Saturday 31 December 2011

New Year

The Duke of Tradgardland heralds in another New Year with fireworks in the pleasure gardens surrounding the palace.May I take this opportunity to wish a Happy New Year to you all for 2012 when it comes!

Yesterday's game

Our trial game using the aforementioned new ACW rules went really well yesterday.Jan,Wendy & the girls watched a film (About a boy- excellent well worth seeing if you haven't,one of our favourites) while Phil and I gamed.Afterwards once the lead and plastic were packed away we all ate together. A most agreeable time was had by all.
The rules worked really well and gave us a result with minimal brain ache- something that cannot be often said of rules we have tried for diverse periods.We felt the factors will be easily memorised and the game will flow even quicker in future. We have agreed to try and game more often in 2012. The figures are Foundry,Perry and the odd Dixon for the Union and all Dixon for the Confederacy.All in 28mm.

Thursday 29 December 2011


Another wet and blustery day in Tradgardland. Yesterday was my Mother's 80th birthday and we all went out for lunch with her to celebrate at Mackenzie's restaurant in Colinton, Edinburgh.A convivial time and excellent food was had by all. A busy but enjoyable day was had by us.
Before breakfast I finished the Union Brigade I will need for tomorrow initial acw game using the Foundry rules by David Bickley. I will augment these chaps with cavalry,artillery and further infantry soon.
I am thinking about what projects to do in 2012.I am currently involved in the aforementioned ww1 campaign with Paul of FLW and hope to do one with Jimho of Syldavia. Figures need to be painted for the latter and i would like to augment the forces of Tradgardland from my unpainted metal pile.Much to plan ... It has been here over the last week (not to mention the term just ended) so a quieter day is in order as well as a reread of the rules too.

Tuesday 27 December 2011

A picture etc...

Since I began my blog I have really enjoyed the searching out of inspiring and interesting images for it. Pictures have always been integral to the whole Tradgardland thing. I set myself a challenge of finding one image to convey the 18th century Duchy in winter and I have settled upon the one above.Let me know what you think.
I have been most fortunate over Christmas with gifts including the following- a 2nd hand copy of Roy Dilley's "Scale model Soldiers" which I loved as a boy, an account of the archaelogical dig at Jamestown called "Jamestown the buried truth" by Kelso and recruits (currently being painted) for the acw game on the 30th. I also got a very useful piece of stationary with fantastic wargaming potential.If you want to know more pop over to my Army Red/White Blog. Off to peruse the work of my fellow bloggers ,drink more coffee and then get back to the painting...

Saturday 24 December 2011

Christmas Eve in Tradgarland

It is now Christmas Eve in the Duchy of Tradgardland.Every year a ceremony takes place in the barracks square in Tradgardstadt. The militia regiments present the Duke of Tradgardland with a Christmas tree for his palace. In exchange the Duke presents his loyal and brave soldiers with barrels of salted herring and mulled ale for the celebrations ahead...
This will be my last post before Christmas Day and may I take this chance to thank you all for your support,comments and ideas this past year. Merry Christmas to you and yours from all of us here in Tradgardland.May you have a glorious day tomorrow.

Thursday 22 December 2011

Put out more flags

Home for the hols from school now- that is me until Jan 9th 2012! We had the Nativity play in church a.m and then a convivial gathering briefly in the staffroom. It is good to be off. I was grateful to a fellow blogger (tinsoldier) for posting the trailer to "The Hobbit" which I had not seen- roll on 14th Dec next year!I can't wait...
Some posts ago Jim (I think) commented upon my flags so I thought I would post on them. The Duchy of Tradgardland's army is comprised ,on the whole, of militia regiments .They are maintained and funded by the Guilds. The flags reflect this - for example in the province of Smaaland they make raquets and balls for tennis,exporting them across Europa.Hence they have this depicted on their flags. Others shown depict the "sun in splendour" badge of the duke.
When I began this blog some years ago I painted my flags( badly on paper) but soon changed over to designing them on the computer and printing them out. I searched in vain for an example of my early efforts to no avail last night to photograph with these more recent ones.

Monday 19 December 2011

House building in Tradgardland...

Having been impressed recently by Tidder's buildings I decided to have a go myself.I resized a photograph,printed it out and glued it to card.It was then scored and cut to size. I am pleased with the results whch will form the edge of the wargaming table and can also be used as a free standing 3D one too.I am pleased with the results.The next stage will be to add different coloured shutters and other details.

Sunday 18 December 2011


The tree now decorated including some decorations from the 1920s which my father had on his tree as a boy.We have kept them very carefully and will pass them on to the next generation.

The road less travelled...

After church today we went straight to Blairadam forest ( a few miles north of Dunfermline and run by the Forestry Commission) to buy our Christmas tree. We have been going there for ours the last 14 years give or take a few years when we have used a growing one which is still in the garden in a pot. Here is a photo of the tree back at the Duchy as I forgot to take the camera with us. Blairadam is nearby and the road winds down to the forestry centre through dense woods which the imaginative (me) might perceive to contain boar,bears and other large mammals. We hope to decorate the tree later today and post an image here

Saturday 17 December 2011

Outwith the Imperium camp...

Saturday at last! Went uptown en famile a.m today and did a little shopping but came back prior to the crowds. Jan is at her work lunch today which is being held in a Californian restaurant in Edinburgh.I am too tired to paint effectively and once some ironing etc was done I set up a small game between the Imperium and the Duchy of Tradgardland. The situation was a Tradgardland advance guard coming upon the outskirts of the Imperium army camp unexpectedly. The game was played solo using no rules but ideas thoughts etc from many set informally held in my mind.It was fun ,relaxing and I must do it more often! I enjoyed see the Ducal forces on the table after a too long absence.

Tuesday 13 December 2011

Of Elric and Cooperative Learning...

Well,sadly, my three days Cooperative learning course ended this afternoon. I have rarely been inspired by CPD events in the past but this was different. Inspirational teacher (Chris Ward ,a Canadian) good company and great food provided by the Home Economic students of Tynecastle High School.I return (reluctantly) to the chalkface/trenches with good ideas...

My companion,in the form of a book, on the train journeys was a compendium of Elric novels by Michael Moorcock. I loved his books,read them in my teens & twenties and gave them to Charity ( along with many others of various kinds) when I had to downsize dramatically my book collection many years ago. I have not really picked them up since and was pleasantly surprised how well they read after all this time.I am gripped once more by the character and the creativity of Moorcock.

Saturday 10 December 2011

Snow,no, Elks and a map question...

After the storms of Thursday we awoke to snow lying a few inches deep this Saturday. Life is hectic here and it is busy with different family members needing to be diverse places at diverse times.I am working this Sunday ( Cooperative Learning 9- 4.30 leaving home at before 7am) with the course continuing Monday & Tuesday .I will not be at school theses days therefore & can't make up my mind wheter this is a good or bad thing.

A recent post at the Duchy of Stollen -
talks of "No Days" - a need to just have some R&R for oneself/family at this time of year.I feel the Duke of Stollen has an excellent point to make there.

Finally a confession- I love elks ( or Moose to our American friends) and think they are fascinating animals.Here is one from the Black Forest (bought by Jan in Oct in Peebles) which I was given today as we approach Christmas . He will feature in our decorations this year.
Finally my school was having a clear out and kindly gave me some 1966 25 inches to the mile maps of where I grew up in Edinburgh.Any hobby thoughts about how I could utilise such fascinating reminders of my youth?

Thursday 8 December 2011

Storm and Impetus

Fife and City of Edinburgh schools closed at lunchtime due to extreme weather. I had a horrendous journey over the Forth Rail Bridge in an over crowded train. The train crawled over the bridge and swayed in a way I have never known before. As a result we were all home by mid to later afternoon. The wind howls outside but we are cosy and safe for the night.
I am posting images of my completed Basic Impetus armies. The Scottish mythological includes amongst others- a base of kelpie,sidhe in chariot and on foot,a druidic shaman and the fachan.Note one of the "old things" as Kipling calls them- old gods who survive in diminised form.In this case it is the Dagda. The Highland/Islands army has skirmishers,armoured islesmen and fierce highlanders.
Those of you still to jouney home I wish you safe travel and a peaceful evening by your hearth.

Wednesday 7 December 2011

An update...

Another hectic week here in the Duchy. I have started the ACW project and am raising the following Union forces:

3rd brigade Col T B W Stockton

20th Maine inf regt

Michigan Sharpshooters,Brady's Company

16th Michigan Inf Regt

12th New York inf regt

17th new york inf regt

44th new york inf regt

83rd Pennsylvania inf regt

I have committed to a trial game with the new rules on the 30th of December so I am getting my skates on re painting. A limited palette does help compared to the 18th century...
Am thinking of my initial dispostions for Paul's WW1 campaign and first moves will be soon.I am commanding Army Black and have much to ponder.Photos and updates etc will appear on Paul's blog.
Painted two ww1 figures in 28mm and am pleased with the results.One is the Duke of Tradgardland of 1919 and the other is his aide de camp. The figures are from a period of great turmoil in the Duchy where diverse factions fought an overspill campaign from the Left v Right chaos which torn Germany apart. Ducal,Freikorps,Left,right and others fought over Tradgardland with the Duke at the centre things.

Monday 5 December 2011

Trial by Fire...

The following day sees our hero encountering Croats in the winter flecked woods. A trial by fire ( thankfully not accurate )sees this brave Tradgardlander survive once more...

Saturday 3 December 2011

At Dawn

After travelling through a cold and wintry night a young Tradgardland Militiaman finally arrives at his destination as the light of a new day dawns. Exhausted he knocks in an certain way upon the ancient doors in the hillside and asks to be allowed in in the name of Sarastro. The door is unbolted ,a servant stands within holding a lit lantern.Whispers are exchanged and the Militiaman follows him down the stairs...

Thursday 1 December 2011

Warg !

The wolves are becoming a menace on the borders of Tradgardland as winter approaches.They decend from the Umstrittental Mountains in search of easy pickings.Here we see a patrol encountering a pack.A well aimed shot ,the wolves depart only to regroup once more under the cover of darkness.

Wednesday 30 November 2011

The ice schooners cometh...

The ice schooner fleet is assembling in the Disputed Valley.Boats have been fixed upon runners,rafts assembled,gunpowder barrels gathered and cannon cleaned in preparation. The winter fleet will patrol the frozen lakes and wider rivers.All that is needed is the addition of masts and sails then the fleet will be ready...

I have had a good day not at work- coffee & cream scones whilst out with Jan,some work completed,the ice schooners built and helping my daughter think about her 6th form dissertation on three Gothic novels and time to read too.

Arrival in Tradgardland

I am not in work today and will be able to have a good look at these rules which arrived in the post yesterday. Thanks to my regular opponent Phil I was alerted to an unmissable offer on these rules which I snapped up. On preliminary glance they look inspirational being packed with lovely and evocative photos of the period.The rules look just what I need for an acw project also- they even have a trad style morale test too. So I will peruse them at my lesiure today and be inspired to paint my Union troops . My mind has gone in another direction too ( and that says much about me I fear) whch is thinking of an Invasion from Canada in support of the Confederacy. I don't know what Canadian uniforms of the period loked like but I could find out! Steady the line...

Tuesday 29 November 2011

Winter comes to the Valley...

In the Disputed Valley preparations are afoot for the forthcoming campaign. The sleigh mounted artillery are being taken out of storage and prepared.Horses will soon pull the guns across the wintry wastes...

Snowed under...

This day,St Andrew's Eve, sees me snowed under at work with a veritable blizzard of paper-serving exercises to complete.They (along with the ever changing goalposts) have left me very tired and very disgruntled. Last weekend was busy work and family wise but some hobby work was attempted. When I have picked up batteries for the camera I will post a picture or two. In the meantime I have posted some fascinating 18th century ( the gun is Napoleonic) winter transport solutions which I feel would grace any wargames table/imagination in miniature.

Thursday 24 November 2011

Winter preparations & Happy Thanksgiving

As the first flurries of snow come to the Duchy of Tradgardland and the Umstrittental Valley ( the disputed and fought over land that lies between Tradgardland and the Imperium) the armies move into winter quarters.However it is also a time of preparation for winter raids,alarms and excursions. Equipment is being readied,skis waxed and soon all will be ready for some skirmishes...

A Happy Thanksgiving to all American readers especially- enjoy some R&R and maybe some gaming too!

Wednesday 23 November 2011

A forthcoming campaign

For those interested I will be commanding Army Black in the campaign outlined at-
Do pop by for a look...

Reading in Tradgardland...

I sent for this book at the weekend and it has arrived. It is a detailed account of the battle and looks excellent. I have just started it and am finding it an absorbing read. It will provide background to my current mustering of an acw force.
The two BI armies I was working upon are finished and based. I am not the best painter in the world but they will certainly serve. I am already thinking about the next BI army to work on. The size of army suits me as a small but interesting project . Must finish now as I have the 6.47 train to catch to work this Wednesday morning...

Sunday 20 November 2011

Blue Sunday

My father brought this book home for me nearly 40 years ago.I have kept it ever since and it is falling apart. I took it out today to help me as I was painting my Perry acw figures. All was set up when I discovered I was out of light blue paint- so a change of plan saw me finishing my BI chaps instead.I hope to get some replacement paint at the weekend and begin to get the figures underway.

It being a milder day saw Jan and I getting the garden ready for it's winter sleep- tidying up and generally preparing for the quieter time in the gardening calendar.Yesterday's shopping trip went well and I enjoyed a quieter day today apart from infinitely tedious planning for work- a paper serving exercise in the extreme.

Saturday 19 November 2011

This week in Tradgardland

Saturday here at last. I am sitting here with my coffee prior to getting a train into Edinburgh. I am taking my mother out Christmas shopping in her wheelchair to the gyle shopping centre. She can walk around the house but needs the chair to be transported in and for any distances. She rarely gets out so I hope she enjoys this one...

Last weekend saw the Kirriemuir show and it was good to catch up with people- esp the Tulloch brothers from my uni gaming days,putting a face to Republicofalnwick (from gwp3) and Phil Olley.The show was small but a good mix of traders.Not to mention Scots pies and coffee. What caught my eye was a superb battle of Harlow game with amazing hilly terrain and a 1920's Irish scenario with wonderful street scene with innovative buildings flanking a wide street.Figures could be put at windows from the table's edge. I browsed much at the b&b and traders,resisted some things and bought only a few Impetus bases from warbases.

Phil W ( my regular opponent and driver to the day) has given me two 24 fig Roman auxiliary eastern archer units to paint- thanks Phil,. One is Garrison and the other Greenwood and Ball- he has had them in his garage for myriad years.They will beef up my Romans excellently and enable me to deal more effectively with his ad69 revolting Germans under civilis or his Celts. Having come to the end nearly of painting my matched BI armies- Highlanders/Islesmen versus Scottish Fantasy I need to decided what to do next. I am tempted to tweak my vbcw forces for a game and need to paint only a few companies. Energy levels are low after a very demanding week at work,not to mention planning to do tomorrow so we will see.
Finally today's picture is of Jim's stout Syldavians which have set up camp here with me for the present. They are splendid fellows on parade as the photo shows and have settled well into their winter quarters here. Their days are spent drilling and their nights singing and telling tales,around the campfire, amongst the autumn leaves under the starry skies. I hope they will get an outing against the Bordurians very,very soon...

Saturday 12 November 2011

Painting pictures- camera restored...

Off to the Kirriemuir show in one and a half hours. Up on Saturday morning finishing my current novel,wondering what to read next and drinking coffee. I have fiddled with the camera and it is sort of working. If I fiddle with the buttons enough in ignorance it sometimes comes right. It has worked again-huzzah!
I am able to show what I've been painting . Some wolves to use for skirmish gaming and to pop into woodland during games just for fun. They can be used for the Syldavian forests and Tradgarland woods not to mention the Scottish Highlands. Next are the Medieval/renaissance highlanders- including the general's base complete with clan chief,bard,piper and strident cleric/domestic chaplin. Finally my Fachan. In BI terms he is as follows- Type= FP M=10 VBU=7 I=3 & VDU=3
He is the first of my mythological chaps ready although the kelpie is nearly done.
Today I must pick up some more bases from Warbases ( excellent local company who make bases,movement trays and buildings- just gogle them) to carry on with the BI work. Have an enjoyable day one and all.

Friday 11 November 2011

Cameraless upon the weekend...

Friday night at last...
In Service this afternoon was most interesting- a look at new technology in the classroom. I was most taken with the smartboard which could be used horizontally. We looked at Google Earth on it and I could help thinking it could be used as virtual terrain to wargame upon. This observation I did not share with collegues I might add- I am deemed eccentric enough I fear!
I have finished a number of Impetus bases this week and wanted to post pictures here- four highland heavy infantry and a fantasy unit in the form of a one legged,one armed ,club equipped giant called a Fachan.
Alas the digital camera is on the blink again.I will consult the experts- my daughters later. Off tomorrow to the wargames show at Kirriemuir. Always an enjoyable drive through lovely countryside followed by a cup of coffee in the town and an excellent pie in the show's canteen. Not to mention the games and stalls to peruse. We are not going to do a display game this year just to have a look around.Anyone readers of this blog going?

Sunday 6 November 2011

BI , Islesmen and Iona

Thirty two or so summers ago I spent time during my summer holidays on the beautiful island of Iona. One year I worked as a volunteer on an archaeological dig ( to investigate the Columban Monastery) and other years I volunteered or cooked at the Youth Camp on the island. I had super times and went back sometimes for reunions betwixt Christmas and New Year. I loved the island and found it inspirational and hope to return en famille one day...
When there I often went into the small museum and gazed upon the stone effigies of medieval highland warriors. Today I was rummaging around the shed ( as part of my tidying/rationalising/rummaging for figures outings) and came upon enough figures to do a Basic Impetus Highlands and Islands army to go alongside the Scottish Mythological one I am still working on. A very pleasant time was spent touching the figures up with paint and sorting them into prospective bases/units.

Saturday 5 November 2011


Morning all! Just finished watching the 2nd last episode of "Downton Abbey" on i player and thought I would check-in with you all. In my class at the start of the day each child says briefly how they are feeling and why after saying good morning.This is check-in. It is a useful way of gauging where they are "at" and seeing if further conversations are required...
Little to report- too caught up at work ( very depressing paper serving times of planning and recording, redeemed by working with the children-after all what it is really about) and busy at home ( not to mention a cold I seem to have had non stop for weeks- nearly 8 I think) too.In a result over tired! I have been watching "Gettyburg" and "Ride with the devil" on dvd of late and been reading around the acw. Some plans are forming with regard to this.
I have done little painting ( and remain a tad dissatisfied with my results) except for some Sidhe and a fachan for BI. Went to the local club and enjoyed a board game based on Formula One motor racing - nice mechanism with a different dice for each gear. Also saw a superb 15mm BI refight of Magnesia whilst there.

Sunday 23 October 2011

Scottish Mythology for Basic Impetus...

I have been out to the Lead Mountain in the new garage...
I have been put off the Greek Mythological idea for Basic Impetus by the potential cost!!! I have, with a rummage out in the garage, come up with another idea/cunning plan based upon Scottish Celtic mythology. The fantasy elements will be allied to my Picts/scots.I have the fantasy figures and pict/scots already apart from one. Here are the ideas so far-
Firstly a unit of Sidhe-foot warriors from the Faerie Court as well as a chariot sidhe unit.Secondly a Fachan - a one armed,one legged giant armed with a massive club.Thirdly a waterhorse/kelpie to cause terror in opponents.Finally(so far) is the urisk/ourisk a Scottish equivalent of the satyr as a skirmishing /lurking type of creature. Back to work tomorrow so this may have to wait to the weekend...