Tuesday 31 December 2013

Happy New Year

A Happy New Year to you and yours from all in the Duchy of Tradgardland.Thanks for your comments,suggestions,interest and more in 2013.

Sunday 29 December 2013

In Neptune's Grove...

Morning on the Estate surrounding the Ducal Palace in Tradgardland. A shepherdess escorts her flock across the grove to pastures.An idyll in Arcadia...
Later on the sound of sword play echos around the once quiet grove-
These determined gentlemen hone their skill under the watchful eye of Father Duggan,former military adventurer now Jesuit priest. Tiring of their sport the men retire to discourse over wine.


A link to a splendid BBC 4 programme on Ladybird books.If you are of a certain age you will remember them. I owe much of my love of history to these books and the splendid style they were written in. Watch the programme,recall the pictures ,be informed of the background and just enjoy!

Friday 27 December 2013

Morning workbench

I got up and started on the new lead.I am also trying out new basing with some bases I have had around for ages.
The Garrison mammoth fits together well but I had an awful fiddle to get the tusks to stick and hold.Perhaps the superglue wasn't the best thing to use? I now have a new layer of artificial super glue skin on many of my fingers.Nevertheless I am pleased so far with him and look forward to seeing the painted result.I am thinking about adding a few primitive rockets/artillery to the army so it can double up for  18th century useage...

Thursday 26 December 2013

On the Feast of Stephen...

Today is the Feast of St Stephen and Boxing Day.One of my favourite carols is about the good king who went out on this day.
This is the cover of a book I have of the carol illustrated in glorious woodcuts.It is filled with evocative colour and beautiful pictures.
We had a splendid Christmas here in the Duchy.Jan was good form and able to enjoy the day.Church,fantastic food,festivities,presents in the the company of the family.The evening ended with us all enjoying a dvd together- "Enigma" which entertained  very well.
Amongst my other gifts I got this-
It is a well written primer filled with enthusiasm for the hobby.Inspiring for newcomers and old hands alike.I look forward to reading this.Lead too featured in the presents- delightfully "old school" Garrison figures with elephants/mammoths,archers and bowmen.They will form a small army from Vandhya to join in my ancient gaming using "Gathering of Hosts" rules.
Have a splendid St Stephen's Day one and all!

Tuesday 24 December 2013

Christmas in the Duchy of Tradgardland

It is the night before Christmas in Tradgardstadt, the capital of the Duchy of Tradgardland.Snow has fallen snow on snow,snow on snow.The soldiers parade through the streets ( watched by the good people of the town from within their shuttered houses) carrying a Christmas tree to be given to the Duke himself to decorate the Palace.

 They are preceeded by the musicians of the Ducal Court who play a medley of Carols including one which has become a favourite world wide-

"God Rest ye merry Tradgardstadt folk
let nothing you dismay.
For Jesus Christ our Saviour was born on Christmas Day...
Oh tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy.Oh tidings of comfort and joy..."

A Merry Christmas to all from all in the Duchy of Tradgardland!

Sunday 22 December 2013

In Ny Tradgardland and some kit building...

We left our heroes in danger -
They proceeded to steal the arcane painting belonging to the Guild Master.They then sold it to an antiquarian in Tradgardstadt prior to making their way down to the port with some gold coins in their pockets.

Our gallant heroes have escaped on a ship bound for the New World in the shape of the Duchy of Tradgardland's colony Ny Tradgardland.It is just down the road from the Fortress of Louisbourg.They are making their way around the Colony when they meet upon some grim visaged men.
They are met by a patrol of Tradgardland regular troops and local militia in their distinctive rose coloured caps.Compliments are exchanged and they are informed by the officer that an enemy patrol has been sighted in the area.
They hasten into the log cabin nearby accompanied by the patrol.
The door is bolted and barred. They await the enemy.They will not have long to wait as whoops and whistles fill the air!
To be continued....
This scenario was suggested by my modelling task this morning - a splendid 4Ground building I had never got round to making since  I bought it in January. Whilst making it I decided to base some skirmish games around it, the first of which I hope to game over the next day or so.
As for the kit it was a joy to build with a great instruction sheet and parts that pressed out easily and fitted together so well.

Friday 20 December 2013

Duchy update

Friday Morning earlyish..
I have made it through the mountains of paperwork,past bureaucratic swamps and pupils sharing colds etc to the holidays.Yesterday was the last day of term and after Secret Santa ( I was given a Odean voucher to go and see the Desolation of Smaug on Santa- splendid ,thoughtful gift I say) I went into Edinburgh to keep Jan company during her 4th Chemo.The ward is busy so I went off and had a look in the Oxfam and Shelter bookshops in Stockbrigde for a brief period via a free coffee at Waitrose's ( Stockbridge-is that where the AWI Native Americans come from ?Only joking. Fancifully I imagine them in the Colony houses along the Water of Leith) which are excellent.It was a long day for Jan leaving home around nine and back by seven thirty.She is fine but tired after blood count delays  which postponed the treatment over last two weeks.But it has happened and we can all look towards Christmas now.

After a day or so dozing I hope to get some painting and games in prior to Christmas  and will post here accordingly.The picture is as I see the Duchy/here in my mind's eye- complete with Tomte padding about.Off to get more coffee ,have a good day one and all!
Finally, another Tomte picture,this one by John Bauer-
An amazingly evocative artist...

Friday 13 December 2013

Uniform help sought

What uniforms did the Yugoslav army wear 1919/1920 in their attempted invasion of Austria?

Thursday 12 December 2013

Whimsy etc

Middle and youngest daughters cooked today-
Very tasty! On them are Christmas decorations I have names for - Fr Christmas,Fr Ted and Fr Robin,don't ask, just my nonsense.
A Christmas card of a train which arrived today reminded me of Rowland Emmett as it depicted his style of train.I found this image of his style of  work on the web-
I recall going to see Emmett machines in department stores in Edinburgh in my youth.I loved their scale,fun and animation as a boy.I also in the 80s (?) subscribed to a railway journal AWNUTS - which I think stood for always whimsical never to scale. When I down sized I threw out the magazines.I wish I had kept them and their jolly pictures of Emmett inspired model trains etc. Finally I must mention their is now a society dedicated to this splendid chap.Anyone else in Blogdom recall his machines and appreciate them?

Saturday 7 December 2013

Orcs! A Gathering of Hosts game part 1

Scouts in the forests have spotted a large body of orcs travelling  south.They are currently in an area of low hills and open woodland-
The raiding party is as follows-
3 units of Light Infantry Swordsmen- orcs
2 units of Light Infantry Skirmishers- orcs
3 Units of  Heavy Infantry Swordsmen- Man Orcs

The Horse Lords have gathered a  force together to clear the orcs from the woods-
It consists of-
4 units of Heavy Cavalry- the Horse Lords
2 units of Light Cavalry - the Horse Lords
1 unit of Heavy Infantry Swordsmen - Guards from an allied city

The game was set up early Saturday morning to be played later...

Monday 2 December 2013


Maybe its the forthcoming film combined with Ross Macfarlane's post today.Perhaps it is nostalgia for a simpler time.Whatever it is I fancy getting the Mythical Earth chaps out-
Give them a outing on the gridded mat. Pity I'm  too tired tonight to go for it but there's always the coming weekend...

Saturday 30 November 2013

Gridded game with 40mm figures

This afternoon I ruled one side of my felt cloth into 3inch squares for gridded games. It will be used for a variety of periods, scales and rules. It can hold 1/72 scale tanks for example.I set up the first game with my 40mm Dark age figures-

A card river and linoleum road was added,along with hedges,trees and a bridge.
 Note berserkers in foreground. Three close order figures to a square,two figures for skirmishers and cavalry.
I hope to play the game tomorrow .I am pleased with the look of the set up and hope the game works out as well. Rules probably Gathering of Hosts maybe a Tony Bath adaption, we'll see.

New Year's Eve

Sunday sees the start of a new year in the church's calender with the first day of Advent.This seems therefore a good time to take stock on a number of fronts.Firstly thanks to all who helped my daughter with her "White" work- splendid you all are indeed!
My return to work has proceeded well in many ways but has left me exhausted.It is a bit  of a struggle to get through a week but we are getting there.Little time or particularly energy for anything beyond doing my "bit" at home,domestic matters and the odd bit of light reading or television before an early bed. Here however are a few additions to the already overstuffed Tradgardland Library - probable purge is needed of some paperbacks I fear too.
I like to try a little serious reading in Advent (sometimes I succeed sometimes not- fond memories of underlining  passages in a snow stuck train a few years ago...) and found this collection of poems and accompanying meditations in  the Cornerstone Bookshop in Edinburgh a few weeks back.I will try to stick at this one...
An interesting collection of his wartime memories and many inspiring rules. A good buy. I do fancy grafting some fleeing/stampeding elephant rules onto my gridded ancient games or adapt Tony Bath's for grids and elements. The colonial ambush rules look good .I wish I had kept my Peter Laing 15mm WW1 in East Africa armies!!!! Can one buy Laing figures these days?
Finally a fun month by month account of a chap's living of the good life- I would love to follow in his footsteps armed with my copy of Self Sufficiency by Seymour etc.One can dream.
Off to make Jan a cup of tea ,perhaps a little light paint or skirmish later  we shall see...

Sunday 24 November 2013

The Battle of Twin Farms part the second

You are invited to pop here for part one-

Now for part two- don't forget to click on the pictures to make them easier to see...

Saturday 23 November 2013

Can you help my daughter?

My middle daughter has a request-

"As part of my university course I am doing a group presentation about the colour white.  My section of the presentation is the associations of the colour white in war.  I have already come up with the ideas of a white feather for cowardice, white flag for surrender and white bandages.  I was wondering if anybody had any other thoughts?Thanks, Anna"
Let's see what you can come up with chaps!

Saturday Morning and the box of delights...

The week has gone quite well but I am exhausted on it. I came home Friday afternoon ,saw a parcel had arrived  but needed more than forty winks before feeling like opening it.It was from a State Tankette Factory in Tratvia aka Tim Gow...
Here is the box in the process of being unpacked as the goodies are revealed.Interesting 1970s type lloonngg trucks but they will serve well alongside the rest. Most exciting so far.
More unwrapping later and more is revealed. German armour etc in snow camoflague as well as three primed Japanese tanks in the foreground and some armoured  cars and self propelled guns in the middle.
My favourites are probably the tanks converted from bren carriers- just the sort of think the Volare- Cantare engineers would like and the tankettes in all their glory.Does anyone make leather coated/hemeted tank crew in 20mm?
The Tratvian gift has me thinking.Will I open up an Eastern Front ( I have loads of plastic Russians and in the tradition of "Battle Practical wargaming I am more than happy to mix nationalities of tanks etc- need a soviet type imagination name- any thoughts chaps)  with the snowy camouflaged vehicles and the heavy armour I already have. Thus  leaving a lighter ,earlier period infantry  predominating to fight between Volare-Cantare and The Imperium.Or will all get mixed in together.Much enjoyable thinking and planning to be undertaken...
I plan an easy weekend doing very little.A walk uptown to do some shopping in the company of my eldest, home over the weekend from Uni, along a tree lined cycle path which was the old railway line.. Miniature Wargaming to be picked up at WHS and a few other items too. Other than that mainly reading,dozing, watching tv and maybe a small game/painting set up if energy allows.
Finally  viewing and reading recommendations at the side- do give them a whirl...

Monday 18 November 2013

Monday 2

Both of us home 7pm (Jan's appt started at 9.30 a.m) chemo went well,my class welcoming ,colleagues supportive,increased paperwork oppressive and absent management/H R procedures/meeting insulting and absolutely stinks!
Thanks for all your comments, prayers and positive thoughts-most appreciated by us both!

Sunday 17 November 2013


After weekly phone calls, reflection, outside agency consultation etc etc I return to work on Monday for a phased return which looks a little too "return" rather than "phased" but we will see.The above photo shows how I feel!
Through all this I have had my first real glimpse of absence management procedures (shudder) in action and H.R at work (the very language shows the  core of it I fear) and it is a sad indicator of where our 21st century society is at ...
Monday too sees Jan go for Chemo number three blood counts permitting.
A big day- positive thoughts ( and prayers if that is your way) if you can.Following your projects,games and ideas has helped and continues to help.

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Sorting the 18th Century out..

Today I have done a little work on part of my 18th century collection. I have been working on the troops of the Umstrittental -  the Disputed Valley. In case you are a new follower/visitor here the valley lies between the Duchy of Tradgardland and The Imperium. Each town within the valley  raises it's own troops.The towns fall in and out with their neighbours , forming and breaking alliances regularly. There is a map of the valley to the right side of the blog-
This is a small unit project with infantry regiments of ten figures,possibly fewer for jaegers.The figures are mounted on 1p pieces and each regiment has a movement tray.This can be used to depict the regiment in column-
And also formed in line of battle-
More work tomorrow...

Sunday 10 November 2013


                                   They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
                                     Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
                                        At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
                                                  We will remember them.

Setting the bar or the managing of projects in winter quarters.

As I move towards my return to work (probably in a week) I think it is a good time to see what are my hobby priorities as winter looms. As anyone who stops by here knows I am a bit of a butterfly who flits from project to project regularly. That's the way I am - not for me ( at least so far) the discipline of one period one project.I sometimes think to myself if I had what vast armies I could have amassed...Anyhow here is my thoughts on what I want to keep moving forward-

  1. 20mm/1/72 Interwar/WW2 project- the Duchy of Volare-Cantare project.Plastic 20mm figs Minitanks/Airfix battles with "old school" rules. Paint up V-C's forces and their enemies. Possibly a look at V-C's place in the sunne too.Hopefully loads of tankettes with an eclectic mix of tanks and troops.Loads to base and paint.Oh and a few interewar planes maybe...
  2. 25/28mm ancients- smallish games on grids using Ross's Gathering of Hosts rules.Ancient imaginations a la Tony Bath's campaign. Couple of  wee armies to finish &sort out,resist being tempted to get some more...Easy to set up, play solo and put away.Fun imagineering background too.
  3. 54mm Funny Little Wars - take armies White & Red White in to the interwar period by "bolting on" appropriate period transport ,tanks,ac's etc- scratchbuilding/converting toys and a few bits and bobs
  4. Deutsche Homage project- keep moving forward with painting my embryonic collection of figures in the style of Heyde,Spenkuch and the rest... sort thing one might pick up for brief periods of an evening.
  5. Diverse wee game projects for skirmish games such as Songs of Blades & Heroes,Songs of Dust and Shadow etc (might try to link this to skirmish games relating to bullet point two)
  6. Non Solo projects- work relating to games I play re my regular ( or in reality far less regularly than we would like) gaming opponent- paint up some Perry ACW ,1938 etc etc
  7. Finally I must remember not to worry if I have set the bar too high re projects.It may need lowering,or even walking away from at times.The hobby has aided me greatly in these last few months and I am sure,judicially used, it will continue to do so...

Saturday 9 November 2013

My Books

Author you've read the most books from: Patrick O'Brian without a doubt
Best sequel ever: The  Gospels- but not really a sequel I suppose...
Currently reading: Metro 2033 but got bogged down and can't seem to move forward with it
Drink of choice whilst reading: Coffee or Theakston's Old Peculiar
E-reader or physical book: Physical Book don't own a contraption thingymbob
Fictional character you would probably have dated in high school: All boys school precluded such things
Glad you gave this book a chance: Verdun "Night in the Middle Ages"
Hidden book gem: "The Stripping of Altars" by Eamon Duffy
Important moment in your book life: English Master at school throwing open his cupboard and encouraging  us to borrow anything we wanted.Another English Master starting to read "The Hobbit "to us then closing the book and saying that if we wanted to know what happened we would have to read on ourselves...
Just finished: "Ordinariate of OLOW" by Aidan Nichols
Kind of book you won't read: Anything That says on the blurb " In the tradition of..." say Tolkien,Patrick O'Brian or any other major author although I did in the case of Mallinson I suppose...
Longest book you have read: Patrick O'Brian's naval books - really one long and glorious tale-England's Odyssey I have heard it called
Major book hangover because of  disappointing endings: just can't recall
Number of bookcases you own: 6 ish
One book you've read multiple times: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
Preferred place to read:a Lloyd Loom chair in the corner of the extended kitchen
Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feelings from a book you've read: “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.” 
― Julian of Norwich
Reading regret: Never finishing "A Glastonbry Romance" by John Cowper Powys,have started  many times...
Series you started and need to finish: Christopher Biggin's books about Otto Prohaska
Three of your all-time favorite books: Thomas Burnett Swann Day "Day of the Minotaur""Loose Cannon" edited by Damian Thomson and "I heard the Owl call my name " Margaret Craven
Unapologetic fanboy for: Patrick O'Brian
Very excited for this release:next Harry Sidebottom novel- he captures the ancient world so well
Worst bookish habit: Not finishing novels and picking them up ages later to finish if at all,buying too many books
X marks the spot - Start at the top left of your bookshelf and pick the 27th book: "Above the snowline" Steph Swainston 
Your latest book purchase: The Hobbit- official movie guide- got at Asda yesterday when shopping for groceries...
Zzz snatcher book (the last book that kept you up waaay too late:) Too tired to stay up late to read
Thanks for staying with me to this point!

Friday 8 November 2013

An attempt at ordering things...

Morning all!
I have updated one of my other blogs re my ancient wargaming plans,do pop over and  have a look-
I hope to keep this as a place for my ancient/medieval gaming.

Wednesday 6 November 2013

Preparation of plastic question...

An ultra quick post. How do you chaps prepare plastics prior to painting?I have washed the chaps in detergents and would normally paint them in diluted pva/wood glue now.What do you do?

Tuesday 5 November 2013

Unpacked ,sorted(ish) and plans...

Yesterday I mention a parcel which arrived here at the Duchy.It came from Conrad @ Joy and Forgetfulness.Here it is during the sorting process this afternoon - just the sort of exciting job for a dull, dreek day,a little like an exploration into  exciting ,uncharted territory...
First to be looked at was an assortment of  tank parts,bases,88mm guns and diverse interesting building bits.They are most interesting and await rationalization later this week. Next the figures were sorted and de-sprued -
What a collection of goodies-
The Duchy of Volare-Cantare has now got some Bersaglieri and Alpini (with skiers and mules!!!)

There are is opposition for the Duchy of C-V in the form of either a mix of WW1 Austro/Hungarians/Germans or WW2 Germans.I'm inclining to then former but what do you think ?

There are 19th C Besaglieri too with Zouaves and Italian (?) Cavalry to be the start of an 19th century project- Duchy of C-V 150 years or so ago?Maybe using Neil Thomas's book and rules for the 19th Century.

Loads also of  Africa Korps ( still thinking of an idea for them- any thoughts?) and WW2 Airfix Japanese ( maybe convert some to Italian troops ) and some Russians too. Ooophs nearly forgot the German paratroops- probably to be used against my Home Guard chaps/What a haul,what a sort,what inspiration - many thanks Conrad!!

Monday 4 November 2013

Today in Tradgardland

The day began at 6.00am when I got up and looked at the glories of a cloud free night sky through the many windows of the  new kitchen extension.I stood for some time without putting the lights on. Outside Orion's belt blazed oh so bright...
It was a frosty morning and I took this picture of a windfall with the frost still on it-
Jan and I were able to get out into the garden ( under  a brilliant sun) to tidy it up as we move towards winter and I was able to cut the grass for probably the final time this year. Yesterday we planted bulbs,wallflower,garlic and onions.
Later a knock came to the door with a parcel for me-
More about it when I have had a chance to unpack the contents...

Saturday 2 November 2013

Anyone used these?

It is Saturday morning and I'm up early browsing the bookshelves. I've been having a read of this.I picked it up for 30p in the summer of '98 when it was withdrawn from stock by our local library.I have incidentally got some splendid books in a similar way over the years.
I have,to my shame,never played the rules in the book but it has been an interesting read I have returned too over the years.I'm wondering if any of you have used the rules, and if so, how did you get on?

Thursday 31 October 2013

Battle of Twin Farms, an interlude...

Yesterday I went looking for some inspiration for the forthcoming solo game on my bookshelves-
From left to right- "From Dusk to Dawn" is a book first published in 1945 by the farmer,writer,journalist etc A G Street.and is an enjoyable entertaining read filled with memorable characters.The Pocket Book was got relatively recently when seen  remaindered in a bookshop in Edinburgh.A good background read. Finally the first book I bought about the Home Guard many ,many moons ago.There are many pictures in it which would inspire gaming and modelling as well as being a good read.
Finally a book published  relatively recently and an utterly splendid read. Most interesting,entertaining and thought provoking too.
Any suggestions for other reads welcome here too...

Wednesday 30 October 2013

England 1940, somewhere near Twin Farms... Part 1

Mr Yeatman has rushed from his look out point on the tower of St Adhlhem's church. Breathless ,with cassock slightly raised to aid running, he arrives at the thatched  vicarage. He knocks on the door and Fr Timothy (Farthing) answers.  A short conversation ensues on the telephone  and some minutes later the police arrive...
Mr Yeatman tells that he has seen an armoured column with "hundreds" of Germans approaching.
The police agree to ride over by bicycle to Twin Farms where Captain Mainwaring is stationed with his platoon. "I fear there will be a battle today Mr Yeatman" comments Fr Timothy.

Battle report soon dear reader, will the day go well for the gallant Captain and his men?

Sunday 27 October 2013

A little light conversion work...

 Sunday morning earlyish  ,after the Clocks went back...
As a boy my pride and joy were my Elastolin figures.I didn't have that many .The first came from a holiday in Switzerland around 1970- including some Composition ones of "Modern" Swiss soldiers.They (the plastic ones) were added to from a Chap who sold them in the UK.who  produced a typed list which I poured over along with a coloured leaflet from  abroad.I think they were quite expensive relatively speaking.My dad would  order a few for me at a time and they arrived by post in wee grey cardboard boxes- often birthdays and Christmas. Eventually a castle was got one Christmas- probably from Jenners in Edinburgh? I had some Romans etc in 40mm but mainly what I called Swiss  v Landsknechts. The "Swiss" were the armoured figures and fought against the colourful and exotic Landsknechts commanded by a splendid mounted figure Georg von Frundsberg. Exotic characters and names in a catalogue for a smallish boy...
The castle went as part of downsizing years ago along with some figures but many remain.I found this broken chap ( one of the "Swiss" the other day and have repaired /converted him for use -
He was missing a hand and sword.I replaced them with one from the Perry 28mm plastic box of  European mercenaries which looked not too bad scale wise.He was glued to a 2p coin and Milliput added for to the base.Finally ( so far) his damaged shield was cut off and replaced by a card/paper construction to represent a faceted  metal shield to look like this one made by reenactors- 
I am still considering trying to change the lower legs to boots but have not completely decide yet.Any guesses as to what the figure will be and his period?