Sunday, 27 December 2015

Thanks Secret Santa!

I had an lovely Christmas Day, and hope you all did too.

I'd like to state my public thanks to my Secret Santa.  Having read my Christmas wish-list (and I suspect my remarks about regretting not buying more Ainsty Castings scenery at the Hereward Show), he provided me with a bumper lot of Sci-Fi terrain in the hope it will come in for Doctor Who gaming.  It sure will!

But there's more!  Like a child given a horribly expensive present, or a cat given anything, I greatly admired the box it came in.  Secret Santa (or as I shall refer to him 'RR') had been cunning enough to do this...

Which means I can do this...

All I need is a hat-stand!
So a huge thank you to Santa, to his Gillingham Elf and, above all to Cath Willey for organising us all.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Dr Who Wednesday #5


Davros and the 18th Doctor for scale only...
I've not done much painting lately, but in order to get my brush in for the Analogue Painting Challenge I decided to do one of Ainsty Castings' splendid TARDIS consoles.  I think it came out quite well.

Google provided me with a dazzling amount of detail on the TARDIS control room(s).  It turns out that this configuration dates to the Fifth Doctor.  Just as well that I don't care about such things!

My plans for the Painting Challenge have a distinct Dr Who flavour.  So if you want to wallow around in Nostalgia* with Cybermen and Ice Warriors, stay tuned.  However I am distraught to say that I can't find my Jon Pertwee figure.  Alack, aloo!

*Other Challengers will get my drift...


I have of course watched the end of the latest series.  I thought it came to a quite satisfactory end.*  The thought of Clara and Me whizzing around in their own TARDIS appeals - and it gave us a splendid homage to the original Control Room set, with the console in lime green and magnolia, looking like something from a 1950s nuclear power station!

*After all, the Doctor got rid of those ridiculous sonic sunglasses!

All-in-all my thoughts on the series that has just ended are positive.  High-lights to me were the use of Davros and all sorts of Dalek types in their two-parter and the reintroduction of Osgood.  The low-point was the Ashildr/Me arc - I just didn't warm to the character at all.

And we need more of Missy!

I'm not too sanguine about the Christmas special though - they've had a distressing tendency towards whimsy recently.  I'll let you know what I think next week.

I've also watched a couple of Tom Baker serials - 'Planet of Evil' and the 'The Android Invasion'.

The former was pretty ropy, but had some interesting design of the planet's jungle.  The inspiration for the monster was obviously 'Forbidden Planet'.

'Android Invasion' also steals from classic movies (in its case 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' - and I'm sure the bit about an astronaut being persuaded to lead an alien attack was done before).  It gets a bad going-over from on-line reviewers, but I quite enjoyed it - but's that always the case with episodes I watch and then realise I remember from my childhood!

It's a relatively rare Fourth Doctor/UNIT episode.  The absence of the Brigadier is palatable, and apparently it was the last appearance of Sgt Benson - both of which are a shame and, to my mind mark the end of UNIT's effectiveness.  Lis Sladen can do no wrong as Sarah Jane Smith of course.

And Finally...

A shout out for fellow blogger James Holloway.  Many of you will be familiar with his blogs, The Gonzo History Project and Gonzo History: Gaming Edition.  He has recently started a podcast in which he and a friend discuss episodes of Dr Who.  It can be heard here.  I recommend it.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Terrain Tuesday #10

During my period of enforced off-line time I thought I would experiment with making some Frostgrave-type ruins out of bits and pieces from the gash bin.  Typically, an afternoon's work has stretched out to three weeks.  And the damn things aren't painted!

Requires work...

The next three photos tell their own story.


Some of you may remember my discovery that in a house with whippets it was a bad idea to try us chicken bones to represent dinosaur remains.   Much the same goes for re-using Pringles tubes...

Finally, these two chaps will be statues flanking a staircase or the entrance to a forbidden sanctuary.

Last night I knocked out a batch of treasure tokens.  However, I have a cunning plan relating to them which I can't reveal until next year.  Stay turned...

Saturday, 19 December 2015

'Twas The Night Before... (and Paint Table Saturday)

My computer problems have been resolved, and not a moment too soon, as this year's Analogue Hobbies' Painting Challenge starts tomorrow.  Sadly, the assessors decided that my laptop was repairable so I haven't ended up with a new one.  However, I must say that it's nice to have a familiar keyboard again after muddling through on my smartphone for three weeks.

In the Challenge I've set myself a realistic target of 500 points.  I done some preparation and have ideas for most of the bonus rounds and for the Curtgeld.  I'm ready to set brush to paint to lead!

So what's on the table on the night before the kick-off?

Well, there are some terrain pieces I've been building but haven't quite finished.  These are intended primarily for Frostgrave, but are basically generic ruins.

There's also a score of so of figures I'm in the process of basing for the challenge.  I'm not going to say more about them until they are done and submitted.

Thank you to those of you who offered sympathy and support during the computer crisis.  To those of you who are taking part in the Challenge: good luck and have fun!  To the rest, just have fun!

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

An Update

Nothing exciting, but I just think that I should make the occasional post to remind you all that I'm alive.

I haven't got a computer, so have been muddling along on my phone (I hate not having a proper keyboard!).  I have found that this makes it difficult to follow blogs unless the are on Google+ (so *that's* what it's good for!).

Instead I've been forced to spend time with The Wife.

No other news.  Prep for the painting challenge is non-existant.  I've got a little further with Frostgrave terrain.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Terrain Tuesday #9

A quiet word with the people in my local friendly charity shop resulted in me picking up a box of broken or incomplete toys this week, in exchange for a small donation.  [If you're going to ask charity shops to root things out for you, it's imperative you go back and pick them up in a timely manner - most have practically no storage space and are unlikely to want to hold on to something they can sell to someone else if necessary.]

At worse, I thought, I would end up with lumps of plastic that I could use as Frostgrave ruins, or  even as stamping pads for texturing bases, etc.  As I put the pieces together it proved a bit better than that.

The once impregnable gates of Felstad now stand empty
And a roof finds a new home..

Fireman Sam's station, I believe
Doktor Strange has use for that tech, and a plinth is always handy
  But the crowning glory has to be the castle, guarded by doughty Sikhs for scale...

This will be my last post for a while due to the computer problems I've been having.  My laptop is being collected for assessment by the insurers tomorrow and I'm not sure when it'll be back or replaced.

So, goodbye for now.  I'm off to delete all the Japanese tentacle porn from the hard drive...

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Do Not Adjust Your Sets...

I'm currently having a laptop crisis - as you see the screen is buggered.  This is making using it quite a faff, so I might not be around reading and commenting on blogs or FaceBook for a while.

I shall be available via e-mail if anyone needs to get in touch, and Diplomatist Books will be soldiering on.

In the meantime, I shall be exploring whether the fault is reparable or if the machine needs replacing.  Any ideas anyone?

Friday, 20 November 2015

Great News!

The Die is Cast!

Curt has announced that the 6th Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge will begin on 20 December.  If you're interested, go here and sign up - I don't know how many places are available, but they will go quickly.

Huge thanks to Curt, who does a massive amount of work organising this event (he even donates the value of the entry piece to charity!).   This year he has made the sensible decision to enroll some helpers, so a shout-out to them too!

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

This Won't Be The Only Box You See Today...

Not this one (oh, lucky dogs!)
The fruit of the Nickstarter has arrived.

I ordered at Lich Lord level, so for my £35.00 I got this lot...

And as I ordered through Annie at Bad Squiddo Games, I got some freebies.

The only discernible problem is with the casting of the Dark Cauldron, but that's minor.

Better photos when my hands have stopped shaking with excitement!

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Dear Secret Santa...

Well, Cath has put together the list of who's doing who and has suggested that we give our benefactors some hints, so here goes...

First, a big thanks to Cath and to my benefactor.

All the following are in 28mm.


Dr Who


  • Miniatures suitable for wizards, a warband or random encounters
  • Spell card deck
  • Terrain

Other Figures

Hopefully, there's enough to be going on with there!  Don't feel it too restrictive - if you want to be creative and this gives you some ideas that aren't on the list, I'll be happy with whatever I get!

Thanks again!

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Terrain Tuesday #8

No work from me this week, but given that some of you found my snaps of architectural bits and pieces useful, here are some from my recent wanderings around Peterborough.

First up, a railway signal box


Then the Great Northern Hotel, a railway hotel opposite the station.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Hereward Loot

I've been on my travels of late, and off-line*.  I will report on it, but for the moment I'm going down the well-worn path of saying that I'm too tired and will instead show pictures of loot.

*The reason for the latter can be summarised as "stupidly forgetting my re-charger and lumping a dead lap-top around with me".

Today I was in Peterborough at the inaugural Hereward Wargames Show hosted by the Peterborough Wargames Club.

First the Freebies!

The show was sponsored by Gripping Beast, who  donated copies of their fine Hereward the Wake figure for the first 300 tickets sold.  For reasons that I'll explain in another post, I've now got four!

Ainsty Castings had an offer on the Crooked Dice stock they had, so I picked up as couple of their Not-Dr Who packs, together with Ainsty's Not-TARDIS console.

I'm kicking myself for not buying some more of their excellent terrain pieces.  I'd did get a pair of characterful Aggro Bobbies though - can't have to many coppers, can you?

From a rummage box on Lancer Miniatures stall I bought £3.00's worth of dry-stone walls.  Perhaps not 28mm scale, but near enough for me,,,

Colonel Bill provided a couple of likely lads...

From Black Pyramid Games came 'Er Majesty tooled up to belch lead, a couple of Iron Men bombers and a Prof Stanton Brook, who is a criminal mastermind if I've ever seen one.

Lastly, from Monarch Miniatures came a cheap West Wind Nosferatu set.

The Wife has a hankering for a Tong league and told me to look out for something suitable.  She doesn't think that either the West Wind or North Star tongs will do, and there was nothing else.*  I'm hoping that she'll be happy with these - Nosferatu is a favorite film, both the great 1922 version and the 1979 remake, but above all the 2000 Shadow of the Vampire.

*We'll probably go for one of Foundry's sets.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

The Anthony Roll of Henry VIII's Navy

This post is in fulfillment of a promise to David Crook I made in response to a post on his blog, A Wargaming Odyssey.  David, like a few other naval wargamers I follow, is developing an interest in the Tudor navy.  He's building up a reference library, and I recommended a copy of The Anthony Roll.

This is a record of Henry VIII's navy compiled in 1546 by Anthony Anthony, a surveyor in the ordnance office*.  Comprising three vellum rolls, the work consists of drawings of each of the 58 ships in the fleet, together with notes on their guns, shot and related equipment.  The first roll begins with the largest ship, Henry Grace à Dieu, and lists the carracks and a pinnace.  The second lists galleasses, (oared vessels also rigged for sail) and a galley.  The third roll consists of pinnaces and 'rowbarges'.

*And a founder member of the Honourable Artillery Company.

Samuel Pepys, Secretary of the Admiralty
Two of the three rolls* were given by Charles II to Samuel Pepys (who among other things had an antiquarian interest in the history of the Royal Navy) in 1680.  As was common practice at the time, Pepys had the rolls chopped up and bound into a single volume, which has resulted in the loss of some detail.  These, along with the rest of Pepys' 3,000 volume library were bequeathed by him to his old college, Magdalene College, Cambridge, where they are still housed in his original bookcases in  the Pepys Building.  The Library is open to the public, and is well worth visiting if you're in Cambridge.**

* The first and third.
**If visiting college libraries is your cup of tea!

The Pepys Library (photo from the College website)

The third part of the roll was thought lost, but turned our to have remained in royal hands until William IV (another naval figure worth blogging about) gave it to his illegitimate daughter, Mary Fox, who was married to a bibliophile and Surveyor-General of the Ordnance.  She sold it to the British Museum in the 1850s, and it now resides in the British Library.

In 2000, the Navy Records Society published the three rolls together for the first time in facsimile form with scholarly apparatus.  I was fortunate enough to attend the launch at Magdalene and to see the original rolls, which had been brought together for the occasion.

Henry Grace à Dieu

The Mary Rose and The Peter

The Lartyque and The Mary Thomas

The Swallowe and The Galie Subtille

The Thre Ostryde Fethers and
The Fawcon in the Fetterlock

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