Monday, 29 July 2013

An Interesting Kickstarter

An interesting new Kickstarter from Studio Miniature covering the Sikh Wars.

My immediate thoughts are that they are nice looking figures and here we have a deal where we're not being stung by postage, which is nice.

The second thought is "What would I do with these?" - now that's the rub, as it always should be.  It's an interesting period, but I can't see much potential for cross-over. 

There's also the problem that the freebies start at the £70.00 level - I don't want to commit that much.




Regardless, I think I'll dip my toe in by signing up for the Sikh officers (illustrated in the embed), which I like and can see being used as archaic maharaja types.  I'll then keep an eye on the updates (the first one - the British officers - is already out) and what other troop types are listed...

Friday, 26 July 2013

Books and Stuff (the stuff being surprisingly topical)

A regular round-up of my book news.

What I've been reading this week...

I finished reading Harry Pearson, Achtung Schweinehund! A Boys' Own Story of Imaginary Combat.

Now this is a book that's been doing the rounds as recommendations are spread by word of blog.  I bought it after reading the review by Michael Awdry at 28mm Victorian Warfare and, as he cites the reviews that prompted him to read it, those interested in internet tropes and memes could track it down to Reviewer  Zero.  I'm not proposing to do that, but if you do and it's an interesting exercise, do blog and let me know about it!  The majority of the reviews have been positive (I'll get on to the exceptions later).

The book is a personal and funny account of growing up in 1960s and 70s England, surrounded by relatives who'd served in the World Wars and reading Commando comics, playing with toy guns, making military models and other war-like pursuits (he's at pains to stress that these are all imaginary and that neither these games or his later interest glorify or detract from the terrible realities of war).  On the way he branches off into the history of the manufacture of toy soldiers, Airfix and Action Man/GI Joe.  It's all great fun and a rather enjoyable nostalgia-fest (even for someone like me, who's a bit younger, never made models and didn't have an Action Man).

Unsurprisingly, the boy grew into a man interested in wargaming.  Now this is where it may be a little contentious.  I believe that it's a purely generational thing (and hardly a surprise given what we've read so far), but Pearson turns into a fanatically Historical Wargamer and is truly disdainful when it comes to fantasy wargaming (and by implication Sci-Fi, though he never bring himself to mention it) and role-playing games.  Some bloggers have taken issue with this, and certainly as we've seen in recent days over that silly article in the Telegraph, it can hit a nerve.  And this is before he gets onto LARPS and re-enactors!  I see it as his own personal stance: like it or not, it what he thinks and, as it's his book, he can say it as he likes.  Personally, I still find the stereotypes he trots out to be funny and do detect a knowing eye winking at me as he does so (again, compare it to the Telegraph article, which was just ill-informed and too-clever-by-quarter).

But this is only a symptom of a larger problem in the book, which comes out when Pearson goes into the history of wargaming (a section which I found fascinating - but then I like that sort of thing).  Pearson obviously feels that there was a Golden Age of wargaming in England: not when it was the pursuit of the social elite and professional soldier, but the 1950s and 1960s when wargamers were men who had served in the wars, all seemed to know each other by name, had colourful feuds and found it devilishly hard to get hold of figures.  Unsurprisingly (because that's how nostalgia works folks!), this was the period Pearson 'just missed out on' but he knows people 'who were there'.  So of course Pearson doesn't like Orcs  or the Lovecraft Mythos [in passing, I'm surprised that he doesn't quote what CS Lewis is supposed to have said at one of Tolkein's famous readings to the Inklings - "Not another fucking elf!"].  He's happiest  re-playing Napoleonic battles on thirty-foot tables over four days with thousands of figures correctly (ie, 'authentically') painted.  Not for him pitching an handful of investigators against zombies...

I would heartily recommend his book: it's funny and an good read.  It's probably best if you're 45 or over and don't the piss being taken out of your hobbies.  When it comes down to it, this is a book about nostalgia - and the wargaming section is just as nostalgic as the bit where he's using his granny's walking stick as a sub machine gun.



What I've bought this week...

Iain M Banks, The Hydrogen Sonata - £2.99

Martin Gilbert, Winston S Churchill: Vol III, 1914-1916 - £1.99

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Wednesday Welcomes and Waziristan Wanderings

I meant to do the welcomes in the same post as announcing the winners of the prize draw, but I'm afraid I forgot.

So, a big welcome to

You did make in into the draw, but as you know by now you didn't win.

Chris Stoesen at Wargamer's Odds and Ends has brought his readers' attention to a new blog Waziristan on a Fancy by



And the Winner Is...



Dave - once you have made your choice of one of the three books or two postcard bundles on the original post, get in touch with me at diplomatist2[AT]gmail[DOT]com so we can sort out where I should send them to you.

Good luck next time everyone else.  I know Crazy Joe is planning a giveaway, but it remains to be seen what twist he'll put on it...

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

BRF: Generations, Niggles and "What If..."

It's been quite a while since there were three generation of direct heirs to the British throne.  The last time was the birth of Prince Edward of Wales (later Edward VIII and then Duke of Windsor) in June 1894.  Then the running order was

Queen Victoria - The Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) - The Duke of York (later George V) - Prince Edward

Edward's childhood coincided with the Golden Age of Postcards, so I thought it would be nice to show some examples from my collection.  Particularly popular were 'Generations' portraits.  They range from the compilations to actual portraits.  Some, you will see are pretty ropey!

[When I wrote the above, I thought I had a card of Edward sitting on Victoria's lap, but I must be imagining it.]



After this, they shot the artist who'd drawn Edward VII and came out with...



And then there's early photoshop....


And let's throw in a gratuitous naval shot...



A small niggle

These references to  'the baby who will be the future king' were getting jar with me slightly.  Let's not forget that to become king, Prince Bert and/or Ernie has to outlive the current Queen, the Prince of Wales and Prince William.  Although we do of course hope that happens, it's not a certainty - there is a reason that they're called 'heirs presumptive' after all.  Princelings might be less likely to die of typhoid these days, but stuff happens in life.

We've had bad luck with heirs in the last couple of hundred years - the death of Frederick, Prince of Wales, left the Hanovers all over the place and the circumstances that led to Victoria ascending the throne meant it was touch and go for the monarchy for a while (and lost us a chunk of Germany).  There is a history of younger sons being thrust into the limelight - the death of the much-maligned Prince Albert Victor led to the then Duke of York acquiring his fiancee and the mantle of King-Emperor (would we have had a First World War if it'd been King Albert and Queen Mary rather than George V?  Who knows).  Another Prince Albert and Duke of York became another King George on Edward VIII's abdication - another huge 'What if...' question.

Edit

Not one of mine, and slightly pre-postcard, but this gives you the idea

Saturday, 20 July 2013

A Welcome, An Omission and the Beginnings of a Plan

First the welcome - we've been joined by Dave from the Laughing Ferret.  I must admit that the Laughing Ferret was one of the first wargaming sites I started following.  It's nice to have you here Dave.

The omission was in not pimping Pat G's website when he signed up -  Irr Wb (F).

The plan? 

Well, like the rest of the UK, I've not been painting figures lately.  In my case, it's not been because of the heat, but because it was giving me headaches.  A trip to the optician has confirmed that I need new glasses.  For the first time I've been given a prescription for close work ["At your age, it's harder for the lenses to reshape."  Cheers optical boy!].  So it seems I'll getting bi- or vari-focals. 



For that reason, I was working on terrain.  I bought some EVA sheets in The Works and have been making some very simple Middle Eastern buildings.  I'm wondering whether I should commit myself to doing a building a day next week.  By writing it down, I'm making a hostage to fortune...

This Week's Interesting Obits

Some more for the Obits Page.  I don't normally include footballers, but Burt Trautman was a legend where I came from...

As I write this, news is coming in that Mel Smith has died...


The 7th Marquis of Anglesey (d. 13 Jul 2013).  Aristocrat and military historian.
BBC obit 16 Jul 2013
Daily Telegraph obit 16 Jul 2013

Kay Matheson (d. 6 Jul 2013).  One of the Scottish Nationalists who stole the Stone of Destiny.
BBC obit 8 Jul 2013
Scotsman obit 9 Jul 2013
Daily Telegraph obit 15 Jul 2013







Bert Trautmann (d. Jul 2013).  Goalkeeper who played with a broken neck.
BBC obit 19 Jul 2013
New York Times obit 19 Jul 2013
Daily Telegraph obit 20 Jul 2013
Guardian obit 20 Jul 2013
Independent obit 20 Jul 2013

Friday, 19 July 2013

Books and Stuff

A regular round-up of my book news.

What I've been reading this week...

I carried on with Harry Pearson, Achtung Schweinehund! which I'm enjoying very much.



What I've bought this week...

Hugh Sebag-Montefiore, Enigma: The Battle for the Code - 50p



And everyone loves a freebie...

I received a review copy of Robert Malster (ed), The Minute Books of the Suffolk Humane Society.  Sadly, as discussed, it got a tad chewed.



How can you get your own freebie?  Join the prize draw!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Welcomes and Some Whippetry

It seems that I will have to spend the next few days on welcomes if this keeps up.  I'll try to squeeze something else in though!

So, hello to
  • Paul Smith
  • Ever So Slightly Bonkers Joe - what can I say about Joe.  Apparently he thinks we're kindred spirits!  Possibly because we're both from Manchester and this week's sunshine has addled our brains.  Anyway, Joe resides in Happy Valley and doesn't like deer poo being thrown at him.  I hadn't considered the acronym before, but Crazy Joseph tells us that it's ToaDD.  So does that make you all ToaDDies?
  • PatG 

Welcome!

Paul and Pat, I can't see from your profiles if you have a blog or website.  If you do, let me know and I'll do the pimpage.

And a big thank you to all of you who've have pimped the blog! 

One thing about having more followers is the increased number of comments.  Please keep it up; I'm enjoying the feedback and it's nice to have something of a dialogue.

Whippetry

It seems that my comment on, and photo of, Moley yesterday were a hit.  So in a cheap attempt to curry favour (cheaper than a giveaway, anyway!), here's more.


Puppy Zeppo

A typical pose now he's grown up

Puppy Moley


PS - A Reminder  To enter into the Prize Draw you need to be a public follower and comment on the 200th Post.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Wednesday Welcomes and the Postman Doesn't Deliver

Well giving away prizes is having the desired effect, bringing in new followers - no doubt all big hairy wargamers attracted by the prospect of winning a postcard of Princess Mary's wedding party.  [It's a post for another day on why, when the stats show that the great majority of visits here are to the royalty pages, most of the people who 'follow' are wargamers.  I have my own theories: it's about community spirit.]

Anyway, by the power of alliteration I can give a Wednesday Welcome to:

Welcome all!

Well, with these and my existing followers, I seem to have attracted the Big Beasts of wargaming blogs - a daunting prospect!  I almost feel I must apologise for my lack of gaming content...  Hopefully there's something here of interest though.

I had hoped to post today about additions to the lead pile, as I've got two orders I'm waiting for.  One, no doubt, was the parcel that wasn't delivered on Saturday due to inadequate postage - grrrr!

The Wife actually complained this morning that I had no figures for her to paint.  I pointed her to the pile, but she'll only paint figures for the Pulp Alley league she's creating.  Apparently she's got a list, but she hadn't communicated it to me or ordered them for herself.  I did go to Modelzone this afternoon and got her some bits and pieces for her airship project.  I also got a model kit for my nephew's birthday which she thinks is too complicated for him and I really got for myself (a check with my sister confirms that he and his dad will have quality time over it).

The postman did bring me a free book though - one I've agreed to do a review of for a journal.  Like everyone else I love a free book, but sadly my dog choose to attack it betwixt the postbox and doormat and it's now worse for the experience.

Moley and I had a discussion this morning...

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

200th Post - Posts Mean Prizes!

Welcome to the blog's 200th post!


I'm too hot and bothered to write anything inspiring or funny.

After considering a variety of ways of celebrating and ruling out neckid wimmim, I've decided to be boring and give out prizes.

The Rules

To enter you will have to be a public follower of this blog, either new or existing.  Just make a comment on this post.  On 23 July I will make a draw of the entrants.  The winner will be able to choose one of the following prizes:

  •  Penguin Classics, Alfred  the Great - a selection of contemporary sources
  • Stephen Roskill, The Navy at War, 1939-1945 - a one-volume account by Capt Roskill, the author of the Official History of the war at sea.
  • Niall Ferguson (ed), Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals - asks 'War If...' questions such as '...Charles I had avoided the Civil War?', '...there had been no American Revolution?' and '...Britain had stood aside in August 1914?' as well as the ever-popular '...Hitler had invaded Britain in May 1940?'

  • Six postcards of the Godfather of this blog, Edward VII (as shown above).
  •  Six postcards of other assorted British royals (as shown above).

Monday, 15 July 2013

Books and Stuff

A regular round-up of my book news.

What I've been reading this week...

Read Journal of the Life Saving Awards Research Society, No 76.

I started Harry Pearson, Achtung Schweinehund!, which came highly recommended.




What I've bought this week...

George Orwell, Burmese Days - £1.00

George Aston, HRH The Duke of Connaught and Strathearn - £1.00
Frederick Bussby, Winchester Cathedral, 1079-1979 - £3.50
Stephen Fry, Moab is My Washpot: An Autobiography - £1.75
Kenneth Hare-Scott, For Gallantry: The George Cross - £4.00
T A Heathcote, The British Admirals of the Fleet, 1734-1995 - £4.00
Mark Littmann, Planets Beyond: Discovering the Outer Solar System - £1.00
Gerald MacMillan, Honours for Sale: The Strange Story of Maundy Gregory - £1.00
Roland Morris, HMS Colossus: The Story of the Salvage of the Hamilton Treasures - £1.00
Harry Pearson, Achtung Schweinehund!  A Boy's Own Story of Imaginary Combat - £2.80
TonyRennell, Last Days of Glory: The Death of Queen Victoria - £1.00
Jack Sterry, Round Tower Churches on the Norfolk and Suffolk Border - £1.75
V E Tarrant, Jutland: The German Perspective - £4.00

Saturday, 13 July 2013

What a Good Idea!

Over at The Blog With No Name Ian is having a blog-giveaway with a difference: he's combining it with the 'Pay it Forward' concept.

What's happening is that he's giving away a book he won in another giveaway on the condition that when the winner finishes with it he/she then does the same.  This way we can watch it wend its way through the blogosphere as it's passed on.  Interesting, eh?

If it were two books and the recipients then did two books, we'd have
a classic splitting tree...


Meanwhile, this blog has a couple of landmark events coming up and I have to think how to mark them.  I've a couple of ideas, but would welcome input.  Suggestions anyone?

Rear-Adm R A J Montgomerie


Robert Archibald James Montgomerie was born at Rothesay, Isle of Bute, on 11 September 1855.

HMS Immortalité

In 1872 he was appointed Sub-Lieutenant in the screw-frigate HMS Immortalité , part of a detached squadron under Admiral Lambert.  The London Gazette of 19 June 1877, takes up the story:
At 3.10 on the morning of the 6th April, 1877, the Immortalité, being under all plain sail, moving 4½ knots with the wind, two points abaft the starboard beam, the port gangway look-out reported a man overboard, who proved to be Thomas Hocken. Mr Montgomerie, who was on the bridge, working a star meridian altitude at the chart table, on hearing the cry, ran over to the lee side, saw the man in the water, and jumped after him. He made for Hocken, asking if he could swim, to which Hocken answered "Yes, sir," but did not seem to be moving vigorously. Mr Montgomerie then got hold of him, hauled him on his back, and towed him to where he supposed the life-buoy would be, but seeing no relief, he told Hocken to keep himself a float while he took his clothes off. While he was in the act of doing so, Hocken, evidently sinking, caught hold of him by the legs, and dragged him down a considerable depth. Mr Mongomerie, however, succeeded in getting clear, and swam to the surface, bringing the drowning man with him. Hocken was now insensible, and too great a weight to support any longer, and finding that his only chance of saving himself was to leave Hocken, Mr Montgomerie reluctantly gave up the hope of saving him, and struck out for the ship. In the meantime the ship's course was stopped, and two boats were lowered, by one of which Mr Montgomerie was picked up. The latitudes in which the occurrence took place abound with sharks; and though there was a half-moon, the sea was sufficiently disturbed to render small objects, even boats, difficult to discern. Had not Mr. Montgomerie been a most powerful swimmer, he would have had little chance of life.

Albert Medal (Sea),
2nd Class
For this action, Montgomerie was awarded the Albert Medal (Sea), Second Class, the Silver Medal of the Royal Humane Society and, later, the RHS's Stanhope Medal for the most gallant rescue during the year.

In 1878 he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on the Royal Yacht Victoria and Albert; Commander in 1887 and Captain in 1894.  He was given command of the cruiser HMS Bonaventure in 1898, the battleship Prince George in October, 1900 and the cruiser Charybdis in 1901.
 
He was promoted Rear-Admiral in 1905, commanding Torpedo Boat and Submarine Craft Flotillas. In 1907 he became Rear-Admiral (D) in the Channel Fleet. He resigned in January 1908 following a dispute with the Admiralty over fuel allowances for training.  

In 1886 he married Aletha Marian Charrington, daughter of Spencer Charrington MP.  They had one son, Maj Victor Robert Montgomerie Charrington OBE of the Life Guards.  Admiral Montgomerie died on 1 September 1908.

Memorial to Admiral Montgomerie in Hundson Parish 
Church, Hundson, Herts
Made from the oak and gunmetal of HMS Caledonia, built in 
1802 and one of the Training Ships under his command 1904-5

Medals

Stanhope Medal
Order of the Bath - Commander (CB), 1892
Order of St Michael and St George - Commander (CMG), 1904
Royal Victorian Order - Commander (CVO), 1907
Albert Medal (Sea), 2nd Class, 1877
Egypt Medal (1882-89)
Khedive's Star (1882)

Royal Humane Society Silver Medal, 1877
Royal Humane Society Stanhope Medal, 1877

Monday, 1 July 2013

Books and Stuff

A regular round-up of my book news.

What I've been reading this week...

I've carried on with Beyond this Horizon and The War on Hospital Ships.

I've also being trying to digest the Pulp Alley and Strange Aeons rulebooks.

 

What I've bought this week...

Stephen Fry, The Fry Chronicles - £2.50

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