Sunday, 23 September 2018

Well, that closes the doors on 2018 for me, with a last hurrah of Italian Wars stuff... Oh and a Giant Killer Reptile

This week has been a murderous one, work-wise, so imagine my pleasure to be able to sit at a table yesterday and plan my final project for this year, in the form of 1200 Italian Wars figures, using the Venexia range.

I am not one for set army lists for the period, but rather I like to have a big cache of models with all the right troop types for the various antagonists in approximately correct numbers. This means a lot of Swiss and Landsknechts but obviously a wedge of generic infantry and cavalry with a few nation specific touches for flavour.

I spent 3 hours with my regular opponent Dave yesterday putting together a list, and then 6 hours last night and this morning, turning those notes into lists of castings, with basing instructions and painting guides, before sending them off along with a 4 figure some to be painted.

As usual I'll paint the commanders myself as therapy, but also as usual, I am not spending my weekends painting hordes of troops, when I've spent the previous 5 days doing just that for a living.

Now I have to work out all the flags I'll need and try to be patient as I await the return of the models.

I also thought it may tickle some of you to see what happens when a mad younger brother and a tortoise owning friend, have an hour of spare time on their hands...


Thursday, 20 September 2018

Sorry to be a boar, but here's MORE

Just a note to say that I've brought forward the sculpting of the Gnoll cavalry, Hobgoblin hounds and hobgoblin rocket teams. Martin Buck is doing the sculpting and the project has been paid for this morning. 
This will allow you to field complete armies in the old school manner from the outset. The Gnolls are of course on boars. 
The Hobgoblin rocket team will be a portable weapons platform as befits fast moving, nomadic types, rather than a cumbersome wooden frame. 
All of the models have separate heads, so you can have a lot of variety in those armies.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

A Gnollish Gallimaufry & Satanic Doings


Firstly, I'd like to share with you all, the logo for the sub-brand of Screaming Mob Miniatures, that of Satanic Panic Miniatures.

All of the 80s retro-themed models will be released under this label, and those of you who remember what the Satanic Panic of the 80s was and it's effect on the gaming hobby, will probably 'dig the vibe'.

These models are after all based on the ones your Mother tried to discourage you from buying!

Next up is the news that veteran gamer and participation game organiser par excellence, Paul Clarke has taken a shine to the concepts for the Gnolls and has found an place for them in his Oakenheart project, which is something I am really stoked about.

Paul's been busy creating a map of Grouen, a major settlement in the city-state of G'Normandy and has asked me to do a thumbnail background write-up to go with it. Paul will be uploading it in the very near future. It's a brilliant way for me to flesh out the Great Gnolls and other ranges and follow the old school tradition of not producing game-specific miniatures.

Please take the time to go and look at the Oakenheart page here:

Monday, 17 September 2018

So, Who Or What Are The Great Gnolls Of G'Normandy?

The Great Gnolls were bred from the brightest and largest Goblin bloodlines by the Great Wizard (nobody knows his true name because as everyone knows, true names have power). They were schooled in the ways of men and were taught the values of discipline, and order as well as the arts of metal working and armouring in imitation of the men of the Western Lands, whose proto-chivalric existence was well suited these disciplined folk.

Over time the Great Wizard expanded his lands and created the city-state of G'Normandy (well, that’s what you do when you’ve spent a life studying diabolic magicks) and, being less affected by daylight than their more ‘natural’ cousins, the Great Gnolls populated that land, building human style keeps of wood over the networks of tunnels in which they lived. A few human warlords got quite a surprise when they assaulted what they thought was a keep containing a few dozen defenders, only to find that there were hundreds of well trained and well equipped Great Gnolls in vast tunnel complexes below (it was akin to picking a boil), who relied on discipline and tactics rather than fungal brews and bloody great balls and chains.

The Great Wizard has not been seen in decades, but his creations continue to slowly expand his borders so that G’Normandy is encroaching into other civilised realms. Is this natural expansion, or is it a sign that the Great Wizard is still very much alive and plotting something a bit nasty?

The Great Gnolls have varied skin colours but they are less vivid than those of their Goblinoid cousins, tending towards ochre, olive and swarthy flesh tones, as well as insipid blues and oranges. Their eyes can be either very human in appearance, solid black or red. 

They are tall for goblins at around 5 feet with a slightly bandy gait, which belies their strength and dexterity. 

They are braver than many of their cousins, but also have a greater intellect and thus, are not going to hang around if it makes no tactical sense.

Friday, 14 September 2018

Behold! The Great Gnolls Of G'Normandy

I am easy pleased to be able to share with you, the concept sketches by sculpting supremo Martin Buck for the first of my 'Fantastic Tribes' range which will be produced by 'Screaming Mob Miniatures' under the 'Satanic Panic' label which will bring you ranges of miniatures just like those your parents believed would lead you into demonic black masses. In short, a range of truly retro-looking miniatures for your favourite wargames and RPGs.

As I have mentioned before, all of the bodies will be available with every head variant. All the models, with the exception of the missile troops will be open handed, to accept a wide range of weapons. This means that you can have an army in which no two models have to be identical.

First up, I present the Great Gnolls Of G'Normandy in all their glory...

I really hope that you are as excited as I am about this truly old school range. Personally, I think Martin has truly captured the style and feel of the models I bought as a teenager.


Thursday, 13 September 2018

A Galimaufry Of Things, Including Monmouth, Big Robots, & The Blues

Lordy, it's been a while since I posted, but Roger has been prodding me, and thus I feel it's time to put arthritic and painful hands to the keyboard...

I have been doing savagely long days (but of course that means that the coffers are filling and bills are being paid, and so that's not a complaint, just a statement) which is the main reason I've not been blogging.

Firstly, I'd like to speak of giant robots and the like...

Back in the 80s, a mutual friend of both I and the aforementioned Roger one Darren (now Professor) Ashmore chanced upon the Macross model kits based on the Japanese anime series. Now back in the mid 80s these were not well known as they are today, and the models were 'something else, man'.

We bought them, we built them, we bought more and more, and soon wrote a set of rudimentary rules which often saw games being played on 12 x4 boards at Sheffield Wargames society... These were often 1/72 scale models so you can imaging just how striking these games could look.

The late Pete Armstrong (aka: Greblord) was our mentor on all things anime and introduced us to some of the really obscure stuff and we were hooked in a BIG way.

However, there are tales in the Sheffield area of how an unnamed group of wayward youths, bored on a damp Saturday afternoon, when they were not indulging in their normal 5 days per week of gaming, took a number of well painted and now pretty damned valuable Macross kits to a field together with some crow scaring pyrotechnics and blew them to kingdom come... I can neither confirm nor deny the identity, but Pete Armstrong would have given us a damned good hiding if we'd been stupid enough to 'fess up'.

Anyway, a few years later came Battletech and then the GW Adeptus Titanicus game came out. We played both in our assorted gaming groups, but it was A.T which had the big robots we all craved - even if they were a third of the size of the Macross models.

Anyway, things have a tendency to come around again and Roger dropped me a line earlier this week to say he was interested in the latest version of Adeptus Titanicus, and I reprimanded him for his foolishness and spendthrift way, in fact I may have mocked and berated my old chum somewhat, because then, when I was offered a set having looked in more detail and decided that the price I was being offered it for was actually quite reasonable, Roger was a little surly with me.

Rightly so...

Anyway, I have the eye wateringly priced Grand Master Edition on the way and I trust that Roger will also acquire one so that my shaming might come to an end.

It looks pretty good, being a combination of the earlier and later mechanics and does seem to give a feel that these behemoths (and they really are large models at about 1.3 mm to the foot) are the gods of the battlefield whilst everything else is cannon fodder or at best expendable.

So, please accept my apologies Roger - I was a foolish old man.

Roger is normally a historical gamer but he does have a few little perversions such as Cthulhu, Twilight 2000 and big robots knocking the shit out of each other, and we have discussed various systems now and again, but none seem to convey the sheer size of the combatants in quite the same way as the A.T game.

I'll no doubt blog about it more when I've had a chance to play a few games, but You Tube videos seem to look rather favourably on it, and so my expectations are high.

In other news, I have this week placed an order for the forces at Sedgemoor in 28mm working on a figure/man of 1:20 and actually using full establishment strengths for the Royalist units to allow them to be used in other projects. They are 28 man units with Rebel units being 36 and the cavalry being represented in terms of troops and squadrons.

I have bought a good number of books, including the excellent titles by Chris Scott and John Tincey and the latest Helion & Co title on the army of James II.

As per my 'Stop At 50' directive the painting of all but 6 artillery pieces and the staff officers has been outsourced and so the total cost of the project has come in at around £2000.00, bringing my year's gaming to a nice neat close.

I am hoping that my 28mm ECW will be with me in the next couple of weeks, so that I can begin the basing as winter wends it's way towards us.

So, I have a lot of nice projects in the pipeline but I just cannot seem to shake a pretty hard bout of depression which has cropped up out of nowhere. I can't pin the cause down, but I have been given to thoughts of old friends living and passed on, the loss of my Mum, and how perhaps instead of once telling her, my friends are my family' and 'You ca choose your friends but not your family' I could have been a little less vile a human being because, whilst many of my friends are truly amazing people whom I am proud to be acquainted with, one or two down the years, have turned out to complete c**ts, not worth my time or indeed recognition by name. Sorry, but that's the kind of dark mood I have been in recently.

It has however made me more intent on doing things my way, when I want. I have less years ahead of me than behind me now, so I am not relying on others to share projects with me. I am happy to have my truly genuine friends, such as Roger work with me, but when I decide I am pursuing a project it will not be reliant on others. That sounds pretty harsh, but what I mean is, that if I am incapable of putting together a game, with both sides painted at my own expense and effort, it's unlikely that I'll bother with it. I am very happy for others to be involved and their input can only enhance the experience, but were they to not bother, I could say to the, 'Want a game of (insert period) this weekend?' and they could turn up, safe in the knowledge that I could furnish a table with everything that was needed.

Equally, I want to be connected with interesting and humorous people who can converse about food, drink, art, music and the like, as well as gaming. I need mental stimulation and have decided that I'll not waste my time, short as it is.

I'll also be damned if I allow depression to stagnate my mood. No sir, I'll get my act together and damned well turn it into a searing tsunami of creativity. Those who wish to join me can do so, but those who have no interest may as well stand down, because I am focussed on living my life.

In closing, I have no more news on the impending Screaming Mob / Satanic Panic Miniatures fantasy ranges at this time other than Martin Buck is beavering away on all three ranges as we speak. Rest assured that as soon as I have news, you'll read it here first.


Friday, 31 August 2018

Screaming Mob Miniatures Announce 3 New Ranges For Oldhammer Players & Old School Fantasy Fans

OK, I sent the list of models I require sculpting last night with details of what I want for the first 3 ranges, designed to appeal to Oldhammer and Old School fantasy fans.

Each range is 9 bodies, mostly with open hands and then 8 head variants. 72 variants per race before you even factor in weapon variants. Add in the weapons and you can have several hundred different models.

I have included a leader, mage and standard bearer, blowing horn (as is right and proper for old schoolers).

The first three ranges

Gnolls in Norman garb

Classic pseudo-Roman-viking Hobgoblins

Meso-American-Punkettes with bolt pistols and mohawk hair do's and a hatred for Norsemen and bipedal frogs.

The Zombies will be following closely behind these.

And then cavalry of course for the Gnolls and Amaz... I mean M-A-Ps.

There will also be Hob Hounds and handlers.

Monday, 20 August 2018

The start of week two of the 23 days of rest and I have made my first purchase, in the shape of some vintage Valiant Enterprises 'Stardate 3000' models.

The reissues are £10 a pack, so 17 packs for £40 seemed a bargain.

Now to re-read the Encounter One rules that GW 'Old Boy' Chris Gilbride kindly gave me a few years ago.

I'mo old school, I write my game orders on slate!


Saturday, 18 August 2018

A Few Words...

YES! I made it to 50!

Damn, it's been a fraught few months as I feared I'd check out - Fate being like that.

Thank you to my friends and family or family and friends if you prefer, for the great gifts and wishes.

I know we were supposed to meet up, this evening but, I could see the difficulties in the social logistics of having three distinct camps of friends, some who would have been in larger numbers than others, which could have made it unenjoyable for those on their own.

That said, it’s a good job that we didn’t because I managed to get a chest bug as a result of the anti-TNF loading dose. You will note the irony of it hitting 48 hours before my birthday…

Oh the pathos! Pete Armstrong would have seen the humour in that...

My old friend, Roger managed to bring a tear to my eye, with an unexpected gift of the complete 'By The Sword Divided' and a card which was a perfect example of the sense of humour my peer group shared and which for many of us was a default state of being in the early to mid 80s.

Darren Jon Ashmore, and Togs Bamford, I know that like Roger, you are not close enough, but maybe one day we can get out for a beer or have a game. I sincerely hope so...

I'd like to thank Ceridwen & Micheal for the birthday pizza last night, which despite my coughing, hacking and general grumpiness (no change there, I know) was great fun, and the 'Stranger Things' cake that Ceridwen made for me, (despite having two kittens and three young kids who I think are solar powered as they never stop, one of whom also needed a cake the day before) was brilliant.

Anyway, thanks again to you all. The day may be not as originally planned but I really, really appreciate everything and it's a birthday I will remember - And not just because of the sore throat and snot.


Wednesday, 15 August 2018


It's been an odd day when nothing has gone as planned.

My wife popped to the G.P for a quick follow up appointment and ended up spending two hours at the hospital on a heart monitor as things are still not quite right.

But, once they had done with the wires and electrodes, it was over to Huddersfield and Dixon Miniatures. Alas, the satnav had a fit and sent us to three different locations before reaching the right address, adding 25 miles to the 28 mile journey.

However, I came away with a big box containing several hundred 28mm Samurai, which I will spend Thursday sorting out before they go to my painter, so all's well that ends well.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

And On The Seventh Day...

Oh it feels good...

Having literally not stopped for a proper break since 11th August 2017 (Yes, I know I had a break at Christmas, but that was the start of 3 months solid of flu and bronchitis which very nearly put pay to me) I now have 3 weeks of R&R to properly unwind and de-stress, as well as take stock of my life. I have worked ridiculous hours for the last 6 weeks to clear the decks as well as having to deal with Kayte's 'near miss' a fortnight ago.

Kayte is doing OK, but her recovery is slow and she is tiring very easily. I have suggested she take early retirement in 5 years, which will mean a lower pension but with the lump sum we could clear the mortgage and have about the same monthly income as we do now minus the mortgage payments. But that's just thoughts and discussions at present.

You may recall that about 18 months ago, I drew a line under my wargaming excesses and vowed that  from my 50th birthday I would not buy any unpainted lead unless it was going directly to a painter and that in fact, I didn't want to buy much at all.

Well, this Saturday sees me hit that target and to the surprise of those who know me or who are nearest and dearest to my flinty old heart I've done it in style.

1. I've tracked down the majority of the roleplaying stuff I want.

2. I have purchased almost a thousand Perry ECW castings and they are with the painter as we speak, all paid for and in good order.

3. I have also (in an unplanned project)  paid the painter to paint 500 or so 28mm Dixon Samurai and acquired 100+ painted models. I am collecting them from Mr Dixon on Wednesday and as soon as I have them sorted into units, off to the painter they go.

4. We have the quote for the log cabin wargames room down pat and are just waiting for things to drop into place.

Now each year, I will possibly allocate £3600 to acquiring painted figures, but if I am brutally honest, I don't need that much. I think 240 Samurai and 600 ECW will complete everything, so it may not be the state of play for more than 18 months. Jeez, listen to me

I never would have placed or taken a bet on that being the situation, but this year has been an odd one in which I have found a zen-like state of hobby satisfaction.

In the last week I did treat myself to a few little gems as metaphorical amuse bouche whilst I read up and studied what could be seen as the biscuits, cheese and port to the hobby year. I picked up the Skytrex Renaissance galley warfare rules, a copy of the old Reaper fantasy rules and the icing on the big jam-filled bun, Starforce 3000 and the rather rare Starforce 3001, the precursors to 40K.

And this is where it goes pear shaped...

I had noticed a while ago that Tamiya were releasing their old 80s radio control cars. I had one back in the year that I started gaming. Alas, it met a sticky end in a 20 foot death plunge into a sewer excavation and vanished from my life.

Well, I read a few magazines and it seems that in fact, Tamiya are more stuck in a time warp than I, and that the once reviled ready to run models are now the cutting edge of the hobby. So, I looked at what was on offer and decided that I liked the idea of an off-road vehicle that was not fast but was rugged and capable of scale performance comparable to a real vehicle.

All the reviews and online videos pointed to the Traxxas TRX-4 chassis which is available with a Landrover Defender 110 body shell and which looks rather nice indeed.  The next best model would need about another £700 of modifications to be of the same standard as the TRX-4 out of the box, so that was my decision made. It was going to cost me around £500, around £200 more than a Tamiya before any mods, but what the hell.

Then, I did a search too far and found a black and orange limited edition which pushed the price to around £700. Right - deep breath, remember you are going to no more shows this year Mark and allocate your hobby money to covering the bill. After all, I am always saying you should either do it right or go home.

I'd originally planed to get past the Partizan show and then order the car, but after looking at the list of traders - about as inspiring as plain boiled noodles to be frank - it was decided that we would give it a miss. Thus, I brought forward my plans, and decided to do a last bit of investigative enquiry.

Bad move!

I then found that Traxxas also produced a 1970s Ford Bronco based on the same TRX-4 chassis and like a bunch of grapes held in front of Tantalus, it had the classic 'Sunset' paint work.

I made a few calls, and located one of the limited edition Landrovers at a VERY reasonable price and also one of the Broncos, also enticingly priced.

The RRP on the Landrover should have been £599 with £120 for the battery and charger = £719

The Bronco was £499 with again, £120 for the power and charger = £619

So, with £100 in it between the two, I had a decision to make.

After some negotiations with dealers I bought both, yes both for a grand total of £1160.00 including 24 hour courier delivery.

What the hell. I have 20 years in front of me at best I think, and I saved £178 on list price. Think of i as my 50th birthday gift to myself, and I'l have it paid off by the end of October.

These are 1/10 scale models which come in at just under 2 feet long, so there's a lot of detailing work I can do and what's more there are so many upgrade kits that it could keep me very busy for the next five years.

Here are the two models I've purchased:

The rest of my holiday is going to be spent visiting galleries and museums all over the place. We visited 3 local exhibitions this morning, wanting to stay pretty close to home this week where possible so that Kayte can be in easy reach of base camp if she starts to tire, but next week we'll be going further afield. I'll hopefully get a few hours figuring out how not to wreck the new toys, but with gears, lockable differentials and cruise control, the gods of mechanical things will no doubt 'mark my card' if possible.

Anyway, I'll bid you a fond farewell for the present as I have a salami sandwich and a glass of pretty damned good red wine waiting for me.


Friday, 10 August 2018

Almost there... Dice Men Reaches 99% Funding Level

Funding now at 99% - SO CLOSE!

TSS Business 'FOR SALE'

Hot off the press is the news that Total System Scenic is up for sale. I confess that I have made enquiries, but it's not high on my agenda...

As part of a restructure of QRF Models Ltd following the recent 'event' suffered by Chas and Sarah's ongoing illness, we are considering selling part of the business

Total System Scenic is a worldwide known brand name that has been trading for over 30 years.  It is a unique product that has no rivals and maintains a steady presence in the market place.
It is used throughout the wargames world and construction industry as well as museums and acadamies.

The sale is for the following:-
  •   'Total System Scenic' and 'TSS' brand names
  •   Polystyrene and Styrofoam tile ranges 
  •   Foam cutters,
  •   Flocking machine and cabinet
  •   Stocks of polystyrene and flocks.
  •   Copy of website with email address and listed ranges.

Instruction can and will be provided for a UK buyer on a face-to-face basis, if desired and by telephone/email for those in other countries.

It is not often that a completely stand-alone business comes on to the market.

If you are genuinely interested, please send us an email to with your contact details and we will send you a brief summary of the business.

Gnolls, Hobgoblins and Militant Punk Girls... Or, how to have old school armies with hundreds of poses

OK, I sent the list of models I require sculpting last night with details of what I want for the first 3 ranges, designed to appeal to Oldhammer and Old School fantasy fans.

Each range is 9 bodies, mostly with open hands and then 8 head variants. 72 variants per race before you even factor in weapon variants. Add in the weapons and you can have several hundred different models.

I have included a leader, mage and standard bearer, blowing horn (as is right and proper for old schoolers).

The first three ranges

Gnolls in Norman garb

Classic pseudo-Roman-viking Hobgoblins

Meso-American-Punkettes with bolt pistols and mohawk hair do's and a hatred for Norsemen and bipedal frogs.

The Zombies will be following closely behind these.

And then cavalry of course for the Gnolls and Amaz... I mean M-A-Ps.

There will also be Hob Hounds and handlers.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

With three days remaining until I take almost 4 weeks off, for R&R, I just completed the basing of Over 1500 'pieces' in 46 hours. They are 1/300 models by Heroics & Ros for a client, depicting a battalion of 9th/21st Panzer, during the Normandy campaign at 1:1 ratio. 

The varied basing was done at the request of my client.

Total project completed two months ahead of schedule to meet my client's needs, by getting in some serious overtime. I estimate a total of around 320 hours from start to finish.

You may imagine , that I am very pleased at this outcome.


Sunday, 5 August 2018

I love my hobby. In fact I live and breathe my hobby and have done so for just shy of 40 years. I remember the Satanic Panic, Pat Pulling, the blaming of D&D for all the woes of the world and so much more.

In short, I remember when it was considered easier to admit that you were an incestuous, morris dancing, junkie than to say 'Oh, I play games with funny shaped dice and little model soldiers'.

Now, what really, really gets my fucking dander up, is when I see a documentary purporting to be 'about the creators of D&D' interview a bunch of kids employed by the current owner of the line, with no mention to or attempt to interview the real creators or even their surviving family members.

If you listen to bearded grinning buffoon responsible, he is right in there with the people who gave him his great hobby.

No! You fucking well are not, my friend!

This is blatant re-writing of social history by a generation who are sore that they were nothing more than a masturbation session with high hopes back when their father was cracking one off to a Jeff Dee illustration of tightly chain mailed, buxom pulchritude.

Hell, their fathers must have been fair weather gamers, if they left their bedrooms or basements long enough to have a shower, leave the house and then indulge in social and latterly sexual intercourse with a  member of the opposite sex.

OK, hands up, I did it - and yes, I was a bit of a fair weather gamer at the time, as it was during the years of my banishment from Games Workshop where I'd been a literal fixture since 1982 (there are rumours hat one November morning around 1984 I was found frozen to the glass).

Anyway, it gets me upset, and makes me yearn even more for 'Dice Men' to be published. By golly that will tell it like it was from the looks of it, and you'll not see a single one of those smug, hip bastards in it, that's for sure!

Incidentally, funding has reached 94% and if you have any genuine interest in the early days of gaming in the UK , you really should get behind it.

You can find out more here:

Incidentally, these are the kid of people behind your wonderful hobby, you irony-filled, little shits...

Moving on, David Wood of the Little Soldier Company has just announced the Tenoch, a race of amphibious frog folk from the stars, with a taste for the Mesoamerican, sartorially. Wonderful models, sculpted by Kev Adams no less. Find out more at David's bog:

Coming soon from Screaming Mob Miniatures, are several ranges with over 200 variants in each, comprising:

Fantastic Tribes - A collection of classic fantasy races and archetypes, that tip the hat to the Golden Age, much like the Tenoch.

First up are Gnolls, Hobgoblins & Zombies

And then there's 

The C.C Reese Range - A similarly retro collection of fantasy models inspired by the often heard question 'What range are they?' to which you always hear the reply 'C.C Reese', although I may be mishearing something more akin to 'C Series'. Again with over 200 variants to the initial release of South American inspired warrioresses tooled up with everything from a blowpipe to a futuristic handgun will over a hard to beat spread of models for the gamer and collector.

And finally, in just a few short weeks the first U.K based stocks of Hudson & Allen buildings for many years, will be arriving with Conflict In Colour. The first shipment will contain all the medieval and renaissance buildings, with the second delivery comprising castles, following shortly thereafter.

And that's about it for now, other than to thank those of you who sent their kind best wishes for the recovery of the memsahib after her angio oedema on Monday. She is doing well and is soldiering on, but is tiring very easily, as you might expect. But at least I still have the woman without whom, I'd waste my time hanging around on this mud ball, backwater planet.


Thursday, 2 August 2018

Back To Normal, & Takeda Arrives

I am pleased to say that I have my wife safely home and recovering from the angio oedema. We are both tired, but life goes on and both she and I are working as normal.

Yesterday my painted Samurai eBay purchase arrived, bit sadly had some damage:

It's a shame, but because I am an experienced and skilled painter and fixer-upper, it'll take me perhaps an hour to bring them back up to standard. Beyond the transit damage they are a wonderful purchase and, the seller has kindly refunded £50, bringing the whole box down to £250.00, so I am far from complaining.

Now, it may be that you don't hear from me (cue: cheers) until some time after the 10th of August as I am so busy that spare time's not really an option. I am not complaining because after that I am taking a break for almost a month to recharge my batteries, celebrate my 50th birthday and generally slow down for a while and spend time with my wife at conventions, galleries, museums and the odd restaurant, no doubt.

I'm looking at a return to Sat's Mill to take in some more Hockneys and to Bradford's Cartwright Hall Gallery where they have a stunning and somewhat forgotten gallery of British Black & Asian art, which I am somewhat red-faced (being a fan of modernist and abstract art) to admit I was unaware of until I watched the excellent BBC programme on the subject.

You can find it here:


It really is worth an hour of your time. For me, it has linked a few things in my knowledge base and experience of militant/protest abstract and modernist artwork, which I first became attracted to at about age 11 as I prowled the numerous art galleries of Sheffield.

Well, I must sign off for now, as I have 1500 individual 6mm infantry to base, and only 4 days to do it in.



Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Well, This Is A Week I Am Already Wishing Was Over...

It's only Tuesday but I'll be very, very glad to see the week off, I can tell you.

Yesterday, my wife was whisked to hospital by a Paramedic with a suspected allergic reaction. As it turned out, said fellah was a gamer we've known for about 20 years which made the memsahib relax somewhat.

At 8PM she was still at the hospital, having said I should stay at home and work, so I got a lift over there thanks to my Dad, and found her in the accuse case unit. At 23:30 she was admitted to a ward with angioedema, and I left her at 2AM having fragged my brother out of his bed at midnight to go and make sure our 4 dogs were put to bed.

Good on yo bro'

Neither I or my good lady were certain we'd see each other again as the swelling of the blood vessels was spreading to her lungs and breathing was increasingly difficult.

At 4AM my brain shut down and I crashed out having not eaten since Sunday night nor slept in 21 hours.

Anyway, Kayte was allowed home this afternoon, exhausted but relieved, so you will understand why I am not friends with the week.

On a brighter and more geeky note of gamer goodness, I purchased 400 Dixon Miniatures Samurai yesterday morning and they are being sent off to be painted after I sent the funds in advance to my  painter of choice.

Last Friday, my very good and respected friend Roger pointed me to a collection of 100 or so nicely painted Dixon Samurai on a well known auction site. I made an offer to the seller of £300 which was accepted, so I have around 500 Samurai - A fair start!

Good on you, Rog'!

As you can see the quality is rather nice for the money, when you think that painting worked out at about £1.55 per piece after metal cost allowances

I will be rebasing them of course...

Now I know many of you will be recoiling at the thought of Dixon sculpts, but I will thumb my nose at you, because I love them. I always have, since I first came across them when Steve Royen founder of Hallmark Figurines offered them who he teamed up with the Dodo shop in Gunson's Lawnmower Repairs on Monday nights, here in Sheffield.

Indeed, the very first painting competition I won was with a Dixon model of Ii Naotaka, leader of the Tokugawa aligned 'Red Devils'.

Dixon are stylised but stylish. The metal has always been superb, and as Roger pointed out, if you want the to venture into the legends of Japan, you need heroic figures to take on the Oni and Bakemono. And as always, he is 100% on the money.

Perry look like shop window mannequins by comparison, Old Glory are just piss poor. I like TAG, but again for me Dixon are the drug of choice. 

The chunky and dynamic sculpts lend themselves to scenic element basing. 

And with that my very dear readers, I must sign off as my brain is telling my body it's overdrawn.