Monday, 25 May 2009

Painting Update

A little off my main interest but I do occassionally still play D&D (I started with friends back in Walton On Thames in about 1982)My current Dungeon Companions have now advanced to the latest set of rules and a new forgotten Realms campaign. My character is the new Warlord Class and I am playing a Dark Elf! As usual the best bit for me is painting the miniatures and the Dwarf posted here is I think an old Denizen figure which one of the players Adam wanted me to paint and base.

The figure was sprayed with Halfords black undercoat and then carefully immediatly wiped off using a soft cloth leaving the residue black to 'antique' the metal of the casting.

Above & Below is one of the ranger figures from Games Workshop for Lord of The Rings painted as a half elf ranger for our previous D&D campaign. Note 'stretched sprue' bow string ! see aircaft modelling skills are useful for figures to!

Now at long last the other week my small Minifigs order arrived, delayed as the owner was running the whole operation singlehanded! Also some lovely Empress Miniatures Zulu Wars figures...fantastic!! Some aircraft modelling will have to take place since Hannants released a model in their xtrakit range of the Scimitar!! not modelled before in injection plastic format & I love Fleet Air Arm jets so another project!!

Why when you have a reasonably sized painting workstation/room do you end up working right on the edge of the painting area...and filling up the rest of the desk with paint pots, brushes, half finished projects, beer glasses, radio's etc etc!! nearly finished in shot are the two Grenadiers representing the grenadier comany of the Buffs and a plastic Pz.Kpfw.III Ausf.J 'fast assembly kit' from Italeri which will be spayed and finished in no time at all...this I have found gives relief from painting small 15mm detail and improves morale in getting something finished quickly!!

I have also updated my other two blogs including photo's of a trip to Manston Airport and the Zero carbon home at Staplehurst Crossways as featured on the programme Grand Designs

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Famous 1914 - 1918

Just finished another Richard Van Emden WW1 book 'Famous 1914-1918' co authored with Victor Piuk. This was another one of my Oxfam bookshop buys and is a very interesting read. In summary the book deals with well known people of the 20th century and their part in world war one. JRR Tolkiens service was reasonably well known to me and I must read Garths book 'Tolkien and the Great War' which is in the pending pile. The other famous people included were; AA Milne, George Mallory, Arnold Ridley, Ralph Vaughan Williams, John Reith, Dennis Wheatley, CS Lewis, Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Alexander Fleming, RC Sheriff, Montgomery, Tom Denning, Winston Churchill, Henry Moore, JB Priestly, Harold Macmillan, Peter Llewelyn Davies. All these names are extreemly well known like Churchill and Montgomery or at least familiar to most people even if their part in WW1 is not so well known.

The two unusal inclusions are the infamous John Christie of Rillington Place murders fame and Ned Parfett....who you ask? Well Neds face is well known as a boy to most historians of the 20th century as the face of the newspaper boy selling the evening news with the headline 'Titanic Disaster Great Loss of Life'

Ned joined up in 1915 and served in France with 126 Battery RFA part of 29th Brigade RFA and he worked as a signaller maintaining the telephone wire from the forward observation officer back to the battery. The battery was heavily involved with the German spring offensive of march 1918 and the battery caused significant casualties to the advancing German forces only loosing one gun in the process. Ned was mentioned in Field Marshal Douglas Haigs Despatches and remained with the battery through the summer of 1918. Three weeks before the armistice his battery was supporting the 1st BN the Somerset Light Infantry and 2nd BN Duke of Wellingtons Regiment in an action to take the village of Verchain in Belgium, by the 29th October 1918 Ned was waiting to go on leave in the quartermasters stores with 2 other men from 126 battery when a german shell made a direct hit. All were killed and were buried in Verchain British Military Cemetry, Ned was only 22 had been recommended for a Military Medal for supporting his officer 2nd lieutenant Percy Hunt in the dangerous activity of forward observation for the guns and would not have returned to his unit before the armistice was signed...what a cruel twist of fate.

This was a very interesting book as it encompassed people I had not read about before like the Sculptor Henry Moore the author Dennis Wheatley and writer, Playwrite,Broadcaster and founder of CND JB Priestly and would recommend it as a good alternative 'easy to read' book on what was a horrific conflict.

To lighten the mood a work colleague forwarded an amusing item from 'Newbiscuit' the spoof web based news channel with private eye like articles this one 'Screaming fans Mob Wargames Championship' was most amusing!!

Friday, 8 May 2009

Blenheim 1704 Article in Wargames Soldiers & Strategy

This magazine was not well produced to say the least in the last issue the translation/editing hopeless, but it appears to be back on track and featuring an article for all those currently afflicted with 'Tricornitus' on the Battle of Blenheim.

It features a game which has been 5 years in development and will be unveiled at the Warfare Show at Reading on the 21st/22nd November 2009. Matt Slade & Martin Holmes have been painting hundreds of figures guns etc to put this demonstration on in 28mm using a detailed order of Battle for Blenheim by Stuart Asquith and using a table size of 24X6ft.Figures used from Foundry, Front Rank and Old Glory. It looks excellent & I may have to make a trip to Reading in the autumn.

As usual the article continues with a page 'More about Blenheim' with further reading and a small review on miniatures ranges. The latter is missing a few 15mm ranges unfortunatly with no mention of Black Hat or Minifigs etc etc. Three rule sets are also reviewed.

Now painting has been non existant due largely to having hit a mental block of wanting to finish a unit!! Amazing actually wanting to finish something!!! & this is the way I want to continue!! however having put in an order to Minifigs over 21 days ago for just a few grenadiers (which I forgot I needed to complete the grenadier company of the Buffs) some Danes and a few pieces of artillery ...a small order in 15mm terms still nothing has arrived!! At the same time I ordered the New Copplestone Glory of the Sun within 3 working days they had arrived!! fantastic service Mark...and what fantastic 'sculps' highly recommended although most other bloggers already seem to be in possession. Mine may well be painted up for the Monmouth Rebellion.

Last weekend was the traditional 'sweeps festival' at Rochester where all the 'hanky wavers' congregate. Now I quite enjoy the Border Morris excentricities of hitting sticks & bizare garb where many a pheasant has lost its tail feathers...but Cotswold Morris in White with hankies makes me worried about old English Traditions!! But hey this is what I went in!! so who am I to judge!!!

This is the old 'Hooden Horse' from Hoath now resident in the Gate Inn Marshside,Chislet (A great local village pub & highly recommended for its ales!)We borrowed it to display at the festival and is over 110 years old having been made by Hazels Great Grandfather. The hooden horse was the main character in plays/performances that local waggoners used to put on moving from house to house before christmas time to raise some extra cash for the festivities like modern carol singing. There has been a revival in Mummers plays & Hoodening in recent years in Kent and a great tradition they are too.

While looking at Deadhorse Morris's web page I came across this song so back to the main title of this Blog entry!

Rochester Recruiting Sergeant

A recruiting sergeant came through the streets of Rochester
Bound for the wars in the low country
And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester
Who'll be a soldier for Marlboro and me?
Who'll be a soldier? Who'll be a soldier?
Who'll be a soldier for Marlboro and me?
And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester
Who'll be a soldier for Marlboro and me?
The Queen, she has ordered fresh troops for the continent
To strike one more blow at the enemy
And ig you would be a soldier, all in a scarlet uniform
Come be a solider for Marlboro and me
Come be a soldier for Marlboro and me?
Come be a soldier? Who'll be a soldier?
Come be a soldier for Marlboro and me?
And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester
Come be a soldier for Marlboro and me?
"Not I," said the butcher, "nor I," said the baker
Most of the people with them did agree
To be paid with the powder and the rattle of the cannonball
Wages for soldiers for Marlboro and me
Wages for soldiers, Wages for soldiers
Wages for soldiers for Marlboro and me
And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester
Wages for soldiers for Marlboro and me
"Now I," said the young man, "have oft endured the parish queue
There is no employment for the likes of me
Salvation or danger, they shall be my destiny
I'll take the Queen's shilling for Marlboro and me"
Take the Queen's shilling, take the Queen's shilling
I'll take the Queen's shilling for Marlboro and me
And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester
Take the Queen's shilling for Marlboro and me
Now forty recruits came through the streets of Rochester
Bound for the wars in the low country
And they sang as they marched through the crowded streets of Rochester
Who'll be a soldier for Marlboro and me?
Who'll be a soldier, who'll be a soldier?
Who'll be a soldier for Marlboro and me?
And their ghosts may be heard through the crowded streets of Rochester,
Who'll be a soldier for Marlboro and me?

Friday, 1 May 2009

Ultravox at Bristol!!

Now I have to confess to not being a fan but hazel is and although we had seen Midge on tour playing at the Marlow theatre in Canterbury and the Mick Jagger centre in Dartford, it seemed like a good idea to see Ultravox on their special tour this year. Cunningly I suggested Bristol so I could see the SS Great Britain!!

They were very good (as far as any band can be playing predominantly 3 keyboards!) and I even recognised most of the songs/tunes. Of Course 'Vienna' took me back in time & with Ashes to Ashes back on TV I'm feeling quite 80's at the moment ...there was something about the Audi Quatro! Now before I start thinking about Keeley-Hawes back to Bristol and the concert. One of the bonuses was we were among the younger members of the audience! which always makes you feel better and by the end of the show I could even remember 3 band member names ! In addition to Midge there's Billy Curry and Chris Cross (easy names to remember ...but sorry mr Drummer you alude my memory) My musical taste is predominantly 60's,70's and 90's music from Jethro Tull (who I saw last year in Folkestone at the Lees) Pink Floyd, 70's onwards British metal & ACDC, The Levellers, Punk (Sham 69! from 'ersham hurrah), Blues etc etc. I do love my classics as well especially Vaughan Williams (Theme on Thomas Tallis, English Folk Songs & Lark Ascending of course)

Afterwards we returned to our Hotel at Filton via the Clifton suspension Bridge which looks great at night!