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Sunday, 21 August 2016

The Other Partizan 2016.

Well I decided to take the trip South to visit Partizan Part Two near Newark, on what turned out to be a very warm Summer's day, especially in the hall.
 So that's twice I've been this year, and I have thoroughly enjoyed both times.
 I am probably wrong, but I thought this show was slightly quieter than the earlier show, probably Summer holidays impinging there, but there was still a very strong turnout by various wargamers from  all parts of the United Kingdom.
 Traditionally Newark was the show to have the best eye catching games at, as every exhibitor hoped that there game would feature in Wargames Illustrated courtesy of Duncan Macfarlane and I must admit I used to be tempted to drag our small group South in the hope of getting published, those urges have now gone as it would be a very tiring thing to do.
 Anyway, I can report that there were some very nice games on show, and some were of really good quality. I was also surprisingly impressed by some of the participation games which had made a real effort to prettify their games.
 I have only shown images from a small number of the games on show, just to give a flavour of the day. The best way to enjoy anything is to be a part of the day, I recommend a trip to the show, it is worth the trouble. Being of an age, I seemed to spend quite a bit of the day bumping into wargamers I have come to know, and it was great to talk to them all. I had a long chat to Duncan Macfarlane of Trent Miniatures, who regaled me with some of the background to how Miniature Wargames actually came about. I hope to sit down with him early next year for a proper talk about him and Peter Gilder.

 I was extremely impressed by the North Hull Wargames Club, who put on a very large 15mm battle from the Italian War of Independence, lovely figures and terrain, from a colourful period.

 Its fair to say, I love a war elephant and Simon Miller, had some on show for his showcasing of his 'To The Strongest' Ancient rules. Another really attractive game by Simon, who knows how to catch a wargamers eye, well done.

   Bramley Barn, put on a neat colonial 28mm wargame with a couple of great naval models.

 Teddy Bear fur was popular with a few displays this year, and Mansfield Wargames Group used a nice example in their 28mm Napoleonic battle, based in Russia.

Like a Stonewall wargames group put together an atmospheric, Ardennes? 25mm game with some great models on display.,

 Steve Jones gave us a display of the Battle of Echmul in 6mm which I thought was excellently done, I was particularly impressed by the Baccus figures, which looked really well sculptured. The bases are similar to mine with similar information contained on the backs, a great looking game.

 I can only apologise for not recording the details of whoever put on this great looking desert war game using the Perry range of figures and models. It was a lovely game.

 Grimsby Wargames Club go from strength to strength, and again displayed a lovely looking naval battle. The ships were beautifully modeled and painted. A great game Paul, naturally.

I seem to be drawn to model pachyderms, [ maybe I need help] so when the reprobates from the Durham Wargames club turned up with some 54mm plastic versions, I had to take some photographs of their battle. 

Monday, 15 August 2016

Balcony Painting.

Well this is my first post since 19th July, which confirms that making resolutions is basically a waste of typing. Granted I have been busy with the odd distraction, ie. family birthdays, grand children etc, but is this how retirement is meant to be?
 For the first time in many many years I put down my paint brushes and basically stopped painting anything, well apart from my bedroom balcony, but I suppose that doesn't count in wargaming terms. My wife can never understand how I can paint a straight line on any figure of any scale, but always manage to get paint on a wall etc.
 I have played several wargames over the last few weeks, including a refight of Wagram using Blucher rules.
 Somehow I came away from that event dissatisfied. Granted I had blagged my way into the game at the Durham Wargames Group  who had gone to great lengths to make the battle as accurate as possible. The rub for me was how other wargamers approach such refights, and how they interpret the Blucher rules. I dont think they were wrong, in fact they taught me a couple of new interpretations of rules which were correct, it was just the French opponents were still in the competitive mindset that I have avoided for many years now.
 To explain what I mean, one of my Austrian Hussar brigades attacked two French light cavalry brigades, which was inconclusive, resulting in me losing a couple of strength points for having the temerity to attack. The french Corps commander however was advised not to attack my brigade in their turn, as they ran the risk of also getting an inconclusive result, so instead the brigades smartly moved up to point blank range and stopped!. The ethos being that I would have to charge again, and lose by attrition.
 Nothing wrong with that from a rule point of view, but as I pointed out, after such a  maneuver the divisional commander would have been cashiered for cowardice in a real life battle.There were many such instances of good rule knowledge, but poor historical appreciation. Such is wargaming.
 Its funny that in the two refights that I have been involved in regarding Wagram, both have ended in acrimony and dissatisfaction. Actually one ended in physical threats and a really intimidating atmosphere, and no it was nothing to do with me for a change.
 I have realised however that my sense of humour can be interpreted in other ways apart from the one it is intended, so perhaps I should bite my lip and just throw some dice instead.
  [ Nah, it wouldn't be me]
 I'm sorry if the post sounds a bit negative, my intention is the opposite really. I am looking forward to Partizan this weekend, and hope to get some inspiration from the Bill Gaskin game. I also know that there are another couple of top quality games on show, so hopefully I will be able to get some new ideas.
 I have started painting again, but trying a new small project, which I will post when I have finished some of the figures.
 Anyway, I'm back, looking for a windmill to pitch against.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Wargaming Big Brother.

I have yet to receive my copy of Miniature Wargames, but I understand that Henry Hyde has written a piece about a project on Kickstarter regarding a film about wargaming.
 I have included a link so that people can check out the blurb featuring several wargame personalities in order to drum up some financial support, and having watched the link I am a bit ambivalent about the said project.
 In some ways it may be a good thing, because any publicity is a good thing, right? But in other ways I am a bit confused about who the film is actually aimed at, ie what is the audience that the director is hoping to inform and entertain.
 Past attempts to create media interest have had mixed success, with obviously Tyne Tees Television programme, Battleground being the first real attempt to reach out to the uninformed public.
 Personally I loved the series, but they were preaching to the converted, but re watching the episodes, even I fast forward certain pieces of the series, because it is frankly, dull.
 But then wargaming is a very personal thing, involving in the main the players and the odd umpire etc.
 Clearly this new project is attempting a more populist bent, with dare I say, drama, tension and the like.
 I am not certain, that the poor chap talking about his trauma, and thoughts of suicide when he was in the forces is conducive to selling the idea of wargaming, and neither am I certain that the chap who is clearly under severe financial pressure as a wargame dealer talking about his worries about how he will feed his family will make for good viewing either, but who can say, especially in this day and age.
 The biggest drama in my wargaming life, is whether I will throw a one on my white dice, or a one on my red dice, which I dont suppose would make for great viewing.
  I suppose I could spice it up with the odd crying jag, followed by some Turetts outburst, and a bit of talking to myself. [ which I do anyway]
 Or we could go the whole hog and have a Wargaming Big Brother programme filled with the flotsam and jetsam of the wargaming world, which would certainly make for interesting viewing.
 I can just imagine having to intensively live with some of the folk I have met over the last forty or so years of wargaming, it would make Made in Essex look like a normal night out, and thinking about it, I suppose that would include me.
 Anyway, I hope they succeed and make a decent fist of it, but somehow I cant see it winning a Palme D'Or.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Muster on the Parade Ground 2016. A Good Start, to a good idea.

 Tom Davidson and David Clemmet, have been organising wargames shows in the Cleveland area for well over 30 years, the pair are well known for trying different ideas in an effort to spread the popularity of wargaming to the general public. The gents have always encouraged different groups to put on a display at their shows, and I have always tried to either put a game on or attend their days.
 The pair kindly invited me to put on a game at their latest show, where every game had to be a participation game, but to be honest it is something that I have never attempted and didnt think I could carry off. However after today's show, I think I could succeed and actually would like to make the effort. The pair, recognising that there is a need to find new, younger wargamers put their skills to putting on their show at a pretty large venue,with 16 participation Games and 27 trade stands. A pretty good start to a new show.

 Charlie Wesencraft offering his advice to John as his planes burst into flames.
As a show I would give the event 6 out of 10, but one should recognise this is the first year, and having now been to the event, I think the lads have a good idea that needs positive support from the wargaming public and beyond. The gents have plenty of experience to know how to tweek the day, and make it grow I am certain. So now all I have to do is paint a load of very large plastic soldiers to put together a game.

Brian and Gobby John from the Westerhope Club put on a Kamikaze game which I had to have a go at. Enrolling a young conscript, we hammered John's American pilots and sank his aircraft carrier, showing once again, that years of experience count for nothing against Eastern cunning.

John looking tearful as the Japenese planes crash onto the deck of his aircraft carrier.
 Dave Docherty and Guisborough Gamers staged his Sudan Game, which is a brilliant game, with loads of beautiful figures painted a la Gilder. I really wanted to play this game, but had to leave which was a real shame.

 I was impressed by the standard of games on show, and thought this Gothic terrain was great.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

The Demise of Sheffield Triples.

So it looks like the Sheffield Triples Show has gone the way of Northern Militaire and is no more. 
Posted on the Sheffield Wargames Club site;


Sheffield Wargames Society wishes to announce that sadly, the 2017 Triples wargames show will not take place.  This decision was taken reluctantly but is the result of waning interest and increasing costs.
All deposits taken to date will be returned and the club secretary will be contacting competition organizers individually.
Sheffield Wargames Society would like to thank everyone; traders, competitors and the general public, who have supported and enjoyed the event over the past 35 years.

I am sad for the loss of this show, which after Northern Militaire went the journey, became the show that John and I HAD to attend, and it became a yearly event to look forward to.
 I must admit I never liked the new venue, which for me lacked the character of the Sheffield University building. I know this is a daft view because the later shows were easier to find and definitely easier to park at. Maybe it was the perverse enjoyment of driving around the crazy road system of Sheffield looking for the venue that added to my excitement.
 To be honest I can remember the original venue for the Triples,which if my memory serves me correctly was somewhere near the railway and I  thought that was a good place as well. It just shows you how excitement gets the better of sensible thought.
I never attended this year's show, and instead had saved my pennies for Salute and a weekend at the Wargames Holiday Centre, times change. 
So will this be the precursor for other wargames shows to go the distance and pass into the wargames Valhalla? I would like to think it wont be, but who knows for certain. I still think the trend will be for less shows, but bigger affairs that dont compete with each other, I hope I am wrong because there is also a need for small intimate wargames events that offer the paying public more than just a glorified trade show.
 Anyway, a big thank you to all the people who over the years devoted their time to running the Triples Show.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Warning; This is not a Safe Space!

Before I return to the more pleasant subject of wargaming, I would like to make a final observation about an interesting but very sad, well in my eyes, trend.

Safe space is a term for an area or forum where either a marginalised group are not supposed to face standard mainstream stereotypes and marginalisation, or in which a shared political or social viewpoint is required to participate in the space.

 Donald Featherstone ran his magazine, Wargamer's Newsletter for many years, and a key feature of the periodical was his Editorial where he passed comment on many subjects that in his eyes, affected wargaming. Now I appreciate that we are talking about the 1970's and 1980's, but the editorials never backed down from what Featherstone felt were relevant to the hobby and in some cases to his view regarding the United Kingdom.
  It was clear from the letters that he received regarding these views, that a lot of wargamers did not agree with them,  but he printed their objections,sometimes commented upon them, and then carried on providing his view of wargaming. His view was I think,'this is my view, you have your view, we can agree to disagree, but we all love wargaming.'

 Unfortunately in the 21st Century, this is changing rapidly, debate is no longer looked upon as desirable or encouraged, and instead is being replaced by the stifling of alternative views. Although I never attended university, I always thought that these places were where diverse views could be discussed, debated and argued freely,  naively I thought it was where free thinkers went to to get an education and learn to debate.

 I know this is not the case anymore, and unfortunately and has been replaced by young people, behaving like sheep and allowing themselves to be cajoled and bullied into not questioning what more vocal groups are insisting is the correct way to behave.
 So what has this to do with Wargaming?
  I accept I can be an awkward bugger [ or blogger ], and I also accept that I will call a spade a spade if I believe it deserves that name [ a digging implement by the way ] but I do this with the best intentions and not to upset people, well not too much.
 However I think that tossing your toys out of a pram, in response to a counter view is frankly very, very, sad.
 So to the followers who took themselves from my humble blog I feel only pity, for the wargames clubs who ' de friended me' or whatever they call being booted off Facebook, I feel only contempt, but I can promise that alternative views are welcome here, and if one doesn't agree with my posts, then please feel free to provide a counter argument at any time.
 Sorry for this post.  

Friday, 24 June 2016

Enough is enough.

I wasnt going to comment upon the referendum and its result, purely because we wargamers should be more interested in wargaming or three dimensional games, or whatever is the name for playing with toy soldiers nowadays. However having watched and listened to the news, read the comments on the Guardian and now read some of the posts on various wargaming blogs I have decided to have my threepence worth;
   I am immensely proud of the people of the British Isles who went to the polls last night and voted to leave the EU. It is a giant leap in the dark, and would have been very easy to take the easy option and vote to stay in the EU. I would argue most of the 17 million plus voters did so after some careful thought about what the risks are for voting out.
 Today like all the other people who voted out I have been accused of being, old, racist, selfish, ignorant, Little Englander, hateful,liars, stupid, a baby boomer who took everything and left nothing for the future, etc, etc;
Oh and apparently 75% of the youth of this country were betrayed because they voted to stay in Europe?
 well one question I would ask is how do they know that, considering the voting slip is meant to be an anonymous document, but of course that cant be a lie, because the leader of the Liberals, and a keen remainer said it. He also asked for a second Referendum! clearly he cant grasp the concept of people power.
 Perhaps if the remain campaign had offered up some positive arguments as to why we should stay in Europe, people would have supported them, instead all we got were the negatives of what could happen should we leave. Apparently immigration was too complex an issue to discuss, and if anyone attempted to talk about the elephant in the room, a scream of RACIST would be leveled at them, the final nail in the coffin for remaining for me was the unedifying sight of Eddie Izzard beret and all, burbling on like a demented old maid, but not actually saying anything about the most important decision this country had to make in 100 years.
 So please all you remainers, you weren't cheated, or lied to, I wasn't influenced by some giant News International Conspiracy, I dont hate foreigners, and sit in a White Van planning some lynching, I merely recognised that enough is enough, I love my country and know it has many faults, but clearly courage is not lacking when the chips are down.

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