Thursday, December 29, 2016

Portsmouth Christmas Beer Festival 2016

Second time we've been to this little pre-Christmas snifter - we missed last year for some reason, but we first went in 2014 [clicky] which is difficult to believe as it seems like only yesterday!

As last time we went with my sister and brother in law, and it was an enormous amount of fun - much laughter and singing (to the bands) ensued and many good ales drunk..

So it was that on Saturday lunchtime the current Mrs Steve-the-Wargamer, his sister and brother in law found themselves (again) in line waiting to enter the Guildhall in Portsmouth...  by serendipitous means, this time I had bought the tickets, and my sis was buying the beer tokens..  perfect!

So this is not an official CAMRA [clicky] festival but despite that I thought that this time round their beer choice was significantly better than last time..  though we were paying slightly over the odds per beer, and there was a ten quid entry...

Brewery (clickable) Beer (click for more info) ABV Notes (from brewery website) What I can remember...
Oakham Citra 4.2% "An American Pale Ale (APA) style beer" Those of you who read these ramblings will know I am a fan of the Citra hopped beers as I particularly like the grapefruit dry hop'iness they give the beer - this particular one I've tried many times in bottle but the opportunity to try it in cask was too good to miss..  a belter... and the current Mrs Steve the Wargamer liked it so much she went back three times..
Dark Star Hophead 3.8% "An extremely clean-drinking pale golden ale with a strong floral aroma and elderflower notes from the Cascade hops. This beer is full-bodied and full-flavoured yet gentle enough to make it a favourite session beer." A particular favourite of mine and seeing as the first half had disappeared in about 10 minutes I'd decided to slow down so this session beer was a no brainer.. lovely..
XT Brewing 3 (IPA) 4.2% "An American style IPA – packed with Chinook, Columbus and Cascade hops from the American North West – crisp, clean and refreshing with a lasting hoppy bite.   HOPS= Chinook, Cascade, Columbus  MALTS= Pale, Vienna, CaraMalt, Munich" Time to go "off piste" and be a little adventurous..  how do you find the new beers/brewers if you don't? So XT are a fairly unknown to me - I'm convinced I may have had a pint in the past but have checked the beer database and not seen anything so I may be mistaken - either way - a pleasant enough beer that lived up to its description while not being outstanding
Dark Star Winter Solstice 4.2% "Brewed with Pale, Munich and Brown malts to produce a deep gold colour this beer is brewed with Simcoe and Chinook hops and seasoned with Sichuan pepper and Orange and Lemon zest." A particularly favourite brewery but an unknown beer - time to try! A dark, winter brew, with a hint of additional fruit and spice..  similar to the Hophead "Winter Lightning" - so we had to do a taste comparison...
Hopback Winter Lightning 5% "Brewed with Fuggles and East Kent Golding hops, very lightly-spiced, this chestnut ale is deceptively drinkable!" Hopback are another of my top 5 brewers, and this is the winter version of their awesome "Summer Lightning"..  much darker, maltier, and a subtle hint of cinnamon..  you couldn't drink pints of it, but it is exceptional and I thought this years version was particularly good...
Red Cat Brewing Scratch 4% "Scratch is golden in colour with a delicate fruity aroma and hints of ripe apricots.  It’s very clean, refreshingly bitter and easy drinking, but with more body than is usually expected from a 4.0% beer." Swiftly becoming one of those breweries to look for - I tried this on our work Christmas do but as is the nature of those events I felt the need to remind myself if it was a good as I remembered...  fresh clean hoppy bitterness..  another golden ale...
Fallen Acorn Brewing Hole Hearted 4.7% "Floral. fruity. delicately bitter.  Cascade hops give this golden ale powerful floral and tropical fruit flavours, with a delicate bitterness. Hole Hearted will surprise with every mouthful". The Oakleaf Brewery who used to brew this went into receivership this year, and from the ashes rose Fallen Acorn (which is owned financed by a fan of the Oakleaf beers) who have started brewing a number of their old beers...  now Hole Hearted was one of my top 10 beers so I was very excited about trying the newly brewed version - but was very disappointed with it - none of the hoppy tang with the old brew...  sweet and insipid..  quelle domage.. my only disappointment of the afternoon...  for the sake of the beer I shall give it another go when I next see it on offer - it may have been a duff batch or barrel..
Thornbridge Jaipur 5.9% "A citrus dominated India Pale Ale, its immediate impression is soft and smooth yet builds to a crescendo of massive hoppiness accentuated by honey. An enduring, bitter finish." Last one - and the one I'd been working up to all afternoon - no way I was going to miss out on a pint of one of my favourite bottled APA's...  superb pint, and a much needed restorative following the Hole Hearted..  Steve the Wargamer says "if you see Thornbridge on the pump clip buy yourself a pint"











An excellent venue, and a brilliant lunchtime session - four bands -  one of which was a God-awful ukulele band, two of which were good, but one of which were superb (The Fliks- a 60's girl band copy), and a delightful selection of ales... roll on next year!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Happy Christmas!

Happy Christmas to all my reader (singular ) I trust that you will have a restful, peaceful, and relaxing time with plenty of ale, good presents under the tree, and that your Christmas dinner roast potatoes are soft and fluffy on the inside, while pleasingly crisp on the outer..

See you on the other side...

From http://www.ddoughty.com/christmas-during-war-time.html

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Bellona

With thanks to contributor Jim Walkley, how about this for a walk down memory lane for the older amongst us?? 





..and from that page.. U-RV2 I do believe.... 
 

...and U-RV9..


...and look'ee there - a few pieces of U-WV1 or 2 - that brick wall set was the one we all wanted - being vacuum formed you could make yards and yards of wall simply by using it as a mould for plaster of paris....
 




You'd give your right arm for either that English Civil War star fort, or the Bunker Hill fortification...



Brilliant - cheers, Jim!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Good Lord...

...where did those two weeks go?? 

So time for a catch up...

First off - consider doing this - I have...






As a wargamer, and just generally inquisitive fellow, I must visit the site two or three times a day for information..  and while I accept that sometimes the information has to be taken with a pinch of salt (just as any book would to be honest) it is invariably a good primer, and will lead me to other sources..  no one ever thinks that there is a cost, but there always is in this modern day and age, and they're only asking £2/$3...  you know it makes sense...   

The English Civil War project is currently in stasis (it hardly had time to start!) but only because of lack of time - it's that time of the year... I have started to draft a set of rules though as I couldn't find anything commercial that floated the proverbial boat, I'll be using the Will McNally Seven Years war set (that I modified for the War of the Spanish Succession project) with lots of bits nicked from other sets ("Forlorn Hope" mostly I suspect)..  once I have a workable set of rules I'll have a basing method, and then I can start buying some troops... I also decided as part of a longer term strategy for the blog to lessen my reliance on Google,to host the project page elsewhere..  comments welcome here if it's not working for anyone.. bit of fun learning how to code HTML again.. 

Elsewhere, loft HQ, the scene of mighty tussles between DG and I over the ages, has perforce had a makeover - a new boiler has been installed in Chateau Steve the Wargamer, and as is the way of these things the installation guys persuaded the current Mrs Steve the Wargamer that the loft was the only place for it (and I am hardly one to argue), so as a result the wargame table has had to shift from one end of the loft to the other,which in turn has meant moving the painting table so that the wargame table could replace it... all is now done but that took a couple of weekends..

...the interloper...

I took the opportunity to move some strip lights to make better light for the wargame table, and as we'd recently had some better lights put in the kitchen I installed the old ones over the painting table to most excellent effect...



I was trying to figure out how old the wargaming table is.. I laughingly call it a "table" since it is in fact nothing of the sort, being just a six foot by four foot sheet of (very heavy) chip board with a couple of fold down legs on one long side, and a batten affixed to a couple of rafters on the other long side, with a hinged four by two to take it to 8 foot by four foot if required.. but DG and I have played untold numbers of games on it, and I reckon it must be getting on for twenty years old as I bought it with me from the old place, if only tables, errr, chipboard, could talk..



..can't wait to christen it in its new location, which is not likely to happen soon, so..

Lastly, DG and I are just about to launch on a play be email of scenario number ten from One Hour Wargames "Late Arrivals"...  we'll use Battle Chronicler [clicky] to get us going, but as soon as I have some spare time I think we'll shift to Skype if either DG's or my elderly broadband can take it..  more on this anon..

Thursday, November 24, 2016

SHQ ECW 20mm

Took the opportunity at Warfare to check out the SHQ figures [clicky] more carefully.. click on the picture for a humongous version...


4 infantry (£3) or 3 cavalry (£5, including horses) in a pack..

ECW01 Pikemen in Breastplate and Tassets with Morrion Helmet, Marching
ECW02 Pikemen in Breastplate and Tassets with Morrion Helmet, Order Y Pike
ECW03 Pikemen in Breastplate and Tassets with Morrion Helmet, Advance Y Pike
ECW04 Pikemen in Breastplate and Tassets with Morrion Helmet, Charge Y Pike
ECW05 Pikemen in Breastplate and Tassets with Morrion Helmet, Marching Helmet on Back
ECW08 Pikemen in Breastplate and Tassets with Cabacete Helmet, Marching
ECW09 Pikemen in Breastplate and Tassets with Cabacete Helmet, Order Y Pike
ECW10 Pikemen in Breastplate and Tassets with Cabacete Helmet, Advance Y Pike
ECW11 Pikemen in Breastplate and Tassets with Cabacete Helmet, Charge Y Pike
ECW15 Pikemen in Breastplate and Tassets with 16th Century Helmet, Marching
ECW16 Pikemen in Breastplate and Tassets with 16th Century Helmet, Order Y Pike
ECW17 Pikemen in Breastplate and Tassets with 16th Century Helmet, Advance Y Pike
ECW18 Pikemen in Breastplate and Tassets with 16th Century Helmet, Charge Y Pike
ECW22 Pikemen in Breastplate with Morion Helmet, Marching
ECW23 Pikemen in Breastplate with Morion Helmet, Order Y Pike
ECW24 Pikemen in Breastplate with Morion Helmet, Advance Y Pike
ECW25 Pikemen in Breastplate with Morion Helmet, Charge Y Pike
ECW27 Pikemen in Breastplate with Morion Helmet, Marching with Helmet on Back
ECW29 Pikemen in Breastplate with Cabacete Helmet, Marching
ECW30 Pikemen in Breastplate with Cabacete Helmet, Order Y Pike
ECW31 Pikemen in Breastplate with Cabacete Helmet, Advance Y Pike
ECW32 Pikemen in Breastplate with Cabacete Helmet, Charge Y Pike
ECW36 Pikemen in Breastplate with 16th Century Helmet, Marching
ECW37 Pikemen in Breastplate with 16th Century Helmet, Order Y Pike
ECW38 Pikemen in Breastplate with 16th Century Helmet, Advance Y Pike
ECW39 Pikemen in Breastplate with 16th Century Helmet, Charge Y Pike
ECW40 Highland Scots in Kilt with Broadsword, Advancing
ECW41 Highland Scots in Kilt with Broadsword, Charging
ECW51 Lowland Scots Musketeers with Rest, Marching
ECW52 Lowland Scots Musketeers with Rest, Loading
ECW53 Lowland Scots Musketeers with Rest, Firing
ECW54 Lowland Scots Musketeers with Rest, At Present
ECW57 Lowland Scots Musketeers without Rest, Marching
ECW58 Lowland Scots Musketeers without Rest, Loading
ECW59 Lowland Scots Musketeers without Rest, Firing
ECW60 Lowland Scots Musketeers without Rest, At the Present
ECW64 Musketeer in Soft Hat with Rest, Marching
ECW65 Musketeer in Soft Hat with Rest, Loading
ECW66 Musketeer in Soft Hat with Rest, Firing
ECW67 Musketeer in Soft Hat with Rest, At the Present
ECW70 Musketeer in Montero with Rest, Marching
ECW71 Musketeer in Montero with Rest, Loading
ECW72 Musketeer in Montero with Rest, Loading
ECW73 Musketeer in Montero with Rest, At the Present
ECW76 Musketeer in Woolly Hat with Rest, Marching
ECW77 Musketeer in Woolly Hat with Rest, Loading
ECW78 Musketeer in Woolly Hat with Rest, Firing
ECW79 Musketeer in Woolly Hat with Rest, At Rest
ECW82 Musketeer No Hat with Rest, Marching
ECW83 Musketeer No Hat with Rest, Loading
ECW84 Musketeer No Hat with Rest, Firing
ECW85 Musketeer No Hat with Rest, At the Present
ECW88 Musketeer in Soft Hat without Rest, Marching
ECW89 Musketeer in Soft Hat without Rest, Loading
ECW90 Musketeer in Soft Hat without Rest, Firing
ECW91 Musketeer in Soft Hat without Rest, At the Present
ECW94 Musketeer in Montero without Rest, Marching
ECW95 Musketeer in Montero without Rest, Loading
ECW96 Musketeer in Montero without Rest, Firing
ECW97 Musketeer in Montero without Rest, At the Present
ECW98 Command, Standing
ECW104 Command, Advancing
ECW107 Aristocrat Officers (x4)
ECW115 Musketeer in Woolly Hat without Rest, Marching
ECW116 Musketeer in Woolly Hat without Rest, Loading
ECW117 Musketeer in Woolly Hat without Rest, Firing
ECW118 Musketeer in Woolly Hat without Rest, At the Present
ECWA1 Artillery Crew £2.75
ECW108 Artillery Officers (x4)
ECWG1 Medium Gun £2.25

Cavalry

ECWC03 Cavalry in Breastplate and Lobster Helmet, Command
ECWC04 Cavalry in Breastplate and Lobster Helmet, At Rest
ECWC05 Cavalry in Breastplate and Lobster Helmet, Charging
ECWC12 Cavalry in Buff Coat and Lobster Helmet, Command
ECWC13 Cavalry in Buff Coat and Lobster Helmet, At Rest
ECWC14 Cavalry in Buff Coat and Lobster Helmet, Charging
ECWC22 Dragoons, Command
ECWC23 Dragoons, At Rest
ECWC24 Dragoons, Charging
ECWC32 Cavalry in Buff Coat and Soft Hat, Command
ECWC33 Cavalry in Buff Coat and Soft Hat, At Rest
ECWC34 Cavalry in Buff Coat and Soft Hat, Charging
ECWC42 Cavalry in Breastplate and Soft Hat, Command
ECWC43 Cavalry in Breastplate and Soft Hat, At Rest
ECWC44 Cavalry in Breastplate and Soft Hat, Charging

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Warfare 2016

The morning after arriving back from Cyprus the night before found me at oh crack sparrow fa*t picking up DG for our annual trip to Warfare..  talk about timing.. 

A quick trip up (must have been the nattering!) found us at the show by 10:30 only to find all the parking meters in the Rivermead car park were knackered... so free parking..  result!!

Downbeat show for me this year - maybe it was a touch of jet lag (?), but I found it very quiet..  overhearing the traders they were saying the same, but that it had also been mental on Saturday and all in all the few I heard were saying it had been a good show for them.. quite surprised not to see Peter Pig there (looking at my old posts they sometimes only do the Saturday so it may be that was the case here), as I was going to take the opportunity to have another look at their English Civil War range but other than that there was a good turn out of traders...  nothing took my fancy so no goodies bought, so on with the games...   poor year this year but in the time honoured fashion, in reverse order...

Third..

A Napoleonic demo game (I think, as there was no one at the table to ask, all the time I was there).. not a huge fan of teddy bear fur for terrain, but the figures were pleasing and I like the period..


Some information boards indicated that this was set during the war of the fifth coalition somewhere in Eastern Europe.. from memory this was a fictional encounter between Austria and Bavaria.


Not a huge fan of movement trays..  it implies the rules use figure removal to track casualties (who knows..  no one to ask...) and I  much prefer tracking casualties and leaving the figures on the table I spent so much time and effort butchering...  err, painting..


This was the rules/lists/book they were demo'ing...


Second..

Not a specific club game, and not a demo, just two guys (Steve Deeprose and a mate apparently) who turned up to put a game on for the fun of it.. bravo..  Napoleon in Egypt.

I first saw this game back in 2013 [clicky] but it is still a fascination to me...  if I was ever to start a Napoleonic project I think this would be it...


Love it..  so much colour



First..

I have no idea who was putting this on, but it was the stand out game for this years show in my humble opinion..  this was a Chain of Command game set in the the Ardennes/Battle of the Bulge, and presented by Earlswood Wargames Club...  modelling of the very highest order...


Makes you feel cold just looking at it..


...what impressed was the little touchs..  and the fact they were actually playing the game, and having fun...







Superb...  so a good show, but could do better on the demo game front..

Saturday, November 19, 2016

I have been to... Paphos Castle

Steve the Wargamer has taken the current Mrs Steve the Wargamer for some much needed warmth and sun in Cyprus* it seemed foolish therefore not to also visit the local object of military interest..  

* to be hideously recommended by the way..  my first trip to Cyprus, but hot sun and 25' in mid November and only four and a bit hours from the UK is a wonderful thing...  not my last trip I would suspect..

So..  not a major fortification but some interesting history, and well worth the two and half euro a head entry..

From Wiki which sums it up nicely..

"It was originally built as a Byzantine fort to protect the harbour. It was then rebuilt by the Lusignans in the thirteenth century after being destroyed in the earthquake of 1222. In 1570 it was dismantled by the Venetians. After capturing the island, the Ottomans restored and strengthened it. Throughout the ages it has seen many uses. It has served as a fortress, a prison and even a warehouse for salt during the British occupation of the island".

Its a totally dominating position, no record of it ever having seen action as far as I know, though.. I was quite surprised at how late it was built (Byzantine) given that Pathos was the seat of the Roman Pro Consul in charge of Cyprus (there is a separate archaeological exhibit covering his villa and surrounding buildings that is also worth going to..  simply superb mosaics, and the size of the palace/villa is stunning) .. maybe the Byzantines built on a yet to be found Roman structure??

Either way there were originally two towers and a connecting wall, only this tower/castle remains, and the ruins of the second are further along the sea wall..


Pleasingly solid..


I suspect feeling still runs high over the continuing partition of the island as the (Turkish; dating from the Mameluke occupation) inscription above the entrance looked to have been covered up..



It reminded me very much of a church inside..


This area was used as a mosque in the Mameluke period..


Upper ramparts..


Crenellations for 12 guns bought in by the Turks, and taken with them when the British (re)occupied the island.




A convoluted history... they refer to the Franks which gives an indication of what is meant by Lusignan in the wiki entry...  these were a branch of a French ruling family in the 3rd Crusade days who were given the island by Richard the Lionheart who had originally conquered it while on his way to the Holy Land, sold it to the Templar's, who then mismanaged the island to the point that they asked Richard to take it back following revolt by the local population.

Guy of Lusignan was the husband of Queen Sibylla the hereditary Queen of Jerusalem - which is as good an excuse as any for a gratuitous picture of Eva Green as said Sibylla - but was universally disliked and on her death needed to be moved "sideways" but without losing face - Cyprus was the answer..  a kingdom, but in revolt, so Richard killed two birds with one stone... 




...and the remains of the second tower..




...well worth an hour of anyone's time..