Tuesday 31 December 2019

New Year

It is the Eve of the New Year in the Duchy of Tradgardland. In the coffee house the Duke and his cronies look back over the year that is ending. Talk of trips far and near, of regular games played with old friends, projects completed abandoned or on hold. There is much to talk of in the convivial atmosphere. Plans for the coming year to be planned, old friends and loved ones recalled.
All that is left to say is thank you for visiting the Duchy this past year and thank you for your ideas and encouragement. A Happy New Year to one and all from me and mine !

Saturday 28 December 2019

Airfix unboxing plastic rot question

These arrived with the post today, earlier than anticipated. A nostalgia driven 1/72 Airfix purchase.
 I opened the box for a wee peek with the intention of sorting them enjoyably later. However the first figure I touched crumbled in my hand. Plastic rot I diagnosed. Is there a necessity to go through the figures urgently to remove any further rotted figure? Or rather does rot depend on the age of the figures and is not transferable? Any plastic rot suggestions welcomed.

Homeguard Mordheim or something.

I was encouraged to tear articles out of magazines rather than keep the whole, it saved space. I have files of them. One I have had for years is the one depicted below “Don’t panic Captain Mainwaring” or Mordheim twins with Warrington - on - sea” by Norman McKenzie. It uses ideas from GW to add role playing ideas into wargaming the Homeguard. Interesting and I deemed it to be worth keeping. All is not to my taste and interest but it is worth pondering on.
Yesterday I finished the Boy Scout messengers/guides/runners for my Homeguard platoon in 54mm.Lovely figures from Replica Miniatures. I am now needing to work out where my Homeguard game is going in terms of rules, style and scenery. I want some role play element but not stereotyping.  Don’t get me wrong I love Dad’s Army and have always done so since my youth. Yet I want a different portrayal of the Homeguard. I’m not quite sure what . Any ideas gratefully received.

Friday 27 December 2019

Close wars with Irregular areas

It all started with a picture on Man of Tin’s blog from the Know the Game book on wargaming by Phil Barker. It showed a hex grid, point to point movement and board games area grids. Sorry l would post a link but can’t seem to find the post by Mark. A follow up comment there by Phil Dutre with a link to an erudite post on his blog ( albeit well over my mathematical head) continued my interest...
So yesterday on Boxing Day l drew up an Irregular Grid on unwanted LP packaging and am playing around with the idea. A very simple game where figures can move two areas ( the difficult terrain is depicted by smaller area , good going by bigger ones) and fire two areas. Hand to hand combat takes place when figures are in the same area. Melee and firing is adapted from Featherstone’s Close War rules. Here are two pictures of the experiment, we shall see if it leads anywhere...

Thursday 26 December 2019

Boxing Day

We had a lovely Christmas Day. Here are what the Croats/Santa/family gave me.
A much needed garden spade to replace the one I broke, some splendid looking shirts, a model railway building kit, a book on foraging, a Medieval history book and an annual. Thoughtful gifts with so much potential for the coming weeks and months, I was most fortunate. I intend to have a quiet day here in the Duchy having been out most of yesterday. Have a good day everyone,enjoy family, presents and planning...

Tuesday 24 December 2019

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Eve in the Duchy of Tradgardland or Santa’s little helpers...

It is Christmas Eve in Tradgardstadt, capital of the Duchy of Tradgardland. Father Christmas has come up with a cunning plan to deliver the presents to all the children. He has engaged the help of some Croats to deliver them on his behalf. Packaged carefully in wooden chests all is ready. Let’s hope those toys get safely into stockings on the ends of beds...
 A very Merry Christmas from the Duke of Tradgardland and his family to you and yours, have a wonderful time!

Monday 23 December 2019

Ruler of the Queen’s Navee

Outside the modest home of the Ruler of the  Queen’s Navee  the sailors on guard duty shiver in the cold winter air of Albion. Inside the First Lord warms himself by the garlanded fireplace. Yet unknown to him a small figure lurks in the shadows, who or what he is nobody knows...

Gaming etc.

One of the joys of 2019 has been the fact that I am gaming with my regular opponents every two weeks. Retirement has allowed this to happen and it has been really enjoyable. His house boasts a wargames room mine a kitchen table therefore big games at his and wee ones at mine. This alternation works well. We have concentrated on SYW and AWI ( with ecw added now and into 2020) here and ACW there. Regular gaming has.allowed us to give rule sets the attention they deserve and get to know them. This combined with coffee, lunch and putting the world to rights has made each game most enjoyable. We have learned that what I taught children at school regarding probability is nonsense as the number of ones thrown consecutively on a D6 is incredible . Our last game of the year saw our Union Troops trying to take the heights and encountering Confederates dug in on a sunken road. The end was a draw with both sides battered.

Tuesday 17 December 2019

The Battles of Willow Farm

Two games were fought. Parliament won one and the Royalists won one, a fitting draw. The rules worked very well and gave an enjoyable and realistic depiction of a mid 17th century battle. We will look at what constitutes Shock troops next time, in our games only the lobsters were shock troops this time round. Talk moved to Ironsides and Cavaliers...
I am wondering how they would work using Ottomans and am having a wee think about light cavalry etc. Here are a couple of pictures

Monday 16 December 2019

Military Modelling freebie

This freebie came in handy in our recent ECW game-
Had it for more years than I care to remember!

Sunday 15 December 2019


Wintery in Windermere and a book l couldn’t resist...

Friday 13 December 2019

Semi flat 40mm Croats and freikorps?

What do you use to depict Croats and freikorps alongside 40mm Prince August figures? I don’t think they do a mould do they? I fancy a little kleine Kreig in 40mm but it would be nothing without some Croats ...

Monday 9 December 2019

Setting up today’s game: The Battle of Willow Farm

Setting up the game for today and awaiting players in an hour. Today we are playing an English Civil War game. Rules are “Ross’s Quick Play Pike and Shot” and figures by Minifigs. I am particularly pleased with the look achieved with 9 pike on a base. Here are the armies ready in their camps, sorry box files-

Saturday 7 December 2019

On the painting table tonight...

Video didn’t kill the radio star

 I really enjoy listening to the wireless ( ok,iPad if truth be told) when painting, cooking and engaging in many other tasks as well as just relaxing.
Two recommendations for you https://www.thecambridgegeek.com/posts/2018/05/20180510-a.phphttps://www.thecambridgegeek.com/posts/2018/05/20180510-a.php
 It’s called Curious under the Stars. A engaging fantasy set in modern times in Wales. Available on bbc sounds.
Secondly the Prancing Pony Podcast , a Podcast that looks at Tolkien and his writings with scholarship,insight and fun. Well worth a listen to and supporting.
Some truly awful wonderful jokes too.
Go on give them a listen. I would be interested in your recommendations also.

Friday 6 December 2019

The Philatelic War of 1959 . ll

One of the noteworthy aspects of the Philatelic War was that some  Tradgardland units went into action wearing their ceremonial uniforms. This was due to the necessity to commit forces quickly including those guarding the Ducal Palace or engaged in preparations for the March past on Independence Day.

Wednesday 4 December 2019

Steve Hackett

I have been a Genesis fan since my teens, especially the early material. I saw them live in my twenties and saw Steve Hackett quite a few times and Peter Gabriel once. I always liked Hackett’s solo shows and his albums are excellent. Real life got in the way and l stopped going to concerts for years. Last week saw me seeing Steve Hacket live for the first time in ages and it was fantastic. He did the whole of “Selling England by the pound” some of “Spectral Mornings “ and newer material. The magic was still there for me ( Horizons on acoustic stands out) and l have bought a ticket for his show next November already. Long live Prog!

Sunday 1 December 2019

On the workbench

I ordered brick paper for railway modelling last week . When it arrived it turned out to be the wrong size of brick,probably meant for dolls houses. I didn’t want to send it back and pondered about how to use it. After some time I had a plan- houses for 54mm gaming. Here is how it has gone so far-

Friday 29 November 2019

Military books in British Heart Foundation Dunfermline

I was up town today and had a browse in the British Heart Foundation shop. They had quite a few military history hardbacks in today including the fantastic Poltava by Englund. I only bought one -
A bargain at £2 and filled with fascinating information and some black and white photos which could launch many a game.

Saturday 23 November 2019

Lyonesse and District Light Railway.


I have lurked around model railway blogs, books and magazines for ages. I have started the above blog as a means of being somewhere to post about my efforts in this field. I am a complete newbie but keen to get something going. Do follow the link and have a wee peek.

Monday 18 November 2019

Winter Warfare in the Duchy of Tradgardland: for the Mad Padre and other fans of ski troops.

Winter has come to Tradgardland. The first heavy snows have fallen covering the Duchy in a blanket. Such weather does not deter the soldiers from training. The ski troops are already moving through the forests and are encouraged by their regimental chaplain and officer. The artillery men have got their sledge mounted light gun out of store and are firing it for the first time this winter.
 All figures are 40mm semi flats.

BIG WARS, wee game. The Battle of Bee Keeper’ Cotttage a Stuart Asquith tribute game.I

Set up this game as a tribute game to Stuart Asquith. A Swedish landing party ( comprising sailors, soldiers and volunteer riflemen) has landed on Holy Isle , Northumbria in an attempt to raid the mead distillery. Albion troops have crossed the sands from the mainland only to find the Swedes in a fortified position at Bee Keeper’s Cottage. A battle ensues...

Sunday 17 November 2019

Vaesen by Johan Egerkrans - for Man of Tin

Thought you might be interested in this albeit without James Mason etc-
 A really interesting book with fantastic illustrations.

Friday 15 November 2019

Hunting high and low part the second

Well, did you guess correctly? The mystery was a large troll ( given to me by Jim Duncan in its wonderful painted glory- thanks again Jim) and here is the ensuing battle. The troll was the regenerative kind courtesy of Poul Anderson and then D & D. In game terms that meant each turn a d4 was thrown and the resulting number was the number of hit points the troll got back but only to its starting total of 10 and no more. The coins were used as “dummy troll” markers which had to be spotted before it could be fired upon. One coin was the troll the others just distracting rustling in the undergrowth. A close game resulted in the light infantry failing to damage the troll and running away! All in a a fun wee game. More troll hunter action soon.

Wednesday 13 November 2019

Hunting High and Low : a Portable Wargame

Sweden 1807.
Rumours of children going missing from local farmsteads have been coming into the local authorities. Human bones and scraps of clothing have been found. An investigation has been undertaken and as a result of it some soldiers have been sent into the forest...
The light infantry are responding to stories of a strange creature seen by moonlight. They are armed and go into the trees reluctantly...

Friday 8 November 2019

PD Hancock and model soldiers

l just found this today in an oration given at his funeral. I did not know he was interested in model soldiers,I wonder if anyone can tell us more?
“Philip was born in Edinburgh in 1928 his mother having returned from India where she and Philip’s father were stationed with the Army; his father in the Army Education Corps, his mother a nanny to the sons of the Colonels of two Indian Regiments. As an Army child his early life was peripatetic. A particularly happy episode was their time in Malta, despite this coming to an abrupt end in 1940 as the battle for Malta began. In later years he often used to speak of this period of his life, and he retained an interest in Indian history and in military life, the last most notably through his reading and his fine collection of model soldiers.”

Inspiring Reads - P D Hancock

 Many of us are taken by the imagineering in the world of wargaming. Books like Charge are favourites for many of us. Names like Brigadier Peter Young inspire us still. Today l want to highlight a giant from the world of model railways- P D Hancock. He created an imaginary railway the Craig &  Mertonford  Railway in his bedroom. I love his attention to detail as witnessed to by the back story he wrote including a map and history. I love the layout plans as seen below. The life’s work of a creative individual who still inspires today.