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Tuesday, 22 August 2017

I Told You So;.....................................

Toppling statues? Here’s why Nelson’s column should be next

And right on cue, some attention seeking Guardian journalist writes and article and appears on Channel Four News demanding that Nelson on top of Nelson's column be removed because of his alleged support of Slavery. So my posts re dinosaurs wasnt far from the mark, except she didnt dare demand we remove Churchills' statue, well at least not yet. I only wish I could predict the lottery numbers as accurately.
 So for all those Corbyn supporting left wing luvvies who are also paradoxically wargamers, perhaps it's time you thought deeply about both the hobby you love and the left wing views you have, because frankly I don't see how one can square that circle.
Oh and whilst on this rant, can I suggest we remove the saintly Nelson Mandela's statue and street names from all of England. I mean HE was a convicted terrorist unlike the Admiral who saved an entire nation from French Imperialism. 

Monday, 21 August 2017

Partizan, the August Show.

 Well yesterday John and I took the longish trip down to Newark for Partizan part Two. Neither of us needed to buy anything from the attending traders, so really it was about going to see what eye candy was on show from the games. I dont think we were disappointed in that there were several stand out games that inspired and encouraged me to do better. The location of Partizan has been documented many times now, but for me it is a very good location just off the A1. The only small quibble is that it is always hot inside of the large hall. Probably caused by the mass of attendees, the roof, and Global Warming. [ Just joking about that]
I thought there were less people at the show, but it is August, and families come first for some, so I found it more pleasant to amble round, acting like the looney on the last bus and basically talking to anyone who couldnt get away from me quick enough. I have taken photographs of my favourite games only, so apologies to all the other wargamers who put on some really good games.
My first game is from wargaming royalty, Simon Chick, Dave Andrews, Dave Imrie and Mark Bickly, who in my eyes are amongst the most talented painters we have. The battle was of Crecy, so what was there not to like.
My second is by the Derby Wargames Group, who always put on a great game.
The AWI game was a particular favourite of John and contained some wonderfully painted units. Steve Jones put on a great looking representation of the rebellion. Top quality painting with lovely looking terrain.

I particulary wanted to see Ian Smith and friends 40mm game. I know he had been adding to his collection, between holidays and golf. The whole game looked brilliant, with some top qualitity painting.
                                      My favourite Napoleonic unit, the Neuchatel Battalion.

Barry Hilton had travelled down with his Napoleonics which was great to see. 
Barry believes in large units, ie 32 cavalry figures, expensive yes but great to slaver over.

When Phil Olley announced he was putting a game on at the show, I was really pleased. 18th Century imaginary units painted to the highest quality.The whole game was an inspiration, and he had broght along his revolving windmill, a real treat for me.

My particularly favourite unit on the table, decked out in Aston Villas colours, an imaginary regiment of horse grenadiers. Great regiment crap team.

Dave Docherty has been building up his Sudan armies for a while now and for me have reached perfection level,a balloons, an armoured train, loads of fuzzy wuzzies and now the flashes of led lights to represent the flash of rifles. A lovely looking game.

Im not an expert on the British Civil War, but this group had a lovely train, so it was a great thing to look at, well for me it was.

Shaun Lowery and the exiles from the Durham Wargames Group had traveled South with his ACW collection. He put on the Battle of Port Republic. Shaun has a wonderful collection of figures, that rarely sees the light of day, a fine looking game. I have known Shaun a longtime now, and yesterday he showed me why wargamers are a decent group of people, when he kindly gave me a painted unit of Zouaves that he had surplus to requirements. I just need John Ray to donate me his collection and my faith in wargamers will be cemented forever.
                               It was great to see Paul Stevenson playing with the group.

And finally, my personal favourite game, which was a participation game. Certainly not the biggest, and not packed with figures, but it contained, Gendarmes [from Steel Fist], flags by Pete Smith, some lovely looking buildings and of course it was based in the Renaissance period.The game was using Sharp Practice, a skirmish set of rules, yet it looked a lot of fun.

                                     The lads even had a cracking Da Vinci tank.

 As I have explained there were many other good games, but I have only listed my favourite games. Even though I didnt have much to buy, I still managed to spend money, on figures I didnt need,especially Steel Fist figures.
So a good day out all round. The only quibbles I had were the price of the tea, but hey wargamers need it.
  And finally I see they are still pushing the bollocks about attendees not wanting to be photographed at the show. It just seemed so, needless to me, but what do I know. Although I would love to talk to someone who actually doesnt want to be photographed at a wargames show, now that would be an interesting way to spend an hour.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Postscript to The End of the Dinosaurs.

Well I'm back from a holiday in the land of the free where between theme parks and eating
unfeasibly large amounts of food I watched the furor breaking out in Virginia. As I touched upon in my last post regarding the future of wargaming, a countries history no matter how unpalatable is in the process of being socially engineered by various special interest groups in order to suit their purposes.
 I don't seek to condone the death of the girl protester and the needless deaths of the two state troopers but watching the images of protesters tearing down the memorial to the Confederate fallen it frankly sickened me, simply because these so called liberals are acting as badly as the dangerous clowns in the KKK. Both are contemptible in their behaviour and frankly deserve to be placed in a room together to sort out their stupidity without affecting the lives of the majority of ordinary people who just want to get on with life.
 Trump has been pilloried for comparing the two sides, and it was interpreted as a clumsy attempt to justify the behaviour of the KKK. I dont think Trump is clever enough to attempt that and in fact naively tried to articulate what a lot of onlookers were thinking, namely that one side was as bad as the other.
   So where does it end? Clearly the 'liberals' will prevail becaue they usually shout the loudest and the Liberal Elite have more power, so the Confederate memorials will disappear one by one. Perhaps that is for the best, but why stop there. Because after such rage, a new target will be looked for. I fully expect to see college students holding a book burning ceremony of all books charting the history of the conflict and God help any author who has written a balanced book about the rebellion.
 The revisionists will have a field day as they re write the conflict to suit their political narratives.

  So what has this to do with wargaming? Well as I have stated before we are an easy target for such protests. Lets be right the title War and Gaming stick in the craw of inadequates looking for offence and given the effect of Social medja [sic] I fully expect some shit to come our way eventually.
  Ultra modern gaming is a case in point, fighting a game involving the Taliban or even Isis is just too good a target for some of the worthies on the Internet, and don't mention the Indian Mutiny, or the first war of Indian Liberation as I have seen it called recently?
  Given how this country follows the USA in everything, I can see our precious Snowflakes lassoing the statue of Churchill, or Queen Victoria and attempt to pull them down. I mean one was a Warmonger and the other was the Oppressor of the Indian sub continent.
 There is no defence to ignorance, so baton down the hatches and carry a very big stick, just in case.
Oh and I had a wonderful time in the USA, by the way.


Friday, 28 July 2017

The End of the Dinosaurs. [ Discuss]

                                             Image; The End of the Dinosaurs.

I visited my grandchildren last weekend and after recovering from their full on, non stop demand for entertainment from Grandad. [What happened to telling them to bugger off into the nearest wood to play?]
  I got to thinking about the toys and education that children have nowadays and the impact this will have on wargaming.
 Before everyone [one?] clicks and moves on. Take the time to think about the social experiment that has been happening in this country for the last forty or so years.
 I can remember Featherstone railing against the Scandinavian ban on 'War toys' and how West Germany viewed such toys as 'problematical', whilst we young wargamers shook ours heads in pity and carried on researching and collecting our armies. It could never happen in the United Kingdom, could it?
 Well like those poor dinosaurs in the image who probably thought their idyll would go on forever I think wargamers from 5 to 80 years should wake up and give some thought about the progression that is taking place in the home of Wargaming [ ie Great Britain]
  I was of a generation whose parents had lived and fought through the Second World War. Fictional programmes, books, Comics for children and films were readily accepted as entertainment of that terrible event.I ate them all up.
 I could easily buy toy soldiers at my local shop, and buy every type of toy gun known to man. Ah yes, the Johnny Seven, the ultimate Jap killer [ one could use that term back in the 1970's. There were no Japanese children in my village then. Funnily there are still none even now, but I cant say such a derogatory term apparently]
                    The ultimate Christmas present of any right thinking boy in the 1970's.

 Now move forward to this 'enlightened' age. Yes you can still buy toy soldiers, albeit it is becoming increasingly difficult, but certainly parents [ I am generalising here] seem to be avoiding the buying of such things and instead buying Super Heroes, Fantasy figures space men etc, basically anything that doesnt appear to glorify [ in their eyes ] historical warfare as such.
  I mean its very wrong to encourage such violence isnt it?
   Move onto education and we are into something that is in my eyes a little more sinister. Our history has been carefully sanitised over many years and now bears very little resemblance to the country that Great Britain evolved into.
A couple of examples;

  Even the Second World War is now a struggle between the democratic nations and the 'Nazis.'  Not the German Nation, but some new creature, that has carefully shifted those terrible events onto the shoulders of a mythological evil race. The Nazis.

I watched a BBC 4 history programme the other night about the Vikings.
  I was looking forward to it, expecting a well researched programme, until the presenter,  A History Professor, likened the Viking invasion of Lindisfarne to the policies of Mrs Thatcher? Proof of the BBC left wing credentials? Probably. But also it showed for me the thinking of the educational establishment as regards how they present our history to young people.

 One has to look no further than the regular demands to ban white historical figures of our history from the walls of our Halls of Learning. The latest one being the demand that a psychiatry course in Oxford should contain only sources from non white psychiatrists because well, its 'wrong and exclusionary'. Never mind that these white people were the founders of that science.

In the 'Land of the Free' the trends are even worse, and lets be correct  this country inevitably follows the USA.  Statues of General Lee and other rebel Generals are disappearing from public vistas, and of course the Confederate flag is now effectively banned. A bit like the Swastika was [ is ] in Germany, because banning something is the answer?
 I really am waiting for the first instant of complaint from some distraught person who goes to a wargames show and sees an ACW game in progress. God the upset.

   Most history fed to children and young adults focuses upon more social events and struggles, which is fine to a certain extent. I suppose to learn about Mandela's struggle can be enlightening but hardly relevant to a young person looking to understand their own country, and certainly not a good way to fire the imagination of any would be wargamer of the future.

  So what am I attempting to say in such a badly formed way?

At the present time the trends in wargaming are towards smaller table games involving a few figures. It can be attributed to many things from cost to simply not being arsed enough to paint up an army.
 In the main these games concern some other worldly race, or zombies, or of course the latest trend, pirates. Everyone loves pirates, look at Johnny Depp, he's a pirate, so it must be okay to buy some for the kids. Its non violent, isnt it?

 If one reads any of the current wargaming press, or follows the internet, most wargamng companies who are struggling to make some cash have followed the trend to supply non human, or non historical figures in the hope of cashing in on the changes.But what happens if their new 'race' doesnt catch on?
  So where does that leave future generations of historical wargamers?
  Well I expect the most common response will be, 'I dont care, I'll be dead by then, so crack on.'

  Other responses will give examples of how clubs are attracting younger people into the hobby, except of course they will be using, non historical zombies, fantasy pirates or whatever is currently popular. The hope, and it is a hope is that some of these younger players just might make the step over into historical wargaming.

  The problem will be that these acolytes will have very little knowledge about the tactics, units and probably the reason for the war. So in point of fact they might as well go back to shoving Space Marines around a table. At least they have read their latest Codex and know the background story as to why they are fighting.

 I wish I could offer a solution to what appears inevitable, but historical wargaming as we Dinosaurs know it will have disappeared like our namesakes in probably one or two generations.
 So whilst I will continue to push around my lovely armies and read history books until I'm nailed in a box, I would suggest that all wargaming fathers of young children consider just what they can do to sustain this wonderful and harmless hobby and take action now.

               And on a happier note, my best ever Christmas present; Mighty Joe.



Thursday, 20 July 2017

The VMI. Cadets.....

 Well progress has been slow since my last post, I suppose its a combination of good weather, other distractions and other issues. All wargamers hit a wall now and again, for some that is the end of their hobby and they move on to other things, such as a new job, a partner or golf. God forbid.
 For me, hopefully its a hiccup on the way. I think its too late to discover a new hobby, I've invested far too much life into the 'thing', and the 'thing'  has tended to take over at times. Anyway, I'm pleased to say I have completed this unit, the Virginia Military Institute Cadets. Another eclectic choice, but to be fair Redoubt Miniatures made a decent fist of sculpting this unit.
 I am half way through the 79th New York Volunteers, resplendent in tartan and such frippery.At least this unit had a lengthy war record.Again Redoubt sculptured a decent figure, and any unit wearing epaulettes and beards is a must in my eyes.
 John and I have finally mastered Picketts Charge and I think we understand the rules well enough to have a great game with them. My painting progress will stop again as I travel to a wedding of a friend and grab a holiday at the same time, so life interferes in my aim to complete these two armies sooner rather than later. Hopefully the enforced break will give me the necessary kick up the Khyber I clearly require.
 I have checked just how many units I have painted for this project, and was surprised when I found I had painted 43 infantry regiments, not counting skirmishers and such like.One would have thought as I got older I would have put a bit of planning into a wargames project and not just put my head down and lash the paint on, who says older and wiser? Now then where's my suntan cream?

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

When your bucket list is ticked.

 Well its been a while since I last posted, for which there has been several reasons, some I can comment upon, some I cant. I have realised that I am near the end of this ACW project, and have only the Union cavalry and Union extra artillery to paint. It came to me that perhaps that should be it as regards starting a new project. I know that there have been some recent postings about such a thing, and I don't doubt there will be many posts more given how there are many wargamers who probably started at about the same time as me.

 I specifically started a ACW project initially because of the Glory Halalujah rules, but since the release of Picketts Charge rules, John and I have embraced these rules as the ones of choice, and the more we use them the more I enjoy them. Last weeks refight of Donald Featherstone's scenario Plattville was a corker. I must admit Dave Brown is on to a winner with these rules, and boy do you need to think about what you are doing, a great cerebral exercise and fun too.

 But I digress. So I have nearly finished the project and I have pondered about what next. I just dont think I have the appetite to start another period and army, the way I am viewing it at the moment is I would be painting units that would probably never see the light of day. As I have cited before Peter Young was on the money when he called collecting armies from various historical periods as madness [ I paraphrase] and after all my wargaming years I have finally understood what he was on about. 
One of the problems I have is that not only have I virtually completed this project, I have also virtually completed writing my first novel, [ just some editing to complete] which has now provided another loose end that needs tying off. My aim in this case was to write a novel that had been in the back of my mind for many years but I never got around to starting it. Well I have now ticked that box, so again what do I do now, because I'm not even certain it is any good, although my tutor has been very positive, but one expects that nowadays, no tutor ever seems to tell the full truth anymore, unlike my former school days, when a spade was a spade. [digging implement to any would be devastated reader]

 Like other mature wargamers, one realises that you need to shrink some of the collections that you have put together over many years. In my case my biggest concern is regards the 120+ terrain boards that I no longer use.These were made for the many 6mm refights that John and I staged at various shows. To be honest I am loath to scrap them at the local tip, merely because they are in very good condition and also are frankly better than most boards I have seen at most shows. So that's one thing I feel must be given a priority. The second concerns my collection of Napoleonic books, EBay rarely works as regards books, and I am loath to give these away, especially as some have been my companions for many years, but go they must.
 As for my collections of wargaming magazines, I think Bonfire Night beckons early, given that at the last show I couldnt even give them away.
 On a more positive note, and which proves I am still involved in this wonderful hobby, I have bought a box of Warlord's new landsnects, the original Pro Gloria ones. Do I need them? No of course not, but I had to have them. The images in this post are some things I have managed to complete, but again they were a struggle to tackle, it must be an age thing. So I apologise for the lack of enthusiasm, hopefully I will survive, as Gloria whatshername sang and bounce back soon.

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