Friday, 22 June 2018

Paper new obsession!

I have a new obsession!

Back in April I succumbed to temptation (again) at Salute and picked up a copy of one of the 'Battle for Britain' series of books by Peter Dennis.  This allow you to copy and cut out sheets of paper soldiers.  The books also come with a set of rules for the relevant period.  There are several books in the series now, ranging from Romans to the ACW and Napoleonic ships (Napoleonic armies are in the pipeline).

The one that got my attention was the Jacobite Wars book.  This is a period I've always been interested in and fancied gaming, but not enough to invest in armies for the period.  I always had a worry that I'd play a couple of games and then not go back to it.  Having seen the really impressive display game at Salute I weakened and bought a copy of the book at a hefty £9.50!

A couple of weekends ago I bought some good quality paper (the book recommends 100gsm but I couldn't get this and ended up with 160gsm), checked the printer had some ink and watched this very handy YouTube tutorial...

Admittedly Peter makes it look very easy, but actually it is quite straightforward and, before I knew it, it was like I was back in a Primary school art lesson with Pritt sticks, glue and safety scissors everywhere!  It is surprisingly therapeutic and relaxing snipping away and the results are very effective.  It reminded me of the fad a couple of years ago for colouring books.  My son finds it very amusing that I have spent several evenings 'cutting and sticking'.  He even found me a set of safety crinkle-edged scissors in an old craft kit from when he was young and was even more amused when I exclaimed "that's just what I need to make a grass effect!"

The figures come on a cleverly designed strip which folds up, concertina-like, to create 2 ranks and a space for the front rank which requires a little more trimming.  The sheets in the book cover just about everything you could want for this period and include stands for Grenadier companies, Militia, Commanders etc.

I'll probably use Black Powder for this period and in an evening I was able to knock out a 36 man infantry unit and prep some other bases in amongst doing some other bits and pieces.  Of course the key question is 'how does it look'.  I have to say I was really impressed with the impact the figures have.  Obviously they are designed to be viewed from the front or rear but the overall effect is really striking.  Needless to say I'm a huge convert...highly recommended!


Government infantry



Artillery can be made 2-D or 3-D.  This was a bit trickier but looks really good

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

74 years ago today...

74 years ago Allied troops began landing on the beaches of Normandy, beginning the long haul back through France and the Low Countries to Germany.

My family connection to these heroic (not a word I use lightly) events is via my Uncle Archie.  He landed with the 2nd wave on Sword beach with the Black Watch, behind Lord Lovat's Commandos who had landed earlier.  He made it through the day and as far as Caen where a sniper shot him through the cheek and neck.

Soldiers from the 51st Highland Division


Somehow he survived this and was shipped back home.  Family legend has it that this was actually very lucky as the rest of his platoon were wiped out shortly afterwards...I've no idea if this was actually true but it makes for a good story.

He returned before the end of the war with the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders before finishing his career in Palestine, serving under Lt. Colin Mitchell...better known as 'Mad Mitch.  He was eventually demobbed in '47, returning to his work in the Lanarkshire steelworks.

Like many of the men who took part in these events he said very little about them.

Aldi bargains!

I popped into my local Aldi this afternoon and in amongst the usual bizarre range of gym equipment, horse blankets and cat baskets that fill the Central aisle I found several handy craft tool kits at the bargain price of £5.99 each.  I'm usually baffled by the assortment of tools that Aldo idea of DIY is to get a wee man in to do the work for me but these all look useful.

I picked up a hobby knife set (including 26 assorted blades and a pair of tweezers), a hand drill set with a wide range of bits and a needle file set with 6 flavours of file.  They also had a mini-saw kit but I didn't pick that up.

I've had a similar knife set from Aldi  which I acquired a few years ago...the blades can be a bit flimsy and have a habit of snapping off under too much pressure but at that price they are easily replaceable and there is a great selection of sizes and shapes.

If this follows the usual Aldi pattern then the special offers are due to change tomorrow but there will probably still be some sitting on the shelves for a few weeks.