Friday, 13 October 2017

Awa' Awa' - But properly dressed...

Well, it's been a hectic week on the domestic front, but I did manage to place an order with always helpful Allan Lumley over at Lancashire Games for 616 painted 15mm figures to allow me to refight Culloden.

I have wanted to 'do' that battle since the mid 80s after seeing it at Triples in 6mm. I never liked the look of it in 28mm - I don't know why - but 15mm was on the cards a few times. However, as I paint for a living and have zero time or inclination to paint things myself, I decided to go with Allan as I love the gloss finish, old school basing (you know, proper paint and tetrion basing, not static grass which is the norm these new fangled days.

I have worked at a flexible 1:30 ratio as it makes for nice sized units which retain a good aesthetic value. I have been reading like mad and giving myself a refresher course.

I fear I may have swamped Allan with more detail than he probably needs, bit I am a little OCD like that.

Yesterday I finally picked up my bespoke suit from my tailor after a 6 month wait, and despite the fact that I am have on the wrong shirt (it being cut for field ports and so quite long and loose; and that my hair does need a trim on the back and sides, I am very happy indeed.

You will recall that this whole smartening up was after suffering the stench and sartorial disarray at Vapnartak back at the start of the year.

Well, I for one will not be found wanting in that regard.





TTFN






Sunday, 8 October 2017

Monster Comic Con - Meh!

Well, Monster Comic Con in Doncaster was a disappointment. The vibe was subdued... Massive venue, lots of trade but a distinct lack of people.

The so called 'Cosplay Guests' were a waste of time... They were supposedly giving presentations, but frankly the info was non existent. Also having 4 nubiles in leotards etc, did no really send out a message of inclusion which we hear so much about. No male presence on 'Lechers Row', no Over-30 cosplayers on there... Do it right or don't bother. I could have walked up there with no preparation and presented something better off the cuff.

True to form the 'camera carrying mid-life crises' brigade appeared, gently sweating and fiddling with their lens caps - And no I DON'T think that many of these fellows are doing anything more than adding to an unsavoury personal gratification album.

As I said, the trade element was good, and I purchased a Polar Lights 'ECTO 1' kit and nerly spent £300 on a set of 4 Mattel 12" Ghostbusters figures - Nearly.

Was it worth the £12.50 advance early bird ticket cost? Certainly not. And if you arrived at the door and wanted that 1 hour start on the masses (who did not materialise) it was going to cost you an eye watering £15.00.

By 2PM I was thoroughly bored, and for the first time ever, I actually removed my hood and mask in the venue.

Meh...

Sunday, 1 October 2017

I Got Wood... And Then Some Bush

Yesterday, I collected the Sylvaneth army I mentioned in my previous post, and I am really happy with it. The day was made even better by a pleasant lunch with the memsahib, who also developed a keen desire to finish her Undead army or steal my Treemen.

Today, I have spent a rather relaxing 3 hours, adding foliage to the army because I am of the generation who like their wood to have bush, so to speak.

Anyway, here are the pics of the finished army:





TTFN

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Of Dryads, Star Destroyers And A Broken Promise - Not To Mention, Bloody Clavers and the Duke Of Regina's Finest.

I am just as busy as always with my day job as a figure painter. In fact I am having to work longer hours as the number and f account check stompers increases seemingly every month. Mind you, I am not complaining as I see many other painters with very slack workloads.

This has meant that my 'Me' time is in short supply, just as several things begin to take form at the planning stage.

Firstly, I've been reading and re-reading the Laserburn rules and trying to decide on whether to use the old Citadel Traveller range of figures, or the of dial Laserburn models.I used both back in 1982/83 so it's a really hard choice, let me tell you.

I have also been reading the first book my wife bought me, back in 1989, 'Bonnie Dundee' a history of Viscount Dundee who raised the clans in 1689 and met his death at Killikrankie. It's much prettier than the 1745 rising with a few pikemen still in evidence. I am sorely missed emptied to construct two armies in 15mm, but again, time is my enemy.

Last weekend saw me play Star Wars: Armada for the first time and I thoroughly enjoyed it as did my gaming buddy, Dave. We played with three ships, and I fear that I may have bought one or two ships too many.

Here are my two fleets so far, with Dave shown for purposes of scale:



Give or take I think there's around £800 worth of models there and we used £80 worth and had some damn fine games indeed!

Now, I mentioned the theme of a broken promise in the title, and I confess that despite my stalwart positions on both 28mm gaming and the GW 'Age Of Sigmar' system, I have not only taken a fresh look at the possibilities of those rules now that the latest 'General's Handbook' has been released, but yesterday I made one of this 'on a whim' purchases that you will know by now are a hallmark of your corespondent which time and wisdom have not been able to temper.

I was perusing the best known auction site when I happened to come across a rather pretty 'Sylvaneth' army from the A.O.S game - essentially an army of Ents and Dryads to those of us who remember a time before Warhammer and plastic figures not made by Airfix and Matchbox.

It was temptingly priced at £300 or best offer, and so, I made an offer which was accepted and became the owner of:



Treelord Ancient.
Spirit of Durthu (Conversion).
Treelord Conversion (used as Hurricanum). 
Drycha Hammadreth.
Branchwych.
Branchwraith.
3 Kurnoth Hunters with Greatbows.
3 Kurnoth Hunters with Scythes.
5 Tree Revenants.
5 Spite Revenants.
30 Dryads.
1 Sylvaneth Battletome.


I suppose some would say that it will all end in tears and failed saving throws, but to my mind, that's an allegory for life...
Moving on; Upon that fateful day way back in the dark mists of time, that GW opened in Sheffield, they had various sci-fi nuts dressed in assorted (and original) outfits. There were no cosplayers back then. 
These people were the geek elite and you may imagine how the heart of a barely teenage I nearly burst with pure escapism of it all.
I always wanted to put a costume together which was based on the Traveller 'Military' 15mm figures, which is essentially a modified U.S Army uniform of the Cold War era. 

Now at last, with the unit T'shirts from FFE, I think I can do it...


4518th Lift Infantry Regiment
The 4518th is a typical Star Marine Regiment assigned to defend the empire against the many threats that it may face. The 4518th is based on Regina in the Spinward Marches. 
Worn under a modified M1 helmet and M60 battledress, coupled with a few bits of tech and webbing this should evoke the feel of the Traveller universe nicely. 


154th Battle Rider Squadron 



With this T-shirt I'd wear a grey one piece flight suit, a few bits of tech and Nome gloves, with perhaps a repainted X-Wing pilot's helmet and black assault boots. 

You can check them out here:



And that's about it for the present

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Derby? I Think Not...




I have always enjoyed the Derby (note DERBY) World Team Championships. 

The venue moved a few years ago to Donnington Park - OK, but I just saw that it is now moving to the Buntington Proving Grounds which are another 30 minutes down the road for us. Well, - and excuse my brusqueness - fuck that, for a game of soldiers!
I am not that desperate to buy toys, from a show which has lost it's sparkle but which until this latest fuckwittery was still worth the travel time.

Time to drop the 'Derby' part boys!

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Pics As Promised...

As promised, here are a few pics of the latest outing for the Death Eater costume (aka Damius Darkhart) from the World Of Wizardy event yesterday. 

The looks on the faces of kids and in some cases adults were a joy to behold, that made the expenditure to put it together worth every penny. 

When a kid hugs you and their parents smile because that child is normally painfully shy; You know you have spread a little happiness. 

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Pottering About...

After a really heavy working week, the memsahib had a really great day today at World Of Wizardry 2. It's the first time the Death Eater costume has been to a specifically Potter convention and the response was absolutely amazing. 

I literally lost count of the number of photo requests - Seriously.

A great event if you've not been

Highlight of the day in terms of recognition was when they called to me from the stage to enter the costume competition and when I declined, the crowed all shouted 'Go on'. 

But I declined as for me the faces of those who asked for pictures and the general buzz were enough.

It was great to see my old friend Jo and her partner who were trading there.

Breakfast buffet was excellent. I was so hot that I had to go for a round of drinks and a bite to eat. As the bar and grill was out of the way, I could remove my mask and face coverings and not be seen out of character - a big thing of mine.

All in all a superb day, and I think that the memsahib took a few pics at the same time as others were taking them and I'll post them in due course.

Now, to relax a little and take some pain relief...

TTFN

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Hell Comes To Christmas Town

Every so often, I get an idea based on something that's just too good to miss... Sometimes I wonder if I am right in the head to do that. Today is one of those times.

You may have seen in the early 2000s a range for the Santa Claus Wars by Wargames Supply Dump which closed down earlier this year.

The basic premise is that Jack Frost, assisted by animated snowmen and yetis are assaulting Santas domain, which is being protected by Santa himself, his lady wife and a motley assortment of elves and fairies.; Oh, and talking fir trees - you know, those animated ones which make the singing bass look classy.

Madness!

Well, I did a deal for pennies on the pound this very day which sees me becoming the proud owner of over 500 of these models, all mint and sealed, and being that kind of lunatic, a display game is being formulated in my twisted mind.

Picture a homely log cabin with adjoining workshops, surrounded by giant candy canes and the like. Add a few penguins, igloos and Inuit; Maybe a walrus or two or cheeky polar bear. All is happy and peaceful at the North Pole.

But wait, Jack Frost has got it in his head to remove Santa from office, and has created an army of murderous snowmen, aided by local yeti tribes who are none too happy at the loss of historical hunting grounds to the ever expanding Xmas compound.

Let battle commence...

Now, I have ended up with a few extra models of Santa, so what to do with them? Well, every Xmas we see department stores opening grottoes, so let's imagine a unit or two of these ersatz Santas, none of whom look as bright or cheery as the Big Man. They are mediocre troops, but any time TBM, suffers a wound which would remove him from play, a DSS may be removed and Santa placed with the DSS's parent unit.

Now, the talking fir trees; Yes, well...

They are marked on a secret map, and actual trees are placed instead. When an enemy comes within a normal move of any tree in the unit, the real trees are replaced with the models, who begin their merry festive songs. This allows them to immediately close with the enemy and make one attack due to the surprise factor.

I am also thinking of adding some of the 15mm ACW teddy bears and the 25mm toy soldiers from Eureka to bring in an extra dash of colour - as if it was needed.

And so, you'll understand why I am questioning my own sanity.


TTFN

PS: Yes, I have also considered having a sculptor produce a boy and his toy tiger.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Goodnight 'Gunther'... R.I.P Tony Cheetham of SWS and Brights Regiment

I am saddened to have to announce the passing of Tony Cheetham, known affectionately to his friends as 'Gunther'.

Tony was a member of both Sheffield Wargames Society and Bright's Regiment of the ECWS and was a legendary character.

He was one of most genuine people you could ever meet and was always honest and unswayed by gossip, politics or other rubbish.

He was a force of nature of sorts, who lived life on his terms - exactly how one should aspire to live.

As a gamer he was a brilliant painter and one of the few who I held in high regard for his skill and precision with a brush, as a fellow artist and professional.

I first met Gunther whilst I was trying to find purchase in a push of pike, scrabbling and grabbing blindly in what was to all intents and purposes an armoured scrum. At last I managed to get a firm grip with my gauntleted hands and the air was pierced with a tremendous yell and roar of 'OOOWWWWWW ME GROLLIES*!'

It seemed that I had grabbed Gunther by the balls and was using them as purchase.

At the end of the battle, when the sweep of the field was done for stray cartridges and the like, Gunther was hear to ask if anyone had found his 'grollies' and with the wit so beloved of Bright's the chant of 'Gunther's unters, Gunther's unters...' was taken up as the sweep continued.

Rest in peace Tony, and get the drinks in mate, because we'll all be meeting again soon.

2017 is truly a year of tears.


TTFN


* Grollies are of course the testicles.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Sheffield Wargames Society Bring & Buy

Tim Gow of Sheffield Wargames Society writes on his Megablitz & More blog:

'Bring & Buy event - Sheffield Wargames Society

Sheffield Wargames Society is holding a bring and buy day 

as part of it's meeting on Wednesday 25th October 2017 from

 7.00pm at Woodseats Working Men’s Club, The Dale, 

Sheffield, S8 0PS.


Visitors from other groups in the area would be most welcome.

For those who want to sell six foot tables are available for £5 
(SWS members pay £1 but are asked to contribute an additional 
10% of their takings). 

Goods should be labelled clearly with details of price and vendor. 
Sellers may either man their table or rely on the honesty of purchasers.

GOODS ARE LEFT AT THE OWNER'S RISK, AND NEITHER 
SHEFFIELD WARGAMES SOCIETY OR WOODSEATS WMC 
ACCEPT ANY RESPONSIBILITY WHATSOEVER FOR 
ANY LOSSES OR DAMAGE SUFFERED.'


There you have it.

I would add that I am in not connected to Sheffield Wargames Society 
or any of it's commercial interests. This is merely a courtesy post.


TTFN

Monday, 4 September 2017

Laserburn In My Lap...

One of my favourite games down the years has been Laserburn.

I originally bought the main rules in the early days of Games Workshop, here in Sheffield and then purchased that add-ons from GW and Tabletop Games who published it.

Well, last night I was looking for something totally unrelated on a well known online auction site when in the 'You might like this' section what should pop up but a pretty much complete set of Laserburn with under 1 minute left to go.

So, taking this as an omen I popped a bid on the lot and a few seconds later they dropped into my lap.


£26.15 netted me this lovely little lot:




With the scenarios selling at £20-£30 each in the pas, I am very happy indeed with the purchase.

Now, down that slippery slope, I go once again.

In other news, I also took receipt of 22,500 painted Heroics & Ros Napoleonics yesterday morning which are very attractively painted by long term friend and amateur brushmaster Andy Needham who  replaced his 5mm collection with 15mm models in similar numbers.

TTFN

Monday, 28 August 2017

WOW! That Was Fast...

You will recall that the other day I took delivery of 660 1st generation Minifigs ECW, and was on the hunt for more?

Well this very morning as I head towards the end of my Summer break at midnight, I have secured another 736 mint condition castings and closed an amicable deal with their owner.

I am really looking forward to fielding two large forces using these models. They are true 15mm, very 'of their time' in terms of the historical research on uniforms, - remember 'Cromwell' and 'By The Sword Divided?' - and are frankly lovely. The notion of painting in a toy solder style with gloss varnish, is almost orgasm inducing.

And when I say 'mint' I mean just that. See:



However I still need dragons, generals and artillery, as well as a full list of the models which were originally produced. Can anyone help?


TTFN



Oh, How Empires Fall..

Friday was a bit of a shocker in terms of industry headlines...

Spartan Games who have been something of a staple for a decade announced that they were unable to service their obligations and went to the wall.

Now, forgive me my moment of bitterness, here, but as you know I freelanced for them as a painter and did the painting for several of the early box covers, before being cast adrift because their studio management was piss poor at the time and apparently they found themselves working on several projects at once with little organisation. I was owed a considerable sum which I was only able to recoup by accepting product which was not worth the RRP, and which almost cost me my home. So, whilst I am not leaping around in glee, I am not mourning, you understand.

The statement on their website ran thus:




Spartan Games

Written by Spartan Games | 
The following statement is issued today, Friday 25th August 2017.
Following a prolonged period of challenging trading and despite the directors’ best efforts to manage through, Rebel Publishing Ltd was unable to continue to trade and the directors have taken the difficult decision to cease. All members of staff were made redundant.
The company, which traded as Spartan Games, is a Somerset, UK based provider of tabletop miniature games which include
  • Uncharted Seas, a fantasy naval combat game (now retired)
  • Firestorm Armada, an exciting space combat game featuring highly detailed starship models
  • Dystopian Legions, a game based in the world of Dystopian Wars using highly detailed 32mm scale figures and vehicles (now retired)
  • Dystopian Wars– an exciting journey in a Victorian sci-fi world encompassing naval combat, ground warfare and aerial combat.
  • Spartan Scenics – a range of detailed and easily assembled wargames terrain.
Rebel Publishing Ltd was formed in July 2002 and traded successfully for a number of years. Spartan Games was launched in 2008 and grew rapidly.  However, the tabletop games market is challenging and has changed over recent years, and suppliers are predominantly a small number of large well-known names and several small, cottage industry, type businesses.
Initially the business outsourced production but following quality control and production management issues, manufacturing was moved in house between 2009 and 2011.  Over this time and since, significant investment was made into machinery and infrastructure. The business also expanded to provide models for a well known video game, moving this into the tabletop games arena.  However, significant new development costs, timing issues and the deflection of management time from the core games brands resulted in a significant trading loss for 2015/6. The business was able to continue to trade by raising additional finance and refocusing on core brands, and direct / online trading improved significantly.   Results for 2016/17 were significantly improved.
However, despite this it continued to encounter challenging trading conditions and it became clear this month that the company could not continue to service its liabilities, particularly given the burden imposed by the amounts owing to finance companies.
The company was in the process of running a Kickstarter project to raise funds for expansion of one of its successful product lines.  This was well supported and positive feedback on the new products was given showing the popularity of the product line and ongoing demand.  However, this does not, unfortunately, provide the full range of success and resources needed to sustain the business.
In addition to challenging trading issues, one of the directors has suffered from a long period of poor health which became significantly more serious earlier this year and although now back in the business, requires ongoing treatment.  That has inevitably taken a toll on the amount of time available to the business so, along with other challenges, has significantly contributed to this difficult decision.
The directors are extremely saddened by this decision and particularly regret any losses incurred by employees, customers, suppliers or other trading partners.  The directors fully committed their time, energy and personal resources to effect a turnaround.  Employees will receive redundancy payments through state funds and although efforts have been made to fulfil customer orders, it is hoped that anyone who does not receive their goods will be able to redeem their payments through their credit card or PayPal.
If customers have made a deposit or paid for goods or services by credit or debit card and the goods or services are not going to be received by the due date, they may be able to get their money back by claiming a refund from their card issuer.  They should contact their card issuer as soon as possible.  Further information including time limits that apply is available from the UK Cards Association: Credit and debit cards: A consumer guide.  Similar schemes exist in other countries.
Throughout the years that Spartan Games has traded, it has prided itself on the highest level of product quality and customer satisfaction.  This has been delivered consistently and is evidenced though annual customer research that the company has undertaken.
We would encourage anybody who may be interested in acquiring either stock, assets or the business to make contact as soon as possible.  Spartan Games and its product lines have a strong reputation in its markets together with an asset base which may be of interest to a number of parties, and a variety of machinery in addition to Intellectual Property.
All enquiries about this matter should be sent to spartangames@mail.com.

And so, a seeming giant has fallen, leaving a rather large gap, ripe for exploitation. Would I take on the I.P and ranges? No... 
And then, as if that was not enough, small company with large ideas 'Tor Gaming' also announced that they were going to the wall, with the following statement:

Tor Gaming was started back in 2010 with the intention to product the tabletop wargame Relics and with it, bring some originality to your gaming table. We tried to create a world that was distinctly different to what was already being presented from several fronts, and I like to think we managed in this task.
Unfortunately, the last few years have been a difficult trading time for Tor Gaming. Running a business in a niche market is never easy but the gaming industry has become very crowded in the last few years for a number of reasons. As such, I have made the difficult decision to close Tor Gaming and sell off the Relics IP and product range.
The reasons for Tor Gaming closing are many faceted but as I mention above the gaming market is a much more crowded than it was when I started out. The arrival of crowdfunding platforms certainly shook up the industry and made it even easier for new companies to appear and vie for the limited funds our customers have to spend in this hobby of ours. I have made use of them a number of times for Relics and whilst they are good for raising funds I have found each time I ran a project I had a nasty taste in my mouth afterwards.
Coupled with the fact that the traditional ‘distribution model’ of selling product to end users through retailers is a difficult task in this industry as retailers have only so much shelf space and as such are less inclined try out every range that comes along makes continuing to trade in this industry as a producer is difficult.
Over the last couple of years we have seen a steady decline in sales and as such Tor Gaming no longer has the resources to spend on the marketing and advertising required to make our voice heard over all the other voices in this industry. This has ramifications on our ability to develop and produce new products to support the Relics line. We could continue by making use of more crowdfunding projects and moving away from the more traditional ‘distribution model’ for selling but I feel that would be the wrong decision as I am not happy putting the financial risk on to the shoulders of our customers.
It’s been a fun journey but as with all journeys, there has to be an end. For Tor Gaming, that end is here. The journey has been fun and exciting, even frustrating at times. But along the way we have met some great people in this hobby and I am proud to call many of them friends now!
Enquiries

If you wish to contact us about this closure, or you are interested in purchasing the Relics product package and Intellectual property, we invite you to contact us on contact@torgaming.co.uk

It does make one wonder if their is some connection or common thread, or whether it is indeed merely foul fate at work again. Personally, I don't believe in coincidences.
I would say however that the Relics line was a niche product even in the supposed niche market.
I'd probably be interested in the Relics range but I'd want to do some serious thinking about how the figures were marketed and priced.

Interesting times, indeed...

TTFN