Saturday 31 October 2020

102nd Cavalry Regiment, New Jersey National Guard 1930s Army Star Spangled

 Been converting and painting today in 54mm  as the wind howls round outside. New heads added to old toy soldiers. Beginning of Army Star Spangled of the early 1930s.

I am pleased with how they have turned out. Good toy soldier feel finished off with shiny varnish. Next task is to look for uniform information and photos of the Canadian Army of the period including the Canadian Militia...

Leaves on the line!


Friday 30 October 2020


 Binns is , or rather was, a department store at the West End in Edinburgh. As a boy I would wonder if my mother would finish her shopping quickly enough for me to be home to see Dr Who. As a boy I was fascinated by the mechanical clock which had soldiers marching round on the hour, a sight to behold! Binns was on a corner and a convenient place to meet folk, in fact I arranged to meet Jan there on out first date.  As a teenager I lived across the road from some elderly sisters who were named Maule, related to the family that owned the store when it was called Maules. 

The shop was taken over latterly by House of Fraser but was never the same. Now it is being done up to be a Johnny Walker Whiskey Experience and is in the state you see below from photos I took this week.

The building is covered in printed cloth showing the exterior as it once was, an interesting effect I have seen elsewhere. You can see the mechanical clock depicted too. Let’s hope they restore the clock to its former glory to captivate once more...

Thursday 29 October 2020

On the painting table - The Town Guard


Over the Forth

 I took a train into Edinburgh on Tuesday ( empty train almost) for a little Christmas shopping and wee wander about. I had not been in Edinburgh since early March. I had a useful shop and walk through the Gardens. I love Edinburgh as a city, it is where I was born and lived until my mid twenties. A few pictures 

Tuesday 27 October 2020

Riders on the storm

I am really enjoying the amount of 54mm gaming on the blogs etc currently. It seems to be the zeitgeist of the hobby for many of us. My 19th Century National Guard is moving forward and the arrival of heads soon will see it well underway. As with most bloggers already I begin to think what will be over the hill, what will be the  next project.  Anyway , a number of things have come together- reading about War Plan Red  of 1929 where America made plans to invade  Canada and Britain , illustrations of interwar troops in my Elting  book and great b&w photos such as the above. The long and the short of it is I am going to take my 54mm interwar toy soldier project down the road of the continued struggle between Maple Leaf Country and the Star Spangled Republic. I have figures already for this but need now to work on some Star Spangled figures. The uniform in the picture above is just shouting out to be modelled on the table top. There’s a storm coming through those Lemax trees...


Monday 26 October 2020

The Doors


I spotted these on my walk this morning and was pleased to see that they were still there unscathed.
During Lockdown we noticed that people had begun to place wee fairy doors on trees in various places where we took our daily walk. I think they were placed to raise spirts probably at the time but have remained. We passed them on the edge of what is now a tarmac covered former railway line . It is a pleasant countryside walk int the centre of town. 

Sunday 25 October 2020


 The torrential rain subsided enough for me to get out for a walk locally. I am fortunate to have the countryside very near as I live towards the edge of town. In the afternoon the postman brought some 1/32 plastic Wurttemberg Napoleonic figures ( very swift service from Drum and Flag as usual) which will form the basis of some National Guard in slightly different uniforms. An enjoyable time was spent starting the conversions as seen in the photos. Time flew by and I was absorbed by the task in hand and looking forward to carrying them on today. As the clocks changed overnight I awoke to daylight which was great too.

Saturday 24 October 2020

Railroading book joblot

 A recent joblot of railroad books arrived today in the pouring rain. Luckily I was around to take them in and relieve the courier of her burden. I have unpacked them and will look at them at my leisure over the next few days.

Those of you who know more about this sort of thing than I are welcome to comment on the books. I am interested to hear your thoughts...


When two worlds meet- Kinsale 1518

 I read about the celebrations here first of all here  and found it all fascinating. Basically its about 15th century Holy Roman Empire folk landing in Ireland and recording in a written account what they saw and did. It also relates to a Durer picture I particularly like and was conversing with Man of Tin about on the inter web. Do pop by the website above, it is interesting. Anyway the book of the event in 1518 arrived this week

A most interesting read and kindly signed by the author for me. By the way Anteluvian Miniatures make a splendid pack of four figures based on the Durer illustration , sadly currently out of stock. When they are restocked I will get a pack for my Irish armies. Just couldn’t resist.

Friday 23 October 2020

Taking things forward

 Had a useful day online researching yesterday in California virtually speaking, California dreaming on this almost winter’s day so to speak.Figures moving forward too. Never seem to buy enough heads and of the right sort. Message to self - be more accurate in the next order planning wise. 

Wednesday 21 October 2020

Don’t stop the cavalry or On the Border 1880s

 Relations are not currently good between Maple Leaf Country ( Albion’s favourite daughter) and the Star Spangled Republic. Cross border incursions and skirmishes have been rife of late leading to tensions in both these neighbours. Army Star Spangled has mobilised the National Guard and regular troops also. Albion has sent some cavalry to the border to defend Maple Leaf Country and deter further invasions. Advance guards of both armies are about to run into each other in the forest that the border runs through .

The 2nd regiment of Alabama state troops and accompanying cavalry are about to encounter opposition...

Simple toy soldier conversions using head swops, replacement metal arms and paint jobs. Working on more National Guard figures currently, hopefully they will feature in the next game. This is the first time I used the new cloth with larger squares.

Tuesday 20 October 2020


 Finished some 16mm scale garden railway people yesterday, varnished them thoroughly and set them outside. I want to see how well they survive the winter.

Suggestions for what conversations are taking place in the photo are most welcome...

Monday 19 October 2020

Weekend woodland walk

 I enjoyed a walk in the local woods at the weekend. Interested too in this former police station now houses. It retains a double door which must have been for horses or early police car. I cannot find photos of it when first built or in its former role.

Sunday 18 October 2020

How to paint tartan, ideas please.

  I am looking for very simple ideas of how to paint tartan in 25/28mm . The simpler the better, thanks.

Saturday 17 October 2020

Friday 16 October 2020

In the British Heart Foundation Dunfermline- a shout out

 I took role playing rules, 1870 armies Ospreys and and loads of 42mm unpainted French and German figures ( Irregular Miniatures) into their shop this morning. If interested give them a ring or pop on by . They also have generally a very good selection of history, military history and other books. Worth a look to support this great cause

Pirates on the painting desk and a recommendation

 Here are the Warrior Miniatures pirates so far-

They are painting up very nicely so far and I look forward to a game soon. On a totally different matter can I recommend “Cardinal” on bbc iPlayer. It is a detective series from Canada. The stories are gripping and the acting excellent. The Canadian scenery in winter is utterly breathtaking. One day when these Strange Days cease I know where I would like to go...

Wednesday 14 October 2020

Seasonal scenery on sale

 I found these suitably seasonal scenic items yesterday on a rare foraging trip uptown. I had a couple of vouchers and couldn’t resist these at a fiver each. Shortbread, music box and Wargames scenery all rolled into one. What more could one ask...

There is a third one in an brown tone  which I will pick up later. For a sense of scale I have  included three 54mm figures for scale. The labels peel off by the way.

Tuesday 13 October 2020

Warrior Miniatures- great value and some nice touches too

 I have inspite of bursts of energy, endeavour and enthusiasm been a tad low on the hobby front etc this week. I am pleased with the projects undertaken but suspect that the combination of wet weather and these Strange Times have had an effect on me , not to mention others too. The nights are coming in and the attractions of outside are less practical. Anyway I was browsing and came across this-

Twenty 28mm pirates, a palm tree , two treasure chests and a wee set of rules. All this for twelve pounds, a bargain l think. Not to mention the free dice and super glue plus the way it was packaged in a decent cardboard  box with the figures in their bags in pink  tissue paper. The rules read well for an accessible fun game which I very much look forward to trying out as soon as the figures get painted. The set is called “ Treasure Island “  and would be an excellent starter set ( everything there , just add paints)  for a family member thinking about something other than fantasy/science fiction or a hobby holiday for yourself. This is an excellent entry to the hobby for half term ! Service from Warrior was helpful and quick. Go on give someone this as a gift and start them on the hobby that has nurtured us for years...

I will hopefully soon report back with painted figures and a game report.

Monday 12 October 2020

The Republic of Sansculotte

 I am indebted to Eric T for suggesting this name for my Gallic rival to , and sworn enemy of ,the Duchy of Volare Cantare.The other day I introduced you to their uniforms now here is a chance to enjoy some posters from the Republic which are representative of the strong graphic art emerging in this period.Enjoy and Vive La Sansculotte!