Wednesday, 31 December 2014

New Follower Welcome

A welcome to new follower Tradgardmastare.  He has a whole scad of blogs - go and check out his profile for a list.

"Dobro pozhalovat!"

For those pining for News from Diplomatist Books, I'll post something in the next few days once I've worked my way through this lot -

Talk to you in '15!

Saturday, 27 December 2014


Well, it was a time coming, but here is my first 'proper' submission to the Painting Challenge (I did submit my Stalin lookee-likee to the Cold round).

These, I sure most will recognise as Daleks.  They are 28mm figs from Black Tree Designs Dr Who range.

I had read that the casting of the Daleks didn't live up to BTD's usual standards, and sadly this was true.  Those who know more about the technical aspects will be able to tell me whether this is down to the design or using the molds beyond their useful lifespan.

It's a shame really.  If there was a ready supply of better-cast reasonably-priced Daleks, I'd be happy painting hundreds of the buggers in their different permutations.

The Special Weapons Dalek is a particularly bad sculpt (I'm going to blame the sculpt rather than casting here).  However, in The Canon SWDs are supposed to be particularly bonkers Daleks and consequently grimy and run-down (because, y'know, normal Daleks care about their appearance and keep trim!).  This, I think, allows me to get away with some wonkiness.

I've spoken elsewhere about my colour choices (basically those of my childhood introduction to the beasties).  To compensate for settling on the most boring Dalek livery of all time, I've given them a Supreme Dalek, resplendent in gold and black, as leader.  And I could leave Davros out, could I?

For the destroyed Daleks I've again gone for the classic look (the squidgy bits of modern Daleks appear to be pink rather than green).  Having said that, I haven't replicated the dyed Fairy Liquid that I associate with wounded Daleks...

Friday, 26 December 2014

Various Santas

Well, I hope you all had a good Christmas Day and are enjoying the rest of the holidays.

I want to use this post to thank my Secret Santa and Santa Claus gift-givers, but first a shout to Ian and Cath Wiley for originating them and to Chris Stoesen who took over the reins of the the Santa Claus this year.  Congratulations on herding the cats!

So, what was under the Christmas Tree (or in my case, ladder) yesterday?

Both my Santas were rather good in feeding my Pulp demands.  First up were these rather splendid chaps from the Santa Claus (who, through the magic of recycled jiffy bags, I know to be Paul Smith).

And then some of Artizans' Cultists from the Secret Santa (please make yourself known to me).

Thank you both!

What else of interest to blog readers?  The Wife got me these 

I've also got a whole stash of book tokens, so have to have a think about what to get (it occurs to me that Waterstones sells boxed games).

Friday, 19 December 2014

Paintwatch #4

It's been a poor week for painting (and for much else really!).  Other than my the one for the Cold Bonus Round I haven't posted a submission to the painting challenge yet.  The new posting regime gives me a definite target though, so I will aim to have something done for next Tuesday, 'my day'.

Thank you for the kind comments about Stalin by the way!  I'm actually quite surprised that no-one else did a 'Cold War' entry - perhaps I was being a little more radical than I thought.

I must admit to feeling a little trepidation about the next bonus round - 'Rider(s) and Mount(s)' - and only slightly because I've never painted a horse before!  Truth be told, the only figure I have that's suitable is a little ambitious, and I'm not sure I can do it full justice in a week.  I may skip that round.

I've this evening decided what to enter for the 'Victorian' bonus round (where there's an embarrassment of choice!).  No spoilers, but one clue - "A big bushy red beard!" (not Dalton or Darwin).

I made an interesting observation this afternoon while waiting around in Radiography.  No less than three prisoner-and-escort teams were there.  It seems that when a prisoner is being x-rayed, the guard has special handcuffs with a four foot long chain.  Obvious really, but I'd never thought about it.

Monday, 15 December 2014

AHPCV #1: The Man of (Cold) Steel

No not Superman.

My take on the 'Cold' Bonus Round is Cold War, and for me that means Josif Vissarionovich Stalin.  Here he is resplendent in uniform, ready for his holiday on the Black Sea and his summer job.

And you don't get 'Colder' than Stalin selling ice-cream in Yalta.

However, for my domestic (Pulpish) purposes he's not Uncle Joe, but Boris Mikhailovich Panin the well-known Stalin look-alike.

Panin was big in the '80s, making popular appearances at Party parties, but that dropped off under Gorbachev and he was reduced to comparing at Jack Rabbit Slimski's, a theme-bar aimed at the flood of foreign businessmen visiting Moscow.  After the 1991 coup d'état attempt he went underground.  He re-emerged in Tashkent in 1995, declaring himself Generalissimus of the New Soviet Union.  He has attracted a large following looking for a return to the old Soviet certainties (and helped a little by the rumour that he is in fact Stalin's illegitimate son).

The real mystery however, is just who is funding his well-supplied private army.  The FSB, MI6, the CIA and other (more secret) organisations need to find the answer...

I realise that when sending details to Curt, I forgot to talk about the figure itself.  It's 28mm and from Black Tree Design.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Paint Table Saturday and Paintwatch #3

Paintwatch Days 4-9 (Mon-Sat)

Spent all my challenge time on FaceBook.  Nothing done...  I know it's a marathon not a sprint, but this is ridiculous.

This evening I must varnish an flock my entry for the 'Cold' round.  Hopefully that'll give me a kick start.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

News from Diplomatist Books #6

RBL Raffle

There are only a few days left to buy tickets for the Walking and Walking blog's annual raffle in aid of the Royal British Legion: the draw is on Saturday.  Tickets can be bought on-line - 11 for £5.00 - and there are masses of great prizes (including a £15.00 token for Diplomatist Books).

Seasonal News

Just a reminder of Royal Mail's posting dates for Christmas - these are suggestions only and may go wrong in either direction(!)  So. if you're feeling lucky, order even if you're a few days after the given date (and we're certainly been sending books to the Antipodes this week!).

Books of the Week

As the last couple of weeks have focused on WWII, we'll have something different this week: Crimea Week.

  • Ian, Fletcher & Natalia Ishchenko, The Battle of the Alma 1854, Pen & Sword Military (2008), hb, d/w.  As new.  £7.50.

  • W Baring Pemberton, Battles of the Crimean War, BT Batsford Ltd (1962), hb.  Good (slight foxing).  £3.00.

  • William Howard Russell, Despatches from the Crimea, Frontline Books (2008), hb, d/w.  As new.  £5.00.

  • Phillip Warner, A Cavalryman in the Crimea: The Letters of Temple Godman, 5th Dragoon Guards, Pen & Sword Books (2009), hb, d/w.  As new.  £7.50.

  • Julian Spilsbury, The Thin Red Line: An Eyewitness History of the Crimean War: The Eyewitness History of the Crimean War, Cassell (2005), pb, 340pp.  fine,  £3.00.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Welcomes; Paintwatch #2


New follower welcome to

Mark was, of course, England in our recent PBB Diplomacy game.  Joakim is celebrating 100,000 page-views with a splendid give-away.

There's a little tradition here that Welcome Posts include a bit of retro-futurism.

Paintwatch Day 3 (Sunday)

A slow start and back to basics.  I got some figures stuck to Jenga sticks and sprayed with primer before it got dark out.

But after that I got an hour and a half's painting done before supper.  At this rate it'll be the end of the week before I get the Daleks finished!

Oh, and while trying to get the boiler to light, I found the figures I'd bought for my Secret Santa and then lost...

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Paintwatch #1

Day 1

Worked on my entry for the 'Cold' bonus round (a single 28mm figure) and got it done bar varishing and flocking.  As a bit of light relief I drafted the entry's post - I'm better at fluff than painting, and people seemed to enjoy that last year.

Having gone out and bought some glue, I assembled some of the multi-part pieces.  (Glue and miliput everywhere!).

Day 2

Paint Table Saturday.

Did a trial run of the colour scheme for the Daleks.  I'd read that these are a pain to get right, and there are some problems due to casting problems.  However, I know my limitations - I'm not doing hundreds of them (there never were more than seven anyway) and my painting can at most generous be described as 'table-top'.

If I do any more this evening it'll only be to finish off yesterday's piece - I'm tired.  We had the paramedics out at 2.30am: everything's alright, but the dogs went ballistic, and then decided to go Crazy Whippet for a couple of hours.

A lot of good work published on the Challenge Blog already...

Paint Table Saturday

Day 2 of the AHPCV and so, as per the rules, not too much detail as to what's on the table.  Suffice it to say that work has started and there's something 'Cold' nearly finished!

Friday, 5 December 2014

Diplomacy Post Mortem

I've been asked to give my views about the PBB Diplomacy game and explain some of the reasons behind Italy's moves.  Here goes...

This was my first experience with Diplomacy and I wasn't sure what to expect - what I got was rip-roaring fun!  That I’m sure was down to the spirit in which it was played, so I’d like to publically thank my opponents.  The greatest thanks go to Michael, for facilitating the whole thing and for his brilliant innovation, The Daily Dissembler.

So what went on behind the scenes?  The PBB mechanics worked well.  I received probably a dozen e-mails a week from my fellows (all blind via the Padre).  It was great fun deciding who to believe or not (I early decided almost that almost anything received from England or Russia was a lie!) and what was on the other side of the hill.  I dabbled a little in playing one power off another, but I think my opponents were too experienced to fall for that.

Despite what General Blatt might have thought,  I was never a member of any Grand Alliances.   Apart from taking part in the early land-grab for Austro-Hungary (gone before we got to know him!) everything I did was responsive to the actions of those around me.  That move on Hungary was, as far as I know, entirely un-co-ordinated – does Austria always suffer from having too many shared borders?  More experienced hands will say.

Early on in the game, I made a public alliance with France, promising him an uncontested move in the Iberian Peninsula if he withdrew from Piedmont.  I soon regretted that, feeling penned in in Italy (a more intelligent use of convoys would have prevented the Alpine bottleneck I suffered from).  My other alliance (more of an agreement) was a non-belligerence pact with Turkey, dividing the Balkans between us.  That was my downfall – I allowed Turkey to build up forces which could have no other purpose than attacking my territory.  In truth, I was charmed into complacency by Turkey’s private messages (a blessing on all his camels!).

There were two other things that I did wrong, both down to inexperience.  First, I was slow in taking Tunis.  Secondly, after capturing Vienna in Spring ’03, I pushed on to Budapest in the Fall.  Because I hadn't garrisoned Vienna I lost the Build that I would have otherwise gained: this, and having to double back onto Vienna. broke my momentum.  ‘What if’ that hadn’t happened?   I might have pushed on into Germany; the Kaiser wouldn't have made his Mad Teutonic Dash and Russia mightn't have fallen so soon – but then I would have been even more exposed to Turkey’s attack and might have bumped heads with England’s intentions.

Several people have asked why when it came to it, I opened two fronts, attacking both Turkey and France.  The answer was that I was getting my retaliation in first.   The attack on Turkey was pre-emptive (in the event we both made our moves at the same time).  The one on France had two purposes: I didn’t like the positioning of his fleet and feared a strike on Tunis (he protested that it was due to Turkey’s build-up and declined to withdraw them); secondly, Marseilles was low-hanging fruit and fearing losses to Turkey I needed the Supply Centre.  In the event I seem to have caught France completely off-guard with this betrayal – I now suspect he had no offensive attitude to me at all.

Fall 04 - things get busy

The loss of Naples was a big blow.  I’d lost a Home Supply Centre and was obliged to maintain a defensive presence in Rome.  That meant that even if I did gain new territories (unlikely as I was on the defensive), I could only Build in Venice.  I’d peaked.  The withdrawal of my fleet from Tunis in our last move was an attempt to recapture Naples. I was also offering Turkey a truce if he turned his attentions elsewhere (though with little hope he’d go for it!).

A fine prize

A word about the Daily Dissembler. This was an inspired invention of Michael’s, particularly his use of period pictures. I’m honoured to receive the role-playing prize, stiffly contended with the Kaiser and Sultan, whose messages were always a pleasure (to say nothing of General Sir Erasmas Blatt, Ret’d!).

A hard-working hack
When I first submitted copy to the Dissembler, I’d expected Harrington (Our Man in Rome) to be my main voice.  He was to be a Hemmingway-esque hack working for Charles Foster Kane, getting the news by hard work, bribing officials and frequenting low dives (I resent the suggestion that he was corrupt and venal!).   Quite naturally he resented the gadfly existence of Miss Amelia Roosevelt!

De Graspi was meant to be a one-off interview, but he seemed to capture readers’ imaginations and took on a life of his own - especially among the Boston Ladies' Temperance, Suffrage and Peace Guild.  Equally, the story of his mystical awakening was meant to be a Halloween story (and explanation for the Vienna debacle) that would be retracted in the next issue, but events took over dear boy...

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Welcome and D-1 for the Painting Challenge


A warm new follower welcome to Irishhighlander.  He has several blogs (one at least requires sunglasses!) - go and suss them out.

Analogue Painting Challenge

As anyone with the slightest interest in such things will already know, the 5th Analogue Painting Challenge starts tomorrow.  As I type Curt's countdown reads 10 hours, 34mins and 45secs.

It's hit me at a time of diminished mojo.  I've barely put paint to brush in the last few months, and was hoping the challenge would boost me - I still hope it does.

Some of the more serious and organised of you will be shocked (Shocked!) to hear that I've done no prep work, other than bringing parts of the lead pile from the Shed and giving a little thought to the bonus rounds.  But I've got pieces based and undercoated from last year and know what I'll do for the 'Cold' round, so I've somewhere to start.

I had intended to force myself to do an hour's prep this evening, but I'm not sure if I'll get there.

1,000 points looks very ambitious at the moment!

Never mind.  Good luck to everyone taking part.  As The Padre never forgets to say "A blessing on your brushes!".

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

It Was All Over for Christmas!


In a surprise move, The Mad Padre has called an end to his Play-by-Blog Diplomacy game.  The closing situation was as follows

Prior to adjustment - France was about to loose two units, England and Turkey to build

We'd been playing blind.  Michael has just announced the players' names

  • England (Score 12 and the Winner) -  Mark Haughey (owner of the Sun of York blog). 
  • Turkey (Score 11 and Runner Up) - Tim Gow (owner of the Megablitz blog) 
  • Italy (Score 7 and Third Place) - Me!
  • France (Score 4) - Thomas Nissvik (owner of the Learning by Doing blog)
  • Germany - Pat G (owner of the Irregular Warband Fast blog) 
  • Russia - Robert Audin (owner of the Fiends in Waistcoats blog) 
  • Austria - AN Other.
It was my first game of Diplomacy and I must say that I enjoyed it a great deal.  That was no doubt down to the spirit of the players and above all to Michael's umpiring skills.  Thank you all!

I'm mentally exhausted!

Monday, 1 December 2014

News from Diplomatist Books #5


The booklists on our website are no longer being updated.  All stock is now accessible through our AbeBooks Store Front  (new stock added most days).

Books of the Week

This week some detailed looks at WWII battles...

Peter Young (ed), Decisive Battles of the Second World War, Arthur Baker Ltd (1967), hb/ d/w, 439pp, illus and maps.  Ownership inscription and d/w slightly discoloured, but Very Good..  £5.00.

C E Lucas Phillips, Alamein, Heinemann (1962), hb, d/w, 434pp, plates,  Very Good.  £5.00.

Norman L Franks, The Greatest Air Battle: Dieppe, 19th August, 1942, William Kimber (1979), hb, d/w, 256pp, illus.  Very Good,  £4.50.

Lucas, James & Barker, James, The Killing Ground: The Battle of the Falaise Gap, August 1944, BCA (1978), hb, d/w, 176pp, plates.  Very Good.  £4.00.

For a 'Book of the Day' follow us on FaceBook.  

Christmas Postage Dates

Here are Royal Mail's posting dates for Christmas
  • Australia/NZ/China - 1 Dec
  • Other International - 8 Dec
  • Europe - 11 Dec
  • UK - 16 Dec

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...