Thursday, 24 January 2019

Rants & Drugs & Rock 'N' Roll

It's been ages since I had the time to sit and type something for this blog, due to the demands of work and things like that.

My 54mm armies are growing steadily, with the Indian being the smaller of the two, still.

Apart from that, my actual gaming activity has been zero.

However, I've been mulling over a few things including the pointlessly contentious issue of non-PC figures.

I have been following a few threads on the web, where companies are being lambasted for producing scantily clad or over-endowed miniatures.

To me this is not even an issue, nor has it ever been, because these miniatures are invariably fantasy subjects, you know, sword and sorcery and the like, a genre which historically stems from pulp and imaginative stories.

Semi nude figures?
Unfeasibly large breasts?
Unrealistic armour?

Burn the heretics!

Well, bollocks to that.

Look, a lot of this shock is as fake as Dolly Parton's tits... People who I see and hear saying how off colour such things are, are historically and contemporaneously owners of stuff far more risqué than you see being generally offered on the market.

Why are people so shocked by the human body in ANY shape? Why is it OK to produce figures with large bellies but not chests? Go on... Give me a convincing reason.

I am no longer the sveldt 11 stones I was, but I don't need people stepping in to defend my right to be fat. I don't care if someone calls me fat, so I sure as hell don't need to have someone decide to be an arbiter of taste on my behalf because I am capable of deciding what offends me, without third party guidance.

I am not offended by the male or female form in any shape or size, but if I were, I'd just not choose to look at or buy something which did offend.

I don't like certain schools of art, so I don't seek them out. In a gallery where something I don't like confronts me, I give it a passing glance and move on.

People shouting that such figures are misogyny, really ought to think it out... Firstly look at the definition of that and misandry, because I don't think that such models are intended to engender hatred or derision.

Good lord, what are we coming to when even imaginary worlds have to be as conservative as the world that so called liberals want us all to live in? Surely, a massive proportion of paintings are equally offensive?

But no dear reader ,because they are 'art' and of course art is expression and as such, the freedom of expression is to applauded - apparently.

Look, I am not saying that anything goes. I do not particularly like models of male or female figures being tortured, so I don't buy them (check eBay and see what kind of prices the old Citadel 'Corrective Punishment' figures fetch), but some people will - That's their choice, and it's not for me to dictate.

This kind of censorship makes me as uncomfortable as reading about the Nazi and Communist clamp downs on culture and literature they deemed to be unsuitable. Is that the kind of world anyone would want to live in? Obviously, some do...

You have the right to disagree with me, and I have the right to disagree with you, but don't make me (or anyone else for that matter) have to endure a world without imaginative and creative expression,. It feels to me, that some people out there are seeking an artistic 'Year Zero'.

Look, we get a limited time on this planet, and that time shoots by. Live your lives well... Live by your own rules, or those in the religious book of your choice. Fuck, base your personal code on 'The Beano' if you want; That's your right...

But don't waste your time deciding what others should or should not look at, because you are simply being what you probably refer to as a 'Hater', and you are wasting precious time that you cannot and will not get back.

Now, moving on, I have been thinking a lot about the 80s and how different the hobby and culture were. I watch a lot of 80s TV shows, listen to the music and have a rather dirty love of 80s ceramics and graphic design.

I was thinking about the way that games were more often than not, works of love for their creators, which did not always have the most critically acclaimed artwork or shiny, well polished layout, but still managed to create a sense of wonder and command fan loyalty that is still strong today. I wonder how many games post-1990 will have a similar level of love as those early games?

The music of my youth was amazingly varied, and because I was part of a given 'tribe' at one time or another, I dismissed anything which that tribe saw as being not of a culturally acceptable standard, or as we would have said, 'crap'.

However, I think that many - myself included - would have had those 'dirty little secret' albums or singles in their collection. My own were The Pointer Sisters, Duran Duran, Chaka Khan and Haysi Fantayzee, none of which would be acceptable in my circle of rock obsessed peers.

Likewise, when I moved into the Goth scene, my love of the rock music which previously defined who I was, had to be kept secret, because you know, it was 'crap'.

At 50, I am just starting to realise just how much good music there was, out there. OK, not all of it was, but there are acts out there which, whilst still not my first choice, could really perform.

I hated with a passion, 'The Beastie Boys' and in fact once tried to climb over a DJ box to throttle the DJ who, on Thursday night at 'The Limit' club - a traditional Goth and Indie night - when he played 'Fight For Your Right' once time too many.

So, it may amaze you when I tell you that the 'Beastie Boys Book' is a really good 'own words' memoir of a band who I did not know had their roots in the N.Y punk scene as legitimate hardcore punk rockers. I had always assumed that they were no more than 'Party Jocks', but the truth is far more fascinating and interesting than that. I've spent the last two days listening to the audio version of the book and I'll be going back and listening to it again.

It's a brilliant snapshot of a small part of the 80s, and I am now somewhat ashamed that I wrote them off, because of a single song and video.

Take a look or listen to it; it's worth the time and effort.

Here at Fackham Hall we have a weekly TV schedule of 70s and 80s shows, which at present goes like this:

Monday - M*A*S*H
Tuesday - Cheers
Wednesday - By The Sword Divided
Thursday - Top Of The Pops followed by Tales Of The Gold Monkey (my wife had never seen the latter until last week)
Friday - TOTP and maybe an episode of Arena or Timewatch
Saturday - 3 hours of 70s and 80s radio
Sunday - An 80s film from our constantly growing collection

It's great fun, even when we sometimes witness something cringeworthy. Those crass songs or episodes, simply add to the feel of the era. Down the line we have Battlestar Galactica to watch and we're watching all 11 seasons of M*A*S*H for the 3rd or 4th time.

Some folks, have raised eyebrows or have taken the piss, but I'm not making them watch or listen to the same stuff, and I enjoy it so they can simply fuck off, because I'm not going to stop enjoying it.

I'm mulling over a few other things too, but for now, I'm late for the weekly TOTP binge with my good lady.


Saturday, 12 January 2019

Sorting The Boys From The Fellahs, And War Atrocities With Superglue

So, after all my purchases arrived, here are my two 'Floor Games' armies. The first two pics show the 'British' and the third is the smaller but very pretty 'Indian' army. Both can of course be combined if need be.
Next up, is the marathon MDF bases spraying session.

Now, after 5 minutes of hellish battle with superglue and no refreshment or respite, the first unit is fully based.

Not sure whether these will stay with my British or whether they will become 'The Honourable Company Of Tea Planters' for the army of the Wazir Of Wazzockistan.


Friday, 11 January 2019

Heroics & Ros Announces Expansion Of Business


Heroics & Ros is on the move, I have owned the company of 9 years now and in that time we have nearly quadrupled in size, which is great but we have been steadily out growing our current production capacity. We have been looking for a new location and now that opportunity has occurred but it has come about rather quickly.

In order to move we will have to shut production so, we will be closing for new orders from the 18th of January. We will complete all order placed before that date then start the task of moving thousands of moulds, equipment and stock. So if there is anything you “really need” before the end of February please order as soon as you can, if you can pass this on to anyone you thing might be interested it would be helpful.

I am not sure how long the move will take as it won’t start until we have shipped all outstanding orders which is clearly an unknown quantity.

But I am hope we can complete this in about a month and aim to reopen around 22nd February.

I am sorry for the short notice but it has been complicated to arrange and only now do we have confirmation of the availability.

Thanks you for all your support over the last 9 years and we have lots of new models ready for release once we are open again and just maybe even some more pictures 😀😀

Andy Kirk
Heroics & Ros

Saturday, 5 January 2019

How Many Is Too Many?

After the last few days of frenzied acquisition of Britain's 54mm figure sets along with the return to work after a quiet but restful Christmas, I'd sworn off buying any more.

After all, I think I'd bought something like 48 sets and really needed to let them all arrive, sort them into two box regiments for the infantry and see what cavalry there was... You know, sort of returning to barracks to regroup and allow the finances to recover for a few weeks.

So, at 7:30 this morning as the memsahib lay abed after a fitful night, I lay in a bath, judiciously sprinkled with Epsom salts, coffee at my side and the latest ambient music podcast from Ultima Thule playing as I relaxed in Triton's embrace as it were, reading a 1970 facsimile edition of H.G Wells'  'Little Wars' by Arms & Armour Press.

I was in heaven.

Look, if you haven't actually read that book and you are a warmer, then you really ought to, because you are missing a gem, written by a wry wit and raconteur, the likes of which our hobby lacks these days.

Now, I would have enjoyed the book even more, if Richard Axe Books had sent the advertised hardcover edition for the £30 price tag and not the paperback edition. I have not seen fit to place a warmer's curse upon them, but they will not get another penny from me, let me tell you.

That aside, it's a really interesting and fun read, and Wells seemed to capture the essence of warfare in the ays of empire rather nicely in that way that Wise, Asquith, Grant etc emulated when I was a lad.

I'm beginning to take the view that all I really want to do is play Smith little lead dollies of varying shapes and themes and have fun in so doing.

I am sure that many of my contemporaries 'came up' the same way, on a diet of magazine published rules, Airfix guides and the words of those men of renown who, were even then silvering at the temples, yet possessed of the powers to come up with a tactically challenging game in a few pages and do so with style and aplomb. It was fun!

And so, why not recapture that fun eh?

Now, I have dabbled previously in 54mm, so having enjoyed that toe-dip which came just before my rather acrimonious split with Sheffield Wargames Society, I thought it was time to return to the subject even if I am as welcome as pork roll in an Israeli ration pack at my gaming alma mater.

This time, having been tempted by Howard Whitehouse's 'A Gentleman's War' Facebook page, I set a few rules:

1. All figures must if humanly possible be metal.

2. They should be painted.

3. They should be Britains or a similar high quality traditional manufacturer.

4. They should be prettily attired.

5. No strict adherence to a specific conflict was to be observed, as long as the collection oozed atmosphere and a yearning for the days of empire. 'My armies - My rules' was the maxim.

6. Price was no obstruction but, I should try to get the models as cheaply as possible

And so, there I was, stripping out the conservatory and moving a bloody great 'American' fridge-freezer this afternoon, taking a tea break with an amaretti biscuit as I checked out what bargains I was missing, when I noticed that 4 more boxed sets, which were priced at a stupidly low £28 each were being listed on eBay as I watched. I noticed that potential buyers were being offered the chance to make a 'best offer' so I offered £104 on the 4 lots and the offer was accepted.

And there went my promise to myself, as the collection went smartly over the 50 set mark.

I bagged:

The Royal Engineers
Royal Marine Light Infantry
A second set of the Ox and Bucks Light Infantry
The Gloucestershire Regiment

I also picked up a nice 2nd ed copy of the Ghostbusters RPG from a charity seller, for £70 which was eye watering (being originally £90, which just wasn't cricket). Still, £70 of my money has gone to the aid of the homeless rather than a cut throat dealer, so it's all good.

Now, I just have to convince myself that I am really going to take a break from 54mm toy soldier hunting for a few weeks.

We shall see...