Sunday, 21 July 2019

Two novels

The first l encountered when a classmate of mine was reading it at a camp. I sort of read over his shoulder and nagged him to lend it to me when he had finished it. I borrowed the book, subsequently bought my own copy and the book and it remains a favourite.
The second l found in a second hand bookshop in the road where my place of employment was in my late teens. I didn’t like the job at all. Lunchtime was spent in a vile subterranean cave sorry lunchroom and often reading , as the more senior member of staff eating there liked to quietly read over his lunch. The Swann book brought some light, colour and warmth into lunchtimes and whimsy too. I still reread it again and again.

Saturday, 20 July 2019


 I saw the moon landing on b&w tv. I was nine at the time. I still have the scrapbooks l compiled from the newspapers at the time. Sadly they are in an inaccessible place under the eaves, one day...

I queued round the block in Chambers Street with my father to see the moon rock/dust in the museum in Edinburgh. Here ,however,is a book l have kept on the bookshelves from around 1970. It was a Christmas present costing 12s or 60 N.P as the inside cover states. It was and is a favourite.

Friday, 19 July 2019

Modelling inspiration...

Just found this Mordheim Instagram collection of fantastic modelling skills-
Not all the figures are to my taste but l am bowled over by the creativity and artistry on display. Amazing terrain too. Do pop over for a look.
P.s l wonder where the upbeat,quirky and non dark fantasy is to be found or is it just me?

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Battle! Practical Wargaming- a spotty camouflage question

My really productive gardening session was interrupted by rain this morning and l came inside. Over a cup of coffee l was reading Charles Grant’s splendid book as mentioned in the title of this post. It is an old favourite l come back to again and again. Today l spotted this picture on page 124-
I had forgotten about it and the figures shown in it. Some questions for you all-
1. Are the Airfix marines still available?
2. Does anyone know what colours are used in this camouflage pattern? Something at the back of my mind thinks  one was yellow.
3. Has anyone seen any other pictures of this army, if so,where?
4. Did Airfix magazine publish any conversion articles relating to this book or armies depicted within?

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Romans at Man of Tin

Mark has a really interesting ( nothing new there) post over at his blog-
It is about the splendid author Rosemary Sutcliff and other Roman hobby matters. I thought l would have a wee look around the house and see how many Sutcliff novels l have. They are shown below. If you have read Rosemary Sutcliff you’re in for a treat. If you know the “ Eagle of the Ninth” have a look at her other novels and short stories. Go on treat yourself.

Monday, 15 July 2019

SPQR arrived

Pre order ( and two figure freebies) arrived today. Taking it outdoors for a first flick through with a cup of tea...
I will give you my first impressions later.

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Warriors looked out awaiting the arrival of SPQR...

The warriors look on in amazement as the Druid shows off the trophies captured from the enemy. They cheer as the Eagle is raised aloft!
Meanwhile the warriors of Rome begin their journey to find the lost Eagle...

Monday, 8 July 2019

Today’s game

It isn’t even 09:00 but the table is arranged and the forces arrayed. On the menu is American War of  Independence ( sans aircraft ha, ha) using shiny Minifigs and Muskets and Tomahawks. The gamers arrive in under two hours so time for coffee etc.

Friday, 5 July 2019

Ski troops

Fascinating 1920s Pathe News clip of Norwegian ski troops training and doing drill on skis! Well worth a look.

Tuesday, 2 July 2019


I am just back from Cornwall visiting my middle daughter with my youngest daughter ( who graduates tomorrow- congratulations Freya) and we enjoyed the trip tremendously. Highlights included the warmth ,scenery and sea. I had the pleasure of catching up with Mark , Man of Tin in person. for his thoughts on the meeting.
This was most enjoyable and we had a splendid wide ranging conversation.
Pendennis castle was fascinating with both a Henrician fort and WW 1 and 2 fortifications and guns. Credit to English Heritage who provide evocative and informative  interpretive displays. Some sort of   Tudor game is filed away in my mind along with ideas of 20mm Airfix with coastal defence set from my youth.
I also enjoyed a river trip towards Truro , Truro itself, the Eden Project and Porthleven. There is a super coffee shop there called “ Origins” with some of the best coffee and pastries l have had for ages. Also  a splendid burger place in Falmouth called  “ The Meat  Counter . “
I saw a pillbox in Porthleven protecting the harbour, most interesting. I wonder if readers of this blog could suggest reading for me about ww2 coastal craft warfare as l imagined those small vessels coming in and out harbours.
A great trip in lots of ways, just wish Scotland was a bit warmer.

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Projects : SPQR and Irregular Wars

There are all sorts of reasons for getting into a project. Some enjoy the history,the uniforms or the gaming system itself. For me it was the figures foremost then they built on a long standing interest.
Thy are from Hoka Hey Miniatures and are 28mm 16th century Irish. They are based to go with the system in the photo below. Irregular Wars is for smallish battles of the period. They look really interesting. Talking of rules l have preordered the forthcoming SPQR rules from Warlord Games. I have long looked for a set of ancient skirmish rules. The publicity l have read so far looks encouraging,including the video.l hope to use them with my 3rd century Romans and maybe my Scandinavian Bronze Age figures. Finally here is my holiday reading... 

Monday, 17 June 2019

AWI game

Today is the anniversary of the battle of Bunker Hill and it is also the day that the fencing sent to me by the Mad Padre (thanks again) got its baptism of fire. It is also our first game of AWI Muskets and Tomahawks. I have built up a wee collection of second hand Minifigs for the period via eBay. They are charmingly old school and painted in a shiny black lined look l find hard to replicate. Here are a few pictures of the two games we played today. Most enjoyable and diverting. Photos are in the previous post

AWI the photos

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Close Little Wars

Trying out a gridded close little wars ( Featherstonesque)  game today. Signposts,lampposts, fencing and hedges are all castings by Replica model soldiers. Painted them up this morning and using them this afternoon. I am delighted with their old school look.

Friday, 14 June 2019

Uniforms and flag information sought

I am trying to find an order of battle  for the Dutch Army which landed in 1688 at Torbay. I also am looking for coat/ facing colours and flags. I have tried in vain in my books and on line. Can you help?

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Paints petering out, what next?

My paints are petering out-
My paints all seem to be running out at once. I feel l need to replace them en masse. What is the best way economically of doing this? I am a tad old school and don’t really use loads of shading paints of the same colour if you know what I mean. All suggestions welcomed.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

“About Cromwell “ rules try out in 54mm

I tried out the “About Cromwell “ rules that l had borrowed from Dave with my 1688 Alexander’s Toy Soldiers figures in 54mm. The Dutch invaders supported by the purple coated Trumpton Trained Bands ( with Windy Miller and wife) and some dragoons hold a position near the church. James’s Guards are attempting to take the hill. The rules worked well and l will certainly give them a go again.

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Fantasy Quest solo game.

I conducted a quest for treasure using these rules:
My barbarian and thief were trying to steal treasure from the bad guys as seen in the photo below-
Game was on a 40mm grid using  54mm plastic pound store figures. Many thanks to Man of Tin for the barbarian and thief,the others were pound store knights bought by me. It was a tense game( and great fun) ending in the failure of our heroes to get the treasure. Yet of course there is always next time...

A commission

Sometimes a uniform really appeals to us wargamers and collectors. Maybe it is the colour or the design or something else. For me it was the Swedish fm/06 test uniform  of 1906 and how it harks back to the Swedish army of Karl Xll. The tricorn especially is splendid. So l commissioned Ian Kay of Irregular Miniatures to make me one in 54mm . I am delighted with his work.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Albion Pathe News : Manoeuvres

 Those dashing cavalry chaps advance supported by machine gun fire... meanwhile tanks and infantry advance on the enemy postions  whilst bicycle troops await orders in the nearby wood.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Scouts for Wide Games

Currently Mark at Man of Tin is working on turning scout wide games into a tabletop or al fresco game for model scouts. Here is a link
I have been involved by reading independently the text that M of T is reading and make a few suggestions. Mark kindly cast some 60mm Scouts for me. Here they are out on patrol ...

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Born in the KFC

“One of the most influential figures in Karl Frederick County during the American Revolution was Joachim Hornig. Born of Tradgardland immigrant parents in the Mohawk Valley Hornig rose to fame as Colonel of the District Militia of the KFC. History alone will tell...”
Quoted from “ Annals of Karl Frederick County ,some jottings of note” by Georg Hornig lll 1863.
An important visitor comes to the County to ask if Col Hornig is ready as the redcoats are on the march. To be continued.
I’ve been interested in the awi since l fought across the living room floor as a boy with my Airfix Grenadiers. I’ve collected a few books over the years-


Once a month l go to Church in Edinburgh. On the way l pop into the Oxfam bookshop up the Bridges. It is well stocked and fairly priced. Today l got this for £9:99. I am well pleased-

Incidentally there a few other titles on model soldiers, one being by Jack Cassin Scott. I left them for others.

Storage advice sought.

I am hoping to put a lot of my figures out into an unheated garage for storage . Most are held in card box files. I was proposing putting these box files into large plastic boxes. Do you think that is sufficient to avoid deterioration over winter? I wondered if putting blankets over the boxes would help? All your advice is gratefully received as ever.

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Marker pens?

What marker pens to you use to add detail,lining on figures? Thanks.

Monday, 6 May 2019

French Indian Wars

Today we came to the end of a sequence of nine games to try out Muskets and Tomahawks. Different combinations of troop types were used and much fun had. Still can’t quite get the rules into my head. This is a crucial point in today’s game-
British Regulars about to meet their fate at the hands of the enemy...

Monday, 29 April 2019

Ripe for conversion 2

Although shorter and less elongated my favourites are the Lone Star ones-
They have a lot of character about them compared to the Crescent ones such as the expressions on their faces and an intent in their marching, elite indeed.
I will probably leave them be and use as Guardsmen. The Crescent fellows will get replacement heads and be used as line infantrymen. The bandsmen are charming but not quite sure what to do with them. Any suggestions?

Ripe for conversion...

These chaps arrived this morning. I got them to covert for A Gentleman’s War. Here they are -

 Now unpacked and on parade. They are mainly Lone Star and Crescent.

Sunday, 28 April 2019

A really interesting post

The Man of Tin ( whose blogs can be relied upon to provide entertainment and inspiration) has a most interesting post today-
It is really well worth a look if you haven’t seen it yet.

Friday, 26 April 2019


l am sorting out my syw figures and rebasing/ reorganising them. I popped them out on the kitchen table to get a flavour of where I am going with them. One force is Austro Hungarian and the other Reichsarmee.

Friday, 19 April 2019