Friday 31 December 2010

Another Year Over...

I don't normally 'do' resolutions but I am going to try and be a little bit more organised going into the New Year. No doubt like all plans it won't survive contact with the enemy (ie. real life) but it won't hurt to try to focus on a few things rather than my usual scatter-gun approach.

So what am I going to (try and) focus my efforts on in 2011?

1. Ancient Wargaming Project: this is the one to kick the New Year off with. I actually have two (and a half) in mind. First off are the 28mm Romans (both EI and Republican) v Celts which will be the initial focus of my January painting and possibly later in the year the Peloponnesian War.

2. WW2 Project: my mid-war Flames of War project was still born but I did manage not to amass piles of lead and resin during the year. I'd still like to do this but will first try and finish the 20mm Battlefield Evolution WW2 project.

3. Blog Projects: I have three specific blog projects on the go, England Prevails, Grande Age of Hyboria and New Worlde. I'd like to crack on with the 2ECW as my urban terrain ideas will also be useful for 40K and WWW2. New Worlde will be a slow burner but one I'd like to keep ticking over during the year as I build up warbands. Grande Age has been a bit of a struggle as I re-discovered I hate painting Napoleonic figures but as I have almost finished my first unit I will return to it (I'm sure it will look good when some stuff is painted).

4. SF Project: I would like to do something non-40K and have an idea in mind but it will be a case of finding suitable miniatures so this will be ticking over in the back of my mind until then.

5. Reclaim the Games Room: ...and play some games in it!

6. Finish two WHFB and 40K armies for Saul: the Dwarves and Space Marines won't take much effort as they are 80% done if not more, but I need to crack on with either the Elves or Goblins and Tyranids or Eldar for him.

And, of course, this doesn't include a pile of Wessex Games projects!

Typing it up, it does look a bit ambitious and I might see if dedicating a month to a particular project might be helpful in focussing efforts on specific things, who knows? Whatever, I hope you all have a great New Year and prosperous 2011 and thank you all for reading the blog!

Thursday 30 December 2010

The Eagle (Of The Ninth)

Having bundled Saul off to the local GW with his Space Marines I've got a couple 0f hours to mess around with some bits of plastic before SWMBO comes home. Earlier in the year I picked up a pile of Early Imperial Romans for a snip off eBay and with my Roman reading frenzy showing no end at the moment I dug out the boxes of Wargames Factory and Warlord Games Celts and have started sticking bits together.

The latest book to be finished off was Rosemary Sutcliff's classic The Eagle of the Ninth. I actually had bad memories of the book, having been given a copy as a kid and struggling with it before giving up, however a few decades later and having enjoyed Frontier Wolf, I decided to give it another go and enjoyed it immensely (ploughing straight into the next in the "series" The Silver Branch).

I am also looking forward to the release of the film of the book, The Eagle, next March. The trailer looks pretty good if you are not going to get too het up by the 'mohican' look of the Seal People and can accept the changes to the story (the relationship between Aquila and Esca is clearly different and it looks like there might be a major difference to the ending with what appear to be survivors of the Ninth fighting the Seal People near the end of the trailer).

2011 might be a bit of an ancients year...

Wednesday 29 December 2010

Duck Wader

The final figure of Saul's Critter Commandos collection is Duck Wader. He must have been available separately a while back as now he only appears to come in a back of 'stormbunnies' that I really don't like at all. One day I'll order the Jettdri Knights - Duck Swampwalker and Benji Canoby, to go with him, but as a stand alone figure he's quite fun.

Tuesday 28 December 2010

Sergeant Duck & Fleecy Company

With the Killer Death Penguins sorted I needed to get some OpFor figures and decided to go with ducks! Team Frog's Duck squad contains four figures, but (like the penguins) I haven't had a chance to paint the power armour/duck robot yet.

I was a bit stumped initially on what colour to paint the ducks, brown or maybe black like Daffy? In the end a bit of Googling of cartoon ducks (obviously) brought up Donald and I settled on the white feather look as providing the best comic look and good contrast. The uniforms are vaguely American looking so I went with a faded 'Nam style green.

The ducks were a lot of fun to paint and I love the one throwing a pineapple grenade that literally is a pineapple! Unfortunately these are all that Team Frog do, so I may have to look at doing do some conversions to beef up the unit.

Monday 27 December 2010

Special Penguin Light Assault Team

Naturally, no Killer Death Penguin Commando leader would dream of going into battle without a recce unit and fortunately Team Frog have included such in their range in the form of the S.P.L.A.T. (Special Penguin Light Assault Team), four Killer Death Penguins on skateboards!

Whilst the figures themselves were quite straightforward, being in a mix of helmets and berets it was obvious they had to be painted up as paras, the skateboards did cause me a temporary mental painting block. Despite some interesting (and very colourful) suggestions to a request for ideas on TMP, I did have a "eureka!' moment and painted them in the British WW2 'Mickey Mouse ears' camo pattern (Mickey being a cartoon character etc), and I think this has worked very well...

Sunday 26 December 2010

Killer Death Penguin Commandos

Those of you with children (or grand-children) may be aware of Club Penguin, a "free to play" online game run by Disney. A lot of fun for kids of all ages, there are those that take it more seriously than others and form unofficial groups which "battle" against each other, first amongst these is the Army of Club Penguin!

Whilst Saul has moved onto the likes of Black Ops and Red Dead Redemption I thought he'd find it fun if I bought him some penguins to wargame with and so for Christmas he received a painted squad of Team Frog's Critter Commandos penguins (and what wargamer hasn't ever wanted a unit of the elite Killer Death Penguin Commandos?)

You get twelve figures in the squad including officers, grenadiers, troops and power armour (the latter not quite finished) and I must confess that after some false starts I had a lot of fun researching (Googling cartoon penguins!) and painting these models.

Saturday 25 December 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone and here's hoping that Santa has brought you lots of wargaming pressies...

I've had this old GW Sanity Claws figure knocking around for 25 years so I felt it was about time he received a coat of paint!

Friday 24 December 2010

101 Uses Of An Artificial Xmas Tree (number one)

As we enter the final preparations for the festive period I thought I'd take the opportunity to suggest an idea for some post Twelfth Night scenery construction!

I must confess this is not my idea and the pictures are ones I took at Warhammer World in Feb '09, but using the branches off a cheap artificial Xmas tree to make palm trees struck me as inspired, I hope you agree and may feel inspired to make your own which can be useful for anything from the French Foreign Legion to Pirates of the Caribbean...

Finally I like to thank everyone who follows, comments or just occasionally pops into Bleaseworld, it is appreciated. I have a number of newly painted miniatures ready for posting over the next few days, so in between munching turkey sandwiches and drinking egg nog, feel free to pop back to see some rather odd miniatures!

Thursday 23 December 2010

Airfix 2011 Catalogue

When I was knee high to a grasshopper one of the most exciting events of the year was the release of the Airfix catalogue and to see what new HO/OO plastic soldiers would be released the next year!

Whilst my excitement is more restrained in my middle age I was enthused after a quick browse of the 2011 releases online announced today. A few things caught my eye...

Military Vehicles 1:76 Scale
A02338 - Cromwell Cruiser (should go nice with the newly sculpted A01763 1:72 WWII British Infantry Northen Europe which although scheduled for this year will now be 2011.

Military Vehicles 1:48 Scale
A06301 - British Land Rover Twin Set (set includes one Land Rover WMIK and one Land Rover Snatch)
Figures 1:48 Scale
A02750 - British Army Troops

These could also be useful:

Buildings 1:76 Scale
A75005 - European Town House
A75006 - European Church
A75007 - European Four Storey Shop
A75008 - European Brewery

The following are re-released:

Military Vehicles 1:76 Scale
A01307 - Josep Stalin JS3 Tank
A01316 - T34/85 Tank
A01319 - Chi Ha - Type 97 tank

Figures 1:76 Scale
A01763 - WWII US Paratroops
A01753 - WWII German Paratroops

Wednesday 22 December 2010

Plastic Dogs Of War

As the minutes and hours tick down to Christmas I find myself continually answering the door as various postal agencies deliver parcels which then need repackaging in festive paper for joyous opening on the 25th! One surprise was a self bought gift for myself which I wasn't expecting to the new year, two boxes of the new Perry Miniatures European Mercenaries which I had ordered from Maelstrom Games for £16.20 a box post free.

I've only managed a quick look but they do look bloody amazing, for your pennies you get 40 figures that can be made up as pikemen (up to 18), crossbowmen (up to 12), handgunners (up to 12) or halbardiers (up to 12), plus 4 command and lots of other gubbins including a nice flag sheet. I had intended to use these for a tentatively planned Wars of the Roses project (SWMBO is a big Richard III fan) but a quick comparison with a couple of old-Foundry WotR shows that whilst there is a slight height difference, I might be able to get away with using both in my slowly progressing Burgundian and Swiss armies.

Aside from answering the door and being dragged around Morrisons and/or Sainsbury's and/or ASDA by SWMBO I have been doing a little bit of painting for Christmas pressies but you'll have to wait until after the 25th to see, so not to spoil the surprise (assuming Saul drags himself away from COD Black Ops for five minutes and checks the blog!).

Friday 17 December 2010

Wargame Vault Winter Offensive

The other day Jim, on his excellent blog, was taling a bit about digital rulebooks and the PDF edition of Rapid Fire he picked up at Wargame Vault. Looking for a set of WW2 rules to resurrect the 2008 summer project (!) I bought and downloaded a copy today because Wargame Vault have kicked off their four day Winter Offensive promotion with 20% off lots of rules including Rapid Fire.

Having a bit of credit with WV I also picked up Roman Seas, Songs of Drums and Shakos, G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. and Critter Commandos! A strange mix that'll keep me busy over Christmas... :-)

Thursday 16 December 2010

Ancient Words...

With a new conservatory roof and doors being fitted yesterday and this morning I hid away in the games room with a space heater, some magazines, a laptop and some good intentions to paint some of the lead mountain, suffice to say I managed to undercoat one figure yesterday! Toady was a bit better with some work on two Dwarf Golems from the Leviathan range and the start of some presents for a 15 year old wargamer who I spend most of my time taxiing around the city of Bristol (mostly to the Cathedral as it is concert season).

Anyhow, despite not having done much painting (but promise to do some soon) I have read a lot of novels as I've spent the last few weeks on trains to and from London, or planes to and from Paris. For the most part I have been in another of my sword and sandal moods and this is still the case as I've just started the classic Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff, which I haven't read since school.

First off was Captain of Rome, the second in the Masters of the Seas series by John Stack. Following the career of Atticus, captain of the Aquila, during the Punic Wars, the book is fast paced, full of intrigue, some great naval action (culminating with the Battle of Cape Ecnomus (256 BC). Like its predecessor I really enjoyed the book, ploughing through it at a fair rate of knots (sorry...). I've always had an inkling to try galley warfare but have yet to dip my toe as I can't decide whether to go large fleet or boarding action...

Back almost a century to 333 BC I got around to reading Christian Cameron's Tyrant. This had been sat on the bookshelf for almost a year having been a bargain impulse purchase but not read as for some reason I find books with Alexander the Great boring (strange I know...). Fortunately the story starts with the lead character, Kineas, being dismissed from Alexander's service along with his Greek cavalry, only to take employment in Olbia and end up resisting a Macedonian invasion. For the most part I really enjoyed the book, though Kineas' dream sequences became a little irritating as the book went on. That said I will be buying Tyrant II and III very soon...

Finally I devoured Anthony Riches second Empire book, Arrows of Fury. Following the adventures of Marcus Valerius Aquila, on the run from a vengeful Emperor Commodus, serving in an auxiliary cohort on Hadrian's Wall under the nom de plume of Centurion Corvus, the book deals with the aftermath of the Battle of the Lost Eagle which concluded Wounds of Honour, and the native leader Calgus attempts to free his lands from the Roman invader. Cracking read, I eagerly await the third (and sadly final) volume of the series. Reading the book I decided that 2011 will see me slap some paint on the Warlord Auxilliaries I bought this year and that they will be the 2nd Tungrians complete with a centurion sporting two swords! :-)

Whatever scholars think of the historical accuracy of the likes of Anthony Riches or Simon Scarrow, all I'd say is that prior to reading the novels by both I'd always regarded Roman Britain to be pretty boring post invasion and had not realised what an interesting period it was, so whilst purists may cringe and look down their noses, I am thankful that I discovered them...

Monday 13 December 2010

Whole Lotta Reading...

Over the last couple of days I seem to have amassed a small collection of magazines to read as the postman delivers various subscriptions. Wargames Illustrated is just one of an eclectic mix including SFX and Classic Rock Presents Prog (winner of the worst magazine title award of there was one). The common issue with all these nicely produced and highly readable mags is that they take up a lot of space (yes, I suffer from wargamers hording disease) which is why I restrict myself to just one wargames mag these days (I don't include White Dwarf as Saul steals it and hides it in his bedroom). This is a shame as I really like Battlegames and have picked up odd ones and really enjoyed them, reminiscent of old school Battle for Wargamers and Practical Wargamer.

So I was pleased to see that not only can you subscribe to Battlegames as a PDF only magazine, but they've done an impressive back issues bundle for a reduced price and included their Tabletop Teasers special. So a click or two and a PayPal password later 200mb plus of wargames PDF delight has just downloaded onto my MacBook (saving a lot of space and misplaced magazines).

I'm not quite sure if you can "stick your head" in an electronic magazine but that's where I'll be (obviously Santa will need to be bring me an iPad now - yeah right!)

Friday 10 December 2010

Restrepo: Outpost Afghanistan

Wargaming has been on a back burner with a busy travel schedule with work and the usual Saul taxi duties (though have seen a couple of good prog bands of late). I'm going through another of my sword and sandal phase book wise but I'll cover them in another post as I've just caught up with a National Geographic documentary about a US army unit's tour of duty in the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan.

Restrepo: Outpost Afghanistan was fascinating viewing, especially after the gung-ho "based on fact" series Generation Kill which was a complete turn off for me, the idiotic view of the soldiers echoing that which caused so many problems ten years earlier in Somalia. The troops in the Korengal seemed more aware of the people around them and that other cultures deserved respect.

The documentary was an interesting comparison to the Ross Kemp series covering the British in Helmand and although their were many similarities, the terrain (pine forest covered mountains) was very different. What did strike me though was how similar it all seemed. Firebases surrounded by an indigenous enemy that melted into the undergrowth, heavy use of air assets etc. The similarity to Vietnam was quite striking.

The unit suffered a number of casualties and there is a scene at the end of them firing flares off that is very poignant (the outpost itself was named after a comrade that died early on in the tour). The documentary ends by telling you that the US pulled out of the Korengal in 2009...

The photos above are all screen grabs from the documentary which is still available on Sky Player...

Sunday 28 November 2010

Reveille 2010

Despite the unseasonable snow on the ground Saul and I popped up to Bristol's wargames show Reveille this morning. Whilst not the biggest of shows I always enjoy it (especially the bacon rolls), however my wallet remained pretty much closed throughout except for the bacon rolls and a copy of the El Cid WAB supplement I picked up for a fiver. Saul picked up a copy of Wizard's First Rule for two quid from the bring and buy having enjoyed The Legend of the Seeker on TV, but that was it. I was tempted by the Britannia 20mm modern Afghan range and the Inkerman 28mm Malaya models but decided there were enough unfinished projects at home and not to start another.

He enjoyed playing a game based on the Predator movie, there was a nice 15mm RCW game with an armoured train, a good 15mm SF game using the old G-Cav rules, a 54mm samurai game, a squig race, Space Vixens and a very nice looking VBCW game with some beautifully painted miniatures (I especially liked the Barclays Bank militia unit). I've run the photos through iMovie so if you have five minutes you can check the games out.

Tuesday 23 November 2010

Brave New Worlde...

Back in the day (well 1997) when I was freelancing for Alternative Armies on Flintloque, I used to have many long and wandering phone calls with Mike Owen which after discussing the latest twist on orcs in Napoleonic uniforms would go onto many diverse matters, one of which was the Welsh discovery of America!

Mike had been reading a book on Prince Madoc and thought that it would make a great game. The conversation developed, howabout bringing the Norse into it? What about the mythologies (Mike loved The Mabinogion)? Enthused I started writing up the background, researching Algonquin and Welsh myth and I roped Matthew Hartley in on the rules front and he drafted a set of skirmish rules inspired by his reading of a Paddy Griffith book on Viking warfare.

Sadly AA in the form it was went belly up and Mike went on to Foundry then set up his own company (Artizan) producing historical miniatures. However, the idea has always sat at the back of my mind so yesterday in a fit of enthusiasm I set up a blog to kick start the project and see if it has legs.

So if you fancy the idea of Vikings v Welsh v Red Indians v mythical creatures from their respective mythologies please follow my New Worlde blog. If you think it's barking, please ignore this post, normal service will be resumed soon...

Saturday 20 November 2010

Tintin Versus Cthulhu

Plans to go to Warfare today were scuppered by an outbreak of trenchfoot in Bleaseworld with young Saul having to see the MO for treatment for a nasty toe infection when we should have been buying toy soldiers in Reading. Still we have Reveille next week so all is not lost...

Having a lazy morning (well that's what SWMBO calls it) before cracking on with some painting this afternoon (bit more work on my Aquilonians for the Grande Age of Hyboria I think) I was browsing the interweb and came across the work of artist Murray Groat via Dan Abnett's Facebook page and just had to share these with you all...

Thursday 18 November 2010

High Elf Test Pieces

Needing a break from 2mm (and to ponder whether I should do the Belgians on Mars white or in the green/grey Legation uniform also worn in Peking) I remembered Saul had a big box of unmade High Elves I was suppose to be painting for him.

We'd had a little dispute over the colour scheme, Saul likes the GW white scheme, I don't. Also white is a git to paint in any quantity and with so many projects on the go and the lead mountain now being accompanied by plastic hills any paint scheme would have to be one that didn't take hours and require labour intensive shading and layering to look ok (like white).

Consequently I made a carpe diem executive decision and decided to paint up a few to show Saul what I was taking about and how cool they look! The armour is Brazen Brass (a very old bottle - four designs of bottle old!), Scaly Green for the cloth and some touches of Blood Red. They were then dipped in Strong Tone...

There are a few more touches needed but I think they've come out nice and hope Saul will like them. I haven't decided on the shields as yet. Part of me wants to do something different and I am considering using hoplite type round shields, the shields from the LOTR Southrons (though what they would then have is a problem) or some oval design inspired by the zulu shield pattern but smooth (I was thinking these Elves would come from the Fortress of Dawn rather than Ulthuan).

Wednesday 17 November 2010

Captain Of Rome

Last year Tas recommended I check out Ship of Rome by John Stack, a novel about a Roman galley commander in the Carthaginian Wars, which I did and found hugely enjoyable.

In ASDA today I noticed the second in the series, Captain of Rome is available in paperback and not only is it at the knock down price of £3.76 (instead of £7.99) it comes with a free copy of Ship of Rome - an even better bargain, especially if you haven't read the first.

I've always had an 'itch' to do some galley games but never got around to it. The new WI (Samurai issue) has an interesting looking set based on Piquet in it with a number of pretty pictures that make me want to knock an order off to Xyston or someone, but I am being strong...

Tuesday 16 November 2010

Rivals Of The Raj

Colonial wargaming is incredibly popular and a lot of fun, but unfortunately is incredibly Anglo-centric. Now whilst I am myself a victim of the allure of the redcoat heroically standing against the noble native, it was not just the British who engaged in hard fought victories (and famous defeats) in the age of empire.

The main reason for our ignorance is of course the fact that sources on other nations campaigns are hard to get hold of and usually in a foreign language (!) - also, no one has made a great film about their exploits like Zulu! Accordingly it is also great when some enterprising author and publisher expands our knowledge and kudos to Peter Abbott and Foundry for their brand new Colonial Armies volume, Rivals of the Raj (non-British Colonial Armies in Asia 1497-1941) which arrived this morning courtesy of the Royal Mail.

I've only had a chance to flick through it, but it looks a fantastic piece of work. Internally similar in style to the old WRG books with numerous black and white line drawings of troops uniforms this volume is an excellent companion to Abbot's Africa 1850 to 1918 and although a slightly (!) wider timespan, does focus on the 19th century.

There is a lot of really interesting material and ideas here, I'm initially taken with the Dutch and their 35 year war in Northern Sumatra at the end of the C19th and a box of the new Wargames Factory WSS plastics would get much use on colonial service for many nations including the Austrians in India! Umm...

Whilst the book might seem expensive at £30 with no colour illustrations, it is an impressive piece of work and worth every penny if you have any interest in colonial wargaming.

Saturday 13 November 2010

If You Go Down To The Woods...

Not the most exciting of posts, but I made up a few small 2mm woods/copses for Land Ironclads that will also work for Aeronef and other air combat games.

Simple job, hacked up a couple of old CD's. glued some sand around the edges and painted that and then wood glued a mixed selection of Woodland Scenics foam bushes (mainly light green but also some olive and odd dark which I picked up off eBay for 99p).

Overall the effect is very pleasing and works well enough for small woods you get over the farmland of northern France and southern Belgium.

Friday 12 November 2010


Zombies are de rigueur once again (or should that be de rigor mortis?!), with continuing book releases such as Osprey's excellent Zombie Hunter Guide and Stephen Jones' Zombie Apocalypse! which looks really good. However a lot of the interest is no doubt down to the new TV show The Walking Dead (based on the excellent comic book series of the same name), which is now showing on FX UK here.

I was very impressed with the pilot and once again it got me pondering on zombie gaming and possibly digging out Twilight's excellent Zombies!!! However, rather than the standard survivalist zombie game I started thinking about the military response and this led me to considering working up a variant based on Scudbusters, a great SOF game were the players take the part of the SOF and the Iraqis are card generated and table controlled. Using the 'Guts' friction system the longer your troops are on mission, the more worn down they become and I think this would be perfect for soldiers in a hostile environment such as a zombie infested world.

Most zombie games are US based, not surprising as most media is US based but as the excellent 28 Days Later showed, zombies (whether they run or not) work just as well in our green and pleasant land. Having picked up a pack of Wargames Factory's excellent modern zombies and some TAG SAS for my (slightly stalled) 2ECW project I've started penning some notes and will see where this takes me. In the meantime another episode of The Walking Dead not to be missed tonight...

Wednesday 10 November 2010

Contraptions And Smoke

I've managed to finish a few bases of contraptions for the Belgian and French VSF armies. The models are all from Brigade's new French range (Tony did not have any of the new Belgians to hand when he sent the land ironclads), so I have painted one set up as Belgian.

Both contraptions are really nicely done and paint up easily using a basecoat, wash, drybrush technique.

A while back I mentioned I was considering adding some Kapok smoke to the land ironclads and having found a stash of Kapok in the games room, decided to give it a go on one of the Belgian ironclads on Martian service. I coloured the Kapok with a marker pen and superglued it to the funnels. I'm not 100% sold on it but I think it certainly adds something to the model and helps reinforce the steam-era feel of the models and game...

Onto the Belgian colonial infantry now (which being all white will double as Italians and a host of other nations with a change of flag!).

Tuesday 9 November 2010

Sharp As Steel?

The success of Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe novels has led to many imitators and whilst not many reach the same level, they give it a fair crack. Iain Gale's Jack Steel series is one of those. Set during the Malburian Wars (or War of Spanish Succession if we are going to be technically correct), the books do help remind us of the impressive victories of John Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough against the French.

Man of Honour is the first in the series and is set around the Battle of Blenheim (1704). Lieutenant Steel is tasked with recovering a letter the contents of which could be used to claim that Marlborough has Jacobite tendencies (the period is interesting in that the Stuart claim to the throne is still alive and Scots and Irish fight against Marlborough), before returning to fight prominently in the battle. Very enjoyable, the book may not be as good as the early Sharpe novels but it is an excellent read and worth checking out if you fancy a change of period on the historical fiction front.

The second in the series is Rules of War starts at the Battle of Ramillies (1706) with Steel leading his Grenadier company to glory in the battle against the French in some very well written hard fought action. After this, in typical Sharpe style, he is sent on a mission to Ostend before leading his troops in the storming of the port with its near impregnable Vauban fortifications. Again a good mix of black powder battle and espionage, coloured with the political fighting between Whigs and Tories. Another enjoyable read.

The third (and currently last) book in the series is Brothers in Arms starting at the Battle of Oudenarde (1708 - following the 1707 Act of Union) which sees the newly promoted Captain Steel in the thick of the action before engaging on a mission of vital importance to Marlborough in the heart of the enemy realm - Paris. Unfortunately the book is a pot purri, starting well before becoming very fractured. Fascinating actions at Wynendael and Leffinghe don't get the attention they deserve and a couple of characters are killed without a seconds thought. From the dedication at the front of the book it is clear that the author sadly lost his wife during the writing and this most likely explains the way the book somewhat drops off. Despite this it is certainly worth reading and will encourage further investigation of two lesser know battles.

Whether Gale will add to the Steel series is not clear. He has subsequently written Alamein (which I'm currently reading), a standalone novel of the battle similar to his excellent Four Days in June about Waterloo and has started a new WW2 series which is published next year. With Malplaquet, the bloodiest battle of the war next (and the release of the Wargames Factory War of Spanish Succession plastics!), we can only hope so...

Revenge Of The Wargames Widow...

Gentlemen be warned, the SWMBO's of this world now have a weapon in their arsenal to inflict on the insensitive male who has dragged his partner around countless wargames shows saying "ohh, look at the epaulettes on that one" - THE CRAFT FAIR!

Saturday saw the Blease Clan driving up the M5 to the NEC again, this time not to Games Day or to see Iron Maiden, but to a massive craft fair, and when I say massive I mean MASSIVE!! Imagine Games Day crossed with Salute multiplied two or three times and full of manic women determined to spend, spend, spend (and this was a four day event - Sunday is apparently worse!).

SWMBO enjoyed herself immensely, Saul and myself retired from the overrun crafting section to the stalls section where they sell various gifts including jewellery (useful for Christmas presents for SWMBO), toys, musical instruments and food (lots of excellent samples including sausages - we could have joined the Sausage Club - and beer).

We have been without Internet access since Thursday and it is surprising how reliant we have become of it, just checking basic uniform details was a problem or even ordering new wargames stuff (still I had a brace of goals by Torres to cheer me on Sunday!).

I am still beavering away on the 2mm Belgians (and supplement) for Land Ironclads. Having had a (hopefully final) small op yesterday at the BRI I have to avoid traveling for several days so this should allow some free evenings to finish this off and maybe start something new (I've rescued some old 28mm Maximilian figures from the lead mountain and am tempted to do them but with Christmas coming up I may have to paint some stuff up for Saul).