Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Happy Cheesemas !

We finished the Christmas shopping last Saturday morning, fortunately this was relatively uneventful and we escaped long before the scenes of idiocy that befell others as they tried to leave shopping centers in their cars. However I was banned from buying a new mixing palette I 'just happened' to see in passing so I have a suspicion I know what the Mk3 daughter has got me this year. All that is left is to collect some milk, fresh bread and minor last minute requests from the Mk1 daughter.

I opened the fridge this evening to be confronted with a large amount of cheese. The quantity is almost obscene except for the fact that one can never have enough good cheese ! We had been to a Food Show a few weeks ago with friends and had returned with a few truckles of more unusual varieties that don't need to be stuffed with apricots, cranberries or kiwi fruit to hold your attention. That and a visit to the supermarket had resulted in more Cheddar, Brie, Camembert, Stilton and a heap of pickles but unfortunately no 'Stinking Bishop' blue.

Therefore, 'Cheesemas' officially starts tomorrow as we have to wade through all of this before it goes off. Still, at least it is guaranteed to be flavoursome. That is regretfully more than can be said for the forthcoming visit to 'The outlaws' this weekend where, if normal service is to be expected, they will already have started boiling the Christmas lunch vegetables to death.

Merry Cheesemas everyone.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Not quite the end of the 'painting' year?

I don't make New Years resolutions as they always seem to end in failure. When I stopped smoking some 25 odd years ago I deliberately waited until March to avoid that fate.  Aside from a couple of short and very temporary relapses (predominantly alcohol related) I have kept off the evil weed. I became convinced I had definitely  kicked the habit after a rather heavy gentleman's 'stag' weekend  6 years ago where the greatest difficulty I experienced was in maintaining a vertical stance  rather than turning down a cigarette. We may have been mature in years, but for a fleeting moment, those of us that still had some,  let our hair down. (and we showed those youngsters how to do it!)

As far too many New Years Eve's have been 'ruined' through work, I am coming round to the view that my 'year' is inextricably linked to the Financial rather than the Calendar year. This is typified by my view of the Annual Balance of Lead surplus/deficit. I usually make my largest annual purchases at Salute in April. These are then topped up throughout the year as and when I see something I really like. As a consequence the success or failure  of a painting year can be expressed in terms of whether I have painted 'all the stuff' I bought at Salute.

Two years ago was a disaster. A SYW Pendraken Austrian army lies part under coated in a Tupperware box as do 36 Foundry Russian Crimean infantry in Shell Jackets. On the up side I now have 40 odd WW2 and interwar figures finished that can be used for a variety of roles from the  30's onwards. Oh yes, did I mention my Saga figures? Perhaps this era was called the Dark Ages as those figures have still not seen the light of day!

Last year I restrained myself to 28mm WW2 purchases. The Bolt Action Italian paratroops are all painted and based with the exception of a Breda MMG Unit. I have even converted a couple of 'secret weapons' that have not been used as yet and though I would love to post images, I can't.

The Perry DAK Zug just has one section to complete and the Zundapp Solo is now happily pinned to its desert base. I have even built and based my Nissan hut for the air base game due next year. This is all on top of scratch building some Arabian market stalls and painting a few flavour figures such as my Jazz Band and the Christopher Lee miniature in desert uniform. I have even started on some ECW Highlanders although I am rapidly deciding that perhaps I only need one unit of tartan figures.

December is, therefore, the month in which I reassess what needs to be completed in the remaining time prior to the end of March in order that I can then justify another spending spree..

At the moment the outlook is positive, if I finish  the DAK Then I am as good as done. The concern is that having done that There is a real risk of being carried away by ''The Next Big Thing' in April. Does this mean I should start something new beforehand?

Monday, 14 December 2015

How not to start a new gaming period

The Daughter MkI is currently at University and is now almost half way through her Primary Education degree.

I had a Skype call from her during the summer term whilst she was on a placement. 'Dad' she said 'Er, yes' I replied, fully expecting her to plead poverty or say she had been eating only lentils for the previous two weeks. But not so. 'Have you got any Romans?' Was the rather unexpected question.

To cut a long story short she was required to produce a mixed curriculum lesson and she decided to run a Science and History lesson that related to 'The Romans' which was that terms topic. The pedant in me did suggest that actually she should include Geology in there somewhere but  I didn't want  to give her an opportunity to practice 'The look'. This has been passed from my mother to my sister (who is also a Primary teacher) a single glance of which causes the recipient to stand with their hands clasped behind their back looking at the floor mumbling something about not doing that again. But I digress....

She had built Mt Vesuvius  and had also prepared a town beneath the volcano (see below).

 She just needed some suitable 'occupants'. 'What for?' I said, somehow already knowing the answer. ' All the children get a figure, the put them in Pompeii, I make the volcano erupt, then we see who survives,'.  'OK, I said, I'll have a look'.  I do have some Romans (15mm, none are painted though) I also have some pigs in legionary armour, made by a friend (30mm). I don't know whether my Pigs were pre or post Marian reform but in the scheme of things I didn't  think it really mattered to the majority of 10 year olds.

'OK, says I, how many do you want?' '28 plus 2 for the TA's plus can you do one in a toga for the Head and another for the caretaker who has helped me build this, he wants to be a slave' is the reply. 'Oh and can you do it by Monday'. In the end she had to compromise and used Jelly babies ! For any budding child therapists out there you might be interested to know that all the 'naughty' children put their Jelly baby on the mountain slopes with inevitable consequences !

I can't show you the results as there are children's faces in the video and I don't want to drop my eldest in it. If you want to replicate the experiment. Put white vinegar washing up liquid and yellow and red food dye in a bottle. Then add bicarbonate of soda. The red and yellow dye makes the lava look like lava and the kids loved it.  Do this outdoors, it gets very messy!

As it was so successful I've a feeling she will do it again. If I start anything Ancient related they are likely to be 'liberated' for said project ! Safer to stick to other gaming periods I think

Thursday, 10 December 2015

The Jazz Band

Here are some 'in progress' photos of my Black Cat Jazz Band. They did take a very long time to arrive though. I thought for a while that I had lost them, but I am glad I waited as they are nice and 'different'. The only thing stopping me ordering more figures from Black Cat is the time it takes for delivery, if only they traded at Salute....... Hey ho.

More pictures of them and  the rest of the completed figures to follow but these are all now packed away in their transport case ready for the game on Sunday where they are appearing at Dick's place. Tickets are, I believe,  still available at a very reasonable rate and Dick with throw in a bottle of almost drinkable Aussie Chateau Chunder Red for every 4 seat table you fill.

The leader of the Jazz Quartet,  Mr Henri Mankini. He is the middle of the three Mankini brothers, the eldest being an archaeologist and the youngest a playboy wastrel.

 Mr Jock Scoplin is tinkering with the Ivory Keys. The person who is physically on the piano on is the guest artiste Miss Sophia Watapairona. I am not sure whether the patrons really care whether she can sing or not (Sophia is blue tacked to the piano by the way)

The inventor of the newfangled 'scuffle' music, Lennie Donegan

Keith Starkey on drums. Starkey is as mad as a bucket of frogs and just as temperamental.  He turned up for his audition wearing a black suit and brown shoes whilst drinking a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale. Can you believe that ? Brown shoes after 7pm - disgraceful

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Return to the fold

They say that bloggers hit a brick wall after a while, there are of course notable exceptions.

I hope that I can scale the wall with a little help.

Since I last posted

'The boys' plus Teds Korean War vet father (also called Ted just to make things simpler) spent an excellent weekend in Normandy
We have had a few games
We cancelled more than a few due to work commitments
We started yet another period having sworn we wouldn't
We moved from the beaches of England to the snow of Norway and as of this weekend we finally arrive in the Western Desert
Figures from Black Cat arrived 10 months after I ordered them

This weekend we have engineered a day of gaming. Our Weird War 2 has moved  to the Western Desert. The encounter is a combination of role play and Bolt Action set in the market town of Khazi, a center of trade full of figs, dates, flying carpets, dodgy venues, famous personalities and names ripe for puerile  juvenile puns -  can't wait.

After that we plan a game centered on a cowardly attack on a glorious Italian Air base/ R&R  area, by Craig's SAS cowards who seem to be  intent on pilfering our finest Chianti and making off with our delicious ice cream.  That is, of course, assuming the SAS painted in time.

Expect to see some 'real life' characters make an appearance although perhaps not as you may expect to see them.

By way of a teaser here are a couple of early photos

An early photo of the village of Khazi. I scratch built a few market stalls  for this and that seemed to set Red off on a building spree. The building at the back is the local Police Station. By the way  if anyone wants any juniper berries that also double as  28mm water melons I have  a spice jar full of the things!

This is Dick's cafe. It is designated as a 'Late Night Refreshment House'  which means he can sell booze as long as he provides entertainment alongside it. Some dubious bands and acts have performed here. It is rumored that Madame 'Ping Pong' might be booked for a short time early next year. This place even has a flushing toilet !