet. Not only was these licence's unpopular but the method of enforcement was heavy handed. The problem was that the established Police Force was far too few in number so a hasty and large expansion was required. Not a small amount of irony found a ready source of recruits being ex-convicts and their previous guards. This quickly led to corruption as the Police were open to bribes and even the honest ones just had so much work related to the miners (checking all licences twice a week!) so normal police duties suffered and with it a rise in crime both inside the camps and also in the area around them.
This only led to angering the miners who felt the licences were excessively expensive and saw little return in both mining profits and social decency. The greater the resistance and anger to the licence and police corruption the greater the Police brutality. The spiral just fed itself until it came to a head in the Eureka Lead at Ballarat where a man accused of the murder of a Digger (miner) escaped justice due to being a friend of the police. A group of Diggers burnt down Bentley's Hotel where the murder took place and three of them were arrested for arson. When the demand for their release was refused the miners along with other demands the diggers had two choices. Back down or make a stand! The murder of the digger had had acted as a rallying call and the main grievances were brought to the fore. Voting for all miners (at this point you had to have mined for 6 months in one location to vote), the removal of the hated licence and reduction of corruption within the police. The Governor refused to release the men and 18 days later on the 29th November 1854 a second mass meeting was held and this was the first display of the Eureka Flag, a dangerous development.

The five stars represent the Southern Cross.
The meeting broke up after the burning of Licences and the election of leaders. The following day further licences were burnt and the diggers now numbered over 1000 men and they built a wooden stockade made of stakes. They swore an oath of allegiance assuring the Governor could neither ignore or tolerate the miners actions. In the mean time extra troops had been dispatched to help contain the miners and by the 3rd of December enough troops were in place to take action (around 700). Meanwhile many of the miners had slipped away from the stockade knowing they stood no chance against well armed professional troops whilst having few arms themselves. Early on the 3rd the troops moved against the stockade. Despite the low numbers of arms and now numbering less than 200 strong the diggers still tried to make a stand. Organised resistance lasted but about twenty minutes before the troops defeated the miners leaving around 50 dead to a cost of three of their own.

Breaching the Defences.
13 of the leaders of the uprising were charged with treason and many others had been wounded in the action and following sweep through the diggers camp and whilst they faced hanging for the charge of treason they were all acquitted instead. As often is the case when unreasonable events lead to such activities the central government after an investigation found the miners demands were just and whilst the licences were not revoked, the cost of them were reduced to an 8th. Voting was allowed for all miners no matter how long they had worked the area and the Gold Commissioners (who were hated for their corruption and heavy handed manner) were replaced by a system of wardens.

Wargaming the Rebellion.
Obviously any wargame of the stockade action is going to be short and not exactly inspiring, as such most of the gaming this can provide is almost of the roleplaying level. Actions between Police and the Bushwhackers or travellers and bushwhackers (bandits in the bush) or fictitious small engagements between the police and diggers where both sides have limited arms.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Australians arrive at last.

Finally got round to doing some of the Australians. I say finally but in fairness to them, they themselves painted up quickly and was fun to paint. I still have 4 more to do, repeats of the poses attached. Pics are done by me and are not meant to be anything special. I will get the last four painted and call it for a few weeks whilst I get on with some other figures. I am also going well on the buildings, two need final touches, two are about half way done and the last one is just primed. Not sure if I will do any tonight but I have to stay in tomorrow waiting on the delivery of three new chickens so I may use that as an excuse to crack on after a fairly slow two or so days.

For the Australians I wanted more terrain on the bases than the other Nations but less than the Japanese to give the Japanese that point of difference whilst keeping the Australians a little on the wild side. The next choice was uniform. Officially the clothing should be a darker green but if the boys had been in action for some time the colour would fade a great deal and who wants wet behind the ears guys? As normal with Artizan the poses are somewhat stiff. I like the touch of the binoculars on the figure on the left, nice point of difference. Of course the first Japanese sniper that clocks him will make him regret it!

Nice jaunty hats and fully loaded rifles. I also like the rolled up sleeves of these figures. All of them painted up easily so were quicker to paint. I am getting a better feel for the Poison Ivy now and cutting it out so that I get the best out of it.

I think these are the best looking figures of the eight. It took me a couple of goes before I was happy with the Bren Gun itself.

Finally a figure that is moving faster than a walk on the left though the right hand figure has good look about him. I my moan a bit about the mobility of the figures but I won't be looking for another supplier and probably would buy these again if and when I need more.

I took the pics just before 7am in the morning as the natural light was bright enough to give a good colour without the later bleaching effect. I was not brave enough to ask Cath to do it at THAT time!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

I've Heard Duck's Fart Before!

Gerald the Duck was regretting his Vindaloos from the night before.
Oh such a quaint saying (has anyone else heard this?) that basically means, yes right of course you did/will do etc. Or to put it another way, can you believe what you are hearing? I am referring in fact to my Blog Giveaway picked way back on the 15th. Lets face it the two UK guys should have received theirs by now!  Problem is I have yet to post them!!! they should go out tomorrow (That's that duck again), the problem really stems from two things. Being arsed enough to package them up (really just a padded envelope) but the other reason is any costs for the blogs has to come out of my wargames neutral stash which took that hammering at the weekend. Well I was expecting some money flowing in from selling some figures but the money has yet to land leaving me in a bit of a twist. No matter I will get them out and short term minus as I have a few other sales that will pad me out fairly well anyway and that should be in some time soon (oh the life of the unemployable). So you can stop looking in the mail, well until Monday anyway.

Close up of the damage by the farting duck (yes I know it's a drake).

Johny Cash possibly was inspired by a similar scene.
I made my wife take the picture a few weeks ago whilst we were out walking at Cromford. Well it amused me anyway. Cath was far happier taking shots like the one below, bless.

"Why am I on a wargames blog?"

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Thorakitai Rebased

One of a few of the units Martin gave me that were fully painted from the whole Seleucid army. These needed a bit of touching up and a wash in Sepia Shade from Vallejo. So not a lot of work from me and I get yet another medium foot unit. These will also be able to be used for other armies though in fairness I have quite a few of this type of unit, though you can never have enough. I will also be painting up a bunch as the heavy option as well, though I am not sure these will get much use when I can spend the points on Pike armed rather than Offencive Spear. Maybe with a few more plays of the rules a reason to go down this route will become apparent.

I rather like the Later Seleucid list and think it could be rather strong. It has a high level of missile troops including Skythian horse archers that can be Cavalry or Light Horse and I have enough figures to base them up as both options. If that was not interesting enough I can also have up to 16 bases of medium archers, that's 48 figures and guess what? I have them! In fact I can have a total of 30 bases of light and medium bases of foot bow and 8 bases of mounted bow (equal split of medium (or light) horse and medium camels) which makes them rather dangerous from a distance. I have all the figures (except those two camels LOL) and so will have them in the mix at least a few times.

They will have to wait though just as those poor Companions are having to as I have moved onto working on the new houses, all I can say so far is that they paint up quickly and effectively.  The only thing that slowed me down yesterday was waiting for bits to dry. More work on them tonight and pics in a few days I hope.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Japanese Sniper Reminders

Oh the Japanese have arrived. Well they were in fact finished about a week ago but I have built up a bit of a back log of late so they have been delayed. What can I say about the 12 bases? Well for starters I did struggle with these. Being all Bolt Action you know the drill, pain to clean and pain with the heads. I have already banged on about it and have also shown the first part of the 12 as it was the basing that slowed me down and I did that in two groups. The second lot of basing went better though as I had made the mistakes on the first batch so did not have the restarts I had with the original batch. Both have the same style and finished look and are no difference between either group. I have 12 bases over 13 figures and a few figures unpainted in reserve if I need to do more but I expect that will be it for the time being. I have just finished 8 Australians with 4 more needing all the work on them to match up. Hoping to get that done this week and then it's back to my own figures for a bit.

A flag in WWII, Really?
Not sure, but I think I will end up keeping this one. The print on the flag is not made for folding so has creased and flaked. Looks OK and I will probably paint over but have to say I am disappointed with Warlord for supplying something so obviously not fit for purpose. These figures are supposed to get more handling than they will get through ASL and yet this clearly would not take it.

The Jungle ain't neutral!
This guy was fun to paint but comes in three pieces. I really like the Kunai and the jungle (AP Poison Ivy) along with the tufts, breaks up the base and makes for a nice feel. Duncan snapped him up straight away as he has first dibs.

Running down a trail.
Added a trail to this base and built the kunai up on both sides with jungle growth encroaching on the path. Wanted the Kunai to tower over him for a bit of a claustrophobic feel. I like the result, in fact I like it so much here is another shot.

Cap, cap cloth and uniform are all different colours which do not show up so well in the shots. Cath was having a field day as her camera kept claiming the figures blinked!

Skirting the jungle.
This base just has Kunai on the one side but another great shot of Cath's that shows off the jungle well.

Yes some even have helmets!
Bolt Action have the saving grace that their poses tend to be very active. None of the stationary style that most of the Artizan have. All in all I have been happy with the whole project so far. I have not kept a close eye on the number of figures painted thus far, not sure I dare!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Triples Swag

Not so large stash.

Well I think I will start with what I did not get and end on a high. Camels, oh they do make me spit! Same with the Essex Persians. Someone was selling a mix of Essex but these they did not have. I really need Essex Persians as they are to go with the Essex I already have so I will mail order and as such will get Essex camels so no big deal. The Newline's Numidian Cavalry were not on display but the infantry were. They are so much more chunky than the 1/72 Plastics that they would not be a good fit so happy to stick with just the plastics (no issue regards the Newline, just would be obvious another supplier). The Pendraken question remains unanswered, they only bring army packs to the shows so unable to make up a unit to see what they look like. Lee needs a few WWII bits so he will order some at some point. Meanwhile he left mine with a few 15mm Matchlock to paint up, biggest problem will be ordering these figures if we go with it as you have to do it blind. No stand space for the range at any of the shows I have been to nor pics on line! No barbed wire either but will get from Maelstrom Games at some point.

Whilst I did not pick up the Donnington Galatians I did get the Museum ones as they also had command figures and I thought it might be nice to add a bit of a mix for a change. It's great that at the show you can buy single figures as it can round off units, especially if like me you are converting from one rule set to another as in several cases.
Came with a  free paper bag!
Obviously I managed to get the paints, plenty selling Vallejo at old prices and I got replacements for white and black at £1.75 a bottle so happy enough. I also picked up a couple of packs of dice, 20 in total so ready for FoG and Impetus.

Other than that I got nothing really.............

Oh OK I did get something else. Timecast the Holy Grail of wargaming were there but whilst I like them and will buy some for extra variation I have to say that I don't think they are as good as the rep. But I really do like Total Battle Miniatures resin buildings. The cast quality is as good as Timecast (I think slightly better) and have better prices for the same sized pieces. If you use their painting service the finished product looks better as well. They are local to me so it's nice to support them but make no mistake if they were not as good I would go elsewhere. The range is ever growing so adding to your buildings is no problem. They have a small range of 25-28mm a fair range of 15mm and for me a great sized 6mm. I wanted buildings that could be used for Belgium and Prussia/Austria whilst Lee bought Spanish. I can see me buying Russian if we get round to that campaign anytime.

Thatched Row House
This is a really nice piece (as they all are really). The detail is great and I think it will paint up fairly fast and I look forward to the thatching! it was also the most expensive of all the buildings I bought coming in at £6

Thatched Barn
Keeping with the thatched theme I give you the barn. I bought two of these, one to stand alone (I want a farm house for it) the other to go with a warehouse. The pic does not make it real clear but hay is coming out of the two bays to the right. The view of my thumb should give an indication of the size. Price wise it was the lowest price  at £3 each. The front has a large double door for waggon access.

Large Warehouse
I love this one, it's another £6 building and more great detail. The overhang for the waggons (I may add the pole for the hoist. Steps up to the main doors and the wonky roof. Round the back is a set of three low archers to strengthen the structure.

I also have a Church with a dome spire at £4 and a timber building which is larger than the barn but comes in at only £3. For some reason I did not photograph them so you will have to wait to see them painted. Their website shows all the buildings painted so you can use it as a guide. You do get some mold lines and a little flash, time will tell if that is much of an issue. Also I do have one bubble in the resin of one piece that I have seen but it's neither big or looks to spoil the model, again once they are being cleaned and primed I will have a better idea on just how good they are. The fortified town is fantastic as is the other tile pieces and as Lee pointed out you can use it with the town walls (seldom) but nothing stops you using the buildings from the town loose. All considered it's a great piece and one day I will have one.

So not a bad stash, I think given both the financial position but also the fact I have so much gear anyway future Con's won't see me spending like I used to, I simply need to fill gaps these days, but also consider what I had delivered two days before the con.

Numidian Reinforcements.
My order from Hayfield's arrived, I really need another box of the Zvezda Cavalry which I will pick up in a few weeks time and then I can get to painting the rest.

The Full Project.
Not shown are the Numidian light Cavalry already painted and the Roman Deserters, again already painted. I also fancy another box of the HaT Numidian Lights or possibly two as I can have so many units of Light Cavalry and you get three units out of a single box. I have yet to get the figures out together and assign to units but after that I should be able to decide what more I need to give me a few options around the basic unit. I saw the rules at the con but at £25 I just don't think they are value for money. I will continue to search out a second hand copy.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Triples and back again.

Well it was Triples yesterday and what a good day it was. I live 45 minutes away so it really is the local show. In fact though it is further away now it's about 20-30 minute's quicker to get to as we no longer have to drive through Sheffield. Lee had arranged to pick me up at 9am so at 8.45 I clambered into his car and along for the day was Adi who I had met just the once before and is a real fun guy and we all spent the day trading war stories. Of course we had given ourselves an hour to get to the Con and set off 15 mins early so once near the site we went for 2nd breakfast.

It seemed the local car park rolled well on initiative and installed a guy on the entrance who ambushed us all for £3 parking, good job we were in a  good mood having just feasted so well at MacD's.

I like the new venue, no stairs, everything all together in two rooms* (though it took till lunch to find the second room). Traders for the most part round the edge of the room, displays and participation in the centre with bright lighting.

* The wargames themselves were in a off shoot from the main room, easy to see but what a difference. Dim and dismal lighting (is that a 4?, anyone selling glow in the dark dice would have done a great trade) and it was cold in there. If the con gets any bigger I think they will put them in the car park! In the same room but tucked away at the very end was what is probably the worst bring and buy I have ever seen. Ran by the guy who often runs it but possibly a victim of E-Bay, the lower numbers on the day or perhaps just what seems the steady decline and lack of interest that bring and buys seem to generate. Anyway apart from 40K it seemed that it really only held a lot of books, a few bits and bobs and the stock owned by the guy doing the bring & buy. He was (again) openly bragging to a guy about how he had snapped up a bargain for latter sale. This is the crux of the problem. Anything worth grabbing he gets, he buys it and gets the commission and the selling fee. In effect he not only gets first dibs but buys at a discount. He see's it as part payment for him doing the B&B (I assume then he makes no money (yeah right!)) I see it as short sighted strategy that is paying him back. What's the point going looking if nothing is worth the ticket price as he has had all the good stuff? Less peeps looking, less sold, less taken to be sold the following year. The circle is maintained. He gets a worse image when he is selling games he bought in The Works even if he is not making a huge mark up, they are still in my local store!!!If Triples are paying attention, if you want the bring and buy to function like a real bring and buy, stop using outside sellers and man it yourself.

As mentioned above, numbers did seem to be down and that was in part put down to a local football teams playoff game being on, either way it was not badly attended but by 3pm it was looking beyond sparse. Still a good return for me.

Met fellow blogger Phil of The Wargammer site and his posse. He has already posted his Triples event (see sidebar) and had a chat with them all. Whilst he grabbed my pic I feared for my camera's health so kept it hidden. Nice bunch of lads and it was like we had all been mates for years! (Which after the camera gag may well not happen LOL). What I find interesting about these events is the sheer number of old and new acquaintances that spring up. Lee is a bit of a whore so every other minute someone would come up and chat to him about this and that. Hell we only got through the door before one bloke (the original holiday centre owner) was chatting with him and telling him he wanted Lee to paint some 10mm's for him. Later he caught up with us and handed the fig's he wants painting. He had a pack of Hussars that he needed painting, just mentioned someone who did not wear glasses was required to paint them. I for some reason mentioned I did not need glasses and promptly was given half the pack and told they need to be painted as Aide de Camp's!!! Upping the ante seems to be a wargamers trait LOL. The reward? You get to go over to his new gaff for a free game or so when he is sorted. He is going down the route of 10mm and with the offer of free games if you paint some gear for him he hopes to get lots of figures painted. I wish him well in the venture and look forward to painting these up for him, but the trust that gets put out there, the man did not even have my name, seems being a wargamer and entering the building with Lee is enough.

I did not take many pics as usual I left it to the end and was really feeling the day, but for your viewing pleasure.

Huntingdon & District Wargames Society 6mm Napoleonic game. Very friendly chaps who some how managed to play the game and chat to all and sundry. The pic shows just part of the battlefield and if I remember right they were using their own rules.

A close up of a few of the bases. They hammer a nail through the bottom of the base for the Hama Beads they use as markers. This acts as a great information system and also instills respect of the miniatures by those who insist on slamming their hands on the table! The figures are Baccus.

Like a Stone Wall put on this huge WWI display, that had tables flying off in all directions! Rather than the usual trench bound slog match this was fought over open terrain and seemed to have a fair bit of movement.

Another view to give you an idea of the size of the game, plenty more table dog legging to the left.

Old School done to a large scale. Each figure is hand cast from split moulds and must have taken forever to just make. The owner has for the most part just one mold per figure type but for the most used figures he had two!!! He would cast in his wife's kitchen and make them in two groups of 4 at a time.

Close up time. High gloss is the order of the day, as is the basic board. More detailed terrain just detracts from the style of the game. Many a older wargamer really got misty eyed over this one.

Very nice WWII display by Barnsley Association of Wargamers. Italian V Commonwealth and this is just a taste of the battlefield. So well done as were many of the displays.

A view from further around the table. The standards of display are so high now it has to be daunting for anyone wanting to put one on for the first time.

Mosborough Old Boys put on a ECW display, again this is just a part of it. As it was getting late in the day nothing was happening but it looked nice and I did spot my Regiment marching to the action. I think the power of the Sealed Knot is shown with the painting of the Kings Guard as it shows them with red pikes just like my company had theirs painted. Unfortunately no information is available to say that this was historical, indeed it was my company commanders way of making sure he could keep tabs on the pikes he supplied!

Another 6mm Naps, this time The Glory Boys. Effective terrain again, this time using Adler Miniatures.

A better view of the table. As mentioned by another blogger (Big Lee I think), some displays lacked either information or easy to see information on who they were and/or what they were fighting. The top pic of these two shows how easy it is to achieve this.

So that wraps up the show (I will do a stash post later). This would be it for you more normal types but we had to drop off a couple of Adi's excellent flags off at another of Lee's mates place. So we all trooped in to say hi and look at the battle the three of them have ongoing (the joys of a permanent table). I have never, ever EVER seen so many 28mm painted figures in my life. What's even better these figures are so well painted they could make the cover of any wargames mag! The table was great as well and the buildings very very good. Imagine the jaw dropping surprise when you find out this is just 20% of what they own between them! I did not take any pics as the camera was in the car. I have been invited to play with them when they get the next game set up and that is something that can't come soon enough. Andy the third member of their posse is another nice relaxed type of guy, all three play for the fun of playing, my idea of heaven. We spent about an hour to two chatting and showing me work they are doing on yes yet more figures and running me through the battle so far. Then it was a drive home from there dropping Adi off ad then back to mine more than ten hours after I left!

Friday, 18 May 2012

Triples Shopping List and Random Mutterings.

Triples shopping list and random mutterings.

Well I'm off to Triples tomorrow and should be there for opening which is just perfect. It was always my favourite con really but so much has changed since the last time I attended. First up it was often the weekend one side or the other of my Birthday (MARCH!!!!!) now it's May. Next up it's at a new venue, well that will be a bonus for me as I did not fancy those stairs! and one reason for the move was the need for extra space. Good News, so what's on my list?

Essex will be one target as I need a couple of packs of Persian Cavalry to finish off the birthday ones I received also they have camels so I can get the ones I already own finished off.

Newline need a visit to check out their 20mm Numidians though at £3.30 a pack of three they will have to have something nice to get me to add them to the plastics. I also really need another Zvezda Carthaginian Numidian Cavalry box as I really need just a few more for the 20mm project to be ready to work on. I received my package from Hayfield's yesterday and have to say I really like the Zvezda and they are well worth the extra.

Donnington seem to be the only supplier holding Gallatian Infantry so I will take a look at them and if they are not a fit for what I need then I will probably pick up the closest I can find from one of the others. This and the camels will as good as complete my Later Seleucid arm, well as far as lead goes anyway. Painting well that's a different story.

Vallejo, if I can beat the local shops price I will pick up a few more colours, I feel I have arrived as I am in need of a new White as it's almost used up! Maybe also some horse colours, any suggestions?

Warbases will get a visit, i will pick up a few bits but mostly just to say thanks for the great service I have received in the last 6 months, really fast, helpful and pleasant guy.

Looking at Barbed Wire options, AP is on the clock at £3.59 for 2.5m so will be looking to beat it.

The sticky question of dice, at the moment I use my ASL dice but this means sometimes using them twice to get enough dice in. So buying some of the cheap as chips dice should be considered.

Timecast will get a nod as I need 6mm buildings but another company also do nice buildings and slightly lower in price so will be looking them up as well.

Pendragon for the 10mm ECW/TYW options. Still don't know where we will go with this but I think we will buy a few packs just to try them out. If we go with them it will mean a big spend to build up the armies.

Want to chat at Triples? if you see someone who looks like this, it may well be me.

Different Jersey though, 96 Hood will be the flavour of the day.

OK the random stuff now. Phil from The Wargaming Site got me thinking when he was writing about the standards of our hobby suppliers. The general consensus is that they all should be professional, have good websites and react fast to queries. All this was sparked by a mates problems with Heroics and Ross (problem was out of H&R control and has been resolved) but as my professional background is Retail Operations Manager level I have both insight and a personal interest in this matter. I also really should side with the customer as I HATE poor service and unprofessional action.
But we have a few issues that really need to be considered to get the full picture. Many of these companies are part time or if not fairly shoestring affairs. This means that either (and sometimes both) time or money is in short supply to do everything that is needed. Even so a basic standard should be expected but even that can be wanting. So what is reasonable?

E-mails and phone messages replied to. If service is up and running then it's fair to expect a reply within a few days but consider someone who has a full time job, they may well have to fit in casting, packaging and posting out so many orders at some points that they really struggle to get round to it, especially if it's just before or after a show. Still I think it's fair to get a response within 5 days especially if a weekend is included in the time period.

Pictures of the figures on the website. The real gripe of wargamers. Conventions may well be the place many of us get our figures from but how often have they been pre-ordered or selected from the Internet? Also Internet is very big business and so many of us do a lot of buying there. It makes perfect business sense to have all your figures on line with a good and secure ordering system to speed up taking our hard earned off us. The problem for some suppliers they simply do not have the now how to do this themselves and have may well have used someone to build their website who would have to be relied upon to add this feature or maintain it. It's likely in this case to cost a fair bit to do and as such becomes not viable, especially if they have a large catalogue. Money better spent would be to get a training session to learn how to do it and then devote a few hours a week to steadily doing this until you get the whole back catalogue on the system. Will it add sales? yes for sure but possibly not enough to warrant the already limited time for some. But this is a flawed strategy as slowly they will loose sales to competition who's product you can see. What the internet has done is allow us to see and purchase just about anything, if I want a hard to get (say in the UK) set of figures then by direct from where ever they are made. Companies such as H&R really should have pics, they have been around for so long and it's so important that such bread and butter companies get images across.

Getting what you want not an alternative/mistaken item and when it happens getting it sorted. Lack of a retail mind is often the reason for either slipping something similar in the parcel or not reacting fast to errors. Customers tend to hate these errors and can turn a happy loyal customer into a never again and outspoken unhappy camper. Quickly sorting out errors though has just the opposite effect, we love it!

Another similar issue. Out of stock and waiting, waiting and the sands of time drifting away. OK three weeks but I have waited every day for THAT parcel. I will use Hayfield's as an example. I ordered about £25-30 of items, I know already that they take a few days to get back to you, not sure if it's a one man band but it's always the same guy (Andy) who gets back to you. I received an e-mail from him stating the sale item I had ordered was gone (no surprise as it was the last one) and another item was going to be out of stock for two weeks. He was happy to send what he had and send the rest on or hold the stock. I was happy to hold as he told me it was a couple of weeks before the other item came in. A couple of weeks later he lets me know they aer in. Do I still want them and if so how to pay? We sorted the detail and 3 days later they arrive. At all stages I knew what to expect, instead of three weeks of letterbox camping. Warbases is great because he e-mails you he has sent the items out, this he does when he gets home at night, power to him, great service. Keep the customer informed and they stay happy longer, problem is that it takes time and unless they are well organised , lots of time.

Time is the issue for these guys, especially if they are a part time business. So should we cut them some slack? I think so, not a lot after all they are taking our cash but any of these companies that are at the point of going from part time to full time they have it the hardest because that other revenue will be missed for some time whilst they try to make it as a going consign.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Terribly Obscure part 4 (D) Danish-Estonian War of 1219-27

Livonia was an area that was essentially the whole of Estonia and part of Latvia. Tensions and then all out war was created with the Christianising of the south of the area. The Danes became involved when their King, Valdemar II launched a Crusade with the support of the Christian Livonian Knights of the Sword and the bishop of Riga.  This crusade was against the Estonians under Russia's Greek Christian influence and originally took the Estonians by surprise by landing a large force at Lyndanise (the name of this as then trading town has since been called Reval and now Tallinn) A battle was fought here on the 15th June 1219 in which the Danes were originally losing but legend has it that a red flag with a white cross fell from the sky giving them fresh hope and they went on to win the battle. The Danish National flag is the oldest in the world as from this date they took this up as their national standard.

The Estonians were originally outnumbered and sued for peace but secretly reinforced their forces and through a five pronged attack drove back the Danes but they in turn were reinforced with German troops and Waldemar and defeated the Estonian-Russian forces before the end of 1219. The trading town of Lyndanise was again captured but burnt to the ground to be replaced by a fortress and later to become a city. The garrisons job was not just to enforce Danish rule but also to enforce conversion to Christianity of the Danish style.

Danish sovereignty in Estonia was lost when German troops fought against Valdemar at the Battle of Bornhoved (22nd July 1227) and was so hard pressed by both sides that it was said that they fought up to their knees in blood.

Battle of Bornhoved in the traditional depiction.
Control was finally regained in 1238 through agreement with the Livonian Knights (Brothers of the sword) with whom it all started.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Numidian Light Cavalry

All three looking for trouble.

Part of the very recent finishing spree was three units of Numidian Light Cavalry in 20mm and based for Impetus. Right behind finishing them was an e-mail from Harfield's informing me the balance of my order is now in stock and would cost just over £20. So a complete army for about £40. Of course I say this with tongue pushed firmly in cheek as we all know they are never complete but at least it's complete for now.

I found these a joy to paint, possibly because the low levels of flash or possibly down to the lack of much furniture on the horses and little more to paint on the riders. This meant easy to clean and fast to paint. Either way I enjoyed the exercise and looking forward to yet more.

The PVA pooled in the centre of the bases keeping away from the edges so needs a thicker application on the edges which I will do when finishing off the next batch. Tried to add clumps of pale grass but the finish is too random so I think it will be removed as adding enough to make it work would be too much work. The shield with the women with raised hands is of the Carthaginian Goddess of fertility Tanit, the Numedians adopted the Carthaginian Gods which seemed rather civil of them.

I like this shot that Cath took, brings out the Miniature Paints 84 Chestnut Brown really well (inked with Vallejo 73.200 Sepia Shade as is the tunics. The hardest to get right was the flesh tone, I used Coat d'arms 216 Negro but then washed a watered down version with enough white in it to show through when washed on. This gave a little depth and added definition. Sadly that does not come through on the pictures.

I also like this shot with a unit in the distance. Cath wanted to show off the detail of the tunics and this pic comes closest to showing some of that flesh tone I was banging on about.  I also feel compelled to inform you that my dear wife was unimpressed by the lack of gender of my horses, seemed rather put out, should I be worried?