Monday, December 25, 2023

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, one and all! 


I hope you got some nice shiny gaming related presents. My batch of Blue Moon 15mm peasants/Jaquerie for the First Barons' War arrived a day early, so I'll be working on cleaning them up and painting them over the holiday. With luck I'll be able to game more this year, and the new figures will take their place on the tabletop - where in a fine old wargaming tradition for new units they'll probably get trounced. :)

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Library booty

Our local library had a sale recently at which I picked up a couple of pieces of treasure.

The first recounts the adventures of all Royal Naval VCs of the First World War - including Norman Holbrook, commander of submarine B11 that penetrated the Dardanelles and after whom a town in Australia is named. The second is a famous book on the Siege of Malta and details the naval and mercantile operations to relieve the island.

* * * *

After a bit of thought, instead of expanding my ECW collection I decided to round off my 1st Barons' War array with the addition of two packs of Old Glory Blue Moon range Jacquerie figures. They'll make up several bands of peasantry and some of bidowers (light infantry). I dropped onto these at Noble Knight Games for a little over half the retail price, which is a welcome bargain.

Sunday, November 19, 2023

A Slight Diversion

Model railways - my other hobby. What with all the strife in the world filling social media and the news every day it's nice to work on something not military-related. 

A few years ago I was lucky enough to drop onto a whole HO scale starter layout including locomotive, rolling stock, an oval circuit of track for only $10 at a Salvation Army shop. I've tinkered with it on and off over the years, and this summer I built a row of shops. These are very much still a work in progress, needing basing, signage, and some touching up and varnishing to stop the printed brickwork from turning into a mess through unexpected moisture.

The centre ones of these came from
building templates from a street in Illinois, which I took and adapted. The tower on the left and the green-roofed building on the right I totally scratch built. I may or may not install lighting. We'll see.

Of course I need townsfolk to populate the future community, so I ordered a batch of 100 figures off e-bay. 

They're made in China of hard plastic and come in a reasonable variety of poses. Two things became clear immediately - a lack of ethnic diversity and a surprising choice of clothing colours, most quite garish.

Luckily it doesn't take much to do a little cut-and-shut work in rearranging limbs, and the plastic takes ordinary craft paint quite easily. 

If there's sufficient interest I may set up a separate blog to cover my occasional fumblings and stumblings through the model railway hobby. Do NOT expect ultra-precise prototypical 'button counting' work. I don't roll that way. ;)

Saturday, November 11, 2023

We will remember them.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Change of plans.

In light of the horrific situation in Palestine I've decided against starting a WW1 Middle Eastern collection. It seems too near the knuckle to game a location that's currently seeing so much bloodshed. I've decided instead to expand my existing ECW collection to a size more reasonable to game with. It'll basically mean adding to each side three or four regiments of foot, a regiment of dragoons and perhaps another cavalry regiment apiece too.

Oh sh-t! The colonel's here!

Friday, October 6, 2023

It's been a while...

A busy life and dealing with long Covid suppressed any desire I had to game over the summer months. Now the cooler weather's here I'm thinking of starting up again, perhaps with a new 10mm project, perhaps by expanding an old one. 

As a nod to the potential new project I recently bought Allenby's Gunners...

The blurb...

The book tells the story of artillery in the highly successful World War I Sinai and Palestine campaigns. Following Gallipoli and the reconstitution of the AIF, a shortage of Australian gunners saw British Territorial artillery allotted to the Australian Light Horse and New Zealand Mounted Rifle brigades. It was a relationship that would prove highly successful and Allenby's Gunners provides a detailed and colorful description of the artillery war, cavalry and infantry operations from the first battles of Romani and Rafa, through the tough actions of Gaza, the Palestine desert, Jordan Valley and Amman to the capture of Jerusalem. The story concludes with the superb victory of Megiddo and the taking of Damascus until the theater armistice of 1918.

Smith Covers the trials and triumphs of the gunners as they honed their art in one of the most difficult battlefield environments of the war. The desert proved hostile and unrelenting, testing the gunners, their weapons and their animals in the harsh conditions. The gunners' adversary, the wily and skillful Ottoman artillerymen, endured the same horrendous conditions and proved a tough and courageous foe.

* * *

I've yet to start in on the book, but it sounds promising. There are a number of blogs out in the blogosphere which are inspirational, such as:-

Grid based Wargaming

Michael Scott's WW1 Blog

Although Michael hasn't posted anything on this project for a while, it's still inspiring stuff. He bases his gaming on the Too Fat Lardies If the Lord Spares Us rules set, which I plan to use as they lend themselves to solo play.

So, I might begin a new period in this interesting theatre of the Great War, with its eclectic mix of units types and terrain - plus Lawrence of Arabia! Or, I might continue with my ECW collection, expanding from the handful of foote and horse to something approaching a worthwhile army for both Parliament and Royalists. Decisions decisions...

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Brothers in Arms: Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry

I'm on a bit of a Second World War kick at the moment. After quickly finishing the book covering the Madagascar campaign I found our local library has this book on their listings, so put in a request. 

Although I'm not quite at the half-way mark I can definitely say it's a brilliant read, quite gripping in its account of the regiment's actions in Normandy. Holland does have an excellent sense of narrative, making the men and the scenes - all too many of which are harrowing - come alive to the reader.

So far the book has covered some actions fans of the Too Fat Lardies' Chain of Command rules are familiar with - especially Operation Martlet, with the fighting around Fontenay and beyond, which is covered by their pint-sized campaigns book. Recommended. 

On a personal note, I'm slowly reaching the sunlit uplands of health after fighting off the worst of Covid. Paxlovid medication helps, but of course anyone who has had to take this stuff should be familiar with one of the side-effects - a semi-permanent taste in your mouth that makes you feel you've licked something like this, all over...

Rusty the Sherman says Hi!

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Some sick bay reading

Covid has sunk its nasty claws into my wife and me yet again. I feel like ten miles of rocky road. Thankfully I have a couple of books to cheer me up while I get over this crap.

The first is A Strange Campaign: The Battle for Madagascar. Detailing the move by the Allies to occupy the French colony to prevent it being used as an advanced base by the Japanese, it saw heavy fighting against Vichy French forces. It served as a test bed for seaborne assault techniques, which stood the Allies in good stead during the Normandy landings.

The second book is Shanghai 1937: Stalingrad on the Yangtze

This covers the long drawn out battle for the city between Chinese and Japanese forces during the 1937-1945 war that led to the rise in Chinese nationalism against the Colonial powers. An excellent and epic movie was made about the defiant defense of the Sihang warehouse by eight hundred men of the Chinese army against relentless Japanese attacks, all under the astonished gaze of the Westerners across the canal. 

Certainly worth a look.


Monday, March 6, 2023

Town temple ~ Beginnings

When most people think of a Roman temple they usually picture this, seen here in the original colours...

In reality there were different designs, such as the Romano-British 'temenos' style. This is a reconstruction of one near Nottingham, UK.

I built one of these with the attendant high priest/priestesses' house years ago...

Yes, that green is a bit lurid. I'll tone it down when I get time.

...but no thoroughly civilised Roman town should be without at least one in the classic Mediterranean style.

The beginnings of the temple, with an expanded foam core mounted on thick card and a square of MDF. Next up will be to clad the walls, fit the columns then the roof.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

A little construction work.

Some years ago I began work on a 1/300th scale Roman town, with modular pieces which can be interchanged to alter the layout. Emigrating and other stuff rather got in the way, so it's been a while since I added to the set-up.

Here's a trio of urban buildings, based on archaeological interpretations of Silchester, Deva and Venta Icenorum. The middle is a courtyard apartment block, the right a combined apartment/emporium, and the lower left another, slightly fancier urban dwelling.

Construction is card on foamcore and expanded polystyrene off cuts. The emporium columns are slim cocktail sticks, those of the fancier building lengths of expired ballpoint pen tube. A balcony will go on top of this.

They're all a bit basic right now. Once I've filled up some gaps they'll get a coat of paint/filler mix then window and door detailing.

Following an idea from another gamer I plan to mount these on square sections of quarter inch thick floor tile, which should be sturdy enough for the purpose. Ideas for a temple and a theatre are bubbling away at the back of my mind. Just got to work out the details...

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Library Haul

Our local library service held one of its book sales this past week. I scored these three books - Churchill's biography for a few dollars, the Ballard books for free!

Ballard's discovery of the Bismarck needs no explanation. He also explored the waters off Guadacanal, the rightly named Ironbottom Sound, with a number of survivors of those 1942 battles aboard his research vessel. The book contains a wealth of photos of those sunken ships, their guns still eerily pointing at each other.

Violet Bonham-Carter's biography of Churchill covers the years from their first encounter in 1906 to 1916, which of course covers the First World War and the ill-fated Dardanelles campaign. Useful stuff for the insights to his life and career.


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