Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal wedding...

Well bless my cynical heart but I enjoyed the events today - it's curiously addictive, watching the talking heads at the BBC (other TV coverage was available ) rambling their way through what must certainly be seen in the future as a major historical event..

I suspect, of course, that like most of my usual readers I may have been watching for something other than the usual reasons, however...

Household cavalry mounted regiment... both regiments were present in the parade, and for other ceremonial functions.. these are the Life Guards



..and these are the other regiment, the Blues and Royals....



The foot contingent was made up of the Irish Guards - with their mascot, who is quite magnificent...





The Coldstream's provided some of the music..




...look at those battle honours...


..the band of the Welsh Guards also performed...



...now, along with a flypast by the Battle of Britain memorial flight, are you really telling me that there isn't still something for the wargamer to enjoy while the current Mrs Steve the Wargamer is checking out the dress???

Friday, April 22, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award egad...!

Ha!! Steve's Random Musings has received a Stylish Blogger Award, in fact two... this is without a doubt the first blog (or any other*) award I've ever received so my thanks to the Man Cave and to Miles for this bit of fun and self aggrandisement....

Apparently there are four rules attached to the award (which is sounding more and more like a self congratulatory pyramid scheme where no cash exchanges hands but we all get to give each other awards..!!):

1. Thank and link back to the person giving you the award - so thanks, and can I have some of your beer Man Cave, and perhaps a free fortnights holiday the next time the dental assistants come to dinner Miles??
2. Share seven things about yourself
3. Select 10-15 blogs who you think deserve this award
4. Contact these bloggers and let them know about the award

Seven things about me personally:

1. Favourite beer - RCH "Pitchfork" at the Old Green Tree in Bath
2. I played rugby for the school team - only once - I got a bloody nose and decided enough was enough...
3. Favourite sandwich - sausage and tomato with mayonnaise
4. To the best of my knowledge, my regular opponent DG and I have our silver jubilee this year as it's about 25 years we've been playing!
5. I own a boat
6. Favourite song of all time - Gerry Rafferty "Baker Street"
7. * I have received one other award - I got my 1500m swimming badge at school..

My nominees (in no particular order) are blogs of people who inspire and have just generally been good eggs..

* AJ over at AJ's Wargaming Blog (thanks again for the templates AJ!)
* Prinz Geoffrey at "The Memoirs of Captain Lucien Verbeek" - many thanks for the miniature Captain Verbeek (& not forgetting Teufel)!
* Giles at Tarleton's Quarter - for the inspiration, and the mind numbing depression that comes with knowing you're not capable...
* Paul the Grimsby Wargamer - this was one of the first blogs I ever read, still a source of Marlburian inspiration...
* Legatus - with way too many blogs to count, and let's not forget the "Cavegirls in Fur Bikini's", always entertaining... a tiny glimpse into his James Bond'like world
* Conrad Kinch - erudite, witty, and dammned funny at times - even if he does play far too many games with grids and hexes..
* Another man who seems to have a deadly fascination with grids and squares - Bob Cordery is always interesting
* Battlegames Blog - the magazine that's the mouthpiece of my particular bit of the hobby..
* Campaigns of General William Augustus Pettygree - imagination, fun, and Annie the elephant... magnificent...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Salute 2011.. part 2

Greetings pop pickers - time to resume the countdown of my favourite games from Salute last weekend....

Fifth

I'm not usually a fan of WWI games, but this one caught my eye - I think it may have been the tanks which looked amazing, and everyone knows that I'm a total sucker for WWII aircraft...

This was a demonstration game called "Crush the Kaiser" [website soon] by the guys who are publishing the "Where the Poppies Grow" fast play brigade level rules for the Western Front 1914 to 1918.



Pleasant bunch of guys - I remarked on how good the shell holes looked good and they tell me that they use cold tea for the mud/water effect... put it in with a syringe, and soak it up with a paper towel at the end of the game...! Free Happy Smileys

Excellent...

Fourth
..another WWI game, this time the much discussed Wargames Illustrated / Flames of War game depicting events in and around Anzac Bay and Lone Pine - Gallipoli. The terrain was built by Grand Manner and the pictures don't really do the game justice - there was just so much going on!



I looked for Mel Gibson but couldn't see him...






Third

...getting difficult now, but the only way you get this far in any of my votes is if the game is good and in a period I have a big interest in, so without further ado here's my third placed game which depicts events in Budapest in 1945 and was put on by the Loughton Strike Force club... [more pictures here]

You may recognise these from one of my earlier posts this year where they were pressed into the service of the Union and the Confederacy

I read elsewhere that the guys got the "Best in Show" award and if so it was much deserved - the level of detail was just brilliant... everything from E-Boats to gliders (and just for once, German gliders!)...

Game was in 20mm and used the "Panzer Grenadier" rules...


Second
A deceptively simple, but lovely looking game - nice bunch of people (the South East Essex Military Society) who stopped for a chat - the game is quite an old one I think, but they decided to brush it off and give it an airing at this years show... all I can say is that I'm glad they did....

The game is titled "Fear Nothing But God" and depicts events from the West Country Rising of 1685 (the "Glorious Revolution"),specifically in this case the skirmish at Norton St. Phillip just prior to the Battle of Sedgemoor..

They use their own DBM/DBA based rules...

As I said, very simple, but I thought it just looked lovely, especially with the red of the uniforms, the green of the terrain, and the old buildings in the background... very pleasing to the eye..

..and they were having a hoot playing to boot.. Free Happy Smileys
First
I feel like their should be a roll of drums or something...

No messing about then - here's the Battle of Worcester in 1651 as depicted by Crewe and Nantwich Wargames Club.

Played using Piquet rules (blechhhh....!) with all figures in 28mm from Redoubt, Renegade, Bicorne, TAG and Warlord.



They even had little LED lights inside the houses...

Loved the detail on the breaches in the walls, and the red/white main gates - eye catching....

....and that's it - another Salute comes and goes, it's still a must-see for me, but remains my second or third favourite show. My favourite is the Warfare show in Reading, much smaller of course, but far more friendly and convivial...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Salute 2011...

As you've probably guessed from my fellow Bloggers, this weekend was Salute at the Excel in London's Dockland. What with DG hot footing it down from Wales for the weekend it would have seemed churlish not to attend.. Free Happy Smileys

Once we got there - and it is very easy when you travel up from the South of England - the place was as buzzing as it always is. It's an absolutely huge hall, and a little soul less if the truth be known (I preferred it when it was at Olympia, and before that the old Town Hall venue in Chelsea) but the sheer energy generated by the numbers kind of carries it through...

I thought if anything numbers were up this year, nothing scientific in this but I know that it was more difficult to get to some of the stands, in some cases I left it until later. I also thought that the trend for more fantasy stands was continued - I reckon at least 50% (if not more) of the traders there were fantasy/warhammer based.. I don't have a problem with it, the models and sculpting on some of the figures is absolutely outstanding, but it's not my bag...

Very quiet on the spending front for me this year - my painting mojo is currently in something of a decline at the moment, so I have enough unpainted metal to keep me going for the time being - I've never been one for metal mountains, I always buy what I need to paint, and buy more only when I've finished... though I was tempted for some totally unknown reason, to buy some American Civil War Ironclads when I saw the lovely looking models on the Peter Pig stand. Years and years (and years) ago I actually cast up my own miniature models of the Monitor and the Merrimac (or the CSS Virginia as she was more properly known) from old fishing weights in a Plaster of Paris mould (I blame Don Featherstone, bless him..) and re-fought the battle time and time again using the rules from "Naval War Games" - may be it was that, that almost made me buy... Free Happy Smileys

Same on the terrain front - more than enough, though I was tempted by the 2' ridge pieces they were selling on the TSS stand [click here] I think I still am to be honest, so will probably order some to pick up at Colours in the Autumn..

On the book front I have a pile waiting to read that could comfortably support the roof trusses in at least four places, but I did succumb for my one and only purchase of the day, which was to buy a much anticipated copy of "Go Strong Into the Desert" by Colonel Mike Snook.. doubly good as I arrived at the Perry stand to buy the book just as Colonel Mike himself turned up, and who then signed my copy.. a truly awesome book, jam packed with information, and I can't wait to start it.... been wanting to buy this book since Colours last year, well worth the wait.

..and that was it on the buying front but if anyone knows where to get mini-D10's (7mm size like the tiny D6's) please let me know - despite their being 3 separate companies there , selling only dice and the like, none of them had any.... and those were the only things I had on my shopping list before I went!

...and so on to the judging.... I think it was Legatus who said that he was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the demonstration games this year, and I can only agree - I took twice as many photo's this time around as I did last time... I narrowed it down, however, to seven games that really appealed to me..... as is my want the winners are announced in reverse order... as always nothing official or formal, just what I liked and what caught my eye...

Seventh

A WW2 Desert game put on by the Tunbridge Wells Wargames Society and entitled "A Line in the Sand" - they were using Flames of War with their own modifications, but the game was set in 1942, and featured an attack by a German force on a Commonwealth defence. 20mm figures/vehicles mostly by Battlefront - but beautifully painted...

What got my attention initially was the terrain - these guys use the sand coloured TSS scenic tiles that I do, but they also had a couple of custom tiles that I really liked (sunken area's with a raised edge - very effective), and may consider having to get....

What also got my attention was the quality of the paint jobs, and the exquisite models - very nice...






Sixth
An enormous game similar in concept to the big game they had last year - all in 54mm or 1/35 (1/32) - I recognised some of the models from my youth (a Tamiya Hanomag kit specifically), but in addition there was also Airfix and a host of other kits...

Table was huge - 20 to 30 feet long I'd guess and U shaped...

The game was called "The Oosterbeek Cauldron" but was basically an Arnhem game and depicted the attempts by 1st Airborne, and the Poles, to break through to their colleagues already on the bridge, in the face of increasing German counter-attacks...

Rules used were "Crossfire"..



..and, just like when we watched Batman as kids, that's it for now - stay tuned for fifth to first later this week... Free Happy Smileys