Monday 30 September 2013

Imagineering Volare-Cantare...

Yesterday I began to think about the Duchy.It is a land of lakes and mountains and an interesting coast where the poorer sort of tourist flocks to a slightly down at heel resort.

The Duke is a rather keen sportsman who includes cycling ( readers of my blogs will no doubt say -surprise-not! to this) horse riding and a little light tennis. This poster from the time depicts his Grace in action-

Here are some of the Ducal forces-
These chaps form the backbone of the Ducal forces with their resplendent headgear and jog like march.
Mention too must be made of the fellows who guard the mountain frontier-
I am currently resisting buying a few of the splendid Militiron 20mm Alpini who I discovered this morning on the web...
Off for another coffee before the sunne rises...

Sunday 29 September 2013


I've been knocking this idea around in my head for a time.It is partly a conceit for gaming,partly a distraction and partly fun.I have been imagining Europe without German Unification in 1871.I imagined the small (or larger even) 18th century states ,which inspire many gamers, continuing into the 20th century.Ok Prussia wil be a large influential state along with a few others but the wee ones will continue.The structures of the Holy Roman Empire will trundle on and I imagined WW1 taking place but with some changes of sides/allies.Austria needs to be factored in as well as the continuing Italian states who never unified either- hence Duchy of Volare- Cantare etc.
I wondered also about taking the armies of "The Wargame" and "Charge" into the interwar period.In my mind's eye I saw the Vereinigte Frei Stadte with half tracks,the Oldenburg Regt flag draped on tanks for air identification...
I am interested in your thoughts and ideas as ever-please leave me a comment...

Saturday 28 September 2013

The Duchy of Volare-Cantare

Morning all!
I forgot to mention this in my previous post...
A nostalgic trip through old scans on the web of Airfix magazine annual articles-esp the one by George Gush on the Italian army in the desert in ww2 has left me with a desire to do what I always meant to do aged 13.that is to convert some Airfix 20mm Japanese to ww2 Italians.
These I would field as troops of the imaginary Duchy of Volare-Cantare- a land of wine (in those wicker thingies) song and sun...
To be fielded against my other Ros minitanks/Airfix chaps using the Grant rules from his book.
Any chaps got some lying around I can buy?

The odd Confederate figure with raised hand would fulfill my desire to convert the Italian from D V Oakley's article Armies by the Dozen by the way too

Its four in the morning (well five actually) the end of September...

Early Saturday morning.
Yesterday was a melancholy day in the Duchy.A combination of the overcast weather,the Black Dog sniffing around at my heels and doing too much ( a pathetically small amount actually) added to the mix.A short (but in reality too long for both Jan and I) walk along the old railway line displayed the season in all it's glory with feral raspberries and abundant blackberries around.It is tempting to go back to pick them but one has to run the gauntlet of dog poo lying in wait for the unwary or the distracted.
At best of times I am a wargaming butterfly but it is worse of late .I pick up and leave aside wee projects in abundance.Yesterday I did however finish my game-
It turned out to a fun and exciting game.Dice decided when and in what numbers the Danish reserves would arrive.After a stalemate in the village between the Jack tars and the Danish Landvaern the reinforcements arrived.The above photo shows the crew of HMS Surprisingly and Captain Lucky Jack retreating back towards their ship.A furious melee continues between the sailors and some Landvaern lancers ( youths on cart horses with pointy sticks I fear).All in all good fun and I am sure ,in spite of their dismal failure,Lucky Jack and his crew will fight again.
Of late I have been following a super blog- which is about using 20mm Douglas miniatures to fight Crimean battles. Bob shared an interesting set of his rules which I will attempt to use for some syw gaming.So it was off to the shed for a cane and some sticky labels from the drawer and here was the result-
I hope to use them in a trial firefight later this weekend.I have increased the size by a third to fit in with my 25/28 mm figures.Do pop over to Bob's blog for more of his rules and super figures too.
Finally being a fan of the Antiques Roadshow ( as well as a wargamer) I am enjoying the current chat re a very early example of the hobby- has more fascinating details...
Have a good Saturday one and all and do pop back later to see my old school cane in action with the forces of The Imperium and the duchy of Tradgardland...
p.s the naval flats were a bit of a disaster and at not appearing here at present

Thursday 26 September 2013

Autumn in the Duchy and things Eastern.

Yesterday morning I was able to get a quick photo of this visitor to the Duchy- a Sparrowhawk we think.It is the first time we have seen a bird of prey in the garden.I look forward to seeing it again soon I hope.
Our one and only sunflower has come into it's glory at last and attracts the bees and hoverflys in great numbers.
Two of our apple trees look like producing the best apple crop since they were planted.The weather has helped greatly this year.We look forward to tasting them soon.
Waiting behind the door on our return, thanks to the postman, this afternoon was a copy of the above eagerly awaited rules from Osprey.They look good and on first reading are filled with great potential. The long term plan is to field a couple of Boshin war period buntai when more figures are available.In the short term I will look out some Ming to get ready to oppose my regular opponent's samurai.Have any of you used the rules yet?I'd be interested to hear of your experiences with them...

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Naval gazing and Game 2

Inspired by the German flats such as these depicted below-
I attempted to paint a flat iron clad on perspex.So far so good but I am not ready to reveal my work.By the way can anyone recommend a set of simple,fun ironclad rules I could use on grids or not gridded surfaces?I will post a picture of the ship if and when it turns out.
Inspired by yesterday's game, and using the book  below bought in 1977,I painted up a Napoleonic landing party for use with the Portable Wargame.
The gun crew elements I converted in 1987,scratch built the guns from card,rods and a cut rubber for the wheels.I abandoned them but found them recently and finished them today - rather a long time waiting...
Game 2 Somewhere on the Danish coast 1807
Captain "Lucky Jack" and his ship's company have landed on the Danish coast and made their way inland.They are to capture the small village of Lurpac where a British spy is being held .The British Tars and Marines count as elite under the rules.The spy is to be rescued then escorted back to H.M.S Surprisingly awaiting off the coast.
The men are assembled and waiting in the woods.They have seen that Lurpac is defended-
Two coys of Landvaren infantry are defending Lurpac along with one small unit of cavalry.The Danes have sent for reinforcements but how soon will they arrive? Game to be played tonight or tomorrow- can't wait!

Monday 23 September 2013


Yesterday before retiring for the night I set up a small game -
It was part of  the continuing struggle (circa 1805) between the Duchy of Tradgardland and her Baltic neighbour the Kingdom of Denmark.Please click on the photo for a better look...
The rules to be used were Bob's Portable Wargame ones for the horse and musket period.This morning the game was played-
The view from the Danish lines...
15mm figures,toy wooden houses,trees from my bargain buy at Dobbies and pencil hand  gridded floor tiles were used.It was great fun to play solo and Bob's rules came up trumps once again.Again I am struck by just how much fun you can have from a small tactical situation ,a few figures and scenery.I will do this again very soon.

Saturday 21 September 2013

News from nowhere...

The Duke of Tradgardland was phoned yesterday by his Leige Lord ( employer) who left him feeling like a skiver for being off (even tho signed off by my ducal medico) and having to self certify my absence (on my return) for my days in hospital - how crazy is that?I definitely  feel it was not the intention of My Lord to make me feel thus,in many ways they were very supportive before I came off, but nevertheless I am left with a bad taste in my mouth.I am never off  but feel I need to shamefully skulk behind the walls of the Ducal Palace until I return to work...enough of this rant.
J had chemo on Wed,all went well but she is still feeling the effects.This will pass soonish.I have been doing what I can and trying to divert myself. I have some wonderful character filled Admin Celts bought from Garrison many moons ago on the work bench to fight my Romans.No pictures as yet as the camera lead has gone awol. Also trying to get up enthusiasm/energy for some medievals too.Sidebotttom has been diverting but I have not read it for a few days..I enjoy keeping in touch with other's projects thru their blogs and this remains a good way to start the day.Being reading about late 19th century German toy soldiers ( such as Spenkuch ,Haffner and Heyde)  as well as the Boshin War in Japan .This diverts briefly but I admit to being out of sorts.So off to do some things around the place,try to rest  and maybe paint.My daughter is off tomorrow to the Prestonpans reenactment to take photos and generally enjoy the atmosphere.Have a good day whatever you are doing.

Sunday 15 September 2013

Still here/update...

Sunday afternoon in a showery Tradgardland.
I'm taking the opportunity when Jan is driving Anna back to university this afternoon ( with her sisters and granny riding shot gun) to post. Anna was 18 yesterday and we all enjoyed celebrating her birthday . We drove her down for freshers week last Saturday ( which went really well) and she came home by bus on 13/09. I had my operation on the 9th and all has gone well.I am signed off work until the 4/10 and need to rest to aid recovery.Jan has her first Chemo this coming Wednesday.
I hope to get some projects up and running ( have started a little ) as I am useless except for light duties in  and around the home. I have started the 6th Sidebottom novel ( set mainly in 3rd century Scandinavia) and am enjoying it.I watched "Papillon" on dvd this morning and it remains an excellent film to watch,I'd not seen it for years.
I read the above book whilst in hospital and can recommend it .A well written and diverting account .
Finally does anyone know of a source of 28mm scale lanterns?