Saturday, 23 June 2018

Of tiny churches and imaginary characters

Well, it's been another very busy week for-wise, which is great of course as it pays my mortgage and stuff like that.

Allan at Lancashire Games has taken delivery of my first 900 or so Perry Miniatures  and I'll be sending more in the very near future, which, are already paid for of course.

It's worth noting that Lancashire have a 15% off everything sale until the end of June, including painting which means I made a considerable saving and explains why I paid in advance for past 2 of my Marston Moor project. I am not a poor man (and I am mindfully grateful to the powers that be) but if I can get more bang for my buck, I'll do so.

Allans 25mm painter is a guy I trust, which coming from such a fickle fellow professional with my background, I think it speaks volumes.

On Thursday of this week, Dave Bodley at Grand Manner delivered the rather wonderful church from his medieval range, replete with boundary walls, wicket gates, village cross and fully sculpted graveyard.

At £212.00 plus shipping this is not a model for frugally minded or shoestring gamer, but it's a massive and superb model which will look superb on our 14x6 table once the log cabin is built, here at Fackham Hall.



As they say, you get what you pay for, and I'm very much into doing it the right way, with the right budget. You either go big or go home... Or to put it bluntly, get your hand in your wallet, or piss off!

Even when we were kids, Roger and I were mixing with the 'big boys' of the hobby such as Ian Smith, Mick Rothenburg and in Roger's case, Peter Gilder (may Gygax bless his soul). We absorbed by cultural osmosis the old way of doing things - you know, 'proper' armies.


Today I went over to the 'Philosopher's Dome' Harry Potter convention in Buxton, taking my Death Eater costume for it's last outing.



It was a fun day but the attendees were for the most part a reserved bunch. By 1PM my arthritis was giving me hell and so, we wobbled off to have a rather nice lunch in Buxton,and thence a leisurely drive homewards, stopping in at Waitrose  for some avocados and port. On the way, I gifted the robes and tunic to a new custodian, in the shape of my son-in-law.

I've just commissioned a new set of robes which are being crafted over in Maryland, U.S by the talented 'Magic Needle Creations' based on this outfit, made by the same talented lady:



I'm in no rush as my main focus at present is the completion of my 28mm Marston Moor armies and terrain. I'll pay for it, and when it arrives, it arrives. Besides, good things always take time.

And that's about it for this week. May you all get more games, buy more toys and have more fun!


TTFN




Wednesday, 20 June 2018

The great Marston Moor project is going well after 3 days...
Even without Roger's input yet, (and he will, oh yes, he will, because he shares the same megalomanic tendencies as I) the plan which came from his Mephistophelean mind is steaming ahead, an like unstoppable buff coated cavalry charge, led by a geezer from the Rhine.

 The progress so far:

1. 19KG of Perry metals have been purchased and sent to Lancashire Games, who are my chosen painters.

2. I have commissioned the painting of all of Rupert's horse and foot as well as started on Newcastle's horse for the Royalist side. That's a lot of toys there..;
3. On the Parliament side I have commissioned the entire Eastern Association and all of the Northern Association apart from 1 combined foot regiment.

This leaves for the Royalists:
The remainder of Newcastle's army 
The York Garrison . 

For Parliament:
The Covenanters 
The one outstanding unit of the N.A.

Not bad at all, although I confess that my wallet is in palliative care at present!

It's all being done in Perry metals so no plastic rubbish, and the painting is scheduled to begin, I am informed, from next week.

Thursday will see the delivery of the stunning church model made by Grand Manner. It's a joint purchase with my good lady and whilst it cost an eye-watering £212.00 for the unpainted model, it's a real centrepiece will look superb on the 20 or so terrain boards we have by Adrian's Walls.




Saturday, I am off to the Philosophers Dome, Harry Potter themed convention over in Buxton, the first time I've taken the Death Eater costume out since October of 2017, when I was really unenthusiastic; so much so that I went home early and threw the whole £1800 costume in various cupboards.

Yesterday, I washed all of the robes, pressed them, replaced the Horcrux pendant I lost (it arrived this  morning) and managed to grab two tickets.

We'll se how it goes. The costume has always been very well received at Potter specific conventions. If I have a good time, I'll keep the costume, but if I have a bad time, then I am retiring from the scene and selling the costume...





TTFN

Saturday, 16 June 2018

An oldie, but one worth a re-visit...

I originally wrote this almost 4 years ago, but as I was looking at my assorted books on the subject this afternoon, I thought it may be fun to repost it, for my newer readers:



I spend my working hours plugged into documentaries and podcasts covering all types of subject, and yesterday I was tuned into a paranormal podcast which was discussing the 'Satanic Panic' of the 80s. which I remember all too well.

Now, as well as the worry that heavy rock music was tempting teens into worshipping Satan, some of you will recall that Dungeons & Dragons came clearly into the firing line of the Religious Right spearheaded by the wonderfully named Tipper Gore.

Even here in Sheffield, UK, there was a flurry of anti-D&D sentiment with the local press echoing the worries of the Church Of England that sweet teens like me would be drawn into a life in which they became Satan's minions. Of course because I was into Iron Maiden et al, I was doubly doomed.

Forget the fact that I was way more literate than my peers as a result of the time I spent with my nose in books, no, I was going to hell and had a first class ticket.

Bu**er!

Anyway, I've covered all that previously in my first book, but it did get me into a conversation on a social media site, which led to me taking a fresh look at the controversy that surrounded what is in reality an innocent pastime.

In 1982 Irving Pulling of Virginia, USA, committed suicide, not in itself of particular note, however Irving was a member of a high school D&D group, and his mother Patricia was to become infamous for what came to pass in the wake of her son's death.

Driven by the Satanic Panic and being an anti-occult campaigner, Patricia Pulling filed a lawsuit against the principal of the school on the grounds that as the D&D group met at school, and as Irving was the victim (Pulling claimed) of a D&D curse placed upon him prior to his death, the principal was directly responsible.

This led to the founding of 'Bothered About Dungeons & Dragons' or 'BADD' which sought to 'educate' on the dangers of Dungeons & Dragons.

Pulling even produced a pamphlet which strangely enough looks like many of the fanzines of the day...


Patricia then filed  what was to become an infamous lawsuit against TSR and Gary Gygax, which was finally thrown out by the courts in 1984, after a prolonged battle. However, it was also demonstrated during the proceedings by none other than Michael A Stackpole, that contrary to the grief driven claims of Pulling, there were lower instances of suicide amongst gamers than non-gamers.

Pulling succumbed to cancer in 1997, and despite her continuous campaigning right up until her death, BADD pretty much faded away.

An excellent in-depth article named 'The Pulling Report' was compiled by Stackpole in 1990 and can be found here:

http://www.rpgstudies.net/stackpole/pulling_report.html

At over 40 pages, it's worth a read, if you are interested in the history of our hobby.

There were many such claims made against gamers in the 80s, and more often than not, BADD, which punched way above it's weight in the minds of the conservative small towns of the Southern United States, was in the eye of the hurricane...

The Miami Herald ran this article in October of 1985:


'PARENTS SEE A REAL CONFLICT IN FANTASY WAR GAMES GROUP LINKS DUNGEONS & DRAGONS TO 51 TEEN-AGE SUICIDES


On the afternoon of June 9, 1982, Irving Lee "Bink" Pulling II completed his final examinations at Patrick Henry High School and wrote on the test sheet, "This is the last paper I will ever write, GOODBYE."

That evening, outside his parents' home in Montpelier, Bink, 16, shot himself in the chest with his father's pistol.

Patricia Pulling, Bink's mother, is convinced that his suicide resulted from a "curse" put on him in school earlier that day while he was playing the fantasy game Dungeons & Dragons. He was so distraught over the curse, she said, that he killed himself.

Pulling and her husband, Lee, have spent the last three years fighting to have Dungeons & Dragons removed from schools, which sometimes permit it as an extracurricular activity, and to force the manufacturer, TSR Inc. of Lake Geneva, Wis., to put warning labels on Dungeons & Dragons materials.

"We've never asked for the game to be banned from the market," Lee Pulling said. "We want warning labels."

A TSR official said that the game is harmless fun and that warning labels are unneeded.

"What's the warning going to say?" said Deiter Sturm, TSR public relations director. "Are you going to put a warning label on automobiles, saying, 'This automobile is for transportation use only, not meant to be a weapon or means of suicide?' Anything we have in life can be misused, be it games, TV, sports, anything that we have."

Bothered about D&D

After her son's death, Patricia Pulling organized BADD -- Bothered About D&D -- whose newsletter now goes out to 2,000 concerned parents and others who oppose Dungeons & Dragons. BADD says it has linked Dungeons & Dragons to 51 suicides and killings involving young people since 1979.

The research, however, is unscientific, consisting mainly of Patricia Pulling's interviews with police and parents in cases brought to her attention by newspapers and television. She and her husband want the federal government to investigate the deaths to determine if Dungeons & Dragons was a cause.

Dungeons & Dragons is a game of the imagination. Dice are used, but there is no board, as there is in Monopoly or backgammon. It is set in medieval times, based loosely on the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, author of the trilogy Lord of the Rings and other fantasy works.

Pulling's group and other opponents of Dungeons & Dragons object to its emphasis on violence.

"Dungeons & Dragons is essentially a worship of violence," said Dr. Thomas Radecki of Champaign, Ill., a psychiatrist and chairman of the National Coalition on Television Violence in Washington, D.C.

"It's a very intense war game. Talk to people that have played it. It's very fascinating. It's a game of fun. But when you have fun with murder, that's dangerous. When you make a game out of war, that's harmful. The game is full of human sacrifice, eating babies, drinking blood, rape, murder of every variety, curses of insanity. It's just a very violent game."

Radecki's organization is trying to convince CBS to take its Saturday morning cartoon show Dungeons & Dragons off the air.

Dungeons & Dragons has been controversial almost from its inception, but controversy has only spurred its popularity and growth. TSR's Sturm said in a telephone interview that three to four million people play the game and that many other role- playing fantasy games have appeared since TSR founder Gary Gygax created Dungeons & Dragons in 1973.

Initially, Dungeons & Dragons was played mostly by college students. But the trend in recent years has been toward high school and junior high players. TSR has simplified the instructions to reach the younger market.

Bright players

Because the game is complicated and requires a vivid imagination, Dungeons & Dragons always has attracted bright young people. Bink Pulling was in a program for the talented and gifted at his high school.

In a number of cases, Patricia Pulling said, the connection between the game and the death is clear.

Deiter Sturm said TSR investigates when BADD attributes a death to Dungeons & Dragons.

"We always find there were many, many different factors involved in that person's life," Sturm said. "We haven't yet, out of all the names, seen one shred of evidence to indicate the game was the cause" of a death.

The mother of one suicide victim said Dungeons & Dragons "is a dangerous game for some young people. It was a dangerous game for my son."

But the woman, who did not want to be quoted by name, said her son had other problems. Some of the criticism of the game "is a little misguided," she said.

That is the view of some others as well.

Easy explanation?

"Dungeons & Dragons has been one of those things that people grab onto to explain suicidal death among young people," said Julie Perlman, executive officer of the American Association of Suicidology. "And I feel it is unwarranted."

She said that in 1982, the last year for which statistics are available, there were 5,025 suicides reported among people aged 15 to 24. Perlman said she believes many more suicides went unreported.

"Everybody wants an answer that explains it easily," she said. ". . . I just see that Dungeons & Dragons is an easy answer. It's not that simple."

Beth Grant-DeRoos of Dublin, Calif., is director of the Association for Gifted-Creative Children. She said her organization, with a membership of 7,200 families in California, views Dungeons & Dragons as a positive force that encourages children to exercise their imaginations and use their minds.

"Eighty-six percent of our families have children who play Dungeons & Dragons," she said.

Out of schools

Several school systems have removed Dungeons & Dragons as an extracurricular activity since the controversy arose. The Arlington, Va., school board banned the game shortly after the Pullings filed their first lawsuit against the principal of their son's school.

TSR's Sturm said many parents oppose Dungeons & Dragons "because they have to find something to place the blame on to relieve their personal guilt.'


And, if you think that was bad, take a look at this from the Omaha World-Herald of November 1984, where police speculated that there was a D&D connection following the deaths of a pair of brothers in Colorado.

Chief Of Police, Larry Stallcup was quoted thus:


"We aren't sure at this point whether we have a double suicide or a suicide/homicide," 

The police chief said [Dungeons & Dragons] appeals to very intelligent people, who use their imagination to manipulate characters and work through a series of mazes to achieve treasures and avoid falling into the dungeon.

"My undertstanding [sic] is that once you reach a certain point where you are the master, your only way out is death," Stallcup said.

"That way no one can beat you."

D&D was everywhere from colouring books, and 'Letraset', to boxes of cereals. There was even an animated series which had me running home from school every week to watch the latest adventures, and try to work out whether the producers were following the rules. And before you ask, yes, I have the whole thing on DVD. It seemed that Satan's influences were everywhere:




And, how many pubescent gamers 'rolled their D20s' to ads like this?


It's plain to see that we were all certainly going to hell with such explicit advertising...

We were screwed!

Some of you will no doubt recall that TSR (the original owners of D&D) experimented with a (truly awful and very unsuccessful) line of toys based on the game in the 80s...



Not to be outdone, the 'Defender's Of The Faith' hit back with their own toy lines. Praise Unlimited Inc, a Florida manufacturer of Christian toys, deliberately aimed their lines to counter the evil products spewing forth from TSR:




The Miami Herald, that bastion of anti-gaming fervor profiled the the company in December, 1984 thus:


'WOMEN PUT CHRISTIAN MESSAGE IN TOYS


Cute, cuddly dolls with names like Joy and Faith and an action toy called Judah the Christian Soldier could some day replace "the devil's toys," say two North Carolina women.

"We feel that this is a ministry," Dana McNeal said, displaying toys she believes answer the biblical call in Proverbs 22:6 to "Train up a child in the way he should go."

McNeal and Linda Campbell market dolls, games and other items in North Carolina for Praise Unlimited Inc., a Sarasota, Fla., company specializing in "Christian toys." Campbell and McNeal describe themselves not as distributors, but as "toy missionaries."

"We feel we were called into this ministry, led by the Lord," McNeal said. "The reason there's a need for Christian toys is because of the toys that are on the current world secular market."

McNeal dismissed with a wave of her hand dolls such as Darth Vader from the film Star Wars and the shadowy men and monsters from Dungeons and Dragons.

"We call them the devil's toys," she said.

McNeal said she hopes parents will give their children alternatives -- perhaps a 116-piece Noah's Ark or an action toy named Judah the Christian Soldier.

Another Praise Unlimited toy is a child-sized suit of "the armor of God" described in Ephesians 6:11 as the proper gear to "stand against the wiles of the devil," she said. Accessories include the Helmet of Salvation, the Belt of Truth, the Shield of Faith and the Breastplate of Righteousness.

There also are the Praise Dolls -- Joy, Faith, Hope and Love. They tell their religious messages in song, activated by a child's hug.

"God is so good. God is so good. God is good and good to me," sings Joy, a 21-inch doll with blond hair and a dress decorated with descending doves representing the Holy Spirit.

Campbell and McNeal, who have worked together since March, said the dolls' messages are the antithesis of what's going under many Christmas trees.

"A lot of toys on the secular world market illustrate violence, competition and sensuality,' McNeal said.

She said a recent U.S News and World Report said sales of military board games, guns and violent video games have increased 200 percent in the past two years. But her strongest criticism was for Dungeons and Dragons, a board game that prompted reports of youngsters identifying too closely with the subterranean knights and sorcerers they control on cardboard.

"We're trying to make people aware of what children are playing with and the effect on them," McNeal said.'

And the 'evils of D&D' were making it to the TV screens. Rona Jaffe a writer of somewhat dreary romantic fiction scored a hit when she wrote 'Mazes & Monsters' a truly awful story which, was turned into a 1982 'for T.V' film starring the young Tom Hanks.



I have that book, and I have watched the film, but fear that to do so again may cause brain damage.

The story was based very, VERY loosely on the life and death of one James Dallas Egbert III, who was something of a child genius, who by 16 was studying computer sciences at Michigan State University.

He could not take the pressure and was a drug addict who tried three times to indulge in self harm. The first time he took to the steam tunnels of the university, took a handful quaaludes (hypnotic-sedatives) and  failed to kill himself .

He tried twice more to end his life and finally managed to fail his saving throw vs. shotgun in his apartment on August 16th 1980.

At the time it was thought that the fact that Egbert played D&D, was a contributing factor, hence that bloody awful book and film.

(You will note that this pre-dates BADD)

And so on and so forth...

As you can see, this really was taken very seriously at the time. I guess that today's teenagers with their almost constant supply of paranormal, sci-fi and fantasy media would laugh if we 'Oldies' tried to tell them how we were at one time 'Christianity's Most Wanted'. My, how times change...

Or do they?

A new rallying of the so called 'Religious Right' in the U.S is starting to stir these same old prejudices, despite the fact that so many of the games now are as pure as angel piss, when compared to the old stuff. I fully expect that at some stage we'll see a troubled child, stymied in their ability to express who they are by the button-down society we seem to be becoming, do something which see them harm themselves or others. Then, when the distraught parents, clear out the child's things and find a fictional work containing 'demons' or 'spells' they will seek a way to exonerate themselves, and lash out at the producers and players of games.

We will become hunted members of a 'Global Satanic Cult' and the wraith of Patricia A Pulling will rise again.

Let's all take out our copies of Deities & Demigods and pray to whatever power we wish, that this does not come to pass.

Now, if you will excuse me I need to find my dice and some paper, and do some serious Satan worshipping...


TTFN



Friday, 15 June 2018

Marston! More?

You know, it amazes me just how Roger and I, despite being a hundred or so miles apart geographically and no longer living in each other's parents homes for days at a time, or plaguing the late and much respected Terry Wise in his 'Wargamer's Attic', still manage to set each other off with ideas and projects.

There I was last night, relaxed and content; safe in the knowledge that 13 KG of figures would be dropping on the doorstep of Lancashire Games today, when the evil genius sends me an email, hinting that he is currently reading an OOB for Marston Moor, no doubt trying to give me a guilt trip for firing his interest in the ECW again, much as I did to him, with the 16th century a while ago.

Well, I pulled him up short... I used strong, short sentences to indicate that he should concentrate on the 16th century and that I had the 17th century covered. Words were exchanged, snooks cocked and possibly, kittens sent to heaven, and I sat down and watched my episode of Fame, drank wine and then had a rather fitful night indeed, waking grumpy and out of sorts. 

And then I looked at the link which Roger had sent me...

And then, I counted the units at Marston Moor, looked at the numbers and realised that the devil had got to me via that nastiest of ways, the well laid out OOB.

And thus, this morning I have conceded to Roger that perhaps we may look at this battle.

Of course this will mean the ordering of more figures. My Parliamentarian units were I confess, not based on a given Association but were rather chosen for colour. The Royalists were chosen to represent Royalist in Oxford and the Midlands. After all... My toys, my money, my choice of colours. Because at that point I was not looking at a given battle or part of the conflicts, I was taking a rather relaxed approach as befits a man of my increasing years.

But now, oh now, I am going to start commissioning units for Marston blood Moor aren't I?

And you know what? I feel pretty damned good about it.

Roger, I salute you, sir!


TTFN

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Busy, busy, busy...

Well, it's busy here at Fackham Hall as I've ploughed back into 'normality' after the last few weeks. I am not complaining mind you, because if I am busy it means that all is well and I am earning my living and leaving a legacy of gorgeous models in caring and discerning hands. I can say that because frankly I won't work with or for people who don't appreciate the time and effort that a properly painted miniature demands.

Last Friday, my wife and our daughter who was burned out after the loss of her grandmother and the day to day pressure of having three young boys who don't understand all the tears and upset, decided that they would go and see the latest Jurassic Park offering. Thus I spent a hard 4 hours after a long day at my desk writing the painting instructions for the Perry Miniatures stuff which I blogged about last week.

I dutifully sent it off to the painter and went to bed at 1AM, awaking at 6AM with a start because I realised that I'd forgotten amongst all the minute of my brief, to note the colour of hat bands for the two sides - B****r!

Anyway, we had a reasonably relaxed weekend, driving up to the East coast for tea on Saturday  and just mooching around the house on Sunday doing things such as clearing closets and sorting through the Perry stuff to make up the units and label them accordingly which was wonderful, let me tell you.

Anyway, I had done all this when I was contacted by a chap who wanted to sell his plastic ECW collection for a 4 figure sum. They looked OK in the pics and I decided to buy these instead of have the painting done. Alas, doing due diligence I asked for close ups yesterday and they were not as nice, being blocked and dipped. Many of you will know that I loathe dipped miniatures, so I reluctantly had to decline the offered models and thus today I sent the first 13KG package off to the painter and paid out just shy of £3000.00 which will be followed by another £900+ on Monday when I have placed the order for more models that I require and arranged payment and delivery of the same at Britcon in August. I figure that if I have it all paid off, all I have to do is sit back and await delivery.

To be honest I am happy with this because Lancashire Games are a painters painter... They know what they are about. I don't have the time or inclination after a week painting, and all I ask is nice figures painted by someone who knows their way around the materials.

A lot of people look at me agog, but look, it's akin to a chef visiting the restaurant of one of his peers. It's a mark of trust and respect, and a joy, because you are able to put some of the money you make back into the industry that feeds and clothes you.

I have had a couple of approaches from other painters who sell themselves on being 5p cheaper than X or Y and frankly, they can screw themselves... 5p? Really?

Jesus, if you are playing penny games with me then you are not even remotely on my wavelength, and that's before we even discuss your ability, knowledge and professionalism, which frankly are about where my own was (and indeed those of my contemporaries) 35 years ago.

So, no, I'll back Allan at Lancashire every time. He has a really good 28mm painter in his stable who I am very, very happy with.

Next we are planning the building of a bloody big log cabin here at Fackham Hall. We have had the quotes from our builders who say that £30,000 will probably be enough, and they will do great and wondrous things as always. If all things go to plan, we'll have that sorted in the next 12 months and then we intend to run an open house policy for passing gamers in a similar manner to the late, great  Mr Gilder.

Roger of course has a standing invitation which, I hope he will abuse mercilessly when visiting family here in his home city. Mind you he muttered something about 'Napoleonics' and '100 battalions' and '28mm' which is causing me night terrors.

The terrain cards will be modified Adrians Walls boards and Gran Manner have graciously agreed to do a bit of casting for me so that we'll have their stunning church as the centre of the fictional village of Fackham In The Marsh.

Finally, last week my wife, being the absolute gem she is, took me to pick up and get fitted for my 50th birthday gift. OK, my birthday is not until the week after Britcon, but she has bought me one f the things I have craved since I was 17 - A Longines divers watch.

This is a beautiful timepiece with some serious specs. My biggest love after wargaming are watches and I am not one for ostentatious Rolex and Tudor watches - they leave me cold - which I used to sell to the undiscerning 33 years ago when I worked at prestige jewellers in Sheffield. I am looking for precision, Swiss workings and ridiculous 'ticks'. This watch has a ticks per second count of 6! The down side is that an annual service starts at £200!

It's a doozy and I have insisted that Kayte locks it away until I cross the date line between the 17th and 18th of August. It will be on my wrist at 'The Other Partizan' of course...

Here are a few pics of it. Just look at the size of the manual:



I am a lucky man and there's not a day that I forget that!

To come from a starting point where we fed two people on £7 per week, to where we are now, is something for which we are very, very grateful. And to share that journey with a woman like my wife is priceless.

The only thing which has rattled me this lat week was a 'dream'

I had met the late Peter 'Greblord' Armstrong and Paul Green on a corner of a street 'somewhere' and after a light chat with Pete about his being deceased and noting that his right eye was solid black, he suggested I accompany him down a staircase with P.G and towards a train. I obliged with a sense of discomfort.
It was very dark down there, not totally, but a grey colourless light which literally sucked colour from things. Pete was trying to encourage me to board a tube train (or similar) which was packed with grey people of every type. P.G got on board and Pete held me by the upper arm quite firmly, but I would not get on. He told me that ... I can't recall but it was a good reason in his view, for boarding... and I broke free and made my way back to the stairs, where colour could be seen about half way up, sort of fighting for want of a better term, with the greyness below. 
Then I simply woke up.

Now, I must bid you a very, very goodnight as I need to watch an episode of 'Fame' and maybe a 1983 Top Of The Pops with my good lady and 4 dogs.


TTFN

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Farewell And Picking Up The Pike Again

It's been a hard few weeks, but yesterday we said a farewell to my Mum.

Part of my blog was used at her funeral and my Dad used a few words I had penned for her obituary, which gave me pride and comfort.

Today I am picking up where I sort of left off on the day she died, having returned earlier from Partizan with a massive box of Perry ECW.


Determined to get myself straightened out, I just finalised this morning over a coffee, my final ECW  list which will be based on the early armies  because they are a bit more interesting.

Metal cost £1400.00
Painting Cost £3000.00

This is taking into account the discounts with which I have been kindly bestowed.

The approximate forces are:

33 Cavalry troops which will be used as regimental building blocks
6 Dragoon Troops mounted and dismounted
6 guns
6-8 units of commanded shot / Forlorn Hope
18 infantry regiments
Command

Cavalry troops are 6 figures to allow regiments to be constructed as needed, infantry regiments are a nicely proportioned 28-36 figures.

'Project: Pack It In At Fifty' is truly on course.

Just to be clear... Op: P.I.I.A.F is not about giving up, it's about being very measured in my approach. I don't have enough years left to paint silly little toy soldiers, and I have (like some of my Contemporaries of 37 years) really looked at what I want to spend my twilight years playing. The period of 1485 to 1660 is my real love, perhaps even more than fantasy, but I get zero joy from painting for myself; a byproduct of taking my first 7p per figure in 1983. So whilst I was very happy with the Italian wars collection, my dream set up is English Civil War. It was the first period I played where I really had my arse handed to me on a plate, and was the period I played with the likes of Darren Jon Ashmore, Togs Bamford, Keith Rhodes, and a bunch of other frothing teenagers who knew they were immortal. We reenact end it and gave as good as we got in punch ups, gaining the reputation as The Brightlets, the fanatical youth wing of John Bright's Regiment of Foote. So the notion of selling the Italian Wars for a very substantial profit to buy a bespoke collection of ECW in 28mm was a no-brainer . All being well the comm Saigon will begin next week and then I'll just have to wait for them to be returned and then get them based.

Once that's done, I will add 1 painted regiment of foot or two squadrons of horse per calendar month until I get bored.

And that is the plan...

Friday, 25 May 2018

Flock You, And At A Reasonable Cost, Too!

COMMERCIAL PLUG:

This is one of the rare times I advertise a product, but it’s one I think you may all find useful. It’s one of my own products too.

So without further ado gentlemen, I am proud to announce the start of S.N.A.F.U, my own range of very high quality static grass.

SNAFU is the new range of static grass from Conflict In Colour.

It comes in sizes from 0.5mm to 4mm and is currently available in 15 varieties. This static grass id high quality and is now used exclusively on all Conflict In Colour painting commissions.

If you’ve seen my N gauge layouts and our 6mm and 15mm wargames basing, that's the 2mm and it’s just the ticket. We have ‘tones’ which are straight, single shade fibres and ‘blends’. The tones are great if you want to experiment with your own custom mixes (although we use ‘tones’ on most of our basing) and the blends are ready to go ‘stock flock’ for those of you who like the traditional shades.

We have some useful colours such as white in 0.5mm which is great for snow and ‘undergrowth’ which is a sage green and which looks great when used for a frosty grassland.

Javis - 15gm - £1.75 (11.6p per gm)
Model Tree Shop - 20gm - £3.00 (15p per gm)
Noch - 20gm - £2.60 (13p per gm)
WWS - 30g - £3.50 (11.6p per gm)

SNAFU - 125ml / 20g £1.80 (9p per gm)

What’s more, if you want 1KG (the equivalent of over 50 bags) We can do a special order for £50.00 per KG - A very affordable way to cover large areas with the best quality static grass at just 5p per gm

We Also offer trade terms of 1/3 off RRP to bona fide traders.


Get in touch in all instances at conflictincolourATblueyonder.co.uk



Tuesday, 22 May 2018

How The Hell Did I Manage It? Or, Painting A 15mm Army In 24 Hours...

I'd like to start this little ramble, by thanking those of you who commented on yesterday's post or contacted me privately to offer your thoughts and condolences.

Every one was appreciated and helped me through the day, which despite my determination to work as usual, still ended up with my going to pieces a few minutes after I put my brushes away for the day.

Anyway, I was mulling over things somewhat and I related to my wife how, at aged 15 I'd completed a complete 15mm army in a single 24 hour period, to a competent standard, and was marvelling at how the hell I managed it.

In the mid 80s we had a 'pop up store' run by John Armatys (may his rules ideas and postcards to write them on never dry up) and Roy Gunson as part of the 'Dodo Publications' wargames empire which was a force majeur in Sheffield, I can tell you.

Every Monday evening for a few hours, Roy's brother's lawnmower shop (yes that's right) became the Dodo showroom and we could buy Gallia, Hallmark and Dixon Miniatures amongst others, before heading off to the first club of the week, Sheffield Runelords.

Well, Roger was on one of his periodic 'What about Colonial?' cycles in the same way that I'd have similar surges of enthusiasm, as indeed we all would, but of course we all generally enthusiastically dived in.

Well, I got the bug and bought a Gallia 15mm Zulu Wars, British army (and my are those figures still a favourite, being produced at very, very reasonable prices by Warrior Miniatures) and as I was in my final exams at school and therefore only contractually obliged to show up a for said exams and a couple or tutorials to justify the form tutor's salary, I determined that I'd start them the following morning.

Tuesday dawned and as I was (as I still am) an early riser, I broke my fast on Cumberland sausage and Bachelor's Savoury Rice (chicken flavour if you must know, and why I ate that is another story) and set to work cleaning and priming the models with white Bobcat acrylics (those of a certain vintage will remember these with tears of fondness for a lost friend).

I was 'on one' that day and hardly left the dining table until the evening, when I had to make way for the rest of the family to eat, before returning to my seat to continue.

My brother, Dad and sister all went to bed, but my Mum decided she would watch TV on the sofa and keep me company until I went to bed...

I didn't.

At 3AM my eyes were crossing but I was almost at the end of the entire army. I wanted to get them painted, stuck down and the interior filler applied having accepted that I'd have to let that dry before painting it a suitable sandy shade.

But my eyes, my eyes!

At this point, Mum intervened and made me go and sit in the darkened lounge and then stuck two big rounds of ice cold cucumber on my eyes.

30 minutes later and I was as good as new and back at my desk until at 6:15 shortly before my Dad would be getting up for work, I crawled to bed, my mission accomplished.

My Mum had spent the night sleeping on the sofa, but the fact that she was there meant I had to prove my skills, and so I did.

After a couple of hours sleep, I was up and eating breakfast before finishing the basing, the army packed and taken to Sheffield Wargames Society that evening.

Had it not been for the cucumber, I'd have never made it to the finish line. A few years later I did a 23 hour stint when I was doing a bit of painting for U.N.I.T.S Painting Service in Barnsley (showing my age again).

Another memory yes, but for the life of me, I really don't know how I did it and I am certain that I couldn't and indeed wouldn't do it again.


TTFN



Monday, 21 May 2018

Parental Influences

How many of us of a certain age, sit back and think about how our parents fitted into the picture as we found this rather arcane pastime.

I think there was generally a sense of genuine bamboozlement, curiosity and in some instance a fear that their offspring had stepped into a world of occult peril and were selling there tender young souls to the powers of darkness.

My first encounter with gaming (beyond the traditional Airfix soldiers and marbles method of combat resolution) was whilst I was being dragged around town during 1981 by my Mum & Nan, something that kids seem to have to endure much less these days. For the purposes of saving my fingers for the rest of this post, I'll let my book pick up the story for a little while

'In 1981, during one of the school holidays at the cooler end of the thermometer, I was making the weekly pilgrimage to Hopkinson’s, a traditional floor to ceiling type of toy and model shop in the city centre. It was an Aladdin’s Cave for the true toy connoisseur and Old Mr Hopkinson seemed to live for his store. I never failed to find something that drew my eye or sparked my imagination. I shudder to think the amounts that my family spent on me in there over the years. I remember that one week we saw a model of what was to all intents and purposes a model of London’s Victoria Station, and my nan decided that the next week it would be mine. However, when we went back, it had sold, having sat there on the shelves for years, untouched. Oh cruel fate! But I digress…

On this day I was starting to despair, having failed to find that essential next ‘must have’, when my innate ‘kid sense’ indicated that some subtle change had manifested in the very substance of this temple to the toymaker’s art. My mercurial attention was drawn to a wire display rack in a somewhat stygian alcove to the left of the counter. On it were a number of scruffy card-headed bags bearing the names Ral Partha and Citadel Miniatures in a variety of shades.

Okay… what’s a ‘Ral Partha?’ I mused and, like a shot from a bow - It would not become an elven bow for a few months yet - I crossed the intervening 6 feet to investigate.

Each bag contained one or more tiny figurines made from lead. I was the proud owner of a large number of old lead soldiers and so this was no real surprise to my young eyes. What was a surprise however, was the subject matter. Along with medieval knights, were wizards, dwarves, elves as well as smattering of space-suited figures armed with laser rifles. The majority of them were priced at 30p and unless I was able to secure additional funding via a prayer to the gods of spending money along the lines of ‘Oh go on, pleeeaaaassse…’ that was going to eat into the £3.00 that I collected in tribute each week from various parties charged with bank-rolling my childhood.

‘No,’ I mused, ‘I will not indulge myself today.’ After all, 30p was 30p and as a Yorkshireman in training, I was not about to squander it before I knew what a Ral Partha was in greater detail.

In fact, Ral Partha was, like Citadel Miniatures, a company producing beautifully detailed miniatures for use with fantasy games. Even 30 years down the line they are amongst some of the best examples of the sculptor’s art you’ll ever see.

With that firm ‘No’ still ringing inside my head, I went off with my Nan and Mum to have a chip butty (that's a sandwich to those of you not from the grim North of England) and glass of cola in the nearby (and now demolished, like most great edifices of a Sheffield childhood) Sheaf Market, in an establishment renowned for its skilful presentation of deep fried potatoes between two slices of well buttered bread. Quickly disposing of lunch via my mouth, I told my Mum I was going to go back to Hopkinson’s while she and my Nan chatted and finished their cups of coffee. I was going to take another look at those tiny figurines that were already beginning to telepathically call out to me.

It was apparent even this early on my life, that I was obviously a youth of taste and distinction. Ten minutes later I had spent the considerable sum of 75p after much soul searching and hand wringing. In possession of a paper bag containing two dour dwarves carrying a dead comrade on a litter made up of two shields and a pair of spears, I returned to my Mum and Nan, a little tingle running up and down my spine like the fingers of a nervous pianist.


That day, something had changed in the world. It was almost imperceptible but, at the very moment that I took possession of the paper bag containing those models, I felt that I had crossed some line into a secret world. Certainly, none of my mates at that time knew - or probably cared - about this new phenomenon, and I felt that I was indeed marked out for greatness, the leader of some new and exciting pastime - if I could only discover what that pastime was.'

Well, of course that was the start of what has been almost 4 decades of dice driven debauchery and an addiction to strong glues and finely ground acrylic pigments. I never really considered that had my Mum been in one of those moods that can be easily induced by a pre-teen who is intent on acquiring something that think is as important as life itself, my whole life would have been dramatically different and I would probably have been subsumed into a conformist life for the rest of my days.

My Dad had always made model kits with me, but as I became more and more engrossed in the gaming hobby in all of it's forms, we sort of became estranged. He had no point of reference - and understandably so, because this was not a hobby which existed too many years earlier. My Mum got involved after she found me painting a succubus from one of the Heritage mini-games and insisted that if I was going to paint naked bat-winged seductresses, then I should add nipples and pubic hair (ditto the Ral Partha winged gremlin and anything else where anatomy dictated hair or pertness should be visible.

This was quite an eye-opener, I can tell you.

My parents must have been scared witless when the mini Satanic Panic struck the U.K and in fact it nearly cost me my fledgling game collection as the local press frothed and foamed at the editorial mouth (remember that Sheffield had one of the first half a dozen Games Workshop stores, back when they were great places to waste a day or life).

My Mum also grounded me and confiscated my Runequest stuff, after I split with a girlfriend after she said 'It's that game or me', prompting me to do the only decent thing I could at the time, also being certain to ask when I could collect the dice that were at her house after I'd tried to get her to roll a character as well as roll on the carpet in that way which seems erotic to a blooming teen, but is more akin to a staged wrestling match in hindsight.

That was a low blow, I can tell you, but after 2 weeks of a silent protest, she broke. Let's face it, a silent and moody teen is a weapon of mass destruction, that nothing can stand against.

But where Mums in our rather large group came into a class of their own, was the ability to cater for 6 boisterous lads with appetites like locusts, descending on their hallowed dining and living rooms all through the summer holidays, literally taking over tables (or in the case of our sessions at Roger's home the entire floor) for 8 -12 hours, and then feeding them fit to burst at short notice.

We literally gamed day after day, and had a rota of which Mum would be afflicted by the pestilence on a given day. Those were bloody good days. In fact it was not unheard of for my Mum to have to put up with three or four of us for several days in a row as we sort of just gamed,ate,slept,repeated with my friends checking in with their own Mums to let them know that all was well and that they still had a son, but that his return t the family manse would be delayed for a few days because there was a Western Desert battle to be won or that Sir Thomas Fairfax was pretty much on target to break the siege in a couple more days of play...

As I said, I don't think we realised that all those seemingly routine gestures were allowing us to indulge in a world which was so different to the lads who played football, listened to regurgitated pop music and fought over who was the 'hardest'. No we were long haired dreamers, with one foot in the dice bag, smelling faintly of patchouli oil and our Mums gave us a safe place (with a few solid ground rules of course such as 'no breakfast until you all get showered and dressed!'.

Last night my Mum collapsed at home and despite the attendance of 5 paramedics, she's not here any more.

I needed to write this, because that last line has made me cry at last. And now if you will excuse me I need to sign off, and go and get a hug from my wife, because I am starting to hurt a lot.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

A Brilliant Morning At Partizan

Egad! It's been a hot day...

Still, there was to be no slacking of standards and although my two sets of 3-piece tweeds are with the tailor at present being tweaked after their initial outings, I opted for a smart casual combo of linen button down, dark denims, blue hushpuppies and a rather nice tweed and silk weskit in a a colour I would not normally buy in tweed, a smart blue herringbone with catching pink and ochre check, set off by vintage H L Brown gold Omnicron pocket watch and gold chain, and a rather dandy gold, pink and blue silk pocket square.

Casual,cooler than full battledress and fitting for a show such as Partizan...


I was on a mission today to crack on with my plans for butting no more figures after my 50th birthday in August, so it was over to the evergreen Dave Thomas for a 150 or so packs of Perry ECW and then over to Foundry for 4 packs of figures.

These will form the core of my planned Royalist and New Model forces an another 70 or so packs are on the cards .


Lord, but was that a heavy box to tote to the car in the sun, and so assistance was needed as I am not as good at carrying as I once was, due to arthritis, which is flaring at present.

A great show as always, but the overall standard of display games was a bit hit and miss.

By 12:30 we were all ready to head home via a tropical fish store to grab some plants. As we got close to home we witnessed what appeared to be a kidnap of a pedestrian  and so we had to make a swift 999 call to report it. 

Then it was a quick can of Pepsi  and then over to a more local to pick up 60 fish for our aquariums. They are settling in very nicely, but you can't believe there are so many in that tank as it's a bit of a beast:


We also decided that we want to tear down our unused garage and replace it with a bloody enormous log cabin which will become a dedicated wargaming room. I think we can fit it on the property, but I'm having my builders over to discuss the foundations this week. We are crossing our fingers.

And so, I am off to sear some chicken marinaded in thai curry paste, lemon juice and coconut milk before setting down with an 80s film - the Sunday night ritual.


TTFN