Wednesday 31 December 2014

A trip out

It has been hard to have a day out this holiday with someone busy ,working or studying each day.However we all did manage to have a day yesterday ( the 30th ) in St Andrews-
Lunch at the Northpoint cafe, photographs (for inspiration for artwork) taken at the harbour and then back through the town via a splendid new bookshop- Topping and co-
I resisted spending there but will be returning very soon. A splendid day rounded off by watching the beautifully filmed (not to mentioned costumed) Mapp and Lucia on BBC 1-
Today hopefully some time for a solo game,but we will see.
"Bring out your lead!" the shop keeper called in the back streets of the other Heliopolis.
Incidentally if anyone has any "old school" ancients that they wish to swap/sell let me know ...

Tuesday 30 December 2014

A poem

The Land of Counterpaneby Robert Louis Stevenson
When I was sick and lay a-bed,
I had two pillows at my head,
And all my toys beside me lay,
To keep me happy all the day.

And sometimes for an hour or so
I watched my leaden soldiers go,
With different uniforms and drills,
Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;

And sometimes sent my ships in fleets
All up and down among the sheets;
Or brought my trees and houses out,
And planted cities all about.

I was the giant great and still
That sits upon the pillow-hill,
And sees before him, dale and plain,
The pleasant land of counterpane.

Monday 29 December 2014

Guess who I thought of today...

We went into Edinburgh today.On the way to see the BP Portrait Competition at the National Portrait Gallery we saw this-
The Duchy of Tradgardland would not be here but for him...

The weather outside is frightful...

Morning all!
Heavy frost here in the Duchy of Tradgardland.
My collection of Airfix 1/72 figures are out in the unheated shed/yurt/summerhouse in boxes in drawers.Will the plastic be affected by the weather and should I bring them indoors?

Sunday 28 December 2014

Updates etc

I had been avoiding it ( it being Frozen) but ended up promising to watch it on Boxing Day.I was pleasantly surprised by the film and entertained too. I also watched it as a source of gaming ideas too-
I particularly liked the juxtaposition of 19th century ships and viking looking dragon- prowed boats in the harbour.If it is good enough for Disney...

The same day I watched a splendid film called "Salmon fishing in the Yemen" on iplayer which I would recommend wholeheartedly to you all.I believe it is still available on iplayer until tonight.

Yesterday we had a family gathering here which went well. I was introduced to Pintrest by my niece which I had vaguely  heard of. I took little persuasion and joined up directly.It is such fun. I can see me being sucked into this and many happy hours spent collecting images.

Whist being  very tired still I am beginning to think what I would like to game /collect/paint in 2015. There are too many ideas floating around my brain/dodo pad/moleskin already and I will have to be disciplined,well a little I fear. After all the hobby is meant to be fun and life has enough disciplines without being to hard on myself hobbywise.I will let you know how my thinking goes...

Saturday 27 December 2014

Warriors Brave...

I have been enjoying this story over Christmas-
For more of the story follow the link below-

I fear that some residents (Warrior braves from the north of Guyleria) of my house must have been reading over my shoulder...

Friday 26 December 2014

Boxing Day

Morning all from a foggy Tradgardland this Boxing Day,Feast of St Stephen ( as in the song) proto martyr.
House is quietish.Daughter two is off to do a morning shift at work otherwise it is peaceful morning here.
We had a splendid day yesterday with lovely food after Mass and an enjoyable time together.Here are some of my gifts. This year the extended family did Secret Santa.We gave three ideas to Santa and one was to be given by him. I was delighted with the Kelly Kettle I got- something I have fancied for years now.I will try it out in the garden very soon. My daughter's gave me/us a Pointless board game ( I love the telly prog) which we will play hopefully today. Jan chose me a novel which looks an excellent read and gave me some Garrison lead to continue my Vendhyans including a war mammoth. I am a most fortunate chap indeed.

Wednesday 24 December 2014

Merry Christmas

On the borders of the Duchy of Tradgardland (in the Middle Ages) patrols are out regardless of the weather-

They make their way back to the Palace in time for Midnight Mass and the feast there after. Figures are 40 mm conversions and  toy elk/reindeer  got ages ago.
Merry Christmas to one and all from all of us here in the Duchy. Have a great Christmas!

Tuesday 23 December 2014

Christmas Music

I have listened to this many times this Christmas so far. I find it moving . I hope you give it a go and maybe enjoy it too...

Wednesday 17 December 2014

Tree pictures...

We put up our tree tonight as the girls have returned from university.It is pot grown and we will try to grow it on outside after Christmas.
And now a close up with the tree surrounded with items filled with memories-
Finally some new and newish residents awaiting some wood foraging orcs ...

Sunday 14 December 2014

Don't blame it on the sunshine....blame it on the Mad Padre! :)

I had innocently posted a few days ago about my desire to get a Minifigs M.E range dragon for my "Old School"  Middle Earth gaming. That was as far as I had thought. Then along comes this comment to my post-
I am intrigued and delighted by the possibility that there is a corner of the Duchy where dragons live. Unless it's a parallel universe to the Ducy ....                                                                                                                                   
Oh dear , that was indeed a seed planted into my mind ! and so I began some research in the Duchy of Tradgardland Library vaults-
Firstly I came upon the above in a dusty,neglected tome.
Then evidence was found of what some poor 18th Century gentleman suffered in his garden.
Another example from the later 17th Century was found  in a leather bound volume half hidden under dusty pelts . Finally a rare  pair of etchings proved to conclusive-
Michael ,what may you have begun...

Saturday 13 December 2014

Turning bad into good...

Of late I have woken almost every day around four in the morning-one minute asleep, the next wide awake fretting about work matters. Often that is me awake for the day, though I lie in bed quietly ( or try to) until around an hour and a half later when I get ready for work.
 Today (thankfully) is Saturday and so I got up to make coffee. After that I listened to two episodes of "Master & Commander on the  i player radio app whilst painting some Mythical Earth  Ents,Giants and other "old school" figures. It has been a most agreeable way to begin the weekend...

Friday 12 December 2014

Hip to be square?

I have enjoyed (of late and for some time now) wargames using a square grid. Be it the "Portable Wargames" of Bob or Ross's "Gathering of Hosts" they have given me some excellent solo gaming. This week a thought popped into my mind-
the staggered square grid ,if that's what it is called.
I wonder what the pros and cons of such grids are and if one could use them with rules set up for a normal squared grids? Are they merely an easier to draw substitute for hexagons? How would a staggered grid effect my games? Any thoughts gentlemen?

Thursday 11 December 2014

100 not out

Tomorrow ,12th December, would have been the hundredth birthday of Patrick O'Brian.

Still bringing pleasure and joy to readers everywhere...

There I have you,' cried Jack. 'You are bit - you are completely dished. Don't you know that in the Navy you must always choose the lesser of two weevils? Oh ha, ha, ha, ha!” 
― Patrick O'Brian

Sunday 7 December 2014

Mythical Earth

Missed out on a pile of old school monsters on e $£y tonight.I had fancied the Mythical Earth dragons in particular but nearly thirty pound was a tad expense for my warchest. This is the chap-
If anyone has a spare one they want rid of for a fair price let me know...
p.s on a more positive note I got two giants,two beorn bearmen and two large ents (all from the M.E range) for a reasonable price.

Friday 5 December 2014

A map begun...

The weekend at last and what a busy one.Anyway it's Friday night and two days work free awaits. I have been musing on a map and name for my Hyboria inspired campaign. Using free resources on the web I have begun with this-
I have yet to add borders of kingdoms/countries to the map. I have named it Guyleria after Deryck Guyler. Here is a picture of him (he's the one in the middle) with other famous wargamers-
I loved the picture of his painted Ancient Flats that I saw in the T V Times as a boy. I also recall with affection his TV characters from "Please Sir" and other sitcoms from the 1960/70s. So Guyleria it is...

Saturday 29 November 2014


Weekend at last!
Uptown today I finally spent my Waterstone's tokens on a book I have observed for a while-
I have had little time to read it (visitors for a meal tonight) but on first skim it looks fascinating.
I have a number of books on the period- an excellent biography of James  iv and a book on Flodden amongst others.
I also have this-
which contains an illustration of a pretty useless weapon - the rattle.
No wonder they were often left in camp...
The renaissance in Scotland reminds us of what might have been here had the reformation not taken hold.
I have some 25 mm English,Scots and isles men of the period .The English and islesmen are ready to go and I intend to paint up & base the Scots when time /energy allow.I will use Ross's Gathering of Hosts for gaming on a squared cloth.
Tonight ,as darkness fell, Advent  began-
The time of preparation for Christmas begins...

Sunday 23 November 2014

Apps chaps?

We bought an i Pad Air yesterday. For a while, some time ago, I had use of an i Pad through work but we are delighted to have our own now. I wonder if you would like to recommend  Apps for us- free or otherwise...

Friday 21 November 2014

A Tony Bath question

Friday night at last- thank goodness!
A question- what real life ancient armies did  Tony Bath use to represent his different Hyborian nations?

Sunday 16 November 2014

Happy St Margaret's Day!

Today (Sunday) is St Margaret of Scotland's Day. She was a formidable and devout woman who did much to influence the country and people. Queen,mother,champion of the poor,refugee,exile and much more she was a great figure in 11th century Europe. She lived for years in the city where I live (with her husband the king) and first came ashore as a political exile where I work.Where I work is named after her and my daughter's schools were named thus too. A fascinating figure well worth reading about at the very least...

Saturday 15 November 2014

What to look for in autumn, for ancients...

Morning all!
I have resolved to put all my ancient gaming here from now on-
Do pop by for a look...

Wednesday 12 November 2014

A letter arrives

The new Duke has just been delivered letters from the officer commanding the Schwabische Kreis of the Reichsarmee. Apart from the usual formalities and pleasantries ( albeit in short supply) there is information regarding the imminent arrival of I R Alt Wurttemburg and I R Baden -Durlach in the Duchy of Tradgardland. They will be billeted in the Tradgardstadt in order that drill and other exercises of arms might be undertaken with the Tradgardland regiments.
The Duke immediately heads off to speak with his Head Gardener,sorry Janissary Guard Commander, telling him of the forthcoming arrivals and tells him that  tents need to be erected with great haste. The Janissary Commander  tells his men to put away their false moustaches and get changed into their everyday clothes as there is much work to be done..

Sunday 9 November 2014

Meet the new Duke of Tradgardland

It is a month now since the old Duke of Tradagrdland retired from the burdens of Statecraft to become a monk. He has settled well  into his new life of prayer and meditation and cares little for his old life. He is ,however,interested to hear how his 2nd cousin is getting on as the new Duke- Duke Aeneas the Third.
Duke Aeneas is a very different fellow indeed. Here is his newly decorated bedroom at the Ducal Palace-
And here below is  a portrait of Aeneas as a young man-
The new Duke is consumed by the East and by that decadent fashion sweeping Europe - Turquerie!
Since arriving he has already formed his own Janissary Guard-
He is unaware of the hours of work spent sewing by candlelight in dusty attics to make the costumes from a pattern sent by the seamstresses of Augustus the Strong of Saxony. He remains unaware too of the huffs and puffs  of the Palace Gardeners forced to wear this outlandish attire and wear false moustaches. 
Yes things (not to mention the buildings) are going to be different under the rule of Aeneas the Third...

Saturday 25 October 2014

Thanks etc

Firstly a great big thanks for your supportive comments to my previous post.They have really helped.I am fortunate to blog amongst such a splendid  community within the ether. I am feeling a little more like myself.Tired but moving forward.
On the hobby front I am currently rebasing/organising my 18th century 25/28mm collection in order to unify it into one project re organisation and base size.I am looking forward to seeing it all upon the table together once they are based etc. As part of this I posted the following on Emperor v Elector and am repeating it here-
"Morning all!
I looking for information about the Reichsarmee. How often did they meet as batts/regts for training?At what level did they train -company,batt or what? Information re the different contingents and how often they came together and the officers and their background. Did the soldiers practice on firing ranges/pardadegrounds/wasteland/heaths in their local communities? The more I think about it how little I know about the day to day working of the reichsarmee at a low level...
Thanks in anticipation
Finally I couldn't resist posting this little picture I found whilst searching-

Tuesday 14 October 2014

Black dog and the hobby

The black dog has been sniffing around again. He caught me unawares after some time away from me.
During such visits all my hobby efforts seem worthless and that which I have painted/imagineered/planned counts as naught. Does anyone else have similar experiences?

Saturday 11 October 2014

Updates- Helms,lead and leads

Half term at last and I am off for a week-huzzah! I cannot post the pictures I took with my eldest's camera as she forgot the lead! You therefore will not be able to see what I am painting or the glorious Cosmos flowers in the garden.
For my Lion Rampant project I have taken delivery of some Brettonian GW archers and knights ( they are big but splendid) for my medieval Tradgardland  forces. I love the tourney style helms and the figures should look spectacular in action. In the mean time a couple of pictures I got to add inspiration to my painting-
These pictures remind me of a 1914 Munich calendar I got some years ago from an antique dealer-
It is very colourful inside too-
I have started painting six of the knights to get onto the table this holiday for a Lion Rampant game hopefully later in the week.
The lack of camera lead means you cannot see a picture of  some 54mm lead soldiers in home service uniform I bought for a 1885 North West rebellion game. I am in two minds about repainting old lead but will go for it- I think they deserve it.

I have also been thinking about Fellund and hope to have delivery of some London Warroom Spanish mountain troops soon to move the Fellund forces forward. I am trying to come with a flag design too.

Finally I have been lurking around Glorantha based sites of late becoming increasingly drawn into that arcane world. I have succumbed and sent off for 12 Broo by Madknight.I will use them against some peltasts etc I have lying around. I still am looking for a way in to Glorantha - the blogs/websites/illustrations I have looked at raise as many questions as they answer.

Sunday 5 October 2014

Mountain troops or honest I have not been forgetting 18th Century Tradgardland...

Many of you (?) may be missing some input from that stalwart of 18th Century imaginations namely The Duchy of Tradgardland. It is not forgotten,just resting and now awakened....
During my summer hols I discovered some interesting documentation ( in a secret drawer at the back of my 18th century portable writing desk,hidden behind broken pipe fragments and a nib sharping pen)

 regarding the Archbishopric of Fellund. Depending on what sources consulted it seems that Fellund is on the border of Tradgardland and is in some obscure way is either part of the Duchy or not. It is all vague and the High German script is hard to read. Anyway whilst having lunch at Chesters
 ( ) in July I took time to make  notes on Fellund ,its history,culture and relationship with Tradgardland. I was particularly interested to read of the ill fated expedition of 1764. As my research allows I hope to present my findings here.In the meantime some historical illustrations-

  " The light of reason shines upon a dark land or Darkmere ,Fellund" painted by Ulrich Ludwig Ullandds.
A Fellund fusilier wrongly attributed  as Catalan from the archive at Wargstadt Seminary Library.
                                       Another wrongly attributed etching from the same collection

Friday 26 September 2014


Weekend at last.That part of life which is not Faith,Family,Home or Hobby (in other words £$%^) has been particularly trying this week to say the least.I am so glad it is Friday evening.
However the post man brought these-
On first glance they look excellent ,well illustrated ,well written and best of all look fun to play. I intend to use them with my 28mm medievals and my 1970s Mythical Earth figures.Loads of fun ahead I'm sure. Have any of you tried them? How did you get on and what retinues are you collecting?