Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Nostalgia, a gift etc


.The postman arrived in my absence - good job my eldest was on study leave to take it in! A parcel awaited me from James of OSW. Inside ,as well as the expected Airfix chaps, a surprise was there in the form of two minitanks!! My old school project has moved forward dramatically. Cheers James you are indeed a most generous chap!
Jan & I went in for her scan results (Jan and I's 20th wedding anniversary is today too). She got good scan results and all is well! She will go back every 3 months over the next two years and then every six months for a further 3 years.
We will celebrate with a meal with the family , a quiet eveing and perhaps some paint to plastic...
p.s Ottomans arrived over weekend too. There is much to be done but I look forward to the Imperium/Austrians having a different force this year!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Moving forward

Friday morning has arrived and it is around six am and I am up drinking coffee and preparing for the day...
I hope to pop in to see my mother after work as she has just come home after just under a week in hospital ( having fallen in her flat last week) and will enjoy the brief return to the part of Edinburgh I grew up in.

The OSW project moves forward . Those clever chaps at the yahoo group pointed me in the direction of Meccano magazine for the original articles entitled "Battle" which went to form the book. This was very useful as there was more material and photos there than what eventually became the book. One super chap has even extracted the relevant articles and placed them together in one pdf- a loud huzzah for Mel! Inspirational reading ahead this weekend!

I was playing around with ideas yesterday and I was wondering about representing army "Black" and "Red" in diverse ways. One idea(depending on how many early German figures I can get hold of) is to do a Bordurian civil war with elements of the Bordurian Army on opposing sides. Over the weekend I hope to track down some minitanks and trees on the web so we shall see...
On other fronts the disrupted postal service continues with no Ottomans as yet however "Babylon 5 Crusade" did come and the first episode last night lived up to my expectation. I have read the fubar rules on the train and am working towards Welsh Nationalists v Mistery/Estate LDV skirmish very soon. Have a good day at work and a great weekend when it comes!

Monday, 17 January 2011

Bah humbug etc...

Possibly it is me,or the time of year or both or something else but I felt perturbed by Stoke's article in the CWJ of late entitled " 12 Ways to avoid the Wargaming Boulevard of Broken Dreams." I felt it seemed to be very applicable to the Duchy of Tradgardland Blog - not keeping to a time period,starting and not finishing a project,going on about my plans and my incessant inane verbiage about my imaginations. Morale was three ones on three D6 as we used to say in the days of wrg ancients!

My thoughts were initially to have a rest from blogging ( I would miss it too much I fear) or to finish the Duchy altogether . However I feel that is not the way forward. Perhaps Stokes has provided me with some food for thought or even some useful pointers I don't quite know what I think yet but...

On a cheerier note I have been contacted by James at the OSW yahoo group who has very kindly offered me some 40 year old Airfix German figures to help move my "Battle " project forward- thanks James ! He has also told me that the Russians are still in production so a trip to a model shop will be on the cards soon. I now need to source those trees in the piccies in the book which slot together and are probably railway scenery and further track down Roco minitanks.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Updates...


The snow has finally gone and we are not met by ice fields as we travel around on foot. The post is still very odd/delayed and we await many things including a calendar my daughter ordered from Amazon on Boxing Day...

My Ottoman plans have ground to a halt as the figures are still "lost " in the postal service at present. A VBCW stuff moves forward in terms of a paper house built and some work done on figures and scenery alike. The enclosed piccie is of the aforementioned house supporting a propaganda poster designed by Pete Barfield whose blog I linked to on my vbcw post of some days ago. It is of the faction I favour in vbcw and looks great- thanks Pete! By the way, the medieval looking figure for 1938 is an attempt to represent symbolically on the tabletop the non democratic/feudal /conservative/medieval celebrating nature of English Mistery/Array. It says something about their politics rather than a desire for fancy dress!


I am reading some stuff I was sent from Slydavia on Native American folklore plus an excellent book by John Demos " The unredeemed captive" to feed into Ny Tradgardland this year...


Life is a mix ( at home and work) of brief bursts of creative energy and then feeling exhausted most of the time. It can be a tad tiring. I look forward to laying out a solo game but cannot face the setting up playing and then putting away - maybe at half term in Feb perhaps?
The Wargamer's Annual is providing a much needed light reading diversion accompanied by pouring over photos and text in the excellent "Battle Practical Wargaming"- I have even sourced Bellonaesque scenery and am looking for minitanks.


Thursday, 13 January 2011

Another Old School...

Last night I picked this off the shelves and took it to bed for a read. I have to say it lived up to it's promise and was a most engaging read indeed. It brought back memories of circa 1974 and games with Airfix figures and tanks,Roco and Bellona too. They were excellent games with the super rules contained in the book- not to mention the homemade protractor device too!

I am sorely tempted to get the few figures etc for "Action at Twin Farms" mentioned and played out in the book. Any suggestions for figures etc most welcome. Finally did any of you use the rules too - do let us know here at the Duchy...

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

A very British Civil War

A wonderful Sir Ian in action...














For any of you wanting a taste of the wargaming world of a Very British Civil War I suggest you go and have a peep at: http://panzerkaput.blogspot.com/ for those new to the period/concept have a look at this written by Hasting ( as an intro to GWP3- I trust it is ok to quote gentlemen) - "


"The project began in a conversation between Mort and Wardlaw (Rob) both had seen Sir Ian's Richard III and were suitably inspired. They began to bounce ideas around and a game was eventually set up for Somerset. At the same time ideas were discussed on the first GWP forum. I came in at a chance meeting with Mort at Phalanx. I had been equally inspired by R3 and had read a bit on the 30's and was thinking at sometime it would make a good project, the meeting with Mort got things going at a pace. I said I would do them some flags (and at that point started thinking about my own first unit which started life as the Duke of Gloucester's alarm company but ended up as Lord Cirencester's) Having long chats by e-mail we thought of doing a mag article- then someone said lets do a book! The project expanded from Somerset to thinking about the whole country. Rob and Mort already had the League- which was easy to make a national opposition, then along came the Liverpool Free State, the Scottish Crisis and Nationalists in Wales and Cornwall. We met at Mort's and drafted out plans for 10 or 12 factions and went away to write. The first source book was the result of that. ...

1. If you buy into 1938 you buy into the idea of being a Gentleman. This is quirky but important. There is a considerable amount of nostalgia in this project ,and it might to some extent work because guys reaching middle age seem to look for a more golden age better than our present lot- maybe its a wargamers form of midlife crisis?- lol im not a shrink! But from the outset what we were creating was actually more important than winning games. That translates both into how games are played and the composition of forces. The guys at Gripping beast were really impressed with the way we conducted the games there, nothing was really said or enforced but there was an unwritten gentlemanly code to play, and no one was really too bothered who won, as long as we all had a good time- this makes 1938 different and not a good competition game Also this is a war of amateurs and while you will find no end of eccentric Heath-Robinson style weapons ,none is designed to be a war winner. The same is true with units- adding colour is more important than ability. We have foreign and exotic troops because its fun not to win battles- strange I know but that's the kind of people we are Linked to this is the 'Very British' bit. Its no accident that the preferred name of the project is 1938 A Very British Civil War (increasingly seen as VBCW). The original team wanted that caricature of 1930's Britain at the heart of what we came up with, Cricket and afternoon tea are as important as period weapons and armour This isn't just the Spanish Civil War replayed in our green and pleasant land- but a war fought in a very British eccentric way. This we are still working at translating into games (chance cards are a big help) but this characterisation, although we know its largely a myth is what gives this 'period' a distinct identity.

2. With the sources books and material Solway publish we try to put together a workable and consistent framework without being proscriptive over detail. We want to leave as much 'white space' for players creativity. Where possible we have tried to include as much as possible the ideas, campaigns and games at grass roots in the picture of the overall war. This isn't easy and sometimes we end up with something that isn't what you want in your local campaign. In those situations we always say- its your project go with what you want to do, use the material thats helpful but feel free to do your own thing. My favourite analogy about the source material is that 'we are producing parables not commandments' a guide, a resource, a place to start but not the law.A lot of people have said they like our open house policy on rules, again we like to allow players as much choice as possible. We will be producing a compendium with some rules in, but again this is meant as an aid to be adapted, used or disregarded as you see fit, without in any sense suggesting 'you are not doing it right'

3. Final point links into 2 really- there is no right way to game 1938. As often playing an Anglican Commander I can say the 1938 community is very much a 'broad church'. Some folk have leanings towards fantastical worlds populated by weird and wonderful creatures others are more concerned with a rigorous historical orthodoxy getting every period detail authentic. Most of us sit some way between these two extremes, there is no right answer. How you play 1938VBCW is between you and whoever you game with, our hope is that it will be enjoyable and fun. The line taken by the source material will try and steer a middle course, enjoying the insights of historical research while shaping it to fit the fantasy of a Very British Civil war Enjoy."




I do hope your appetite has been whetted...

Monday, 10 January 2011

Great minds etc

Back to work today-nuff said...

On my return I found that the postman had finally brought part of my Christmas from Jan as pictured in this post. I have just finished tea and look forward to reading it at length. A first glance looks very exciting and inspiring- I was interested to read of John Ray's Ottomans in the light of my current project. Once more well done Charles and Phil!

Saturday, 8 January 2011

The road goes ever on...

" The road goes ever on..." as the hobbits sing and we have come to a mile stone in our road- Jan had her last chemo on Friday. All in all she is not too bad today but the journey has taken it's toll on her - however we feel the road to recovery and normality starts here. Jan has been really incredibly ( I am so proud of her)brave and has done an excellent job in getting herself to this point by strength of character etc. A big thanks from us both for your concern ,encouraging comments
,thoughts and prayers during the journey which have encouraged us ...
I find myself a curious mix of elation and exhaustion in spite of two weeks hols which end tomorrow. Full of ideas one minute and none the next. Hopefully business will continue here in the Duchy of Tradgardland over the coming weeks. I still await the "Wargamer's Annual" which no doubt lies under a mail mountain along with myriad things expected,ordered and needed by many people. Zoe's revision notes would be handy as well as past papers not to mention some lead for me and seeds for the vegetable plot...
Hopefully 20011 will see more "goings on" in Tradgardland, Ottomans on the tabletop, my first solo game of a VBCW ( Welsh nationalists and their opponents in an alternate 1938) and some projects lain down but needing to be picked up. Not to mention those 15th Century chaps who you voted for in the poll just ended...

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

So what is needed...


There can often be a thin line between what one of our armies need and what we would like for it. Ok, I grant you, given infinite time,energy,space and a vast war chest we would all have vast forces for all periods of interest...
However reality often intervenes in myriad forms and lets us realise that really there is perhaps a balance we can strike between the needs of our gaming project and our wants for it. It is such an issue I have been wrestling with for my Ottomans. I have been doing my homework/research on the internet and books here,I have been looking at the uni online catalogue- I am glad I took up the cheapish offer of life membership of the library when I graduated! I now have a idea of where I am going with thing a little.
I want initially to get,paint and field some units to keep the enthusiasm and momentum of the project- let's face it we all know the way to Lead Mountain is paved with good hobby intentions.
So here goes:
1. Command figures/local colour- odds and ends to give some atmosphere to games
2. Light infantry - clouds of skirmishing Balkan chaps with rifles/muskets to oppose those plucky grenzers. I have ten on the painting bench and thirty on order from Old Glory UK
3. "Line" inf- a unit of Janissaries whch act as a formed inf unit
4. Artillery - exotica in the form of "unreformed" slightly antiquated eastern artillery and bullocks to pull
5. Light Cav- again clouds of lite cav of all sorts. I have some Balkan chaps being tweaked at present and ten in number
6. Heavy/Med cav spahi with pistols and diverse weaponary a couple of units
So there we are- if I have forgotten anything do please let me know- we are always grateful for advice here in Tradgardland!
On a family note the girls return to school on Thursday, Jan has a pre chemo blood test today and hopefully the final chemo on Friday. I return to work on Monday myself...
Today the Royal Mail returns to normal service- hopefully there will be my wargamers Annual, Anna's calendar,Zoe's Higher Study notes and perhaps some of these missing Christmas cards! The rain has finally put pay to almost all the snow and it is good to see the garden once more without her white blanket. I sent off for vegetable seeds on the 30th and look forward to their arrival soon too. We hope to grow even more veg this year and be even better organised in terms of sowing etc. What ever you are doing I hope you enjoy the last "official" day of Christmas.
P.S If you have not voted in my poll please do so soon ,only two days left- it is always good to have your responses

Saturday, 1 January 2011

A surprising change of direction...




Call it a moment of madness or enthusiasm,perhaps a whim if you like but I bought some 18th century Ottomans online on New Year's Day!


All my plans about going easy on spending from the "War Chest" and downsizing/freezing the lead mountain went to pot. Actually it was a combination of things- laying out my smallish but effective Imperium army and realising I probably had enough of them ( apart from some vignettes etc I suppose ) and they needed another opponent, browsing through my copy of "Force of Arms" by Duffy, coming across the leaflet my wife designed for me for Edinburgh University Wargames Club's demonstration game of the battle of Banjaluka 1739 around 20years ago, finding the stuff I had on 18th Century Ottomans photocopied and spirited away and finally a New Years Day feeling that I had always wanted to do this army for over twenty years( I blame Duffy's book "The Wild Geese and the eagle" from the uni library too) at least...




A look at the Styria Zeughaus online combined with the part of Duffy's book about the fear of Tartar invasion and the specific Austrian anti-Turkish kit and tactics fuelled the fire and so ( slightly taken aback and shocked) I have gone for it.
It will not be to huge a force,will probably take time to assemble but all in all I remain excited and my dreams filled with gaming potentialities. What do you think?