Friday, 25 May 2018

Flock You, And At A Reasonable Cost, Too!


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

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.


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.


Thursday, 17 May 2018

Seeking to sell or trade

SELL/TRADE: Painted 28mm 16th Century collection.

486 infantry
170 cavalry
7 guns

854 piece equivalents - All metal


Or I would trade for a painted ECW collection of 600 pieces or more. No plastics!


Saturday, 5 May 2018

A Tale Of Dredd...

Hi ho!

I recently purchased a copy of the Judge Dredd board game which, is in my humble opinion, one of the finest boardgames from the Golden Age. I paid a premium for it, but as I said, it's a good game, and I'm not the church mouse I was when I was younger, so a little luxury is not going to case me any guilt.

This game and I go back a long way; right back to the day of release in fact, when I ran the game in the Sheffield store where I was something of a permanent fixture. I once had to be broken from the window on a cold October morning as I had my nose pressed up to the glass and my drool froze solid.

Now, the modern enthusiast, intent on grabbing themselves some gaming history will buy the game on eBay and then brag how despite being 31 years old, they have had it since it was released in 82 and will proudly present a 2nd edition of the game. The rules are the same, the overall production is as good as the first, but it is different in a glaringly obvious way. Two ways as a matter of fact...

This is a second edition copy:

Note if you will, the use of Halma pieces and the two part flush edged board, which has a tendency to warp somewhat.

If your set looks like this, then you are the proud and blessed owner of a second printing of the JD board game. You will have the same fun in terms of game play, but, you'll not be able to brag that you bought it on the day the JD game was released. No, sorry... You won't!

Just be happy that you do own a copy of the game and that you can have hours of fun, 'Barney-ing' your friends and arresting Judge Death for littering, only to have Edwin Parsey ruin your shift, patrolling the streets of MC1.

Now, today, as I sat in the precinct house adjacent to Gary Gygax Block with a synth-caf and a munce block I received a tip-off from Max Normal (OK, I was in a hotel restaurant in Glossop, sipping a Coke and eating a lamb and black pudding shepherd's pie and it was a text from my brother) that 100 yards from me there was a copy of the JD game for £20 in a charity store.

I didn't bother with firing up the Lawmaster, I just grabbed my nightstick and dropped my Lawgiver into my boot holster and made my way to the scene of the crime.

Lo and behold, there it was!

DROKK! It was sealed with spugging tape. No problem... I am the law and therefore I simply removed said tape and looked in the box.

And the joy was such that I may have shouted 'ZARJAZ!' perhaps even forgot that I am a Judge and as such am expected to project a cool, even manner at all times.

What I was holding was a first edition of the game, just like the one I bought on the very day of release, all those years ago.

This is a first edition of the game:

You will note that there are two things which mark out the earlier edition.

Firstly, the board is a 4 panel jigsaw type board with a are marble effect rear face. It's really good cardstock too.

Secondly, you will see that the Halma men are not present, but some rather nice 18mm Judge figures are. For a while you could buy them as a pack for a few pence over the counter at your GW store, which, is how a few found their way into later sets.

But if you have the two piece board the set is still a second print run.

If you have a 4 part, jigsaw board and the six plastic figures , you may attempt to bluff it and say that you've had it since day one. It is a first print run and is considerably more sought after with a distinct whiff of cache.

And so citizens, there you have it - and so do I, once again.

I hope that this little blog may prevent some of you Rookie Judges from getting stung as you search for the game on eBay.

Splundig Vur Thrigg 

PS: There's also a third difference, but I'll leave that you to find...