Friday, 31 October 2014

On the Colour of Daleks

As I mentioned the other day, I've recently put a couple of orders in with Black Tree Design, who have a licence for Classic Dr Who.  As some of you will know, BTD have what might best be described as an 'interesting' pricing policy.  If you register with them (it's free) you get a discount and a weekly e-mail advising you on which ranges extra discounts are in force.  In addition every so often there are bonus coupons.  All in all it must make working out profit margins quite tricky.

There is no sign of the Daleks I ordered on 13 Oct, but as the order that arrived today (which I placed on 28 Oct) included Davros, I feel I can raise my self-imposed moratorium on this post.

Now, I knew that the colour of Daleks indicates a heirarchy, and although I'm not a rivet-counter, I wanted to get it right.  Do you think that there might be information on t'Internet about Dalek colour schemes?  Boy, is there!*

An evening's pottering about told me the BTD's Dalek is suitable for models between 'Evil of the Daleks' and 'Remembrance of the Daleks' (ie, 1967-1988).  Also, the hierarchy isn't as marked as I remember it (the more colourful ones - including "legendary 'red-top'" - are from the Peter Cushing movies).

So, if and when I get around to painting them, I shall go for one of the following schemes for the drones**:-

'The Chase' (1967)

'Death to the Daleks' (1974)

'Genesis of the Daleks' (1975)

Although the 1960s Daleks have a cooler scheme, 'Death' and 'Genesis'  were my introduction to the Daleks back in thee day, so I'll probably go for them***.

However, rather than just going for a 'Black Top' as a leader, I couldn't resist this guy...

As is no doubt obvious, this is the Dalek Supreme from 'Planet of the Daleks' (1973).  

One last thing, there's even a site where you can custom your own Dalek...

*     And if you want rivet-counting...
**   Pictures by The Mind Robber - a great site for those into Dr Who.
***Fortunately for the Supreme Dalek Race BTD's Doctors are fairly crap so unless I get the Not-Jon Pertwee from Crooked Dice, their plans will go unthwarted. 

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

More PBB (and Knockers)

First, news of blog migration - fellow followers of Gingerbhoy's Painting Project may like to know that the blog is now defunct and has been replaced by RW's Hobby Blog.  Go across and sign up!  Hopefully he'll be able to bring some of his old posts across when time allows.

Gingerbhoy (now revealed as 'Roy') is lucky for volunteers to sign up for a PBB Old West Game he's proposing to run in the new year. The rules look very straightforward and the board very nice.  Hurry if you're interested - there are only a few places left.

Regular readers of this blog will know that I'm thoroughly enjoying the PBB games I'm in at the moment, so I've signed up for this one (as well a the ironclad game I mentioned the other week).

PBB games seem a good idea to me - and they're the only action I'm going to see in the near future anyway (narf, narf).  As I was walking the dog this afternoon I was thinking about what I would need to host one myself - perhaps a variation of Pulp Alley or Strange Aeons might be fun, though a naval game does appeal (prob counters only though - no eye-candy).  I shall ruminate on this one...

Wednesday Welcomes

A warm welcome to two new followers:-
As an aside, I don't know what blogger is playing at - although these are all, they don't appear on the bloggers' profiles.

For those unaware of the protocols of Wednesday Welcomes, they often include some gratuitous retro sci-fi...

And for those followers of the mythos...

Tuesday, 28 October 2014


Sometimes I'm a slave to self-imposed timetables in blogging.  It's not healthy.

This week is a case in point.  Last night I wrote a post welcoming new followers, but I'm not going to publish it until tomorrow, because it's a Wednesday Welcome.  Now that's just silly.

The post on Daleks is the same.  A fortnight ago I took advantage of one of Black Tree Design's rotating offers and ordered some Daleks.  Last Tuesday, I got bored of waiting and wrote a post about them and what I'm going to do with them when they arrive.  But I'm not going to publish it, until they arrive.  Is that me being anal or superstitious?

Oddly enough, I ordered some more items from BTD today and have received a message saying they've been despatched.  Why the long wait for the Daleks?  One understands there might be delays sometimes if something has to be cast to make up an order, but Daleks are BTD's best seller - they know they can always off-load them - why don't they have a stockpile of them to hand?

I'm not complaining, just in a questioning frame of mind tonight.

The order I placed today was for my victim in the Secret Santa.  I'm not sure I've done the right thing - he hasn't put a Wants List up ("surprise me!") - so I don't know.  But it's ordered now, so he'll have to lump it if he doesn't like them.  I'm having a crisis of confidence over the Santa Clause too.  I that case it's because I'm inflicting my poor (and rusty) painting skills on someone.

I'm a little miffed about the Strange Aeons Kickstarter as well.  It looks great and I signed up for it early.  Now I'm going to have to pull out as I simply won't have the cash when it funds on Sunday.  I don't like doing this, I know my bit of money won't make a difference to the success of the fundraiser, but it annoys me to commit to something and then put out.

Monday, 27 October 2014

News from Diplomatist Books #3

New additions

Close followers of the website or Facebook page will have notice that there hasn't been any addition of new stock for a little while.  This is because I've been concentrating on adding the existing stock to a new inventory system.  Once that's done, I'd add the stock that's piling up.

I also need to think a little about focus - what stock should I be concentrating on and where should I be heading in the new year?  Comments welcome.

Books of the week - The Napoleonic Library

This week I'm going to talk about The Napoleonic Library, a series published by Greenhill Books.

Greenhill Books has an interesting history itself.  It was an  imprint founded in 1985 by Lionel Leventhal a giant in military history publishing (he also established the London Book Fair).  Having just sold Arms & Armour Press (which he had founded in the 1960s) and Ken Trotman Books, Leventhal was contractually prevented from publishing any new books, so Greenhill reprinted long-out-of-print and hard-to-find classics of military history.

Thirty-five of these titles were in the Napoleonic Library.

We have the following Greenhill publications in stock among our Napoleonic titles.

Charles Oman
Wellington’s Army, 1809-1814, The Napoleonic Library Vol 4, Greenhill Books (1986), h, d/w, 395pp.  Slight foxing to the top- and fore-edge, but overall in very good condition.  £12.00.

Facsimile of the first, 1913, edition of Sir Charles’ classic work on the composition and organisation of the Peninsular Army.

William Swabey
Diary of Campaigns in the Peninsula for the Years 1811, 12 and 13 by Lt William Swabey, an Officer of E Troop, Royal Horse Artillery, Ken Trotman (1984), pb, 217pp.   

George Simmons
A British Rifle Man: Journals and Correspondence During the Peninsular War and the Campaign of Wellington, Napoleonic Library Vol 3, Greenhill Books (1986), hb, d/w, 386pp.

Facsimile of the first, 1899, edition.

A F Becke
Napoleon and Waterloo: The Emperor’s Campaign with the Armée du Nord, The Napoleonic Library, Greenhill Books (1995), hb, d/w, 320pp.

A reprint of the 1936 edition of Major Becke’s work.

Alexander Cavalié Mercer
Journal of the Waterloo Campaign, The Napoleonic Library Vol 1, Greenhill Books (1985), hb, d/w, 388pp.  Slight foxing to the top- and fore-edge, but overall in very good condition.

General Cavalié Mercer (1783-1868) commanded G Troop, Royal Horse Artillery through the Waterloo Campaign and at the battle itself.  His journal was first published in 1870 – this is a facsimile of an 1927 edition.

Royal British Legion Raffle

Don't forget to buy you raffle tickets for Richard's annual wargaming raffle in aid of the RBL.  There is a list of those who have donated prizes here and details of how to buy the tickets here.

Dogs are for Life, But Books are for Christmas!

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Dear Secret Santa...

Cath over at Secret Santa HQ has suggested that we write a wish list to help our Buyer choose our gift.  This seems a good idea, so here we go.


Firmly in the 28mm camp.  Either figures or terrain.


  • Pulp - I've been plugging away at an Egyptian Pulp theme, so anything in that line would do, but honestly, I'll be pleased with anything vaguely pulpy.
  • Old West
  • Gangsters
  • Pirates
  • Sci-Fi.  Dr Who; Pulp (again!), meaning Flash Gordon-y; VSF/Lost World.

I'd be interested in Vice Alley or the new Osprey on VSF Soldiers.

I hope this helps and thank you!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

News from Diplomatist Books #2

Win a £15.00 Voucher

Every year Richard Holden of the Wargames and Walking blog holds a raffle in support of the Royal British Legion.  He's attracted prizes from all sorts of wargaming people (latest update here), and we have joined in with a £15.00 gift voucher.

The draw is on 15 December, so there's lots of time to go across to Richard's giving page and buy some tickets (they're 50p each, but he'll give 11 for each on-line donation of £5.00).

Something New!

In a new departure for Diplomatist Books, we have added our first eBook to our list.  It's In Roma's Name, Chris Stoesen's well-received book of company and platoon level wargame scenarios for the Eastern Front, 1941.  This 203pp pdf is

Details at!e-books

If anyone else is looking for a distribution deal, I'm happy to talk.

Sign Up to Our Facebook Page

If you had been subscribed to the page (and the Algorithm Gods were playing ball), you would have read about In Roma's Name last Thursday and could have taken advantage of an introductory offer price of £8.50.

A Note on Postage

Just a reminder that orders over £40.00 are sent post-free in the UK.  Everything else is sent at cost.

Also, the Royal Mail has announced it is changing it's terms for parcel post in time for Christmas.  It's a typically confusing system, but the bottom line is that between 20 Oct and 18 Jan 'small parcels' up to 2kg will be charged at the rate previously limited to 1kg.  So a good time to buy books!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Play By Blog Round-Up


Again I have been remiss in promptly welcoming a new follower.  So a warm Hola! to Alfons of Miniaturas Militares Por Alfons Canovas.


To be viewed to the tune "Who Do You Think You Are Kidding, Mr Romanov?"
Austria-Hungary has been wiped off the map and despite predictions of a war in the Med, everyone has turned on Russia.

For commentary and reportage, go across to  The Mad Padre for the ever insightful and amusing Daily Dissembler.

Blood, Bilge and Iron Balls

Things are getting hot now, but it's very hard to say who's got the upper hand.

Having taken damage in the previous two turns, I made a swift exit from the cauldron, aflame and with a mast down, but that seems to have left HMS Badger in difficulties.  However, Capt Fearless has the Bosun's Mates starting the repair crews mercilessly in order to get us back in the fray as soon as possible.

Expect a more action in Turn 12 as Curt boarding action is determined and the second wave of ships engage...


Clint has done a really good job with BBIB (as has Michael with Diplomacy) and everyone is having a whale of a time.  So much so that when Miles of The Lair of the Uber Geek (and the Spanish frigate Mercedes) proposed hosting a game of his own more or less everyone signed up immediately.

Miles' game will probably start in December and will be a play-test of his Ironclad rules for his Big Project - linked games at Historicon15 (one naval and one land) on a British intervention in the American Civil War.  There are also rumours of French involvement...

Anyone who follows Miles' blog will be anticipating a high-level of inventiveness and eye-candy.  I'm certainly looking forward to it!

Monday, 13 October 2014

Nurse Cavell Again

For those of you who don't know, Norwich is on the East side of England, and as such gets relatively little rain.  When we do get some though it can be a little dramatic.

As such. The Wife the dogges and I spent most of the weekend indoors...

In other local news...

It's just been announced that a grant of £50,000 has been given to restore the grave of Nurse Edith Cavell (I'm not sure what they're going to spend the money on myself, it looks in good nick to me).

More interestingly, a separate grant of £91,000 has been made to explore the myth of Cavell and how her story is/was used for propaganda purposes.  I wonder if they will explore the mis-use of the Red Cross' neutrality to assist combatants?

Which all reminds me, I must blog about Capt Fryatt...

Friday, 10 October 2014

The Aurora in St Petersberg

The other week I reviewed The Tsar's Last Armada an account of the trek of the Russian Second Pacific Squadron from the Baltic to its demise in the Korean Straits.

One survivor of the Battle of Tsushima was the Palladia-Class cruiser Aurora, who has had a remarkable subsequent career.  She was one of the newest components of that fleet, having been built in St Petersburg in 1903.  Despite an unlucky start to the campaign - her chaplain was killed by friendly fire during the mistaken attack on the Hull fishing fleet - she survived Tsushima.

On the day of the battle, she was flying the flag of Vice-Adm Oskar Enkvist.  After the disastrous first day he controversially decided not to engage the enemy or make for the naval base at Vladivostok, but instead to head for the relative safety of American-held Manila, where the Aurora and the other ships with her were interned until the end of the war.  On his repatriation to Russia Enkvist was dismissed.

Once she returned to St Petersburg, Aurora was attached to the naval academy and provided cadets with sea time.  She served in the Baltic during the First World War.  She had earned a footnote in naval history.  What came next, earned her a place at the heart of the Russian soul.

By 1917, St Petersburg had become Petrograd and was the centre of the February Revolution which led to the abdication of the Tsar.  Aurora's crew formed a revolutionary committee and elected their own officers.  At 9:45pm on 7 Nov 1917 (25 Oct in the Russian calendar) a blank shot was fired from one of Aurora's guns to signal the assault on the Winter Palace led by Vladimir Lenin.  The October Revolution and the ascendancy of the Bolsheviks had begun.   When the Order of the October Revolution was established on the 50th anniversary in 1967, Aurora featured on the badge.

The gun that started it all off

When the the Germans invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, Aurora was again in her home port (no Leningrad).  Her guns were deshipped and used in the defences of the city, she herself was badly damaged and sunk by the Luftwaffe.  After the war, Aurora was repaired and preserved as a memorial to the October Revolution (and less officially to the defenders of Leningrad).

All this serves as a preamble to the next bit...

In January 2013, the Russian Defence Minister announced that Aurora was to be recommissioned and would serve as flagship of the Russian Navy.  She left her berth in St Petersburg at the end of September (I included a picture of this in my previous post).  She's now in dry-dock undergoing a major refit.  The whole point of this post is to point to a webpage with a series of splendid pictures here.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

News from Diplomatist Books #1

For quite a while I was determined to compartmentalise this blog and Diplomatist Books on the (very English!) basis of not wanting to bother my readership with anything so grubby as Commerce.  Some of you will have noticed this resolve slipping in the last few months, and the odd reference slipping in.  This is for a couple of reasons

  • I don't feel I have anything to be ashamed with here - if you have a decent product, you should be proud of it
  • The subject matter of this blog and the stock Diplomatist Books carries overlap
  • A trail run paying for and ad on a blog with fewer visitors than this blog focused my mind somewhat!
But rest assured, there's going to be no hard sell and you're not going to be inundated with marketing!

Who Are Diplomatist Books?

Basically me, working out of my spare room.  For decades I've enjoyed buying books and trying to find bargains.  I've decided to try and put that vice to a productive use!

What Do We Sell?

Mainly second-hand, but also a growing number of remaindered books (that is, publishers' warehouse surplus, mostly in mint condition but at a fraction of the cover price).

For the moment I've decided to focus on military and naval history (and associated fields such as wargaming), but if you go across to the website you'll also be able to download lists on Archaeology & Early History (to 1000AD), and the History of Exploration.  In the future I may include other areas.

How Do I Learn More?

If you want to ask any questions, feel free to do so - either by commenting here, or by using the contact form on the webpage.

I will try to post any news or developments here regularly, but for day-to-day news why not sign up to our Facebook Page?  There, along with book reviews and any other interesting snippets, you'll find the lastest updates (including news of any flash  sales).

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Weekly Round-Up

A dull week for me as I've been laid low both mentally and physically, I'm feeling a little better now though.


I'm a little late in this, but welcome to new follower James Cotgrave.  I can't see a blog on your profile James - let me know if you have one and I'll give it a plug.


I indulged in a little retail therapy this week.

On the shiny front, I picked up a copy of one of the GW LOTR part-works for 99p in OXFAM (other charity shops are available).  Not something that ties in with anything else I've got, but it's a nice Aragorn figure and for that price...

Later in the week North Star announced their annual pig in a poke (a-hem) lucky bag offer.  There are three varieties, and I picked up a couple of the Artizan NW Frontier bags.  

Naturally enough with North Star, they arrived very promptly.  I am slightly disappointed that the two bags were identical and didn't include any Sikhs or Afghans - but that's churlish,  It's the nature of buying blind; if I wanted to be sure of what I was getting, I could have paid the (quite reasonable) full price.  They are after all very nice figures.

Thematic Months

Autumn is here, so it seems to be the time for having painting drives.  To encourage us there are a spate of cleverly-named thematic months - all a bit of fun of course, so no pressure guys.  It also ties in with me bringing the hobby-station in from the Shed to the sitting room, which actually means I get more done.

October is Orctober and Zomtober.  As Orcs or Zoms aren't really my thing, you'll excuse me if I give these a skip.

However, November is more promising.  We have Dinovember and (a new one to me) Naval November (surely Navember?) - an idea put forward by r.a.e.gingerbhoy.  These I think I have a go at.

I won't produce any great eye-candy or massive quantities, but it's nice to have a focus for once...  (And to be able to twist things so they 'fit' that focus).

Give-Aways and Celebrations

A couple of things I should have mentioned earlier...

Monty Luhmann at the Twin Cities Gamer celebrated 200 followers and Jonathan Freitag of the Palouse Wargaming Blog celebrated two years' blogging with generous give-aways (which it's too late to join now).  Congratulations guys!

Ian Willey of The Blog With No Name is marking the extraordinary milestone of finishing 75 Bns of French for Waterloo in 6mm.  Pictures of his work and details of the competition are here.  If your interest in 6mm goodness, go there!
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