Category Archives: Off Topic

A Grand Day Out

Grab the Ball!

The Medieval folk that run around hitting each other with sticks were out again at Delapré Abbey this weekend. We wandered down, because Delapré is one of our regular winter walks, and because Trebian was presenting his battle of Northampton game; a Cracking Game Grommet, in which Lancastrians discover that cheese tastes best when toasted …

Cracking Game Grommet

Suzanne played for the first time. Within seven moves, she had sacked and burned Northampton (move 1),

Scrope Sacks Northampton

rampaged through the Lancastrian camp, capturing the King (move 6),

Rampaging Through the Lancastrian Camp

and executed a pile of Lancastrian Nobs, reminding me why I generally avoid arguing with Yorkshire Folk!

So That Will be No Quarter then!

That’ll be no quarter then!

I've Always Wanted To Sack Northampton!

At lunchtime, a pair of re-enactors of ample girth were tucking into a medieval meal that seemed to comprise of a lot of wine and pork pies.

Lightweight Camping Chair With Peasant Porter

Elsewhere, a blacksmith of much leaner thew was hammering an iron bar into a sickle, and some enthusiastic medieval gunners were creating loud bangs and rolling banks of acrid smoke. By way of light relief, I bought Suzanne a solid oak medieval folding camp chair, then had to carry it a mile or so back to the car, through the woods, fortified by a rather good pie at the new Delapré café. Personally though, we miss the old volunteers cafe, with its quirky service, homemade cakes and 1950s price structure.

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, 25mm Medieval, Off Topic

Marking Time

It has been a while since the WHELKS* have all been seen together in public, so it was rather fitting that most of them were at Will Whyler’s 70th birthday party. Rather than show a series of photos of 50-70-year old beardies and baldies, here is the the tank that I presented Will with, so that he has no excuse for not being able to get around the battlefield. I must master manual focus – the table is crystal clear!

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Also present was Graham Fordham (no relation to Cap’n Birdseye), who recently celebrated his 60th. My focus was better on this one. He is a Copplestone Beastly Belgian masquerading as a French Naval Officer …. aww, who cares; the figure looks like Graham!

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… even if the hair on the model is too short at the back!

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*Wellingborough Historical andEverso Loosely Kultural Society. Present were:

Chris Ager, The Dormouse, Graham Fordham, Graham Hockley, Sarge, Trebian, Will Whyler, Chris Willey, YesthatPhil, and Tony Hawkins in his professional capacity as a magician (The Amazing Anthony).

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, Off Topic

Truescale German vs Heroic 28mm

truescale-german

The Grand Duchy of Stollen recently published a rather ernest American lass telling us about common painting mistakes  – I know all about that sort of stuff, ‘cos I make those mistakes shortcuts all the time. Buried away in the video though, was this direct comparison of a teenage reenactor against his 28mm heroic counterpart.

If I met someone proportioned like this, I would definitely run away to the nearest pie shop to bulk myself up. Even though they are scaled to pretty much the same height, the truescale chap looks to be both taller and further away.; rather like the Father Ted sketch with Dougal.

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Filed under Off Topic, WWII

Heavy Metal – Lamming and Hinchcliffe

Hinchcliffe and Lamming Medieval Cavalry Form UpThese fearsome 25mm fellows last saw light in Armati games over 15 years ago, but their high medieval heyday was in the basement at Knox Road, when they would regularly be roughly handled by YesthatPhil – usually from the flank or behind. Nobody wanted to try their luck from the front!

 

Baron Shagnastie's ChevaucheeThe oldest model in the picture above is Baron Shagnastie – a veteran of the Scottish Campaign at Sandhurst from the late ’70s – he is the stumpy chap with a red duck on his head, and I think he might be a Greenwood and Ball figure, or possible, a Garrison. He is a single-piece casting, and like most twisted meglomaniacs, is a little short in the saddle.

 

A Profitable ChevaucheeI am proudest of the Hinchcliffe Sergeants – they were all individually modified in my second year at Uni. Most of them still have their arms, I didn’t know about pinning or superglue in those days. they were a raggedy crew, straight back from a chevauchée, complete with looted sheep and stuff slung across their saddlebacks. They are based for Armati.

 

De Gough's BattleSir Frederick appears here with a big heap of Lamming knights and sergeants. The different style of sculpting is very noticible, the Hinchcliffes being far more fluid in every way, but en-masse they just blend in amidst the welter of heraldry. The De Goughs were traditionalists, and have clung on to older styles of armour, deeming the more modern bascinets to be “a bit poncey“.

Your Last Ten Seconds of LifeTo emphasise the point, this is the view that an unlucky man-at-arms would have from the front rank of the opposing army.

Moonlighting in Skirmish GamesYou can see from this view of the bases that some of the lads have been moonlighting in skirmish games and RPGs. Dungeons and Dormice was a legend in its day!

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Filed under 25mm Medieval, Off Topic

Robbin B’stard and his Merry Men

No medieval wargames collection would have been complete in the Eighties without a merry band of outlaws. Here are two of mine.

Robbin B'stard and Little Jim wait in AmbushWhat could be more innocent than two people enjoying a country stroll?

The short fellow dressed in Lincoln green is Little Jim – a Minifigs Wood Elf, if I recall correctly. I forget which firm made Robbin B’stard. I’m pretty certain that he was a fantasy figure picked up at a show somewhere – not chunky enough for a Lamming, and not arched enough for a Greenwood & Ball or regimented enough for a Minifigs. *sigh*. Perhaps someone will recognise him?

The Knob on the End of your Staff, or your Life!Got any more gold, Mister?

The Bishop of Boston (Lincolnshire, not America!) has had the top of his crozier robbed. He is a Minifig, and a very undernourished bishop by today’s heroic 28mm-going-on-32 standards. His carriage and retinue are nowhere in sight. Some of the Humbrol enamels used to paint these figures have chipped a little over the years, but on the whole, they have fared pretty well.

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Filed under 25mm Medieval, Off Topic

Buried Treasure – Sir Frederick de Gough

Sir Frederick de Gough

You know how it goes – finally, the tidying up in the Man Cave reaches that pile of box files patiently sitting in the corner, and you open them. After the puff of dust subsides, you see forgotten treasure glinting in the gloom!

Sir Frederick de Gough and his brother (the one with the big pointy stick) were the very first pair of Hinchcliffe 25mm metal figures that I ever bought (From Sherman’s Model Shop in Scunthorpe). It must have been over 45 years ago now.

I even soldered the florist’s wire lance on and felt very grown-up doing it. Chromate primer was followed by oils and enamels that have stood the test of time. He has battled his way up and down the length of the (25mm) British Isles over the years. Fred earned his name and achievements from the local Grammar school. Only he remains unchanged.

I will be a bit busy until June, so expect more burrowing into the past as boxes come to light.

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Filed under 25mm Medieval, Off Topic

Merry Christmas

Here’s wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

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Every year, the Germans show “Dinner for One” on New Year’s Eve. It is largely forgotten in the English-speaking world, as the Germans purchased the broadcast rights some years ago.

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In a year that has had more than it’s fair share of intolerance, I shall be raising my glass to friends on the continent, and doing my best to improve the bit of the world that I have influence on for everyone, not just the ones that think and believe exactly as I do.

Peterborough Christmas Lights

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Relentlessly Modern – With Added Pigs

Art Deco with a Modern TwistSuburbs of Stuttgart

The reaction of everyone we told that we were going to Stuttgart for a midweek break was:

“Why?”

Put simply, Stuttgart has an excellent Christmas Market, museums featuring Porsche  Mercedes, Lindt Chocolate, and the largest* pig museum in Germany, if not the world.

Helipad at a New Hospital ExtensionNote the new Hospital Helipad

By day, Stuttgart is relentlessly modern, its railway marshalling yards having had more than their fair share of RAF and USAF attention. Despite this, large swathes of mature parkland cut through the northern part of the city, making a pleasant day’s walking between fuel stops.

Stuttgart has lots of Hills and Trees

One such was at Killingberg – a well-executed modern estate in cubist white. It works because the Germans do not try to decorate their public spaces with large amounts of fast-food litter.

The New BrutalismVery New Indeed

By night, the Centrum turns into an illuminated fairyland, and the locals crowd in to enjoy Bratwurst, Pommes, Lebkuchen and Germ Knödel; all washed down with Glühwein, Blonder Engels and Eier Punsch.

Weinachtsmarkt Stuttgart

The highlight of the holiday was a walk deep into the industrial riverside, where, by the gasworks, was the Slachthof (Slaughterhouse Inn) and aforementioned Pig Museum.

Schweinbahn

Almost everything Pig-related was there. Not since the Dutch National Airline Sick Bag  Collection has there been such eccentric devotion to a cause.

Zinn Schweine - for Phil SteeleZinn Schweine for Phil Steele

Pigs Being Rude

More Rude PigsPigs Being Rude – for Martin Goddard

Suzanne Expresses Surprise at the Quantity of Pig-related LiteratureAre all these Books about Pigs?

The line that hooked us was “Pig enthusiasts can visit the museum then enjoy one of the relatives in the Schlachterhof next door”. Judge for yourselves. Lekker!

Schweinshaxe in a Vegetable-free Zone

*Size claims should be treated with suspicion. Here is the largest maze in Holland.

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True Scale Space Hulk

Terminators Looking for Trouble

Apparently, Space Hulk is amongst the evil empire’s best-selling games. The attraction is clear; heavily armoured Terminators clunking down claustrophobic corridors, using their chainswords to cut through bulkheads. Why, it was even popular with the WHELKS* when we were all in our thirties. Terminators were smaller in those days and could fit into corridors without getting stuck in the doors.

So, one frosty morning, I thought that I would give it a go in true-scale ….

There is only one man to go to in Wellingborough for over-engineered power tools , and he is known as Sarge. Suzanne came back saying,

“Can you lift it out of the boot for me? It’s too heavy.”

This Looks Promising!

Outstanding! This sounded promising….

...Gratifyingly large quantites of Toxic Fumes and Dust

It took me ten minutes to start the two-stroke engine, and an hour to cut through the bulkhead. Gratifyingly large quantities of toxic fumes and dust billowed everywhere. It was VERY NOISY! By the time I had finished, the garden was covered in a thin layer of brick coloured space-dust, and any gribblies lurking in the hulk must have fled in terror at the noise. Best game ever!

This dude ….

Approved WH40K Pose

…should not be confused with this one below. (Note the puny arms and freakishly long torso of the sculpt above).

This Dude

Uniform afficionados will note the safety glasses and armoured boiler suit. I have swapped out my customary builder’s cowboy hat for a Teeside-pattern safety helmet.

Mission accomplished:

Mission Accomplished

As an antidote to all the fun that I had just had, Suzanne gave me a window to block the new hole. Happily, it fitted.

It Fits!

If you want to know what a Golden Demon quality true-scale Chainsword looks like, then go here.

*Wellingborough Historical and Ever-so Loosely Kultural Society

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Filed under Off Topic, The Den

Things to do in a Tank

rommeling-in-a-tankRommel – obviously.

Of all the things to do in a tank, the top thing must surely be to stand in the turret , like Rommel. This is known as Rommelling or “doing a Rommel”. The size of your tank matters. A King Tiger is a suitable mount in which to do a Rommel; a CV33 is not.

Romelling in a CV33Note the ironic grin of the driver on the right of the picture. He knows that his commander is not cutting the mustard.

Coming in as a close second, is Holding Binos in a Tank – if you are half out of the turret, it counts as a half-Monty*. here is Monty doing it:

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Pay attention to the chap behind him (probably the actual tank commander), who scores extra cool points for Wearing Tank Goggles. He has wisely opted for slinging them around his neck, as wearing them like shades is a bit Italian or girly. Being girly in a tank is only cool if you are Tank Girl:

tank-girl

Russians are encouraged to lounge on the outside of the tank.

WallmanskiHere are some wargamers pretending to be Russians.

This has the added benefit of being suicidal if the tank is moving. Russians seem to prefer this, and have nailed the Heroic Advance Look, especially after consuming toxic quantities of vodka that would pickle a frog, or a normal liver.

desantny

Germans always look as if they are retreating, and Brits just look as if they are picnicking or having a smoke break.

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Aiming a machine gun is another top activity for commanders. WH4oK Commisars take this to a whole new level by waving chainswords and pistols from the commander’s hatch.

Baneblade CommanderHere is a wargamer pretending to be a Commisar.

Finally, we come to pointing. This is a difficult look to pull off and the two examples below illustrate this perfectly:

rommel-pointingHere is Rommel pretending to be a wargamer

presidents-new-tankRelease the chimps!

As a rule, only officers point. NCOs realise that pointing attracts Enemy Interest in a way that shouting does not. For the record, pointing the way that you are going is generally held to be better for morale than pointing back the way that you came from.

*A full Monty is completely different

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Filed under Off Topic, tank