We haven’t got any markers to mark the edges of mortar stonks for our Chain of Command games and recently have been using dice to mark the edges which really just wasn’t doing it for me. As the ‘Operation Martlet’ campaign has just kicked off and I see a lot of barrages happening over the course of it, I decided to try and come up with something to make it look better in the write ups.
So, I grabbed some foam culled from old pan/dish scrubbers (I always keep some handy) and got to work ripping them up into suitable shapes. When you do this for larger ‘scale’ efforts I’ve found that you usually have a flat side so I ended up sticking 2 bits together (with super glue) and then ‘modelling’ them a bit more until you get a suitable shape – I even ended up folding bits and then gluing again or adding small bits that I’d ripped off earlier to add to the shape. The results are then glued onto pennies and once that has dried have at them with some paint. One of things that I like is that where the paint doesn’t take in the foam you get the original yellow colour showing through which adds to the effect somewhat I feel. I’m still mulling over whether to add some bits of ‘dirt’ to the edges using my basing material to show clods of earth flying about and might give one or two another go with some paint but I’m quite happy with them at the moment.
Here’s the results of about an hours work all told – and yes, I stupidly painted the last one a different colour (ran out of glue before making the last one, so did that today and had some German Grey that I needed to use up and didn’t realise just how much darker it was!), but it will do as the ‘ranging shot marker’.
I was reading on the club forum about the closing down of an old model shop that one of the members used to use and it started me thinking about the first place that fed my miniature figure collecting and so I thought I’d get all dewy eyed about it on here.
I used to live in a place called Elm Park in the 70’s and every Saturday my Great Grandad Joe and Great Nanna ‘Nosey’ would look after us while my Mum went round the shops in Romford (they lived opposite the market so very handy). Sometimes this would end up with me receiving the princely sum of 50p as either of them might slip the huge coin into my hand with the rejoinder of “‘Ere’s 10 bob son, don’t tell your Nan/Grandad” (depending on who was doing the gifting!), indeed on very lucky days I’d get double bubble as they both snuck me some cash! So when we got home the first thing I would do was to tear round the corner clutching the fantastically shaped currency tightly in my hand (you daren’t put it in your pocket as the weight would tip you over, I were a small lad back then!!) until I made it to this wondrous place….
Yep. ‘The Hobby Shop’.
The right hand window was full of Matchbox cars and Airfix kits and boxes of ‘soldiers’, the left hand window tools and other DIY kit that a 7 year old just wasn’t interested in (much as the 49 year old still isn’t today!). Once inside the place smelled fantastically of wood shavings as they would cut wood out the back for customers, indeed whenever I smell the same today I automatically think of this place, and the whole of the left side of the shop was a long counter with about a million wooden boxes stuffed with screws and bolts and all manner of uninteresting stuff and behind the counter would be one of the two gents that ran the shop resplendent in their brown coat (obviously worn over a shirt and tie). The chap on duty would get a perfunctory hello as I sped past on the way to the glass counter at the back that held the real wonders. Airfix.
If ‘the man’ was serving a grown up it meant I’d be waiting for ‘ages’ although that gave me more time to decide what to get: the new German Mountain Troops or the 8th Army to fight the Afrika Corp I bought the other week, or one of those Centurion tanks in the white and yellow box like that DUCK thing? Whatever it was, I’d leave happy clutching some new part of my collection and looking forwards to next week when I’d be doing the same again.
P.S. When I started thinking about writing this I did a quick search online for the photo and the truly fantastic news is that the shop it is still there and nothing has changed apparently which has really cheered me up no end. Long may it continue.
Just a quick update as I haven’t been posting again. The main reason for this is that I haven’t played a game since the last time I posted as I missed the last week or two of the club and we are now on our annual August break so nowt to report on game wise.
Apart from falling back down the Rome: Total War 2 hole (using the fantastic Divide et Impera mod), I have been having a Napoleonic splurge. I’ve been painting some 6mm Baccus and have been really enjoying doing it too and have also been developing some rules, cos you have to have a go at least once and the world really does need another set of Napoleonic rules! I’ve been toying around with them for years but now have the basic mechanics set. So, I’ve been sort of busy and will be posting some pics of the tiny fellas as soon as I’ve finished some off and will chuck something up about the rules once I find someone willing to help me test them out!!
I forgot to put what I managed to acquire in my last post and as it is like a Wargaming Blog law to do so I shall rectify it straight away!
My major purchase was at Heroics and Ros (as usual), and mainly it was bits and pieces to round out my Alt-History Polish units now that I’ve eventually settled on a TO&E for them. So some Vickers Mk.1’s, Grizzly APC’s, some Fox’s and Ferret/Vigilant for some kitbashing. and some ARV’s and minerollers. I also got a bunch of T-62’s for my Soviet Tank Regiment as I’ve decided to go 3 platoons per company instead of 2 per company as in the rules as it was just bugging me, it’s just too restricting for the Soviet player and not ‘realistic’.
My ‘off list’ purchase with Andy and Ian was some of the new Sisu APC’s and a G.91. Both of which, in keeping with all of their new releases, are cracking little models. They will be soon appearing in a Baltic State’s armed forces pretty soon! Unfortunately I didn’t realise that the new Danish Infantry were available as I’d have had some of those too as I’m a big fan of the new sculpts. Yes they are a bit bigger than the old ones but are belting figures and great to paint and, if we are honest, the older stuff seems like its on its last legs.
I also bought an Austrian Infantry Booster pack from Baccus for some 6mm Napoleonic shenanigans that we have planned for later in the year. Nice figures and look easy to paint up so I’ll be looking forward to doing those sometime soon, and a bargain at 288 figures for £19.80.
Lastly while with Comrade Noakesavitch at the PSC stand he chucked me a box of their new 15mm T-55’s that he picked up as his buy-4-get-fifth-free. Daren has some Team Yankee kit that he picked up a couple of years ago in a raffle at the club and although we have absolutely zero interest in those rules (and even less after Dan and I watched the game being put on at Salute – nice enough models but tanks jammed together in rows and M109’s and Rolands on the table, niet tavaritch) we are looking forward to the release of either ‘I aint been nuked Mum’ or ‘Battlegroup NORTHAG’ rules to get them all on the table. I also got to check out the Armies Army range as well and they are lovely too so worth investing at a later date in some of that kit too.
As my regular reader might have noticed I haven’t done a stitch on here for ages now and for that I apologise (once again!). As usual my health issues decided to get the better of me for a while and I really did not have the wherewithal to get anything done, I even stopped going to the club for about 6 weeks after we went to York for the Vapnartak show as I just didn’t have the physical or mental energy to do so. I seem to be getting better (relatively speaking) now though and normal service should resume from today onwards.
I’ll be trying to catch up with some Batreps and will be having a re-jig of the Modern pages but first up will be a quick post about Salute from the weekend.
OK, again sorry for the lack of posts over the past month but things have been very rough financially over the past few weeks and I just haven’t had the money spare to upgrade the blog so I could carry on posting. I could have just done some articles without pictures but too much of that can get a bit boring and, to be honest, I really haven’t felt like it as I’ve been too worried about other stuff that has been going on. Hopefully that has all been dealt with now so onwards and upwards and I’ll be able to get cracking on this again.
At the beginning of the month me and the missus managed to get away to Berlin for a couple of days to attend a friends 50th birthday bash (it was also my birthday at the same time so going was a no brainer really). We were staying with some friends in the Schoneberg district of town an area that has some great street names if you are a Napoleonic buff – our mates live on Bulowstrasse right next to Dennewitzplatz, indeed all of the streets in the neighbourhood are named after Prussian generals
We went to visit the DDR museum on the first day and it’s well worth a visit if you get a chance, the way that they use what little space they have and the exhibits on display are great and there’s a few bits of militaria from the time that would be of interest. They even have a recreation of a typical DDR flat which I must say made me a tad jealous as the kids room had far more room than the poky one me and my brother had to share in our place on the estate we lived on as kids, not to mention the cool design of the furniture!
After the museum we were due to go to see a light installation art piece in a chapel in a cemetery and as we were walking to it through the cemetery we rounded a corner where there was a gap between a wall and a building and we came upon a crypt which had a commanding view of the obvious entry point to the rest of the cemetery. As you can see by the photo’s it looks as if a fierce fight ensued to evict whoever was defending this. It was actually quite a sobering sight as it showed just how savagely desperate and ultimately futile the fighting at the end was. I was sort of glad that it had not been ‘fixed’ though as such things are great reminders of what happened and are just as much part of the city’s history as the ‘grander’ monuments (the Neues Museum has also kept its ‘battle-scars’ for this very reason).
The next day saw me head off to the Deutsches Historisches Museum on my own as my Birthday treat to myself as Luce was away looking at a couple of galleries. Now I’ve been here before and was keen to come again as I think it is a cracking place to visit – actually every museum that I’ve been to in Germany has been a good one – and as I had time to look round properly I was looking forward to it. And enjoy it I did, the only small gripe I had was with the bloke doing the tour in English. I happened to be near them when I was in the Napoleonic part of the museum and some of the information he was giving out was totally rubbish. There was no mention of the German States fighting on the French side or that Britain, the Austrians and the Russians helped defeat Napoleon and when he said that Leipzig was the last battle of the wars I couldn’t help myself and said ‘oh no it wasn’t’! Still apart from that there’s a wealth of fantastic exhibits on show ranging from Napoleons hat and sword swiped by the Prussians on the field of Waterloo to an 88 in the WW2 section (although I ballsed up my photo’s from the later part of the museum, still getting used to my new phone!). Highly recommended.
von Schill’s death mask
While on the subject of hats, I just had to take these. A whole cabinet dedicated to possibly the daftest piece of military millinery ever made, ladies and gentlemen, I give you: Picklehaubes!