Thursday, January 29, 2015

Lottery win needed..


I frequent an absolutely brilliant bookshop called "Slightly Foxed" [clicky] and their newsletter today included the following snippet...  mouth watering, but at £175 a book (!!) I'll have to regretfully decline...

Meantime may we present this very attractive set of 20 volumes of Patrick O'Brian’s Aubrey & Maturin novels. All first editions (except Master & Commander which is a second impression) all in very good dust-wrappers. This set is priced at £3,500. 

To purchase this rare set, or for more information, please email Ben: First come, first served!

Sunday, January 25, 2015


"The term 'Dervish' is used to describe the Mahdi's followers, although he preferred the name 'ansar'.'Ansar' means 'helper' or 'follower'. It is used in the Koran to describe the people of Medina who helped the Prophet Mohammed when he was in exile. It conveyed the meaning of 'disciple', and implied a reward in after-life. 'Dervish' is a much wider term and describes a variety of Moslem friars. The word literally means 'poor' (from the Persian word, 'darvesh') and all dervishes were supposed to have taken vows of poverty and austerity". last some time to get up into my (freezing) loft and get some pictures.. I've threatened to play DG but the cold up there is positively disincentivising, so many apologies for the delay, matey!

Herewith another couple of bases of ansar for the Colonial project..

According to Warner, the Dervish army comprised four main elements; the cavalry, the camelry, the Jehadia (these were the rifle armed foot soldiers, who were grouped together in specific units), and lasty, and most prolifically, the 'sword and spear men' (who these guys represent).

My research indicates that they were grouped into "rubs", or battalions, armed with swords, spears and some rifles, and were commanded by Emirs.

Dervish Emir..

They were composed of Baggara's (an Arab tribe from the southern Darfur/Kordofan region of central Sudan, and also the tribe of Abdallahi ibn Muhammad the Mahdi's second in command/planner), Ja'alin's (an Arab tribe from around Khartoum), or Danagla's (the Mahdi's own tribe, from Dongola), and my understanding is that the units could be a  mixture of all those tribes, even though my further understanding is that the Ja'alin and Danagla didn't get on well..  it seems to have been a strength of the Mahdi (or Muhammad Ahmad ibn as Sayyid Abd Allah to give him his full name) that like some great leaders he seemed to be able to persuade peoples who traditionally disliked each other, to forget their differences.

In his book Slatin [clicky] said there were about 7000 cavalry, 34000 Jehadia, and 64000 sword and spear men, so these guys form the majority of  my Dervish force (this would have been around the time of the siege of Khartoum)..

An Emir of the Baggara tribe
 ...and last of all a shot of the Dervish force to date.. artillery top right (an old muzzle loader), ten bases of "Arab" foot (plus the two above), four of Hadendoah (Bejah, the "fuzzy wuzzy" of Rudyard Kipling renown), two bases of cavalry, and two of camelry, plus a few casualty bases... these are based Gilder style with 8 to 10 figures per base, but where the number of bases is the important factor...

So..  two bases of Dervish foot, 19 figures, Peter Pig, 15mm..

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Recuerdos de la Alhambra - Tarrega - John Williams

I have fairly wide ranging tastes when it comes to music, but one of the core components of practically all the music that will eventually appear in this Top 20 feature is the guitar...  in all its facets... and in this case, Spanish..

There are a number of quite astonishing guitarists about in this particular style, but my favourite has always been John Williams (this one by Emmanuel Rossfelder [clicky] is also rather good, and shows the intricacies involved in actually playing the composition)

I have a fair amount of Spanish classical guitar in my collection - I find it very relaxing, and soothing (I often find myself listening to this if I'm out sailing). This one in particular, though, has been in my top 20 since forever..  there is something about this composition that just oozes, heat, sun, dust, and in my minds eye, a slight scent of oranges, Spanish tobacco, and siesta..


Bear with..  new figures are lurching from the painting table even as we speak...  the Sikhs and Bengal Lancers have also arrived, and are already made up and undercoated....

Friday, January 09, 2015

2014 Review

Not really a person for doing this kind of stuff on my wargaming blog - the sailing one is a little different as I keep a pukka ships log - but my wargaming blog is the retreat. It's where I come to get away from the results orientated, text driven, target fixated, email sapping, meeting focussed, real world... no way I want to do the same here....

Still, while I wait for the effects of the flu to wear off a little more so that I can get up in the (loft based) man cave (where the paint and wargame tables are); the following should be seen as a joining up of the threads, and a bringing to a close...

So how did I do against my expectations [clicky]??

I've got to say it wasn't a stand out year; one of my poorest in some time in fact. The entire year was largely one giant paint funk, and I spent a fair amount of time wondering where the mojo had gone [clicky].

Having said that, however, this is a hobby, not a job, I come here to relax not stress, and I still managed a fair number of good things, with a definite up turn towards the end of the year... I only get so much "me time", and last year I invested a fair amount of that precious 'capital' in the boat, and would do so again quite happily....

The painting totals for the year turned out at 12 () diabolically bad compared with the 172 in 2013 (and even the 120 in 2012)!

Stand proud, chaps - the entire painted output for 2013, it's a lot of responsibility on such small shoulders....

68 posts this this year (c/w 84 in '13, 85, in '12, and 93 in '11!) which is OK given the general level of engagement in the hobby last year (I'm surprised I was so prolific - it didn't seem like it at times...) what was a bit of a surprise is that 1 of my top 5 posts of "all time" (by page views) were written during 2014... nice....

Three table top games this year (same as last year)! Something still needs to be done about that, or does it, I get my gaming fixes through a number of different ways these days, on-line, Skype, face to face...

I work long hours, I still find it very difficult at times to summon up the enthusiasm to set the table up.. much easier to open a beer, light a cigar, and read a good book!

Speaking of which, 48 books were read last year, compared with 36 in 2013 so there's a definite feeling that was what I was mostly doing... favourite books this year? Fiction would be "Dominion" by CJ Sansom [clicky], non-fiction "Waterloo" by Bernard Cornwell [clicky]

No resolutions were made, no targets set, no projects defined, so once again I can report that all targets and goals were achieved ...!

This year?? Well I can report a thawing, the green shoots of mojo have been seen, and once I can get back into the loft I can varnish and then base up the latest crop of troglodytes and misshapes to leave the paint table... I intend painting more this year (it would be difficult to paint less)...

I have also purchased a new super dooper web-cam-thingy with which I intend to challenge DG on Skype to our first table top game of the year soonest... it's HD (so I'm hoping the broadband is up to it) but should give a clearer view... I am not unconvinced that the reason I won the Chiraz game above wasn't because DG missed my cavalry moving!

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Enough already....

I give in... 

So first we had these, which I spotted back in 2010 on John Moher's page....

...and now I spotted these during Curt's Analog Hobbies Painting Challenge this year..

Painted by the supremely talented Dave Docherty [clicky]

Figures ordered... also some Indian infantry... 

I only hope I can do a quarter of the justice to mine that these guys have done to theirs!

Saturday, January 03, 2015

More British Army Rifle Platoon 1940.. Third Section

Happy New Year to all!

Onwards and upwards a new year betokes a new look for the blog, so we'll see how I get on with this one for a while...

Back in 2013 (blimey....  really????! ) I posted the start of my painting efforts to build a British 15mm skirmish force [clicky] specifically a rifle platoon with all supports, some transport, and a little armour

I've now painted up the third squad with their LMG support.. in fact I finished these in December but just haven't had time to post them up until now..

Rifle Platoon (3 of these make a company)

Platoon Headquarters

  • 1 x .38 cal Pistol (previously completed)
  • 1 x 2" light mortar (previously completed)
  • 1 x .303 cal Rifle (Assistant MTR Gunner) (previously completed)
  • 1 x .55 cal AT Rifle (39-42), or 1 x PIAT (42-45) 
  • 2 x .303 cal Rifle (Assistant ATR/PIAT Gunner)

3 x Rifle Squads
  • 1 .45 cal SMG (40-41), or 1 x 9mm SMG (41-45) 
  • 1 x 7.7mm LMG
  • 1 x .303 cal Rifle (Assistant LMG Gunners)
  • 6 x .303 cal Rifle

Still to do:
  • HQ Section needs a anti-tank team (at this stage of the war an anti-tank rifle)
  • All three sections probably need an SMG figure (probably with a Thompson a la Frank in Dad's Army! ) though I may just pretend that the command figure already has one..
  • 2nd Rifle Section needs a Bren Team..

That kicks off the painting total for this year!

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Good news...

Steve the Wargamer wishes all of the poor deluded fools* a very good New Year; may your beers be fresh and hoppy, your pork pies crispy, and your die rolls high or low as required...

One good piece of news from the guys at Newbury and Reading Wargames club...

"Colours 2015: N&RWG are pleased to share that Colours will run in 2015. The big change is that it will move to a one day format rather than the two day show that we’ve run previously. This change is a really important one as it is driven by our desire to bring a high quality show with all the best traders and demonstration games. Colours will be on Saturday 12th September 2015 at Newbury Race Course. For show visitors: as the show date get closer check back here more details including showtimes, directions, traders list and forms."

Dates in your (new) diaries chaps...

* that hope, one day, there may be something interesting to read etcetc