Thursday 28 February 2013

Getting your priorities right

Over the past few days I have had lots of time to think. There is usually not a lot to occupy ones mind whilst sitting at a sleeping relative's bedside ... and since last Friday I seem to have done quite a lot that. I have used the opportunity to do some serious thinking about my wargaming priorities ... and have made several short, medium, and long-term decisions.

In the short-term I want to finish play-testing my nineteenth century land/naval wargames rules. This will include another battle between the Rusland Navy and the Fezian coastal defences, and with a bit of luck I might manage that within the next week or so. I also want to re-visit my MEMOIR OF BATTLE and MEMOIR OF MODERN BATTLE rules, if only because they will give me a break from my PORTABLE WARGAME rules.

In the medium-term I want to get some models made and figures painted for both my nineteenth century and Interwar/World War II projects. For the latter I have to decide between:
  • Using 15mm-scale vehicles with 20mm-scale figures (my current plan … but one that may well be subject to change OR
  • Using individually based 20mm-scale figures and vehicles OR
  • Using 20mm-scale figures mounted on multi-figure bases and individually based vehicles that are compatible with my existing MEGABLITZ collection.
In the long-term I hope to:
  • Re-fight the MADASAHATTA Campaign … or at least a version of it;
  • Build up at least one 54mm-scale FUNNY LITTLE WARS army;
  • Stage an Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War campaign.
These are my current priorities … and all I have to do is to try to achieve them. On paper they look quite simple and easy targets to reach – given enough time – but I suspect that in reality they might be a bit more difficult to attain.

Wednesday 27 February 2013

Nugget 259

The editor of THE NUGGET emailed the original of the latest issue (N259) to me on Sunday, and I took it to the printer on Monday morning. I intend to collect it from the printer on Thursday and post it out to members of Wargame Developments over the weekend.

This issue is the fourth of the new subscription year, and if any regular blog reader would like to subscribe, they can do so via the link on the Wargame Developments website (click here).

Tuesday 26 February 2013

... of Mice and Men

The journey to the hospital took nearly ninety minutes ... and when I got there, it took me nearly thirty minutes to find somewhere to park. That done it then took another thirty minutes to find my father.

He had been admitted to the A&E Department by ambulance, and was initially assessed and sent to the Minor Injuries Unit ... who then passed him on to the Major Injuries Unit. They decided to send my father for an MRI scan of his head and for some chest X-rays, after which he was allocated a bed in the Medical Assessment Unit. They only problem was that when I arrived I had to follow this trail to find him.

By the time I finally found my father had had the cut on his head sutured and dressed, and was lying on a bed attached to a saline drip. A nurse was trying to take his blood pressure, but the pressure cuff was leaking air, and after several attempts she had to try to find a monitor that was actually working. Eventually she found a functioning blood pressure monitor, and his blood pressure was taken and the results were recorded.

I then sat with my father for over an hour before an assistant brought drinks round for the patients ... but she was unable to supply the tea my father wanted in a beaker (there were none available) and he had to try to drink it through a straw from a normal china mug. This proved impossible for him to manage as he could not sit up.

Nurses regularly checked on my father's condition, but it was not until after midday that he was seen by a doctor. The doctor had no idea that my father had been admitted to the same hospital for a fall only five days previously or that he had been prescribed antibiotics for his urinary infection. There was also no record of the medications that my father was taking, despite a list having been given to the hospital on the previous Friday. After examining my father and looking at the results of the scan and X-rays, the doctor decided that my father needed to be given yet another antibiotic intravenously to combat the chest infection that he seemed to be suffering from. She also told me that she expected that my father would be discharged later in the day, but that this would be subject to approval by the relevant consultant later that afternoon.

As soon as my father had fallen asleep after his examination, I took a break to contact the members of my family and my father's care home to appraise them of his condition. Whilst I was away from his bedside, some food had been left for my father to eat ... but because he was asleep it was left to go cold and uneaten. I tried to get my father to eat something, but he found it too difficult as his false teeth had been left at the care home.

Just after three o'clock in the afternoon the consultant arrived to examine my father. I had to repeat everything that I had told the junior doctor earlier in the day ... even though she was standing there with the consultant. He decided that my father might be suffering from emphysema, but the fact that my father had not smoked since the late 1940s and had never been exposed to dangerous airborne particles seemed to indicate that this was unlikely. The consultant eventually decided that my father was not going to be discharged today, and would most probably be kept in hospital for at least two days.

As my father had not been admitted with any of the things he would need for a protracted stay in hospital, I contacted his care home and agreed to collect everything that he needed from them. I also used the break to eat a somewhat belated lunch and to have a drink (my first since leaving home).

On my return to the hospital I found my father was still asleep. His intravenous drip was checked and changed, and sandwiches were brought round for the patients. I managed to get an egg sandwich for my father as it was the only one on offer that he could eat without his dentures. After over an hour of sitting with my father, trying to keep him calm, I asked the nursing staff when it was likely that my father would be taken up to a ward, but I was informed that a shortage of beds meant that it was unlikely to happen until tomorrow.

By this time I was feeling very tired (and somewhat stressed), and as visiting time was coming to a close and my father was sound asleep, I left the hospital and went home. I contacted my brother, and he offered deal with the hospital and visit my father tomorrow so that I could have some rest and recuperation. After today, I certainly need it!

The best laid plans ...

I had planned to fight a wargame today (Return to Naverona) but I had just finished writing the scenario when I had a 'phone call from my brother. My father had fallen for a second time in five days and was about to be taken to hospital to have his cuts treated.

I am currently eating my breakfast before I set off for the hospital. Hopefully the accident that occurred earlier this morning on the M20 and that has caused traffic congestion all over South East London will have been cleared by the time I set off, and that my journey will take no more than an hour.

Monday 25 February 2013

Doing a swap

Whilst I was at Cavalier 2013 yesterday, I met David Crook in order to swop some bits and pieces with him. I gave him a box full of unmade Zvezda 20mm-scale figures and artillery ... and he gave me some model aircraft from the range manufactured for use with the Axis and Allies Miniatures: Angels 20 collectible game.

The aircraft were:
  • 4 Hawker Hurricanes
  • 4 Supermarine Spitfires
  • 2 Messerschmitt Bf109s

I now have quite a fleet of 1:100th-scale model aircraft, some of which I intend to repaint so that I can use them in my planned Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War campaign.

Sunday 24 February 2013

I have been to ... Cavalier

Cavalier is a smallish annual wargames show held at the Angel Centre, Tonbridge, Kent, and if it is at all possible, I always try to attend it. It is organised by the Tunbridge Wells Wargames Society, and this year part of the proceeds are going to be given to Combat Stress, a charity devoted to helping veterans and ex-service personnel suffering from psychological injuries and mental health problems.

This show is usually the first I attend each year, and it always gives me the opportunity to meet and talk to some of the many wargamers I know. This year was no exception, and amongst those that I met and talked to were David Crook (with whom I did a swap; a box full of unmade Zvezda Russian and German infantry and artillery for a large collection of Axis and Allies Miniatures: Angels 20 aircraft), Kenny Smith, Nigel Drury, Peter Grizzell, the 'Rejects' (including Postie, Big Lee, Ray Rousell, and The Angry Lurker), and Henry Hyde (the current editor of BATTLEGAMES and the recently appointed editor of MINIATURE WARGAMES/BATTLEGAMES).

Henry was able to show me the layout he intends to use when he takes over as editor of he 'new' magazine, and I must admit that I was very impressed. It looked clean and easy to read, and it appears to be more content-driven and less full of pretty pictures. On the strength of what I saw I will be giving very serious consideration to taking out a subscription for this publication.

Wargames shows are an excellent opportunity to see new products, and Cavalier was no exception. I resisted ... just ... buying a whole load of stuff from the Plastic Soldier Company. The range that they offer is constantly growing, and had I been able to get to the rack of kits that I wanted to look at, I probably would have bought some. (The reason why I did not manage to get to the rack was due to three chaps who stood in front of it for over ten minutes discussing which kits they were going to buy. In the end I left them to it ... but I did notice that they were still there when I walked past later.)

I did make a couple of purchases. I bought a couple of mini starter packs of World War I 20mm-scale figures from Tumbling Dice (these are going to be used as Hungarian Infantry and Russian Militia in my projected Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War campaign) and a book from Dave Ryan of Caliver Books. The book was THE CHACO WAR by Adrian English (Published by Partizan Press [2013] ISBN 978 1 85818 657 3), and it is the second edition of the book originally published by Spellmount in 2007. The original was entitled THE GREEN HELL, and was a paperback; the new edition is a hardback and has been revised and had numerous photographs and illustrations added to it.

There were a number of demonstration/participation games on show, including:

A Very French Civil War (SEEMS)
As usual the 'boys' from SEEMS came up with a novel twist on a popular theme. In this case it was a clash between the forces of the Left and the Right in 1930s France, and the action was centred upon the town of Clochemerle.

Brave Little Belgium 1940 (Crawley Wargames Club)

Patton's Charge 1946 (Friday Night Firefight)
A hypothetical battle between US and Soviet forces in the aftermath of the Second World War.

Drop the bridge (North London Wargames Group)
An interesting wargame about a Soviet airborne attack on a vital bridge.

Square Bashing (Peter Pig)

The Battle of Crimisus 340BC (Society of Ancients)
Another battle from Professor Philip Sabin's book, LOST BATTLES. Professor Sabin was at the show running the wargame.

Operation Deadstick (Maidstone Wargames Society)
This game was about the seizure of the bridge over the River Orne early on the morning of D-Day.

Dixie 1863 (Staines Wargamers)
This was a recreation of Pickett's Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg, the famous 'high-water mark of the Confederacy'.

Medieval Siege (West Kent Wargamers)

Denmark 1940 (Deal Wargames Society)
This game illustrated the incredible modelling skills processed by some wargamers, and included some wonderful vignettes.

This was an excellent show ... and I am already looking forward to next year's.

Saturday 23 February 2013

Gerard de Gre's Ancient Wargame Rules ... as modified by Charles and David Sweet

I finally managed to finish transcribing these rules (including the special rules and Army Lists) this afternoon, and they can now be downloaded via the link from this blog's Free Downloadable Wargame Rules page.

I have also added a link to Gerard de Gre's Napoleonic Wargame rules (as modified by Charles and David Sweet) from the Free Downloadable Wargame Rules page.

I have been to ... the 'Who Do You Think You Are?' Show ... yet again

My wife's interest in genealogy means that attending the WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? show is an absolute must. It is the premier genealogical event of the year in the UK, and this year we had some very specific things to see and do.

The show was held at the Olympia Exhibition Centre, Kensington, and we drove there rather than use public transport. The journey is just over 15 miles door-to-door and took just over an hour.

The show is held over two floors in one of the main halls at the Olympia Exhibition Centre, the Main Floor ...

... and the surrounding Gallery.

We arrived early, and the show had not long opened ... hence the lack of a crowd inside. By the time we had left, the place was heaving!

Our first stop was at the stand run by the Veterans UK organisation. Last year my wife applied by post for her father's World War II medals, which he had never collected. We had heard nothing, and so she asked at the stand for some assistance. They were very helpful, and not only has she now requested that her father's medals be sent to her, they have also helped her to apply for a copy of his service records.

We then went to the Military Pavilion, which was located on the Gallery. For some time my wife has been trying to identify a badge worn by one of her female relatives as a tie pin. The badge is a triangle with what looks like an aeroplane or glider in the middle of it.

One of the general experts thought that it might have been given to my wife's relative as a keep-sake or memento, but he recommended that we show the photograph to the expert of badges ... who identified immediately as being the badge of a member of the 'Women's Air League'. Although this sounded like something a bit like the 'Women's Auxiliary Balloon Corps' (as featured in 'Blackadder Goes Forth' – Episode 4: Private Plane), it turned out to be part of an organisation set up in the 1900s to encourage air-mindedness amongst the peoples of the then British Empire. It was instrumental in the setting up of the Air Defence Cadet Corps, which in turn became the basis upon which the Air Training Corps was created.

Our two main tasks achieved, we spent the rest of our time at the show wandering around and looking at things that caught our eye. After a snack lunch (gourmet sausages in a bun!) we returned home through some typical London traffic ... and then we got the 'phone call about my father's fall.

Back home ... at last!

After his fall my father was taken by ambulance to the Accident and Emergency Department at the local hospital in Romford. My wife and I managed to get there just as he was returning from having his arm and back X-rayed. He was obviously rather distressed by what had happened, and most of what he said was incoherent or did not make a lot of sense. We sat with him until the doctors had assessed his injuries and the results of the X-rays and urine test he had undergone.

It appears that the fall had not resulted in my father suffering any serious injuries but that he did have a urinary infection that might have caused him to lose his balance. He was prescribed a course of antibiotics to cure the infection and it has been suggested that he should be assessed by an Occupation Therapist as the doctors were concerned about him having mobility problems. We discussed this with the doctors, who then arranged for my father to be discharged back to his care home.

Whilst we waited for the ambulance that was to take my father back, I contacted the manager of the care home to inform her about what was happening. She arranged for the night staff to prepare my father's room for his return, and I then took my father's medication and a copy of his hospital notes to the care home. By then it was getting quite late, and it was after 11.30pm before we got home.

Today (Friday) ended up being a very long and busy day ... and I hope that tomorrow will be a little less fraught.

Friday 22 February 2013

A busy day ... and night!

My wife and I spent most of today at the WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? show at Olympia, Kensington. (Our visit to the show will be covered in a later blog entry.) We had only been home about fifteen minutes when the care home that looks after my father 'phoned to tell me that he had fallen over and hit his arm quite badly on a radiator, and was going to be taken to hospital as soon as an ambulance arrived.

As soon as we know which hospital he is being taken to, we can set off to be with him whilst the Accident and Emergency staff assessed him and deal with his injuries. Getting there should take less than an hour ... I hope.

It looks like it is going to be a busy night after a busy day!

Thursday 21 February 2013

Return to Madasahatta?

One experience that David Crook and I share is our participation in Eric Knowles's epic Madasahatta campaign. It is a topic that usually crops up in any conversations that we have, and once or twice we have even talked about running our own versions.

With this in mind I looked at the initial start-up positions for the various forces involved in the original campaign ... and realised that I probably have more than enough figures to actually do it! If I make one PORTABLE WARGAME unit equal to a company, all I will need is the following:

Garrison of New Surrey
  • Port Victoria
    • 3rd Battalion, Connaught Rangers (less 1 Company) [3 Infantry Units]
    • 47th Mountain Battery (2 x 12pdr. Guns) [1 Mountain Artillery Unit]
  • Rumbletum’s Kraal
    • 1 Company, 3rd Battalion, Connaught Rangers [1 Infantry Unit]
  • Clinkajeer's Kraal
    • 1 Squadron, Bengal Lancers [1 Cavalry Unit]
  • Fort Chupatty
    • HQ and 2 Companies, 1st Battalion, Ludhiana Sikhs [2 Infantry Units]
  • Fort George
    • 2 Companies, 1st Battalion, Ludhiana Sikhs [2 Infantry Units]
Garrison of Hansaland
  • Festung Teufel
    • 2 Companies, 1st Battalion Askari Infanterie [2 Infantry Units]
    • 1 gun (1 x 88mm Howitzer), Hansaland Kolonial Artillerie [½ Mountain Artillery Unit]
  • Festung Askari
    • 2 Companies, 1st Battalion Askari Infanterie [2 Infantry Units]
    • 1 gun (1 x 88mm Howitzer), Hansaland Kolonial Artillerie [½ Mountain Artillery Unit]
  • Festung Amelia
    • 1 Company, 12th Marine Battalion [1 Infantry Unit]
  • Seemanstadt
    • 12th Marine Battalion (less 1 Company) [3 Infantry Units]
  • Bluchershafen
    • 10th Wurttemburg Artillerie Batterie (2 x105mm Guns) [1 Field Artillery Unit]
Garrison of The Arab Concession
  • Port Maleesh
    • 1 Battalion, State Guard (4 Infantry Units]
    • 1 Battery, Artillery (2 x 88mn Howitzers) [1 Mountain Artillery Unit]
Whoppituppas Tribal Forces
  • Hornikraal
    • Royal Bodyguard [4 Infantry Units]
    • The Elephant Regiment [4 Infantry Units]
  • Militini's Kraal
    • The Lion Regiment [4 Infantry Units]
  • Gindrinka's Kraal
    • The Leopard Regiment [4 Infantry Units]
In total the forces involved would be:
  • British: 8 Infantry Units, 1 Cavalry Unit, and 1 Mountain Artillery Unit (37 figures and 1 gun)
  • German: 8 Infantry Units, 1 Mountain Artillery Unit, and 1 Field Artillery Unit (36 figures and 2 guns)
  • Turkish: 4 Infantry Units and 1 Mountain Artillery Unit (18 figures and 1 gun)
  • Native: 16 Infantry Units (64 figures)
I have several other projects that I want to finish before I even start to seriously think about re-staging the Madasahatta campaign ... but if and when I do, it looks like if could be a very nice little war to fight!

Yet another hurray for eBay!

The third batch of AXIS & ALLIES MINIATURES that I bought via eBay has arrived, and they have added some very useful vehicles to my collection. This batch was made up of five SU-76M self-propelled guns ...

... and they cost me £5.00 (£2.50 for the models and £2.50 postage and packing).

Wednesday 20 February 2013

Half a million hits!

My 'hit' counter finally reached the half million mark a few minutes ago! Not bad for just over four years of blogging.

I wonder when it will 'hit' one million?

Free wargames rules ... are here!

It took me less time than I expected to create a new Free Downloadable Wargames Rules page on my blog ... and the new page is now up and running.

The page has links to a selection of the wargame rules that I have written over the past thirteen years, and readers are free to download and print copies for their own personal use.

Free wargames rules ... coming soon!

In a recent email Conrad Kinch suggested that it might be a good idea if I added a page to my blog that would allow readers to download copies of the numerous wargames rules that I have written.

At present my 'output' is available on a number of different web pages, not all of which are easily accessible ... so the idea makes a lot of sense. I have therefore begun the process of assembling a selection of my wargame designs and converting them into PDF format. (I have been selective so that drafts or incomplete designs are left out.) Once that is complete I will set up a new page on my blog with links to each PDF.

Tuesday 19 February 2013

Gerard de Gre's Ancient Wargame Rules ... as modified by Charles and David Sweet

I had the potential to waste quite a lot of my time today waiting for our new washing machine to arrive. The delivery 'window' was 7.00am to 7.00pm(!), as a result of which I was up by 7.00am waiting for the delivery truck to arrive. I waited ... and waited ... and waited. I did not want to start anything that I could not stop doing immediately, and so I could not do any painting or modelling, and fighting a wargame was just not possible. In the end I decided to do something that I could leave and return to once the washing machine had been delivered and I had installed it. My choice was to transcribe the Ancient rules used by Charlie and David Sweet.

Some time ago Dick Bryant – the former editor and publisher of THE COURIER – had sent me scans of the Ancient rules that had been devised by Gerard De Gre and modified by Charlie and David Sweet. They had been published in THE COURIER back in the 1970s, and like their Napoleonic counterparts they had been 'lost' to the general wargaming public for many years.

Dick had already given me permission to re-publish them via my blog, and I have spent time today transcribing them. Unfortunately the scans that Dick sent me appear to be incomplete, and until I have the missing pieces I will not be able to make them available in a downloadable format that potential players can print off for their own personal use.

The rules are interesting in that they use small catapults to simulate the fire of their ancient full-size equivalents and dice to adjudicate the outcomes of light infantry 'fire' (i.e. javelins, bows, slings, etc.) The melee system is very similar to that used in the Napoleonic rules and uses six alternative melee deployments (Melee Deployment Indicators or MDIs), each of which has different strengths and weaknesses.

So in the end my day was not a total waste of time. I feel that I managed to achieve something, albeit incomplete. And for those of you who might be interested, the washing machine was finally delivered at 4.45pm, and I finished installing it by just after 5.00pm.

Monday 18 February 2013

My latest model coastal defence guns are finished

I have finished painting my latest model coastal defence guns ... and I think that they look mighty fine!

With a bit of luck they should be in action later in the week ... possibly somewhere in the vicinity of Naverona!

Sunday 17 February 2013

Washing machine blues ... are going

Despite my best efforts, I could not get the washing machine to work properly. I managed to get it to start a wash program ... and then it stopped half way through. I managed to get it to start again ... for a bit ... and then it stopped for a second time. In the end my wife and I decided that rather than continue to wrestle with a recalcitrant washing machine, we would buy a new one ... so we did, and it should be delivered on Tuesday.

I also managed to undercoat my model coastal defence guns this morning, and with luck I should be able to begin painting the topcoat this evening.

So today has been a bit more upbeat than I had expected ... and one hopes that this positivity will continue into the new week.

Saturday 16 February 2013

Washing machine blues

Our washing machine 'chose' this afternoon to stop working, and despite my best (but meagre) efforts to fix it, the machine appears to have permanently stopped functioning. LEDs flash (so I know that it is not a power problem) ... but it will not start any of the programs.

At first I thought that it might be a blocked outlet pipe, but after moving the washing machine so that I could get to the outlet pipe, disconnecting the cold water inlet pipe, and finally dismantling the outlet pipe, I discovered that the pipe was clear of blockages.

The next thing I tried was the pump filter, but that was also clear of obstructions. Finally I unplugged the washing machine, waited five minutes, and plugged it in again ... but that did not cure the fault either.

Having exhausted the 'trouble-shooter' section of the instruction booklet, I consulted the Internet ... but none of the proposed solutions were things that I had not already tried. At this point my wife mentioned that the washing machine was over five years old, and that it might need replacing.

I have a feeling that I shall be spending part of tomorrow looking at white goods ... and not painting my new model coastal defence guns.

Ho! Hum! Halcyon days!

My latest model coastal defence guns

I have now completed the assembly of my two latest (and largest) model coastal defence guns.

They are heavy guns, and should be able to match any guns carried by larger warships.

All I have to do now is to paint them ... and then I hope that they will see some action!