Sa-Loot 2018

I usually attend two gaming conventions each year – Warfare in my home town of Reading, as it’s right on my doorstep, and Salute in London, as it’s the biggest wargaming event on the UK calendar.

Gaming conventions give you the opportunity, if you’re fortunate, of picking up those rulebooks, miniatures and terrain that you’ve been drooling over on the Internet for the previous couple of months, but without having to budget in the shipping and handling costs, which can sometimes be greater than the items you’re ordering.

Being somewhat anal, I do meticulously plan what I intend on buying prior to the event and always set myself a budget which, so far, I’ve not exceeded. My willpower is Legendary

Purchases at events fall into four categories; Definite, Potential, Gift and Impulse. Definite purchases are those things I know I’m going to buy, as long as the vendor has it in stock. Potential purchases are things I quite like the look of, but want to see close up before I decide if I do actually want it. Gifts are those things that would either make ideal presents for my gaming friends or stuff they’ve asked me to pick up because they can’t attend themselves. Finally, Impulse buys are things that I wasn’t aware of before attending, that fulfill a specific gaming need or are just too cool not to buy.

So, this year’s Salute budget was set at a very modest £40, which may not sound like a lot, but to a canny buyer such as myself, was more than sufficient for my needs. Knowing that I only had about an hour and a half to make my purchases, I did a swift sweep of the hall to locate the purveyors of my Definite list. I then returned to my targeted vendors and bought the items I was after.

Next came the Gift category, for which I had to collar one of the organisers, as I knew who had the item I was after, but couldn’t find their stand. Better signage needed next time, chaps…

As time was rapidly slipping through my fingers, I then visited the vendors who stocked my Potential purchases. However, whilst they all had the items in stock, I decided that the items in question were A) not as nice as they looked online, B) not worth the asking price or C) not really necessary at this point of the project.

As for Impulse buys, I did try and make one near the end of the show, but as this was from Wargames Terrain Workshop and was a small terrain item (rather than a big-ass dragon), Sarah decided to give it to me as a thank you for all my help.

So, having sat through my explanation of my buying philosophy, you’re probably wondering what exactly I spent my pennies on, so I shall show you. And, more importantly, explain the reason behind each one.

First up, Constanzi, Katerina and Elena – Vampire Sisters of the Moon from the Belt Ged Gaming range carried by Colonel Bill’s.

Three very nicely sculpted Victorian female vampires for £8.50. I’d seen the pre-release ‘greys’ for these on Roy’s Never Mind the Jankers blog and knew they had to be mine. Ideal for both my Tales of the Black Museum project (can’t really do Gothic Horror without vampires, can you?), as well as a new project that is looming on the horizon.

Next, some Wolves from Warbases.

£4.00 for four different sculpts. Whilst I do own a fair few figures of both people and monsters, my collection is quite light when it comes to animals. I own a couple of foxes and some pigeons, but that’s about it. As the new project will see me venturing into the wilds of Colonial Maine, I needed some wolves. Of course, I now need a bear too. And possibly the terror of the Maine woods, the whiskey drinking fiend known as…Razor-Shins.

Next, a Steampunk Female from the Kaosball range carried by Tritex Games.

On their website, this 30mm plastic figure retails for £1.99, but they sell the individual figures at Salute for a £1.00 each. I’d previously bought this figure as a Harley Quinn proxy for Tarot as a gift and had decided I wanted one too. Whether she ends up actually AS Harley Quinn in a supers game or as a Victorian version in Blackwell remains to be seen, but it’s a nicely detailed figure and you can’t argue with the price. Especially if you compare it with the licensed figure from Knight Models…

My final item is the Dragon Bell from Wargames Terrain Workshop.

I’d recently taken delivery of a new figure case from Tabletop Tyrant, as my figures had stsrted to spill out of the cupboard. This resulted in me sorting all my miniatures by genre, including all those I’d gathered for Oriental Fantasy gaming. I thought the addition of this well-detailed terrain piece would enhance my games, so decided to add it to my collection. It normally retails for a very reasonable £1.00, but as mentioned before, mine was a gift.

Not a huge haul, but every item was purchased with a use in mind, so all will see play sooner or later. And surely that’s the point of buying them, isn’t it?

Until next time…

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Post-Salute Thoughts 2018

As this year I was helping out on the Wargames Terrain Workshop stall, rather than wandering the aisles, this year’s report will hopefully give a view ‘behind the scenes’. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the opportunity to take many photos, being on call or occupied for most of the day, which also meant I missed the annual blogger’s meet. However, as the time for this had changed to 12.30 and no-one had mentioned this…I probably would have missed this anyway.

So, my Salute experience started around midday on the Friday, as I packed up my stuff at work and made my way to the station. With trundle-bag in tow, I had a reasonably swift and pleasant journey into London having wisely decided to get some hot food to eat on the journey.

Having arrived at Paddington and checking the time, I realised that my cunning plan to visit The Porterhouse in Covent Garden was still a possibility, so jumped on the tube and made my way there. I’d visited the one in Dublin last October, and when I found there was one in London too, I had promised myself a visit the next opportunity I got.

After a very pleasant pint of their Plain Porter, I did what I usually do when in a part of London I’m unfamiliar with, which is to set off in roughly the right direction for my final destination and hope to hit a tube station. After wanderng past Somerset House on the Embankment, I ended up at Temple, then tubed to Tower Gateway and on to the DLR for the Excel.

As it was slightly later than I’d anticipated, I headed directly to the hotel to book in – to find that they couldn’t find my booking. Slightly annoying, but luckily they did have a room available and it was actually £20 cheaper than when I’d initially booked.

I dumped my stuff, used the facilities and then went to meet Dave.

Slipping in through the Contractors Entrance, I got my first look at the hall from an insider’s perspective. All three rear shutters were open, allowing the afternoon sunlight in and my first thought was…that’s a lot of vans.

From a logical point of view, I should have expected it, but seeing the shutters closed and all the stands set up as an attendee, you don’t immediately connect the two and realise that getting all the stuff in would require more than a few sack trucks and trolleys. They open the shutters, the traders drive their vans in and unload. And you thought the width of the aisles was for your comfort…

Traders are allowed in from approximately half two on the Friday to set up and are kicked out at around five. Depending on how much you’ve got to set up and when you arrive limits what you can get done on the Friday. The traders are allowed back in at 7.30 on the Saturday to finish off and have to be in the hall by 9.00am at the latest, prior to the doors opening at 10. In these two and half hours, there is an air of franticness palpable, as those traders with large complicated stalls or those who have arrived later than the others try to get everything ready by ten.

This pre-opening period is also the opportunity for those ‘inside’ to network and make purchases prior to the crowds filtering in, but not ever trader is in a position to take your money, so a certain degree of persuasion IS needed. Luckily, being a charming chap, everyone I spoke to was prepared to help me out. I even had two of the staff on Caliver Books stall searching their entire stock for a particular miniature I was after, for which I was extremely grateful. I made a few modest purchases, more of which later.

Bearing in mind that Salute officially opens at 10.00am, I was surprised to discover from one of the Salute staff that some attendees had been queuing since 6.30 that morning! Standing in a queue for three and a half hours, just to be one of the first through the doors. That’s dedication…or possibly some kind of mental aberration.

From a traders point of view, the day goes in pulses. You get the initial filtering in of the crowd – some will rush straight in to their targeted supplier, desperate to get their stuff before it sells out, others take their time and browse as they go.

As Dave and I were manning the demonstration table, there was a certain degree of waiting until such time as people had made their initial purchases and felt inclined to sit down and play a game. I think this is typical of all these sorts of events.

As the crowds filtered past, I saw Imperial Stormtroopers, Scouts and officers, a Jawa, a rather nice Cylon Centurion and Deadpool wandering about. Simon Moore (aka Blaxkleric) of Fantorical dropped in to say hello and later in the day, so did Andy Nash of da Gobbo’s Grotto, although I was running a demo game of Death Match at the time and wasn’t able to chat as much as I would have liked.

Whilst Dave ran the lion’s share of the demo games, as he’s more familiar with the rules than me, I did run at least three or four games, including one for the writer of the rules and his son, which was slightly nerve-wracking as he obviously knew them better than me! The final game finished just as they were kicking people out the hall at five and I realised that the day had actually gone a lot quicker than I’d thought.

After all the attendees have left, the traders have two hours to pack up and leave. It’s pretty remarkable that they do manage it in this time, as by the time we’d packed up at 6.30pm, the majority of the traders were already done. Years of practice obviously.

So, it was an interesting experience to see if from the other side. It’s an early start for the traders, with breaks taken as and when possible, and ideally getting a good night’s sleep the previous evening is recommended. Unless, like me, you had a raucous party occurring on the rear deck of the Sunborn yacht hotel going on into the wee hours of the morning within high-pitched squealing laughter of your room…

However, the illuminated London skyline IS quite pretty…

As this is a longer post than I anticipated, my Salute purchases will have to wait for another, later post.

Whilst I will be attending Salute next year, I think I may go back to being a patron. However, I would like to thank Dave for the opportunity and also to the rest of the WTW crew for making me feel very welcome.

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something…Orange

Initially, the title of this post was going to be a time-related quote, but as I’d already used “It’s About Time” which would have been perfect, I had to think of something a bit different, hence the above. All will become clear as you read on…

So, let us start with Something Old

When I first started my Gothic Victoriana project (which became Tales of the Black Museum) way back in August of last year, the first structure that was shown for the London borough of Blackwell was the Chapel of St. Gilbert, with accompanying churchyard and scenery. The build for this particular terrain piece can be found in the post For Whom the Bell Tolls, which is probably worth a look so you can do a comparison, as it was pointed out at the time that my church was a little too clean…

So, I decided to do a bit of work on it to see whether I could make it look a bit more soot-stained and grimy, and this is the result:

Certainly looks a bit more worn than before and the roof tiles are now the appropriate colour. To be frank, the picture makes it look brighter than it actually is. The same applies to the tree in the churchyard, which was originally undercoated black and has had various shades and washes applied to it, but now looks a bit ‘spectral’ – although it is darker to the natural eye.

I still need to finish off the remainder of the churchyard and add a few details to the church doors, but when you progress a large terrain piece from ‘half-done’ to ‘almost done’, you do have a sense of achievement, as large terrain pieces do take a fair while to paint compared to figures.

Next up – Something New. As my last post did state that the churchyard was where Lord Edmund Blackadder’s time machine had ended up, I thought I’d best show it in place – as I’ve finally got around to finishing the bloody thing!

Trying to create tiny clock hands out of very thin plastic that were the right shape AND symmetrical proved quite tricky. Also discovering that I really should have made the trench surrounding the dial slightly wider to allow me to write the numbers around the dial more clearly was an annoyance, but it IS finished now, so I’m quite pleased.

And yes, this close-up of the time machine revealed that I’d missed painting one of the chapel’s buttresses, which is why it still has the warm toffee colour of the original paint job.

Now, we’ve got Blackadder’s time machine complete, but where is the man himself? He is our Something Borrowed.

So, I finally managed to get the figure I’m using for my version of the 1999 incarnation of Lord Edmund Blackadder based, undercoated and some paint on him. Strangely, the bit that took the longest was mixing up the colour for his velvet jacket, as I did not have a suitable colour pre-mixed – Imperial Purple being too pink and Worm Purple being too purple. So, “Blackadder Plum” was tinkered with until it matched what I thought the colour should be.

Still a bit of work to go, but he’s coming along and at least he can now appear in physical form for his adventures in Blackwell.

So, something old (the church), something new (the time machine), something borrowed (Edmund Balckadder), which leaves…something blue. Or in my case, something orange…Zygons!

I took advantage of Black Tree’s post-Christmas sale to add some classic characters to my Doctor Who collection, including a couple of the classic Zygons from the 1975 Fourth Doctor serial Terror of the Zygons.

Now, I know that the modern re-design of this alien race has changed their colouration slightly, so that they look more crab-like in colour, but my recollection and online images from the original story, showed they were a greeny-orange colour, so that’s what I went with. Both figures were given an undercoat of white, followed by a coat of GW Bogey Green, and then a coat of my ‘Pumpkin Orange’ mix. And that’s it.

As the orange paint is quite ‘orangey’, but also quite thin, it kinds of acts like a glaze, pooling in the right places and allowing hints of the underlying green to show through. I think it works really well and am now tempted to buy some of the new Warlord Zygons and paint them exactly the same way. May not be exactly canon, but neither’s painting their hands black…

Hopefully, this post signifies a return to more regular posting. The next post will be my regular post-Salute report, as it’s now less than a week away, and will be from an ‘insider’s’ point of view, as I’m helping out on the Wargames Terrain Workshop stall and demonstration tables this year. So, please feel free to drop by and say hello.

Until next time…

(Re) Making History

Time travel is a tricky prospect. Your first issue is discovering a means to propel your physical form through the space/time continuum in a safe and controlled fashion. Whether you utilise a limited edition American sports car, an antique call box or a map allegedly left over from when the Creator was building the Universe matters not – you still have to possess the item.

Your second issue (and this is the biggie) is whether your actions in the past will effect the future. If you meddle with a past timeline, when you return to your starting point, will the World you encounter be the same as when you left? Will the inadvertent loss of a cigarette lighter in the distant past have caused an earlier technological revolution, resulting in you previous ‘present’ being reduced to a radioactive cinder? Will the wrong thing said at the Nuremberg Rallies have changed the outcome of the Second World War, with the majority of Europe now occupied by the Nazis? Will the Earth have been invaded by super-intelligent Koala-like aliens, who have subjugated the population and forced them to mass-produce soft toilet tissue? These are all things that the intelligent and responsible time traveller must take into account when venturing into the past, as even the most subtle of changes could have wide-reaching and devastating consequences.

However, if you have a Plan and a goal, if you know exactly what result you wish to achieve, then maybe, just maybe, you can carefully tweak the past to improve your own future.

But it would have to be an extremely cunning plan…

With a slightly disappointing displacement of air, a canvass and wood contraption, looking like a carriage clock writ large, appeared suddenly, then dropped to the ground. As the booth-like object settled into the damp earth of the churchyard, there came from within the sound of someone falling over, followed by what appeared to be a toilet flushing.

Lord Edmund Blackadder closed the heavy tome he had balanced on his knee and looked askance at the crumpled heap of his manservant, who had endeavoured to prevent his fall by grabbing the toilet chain.

“Given that we have made innumerable jumps through time and space and upon reaching every destination, the time machine always drops the last few feet to the ground,” he began, “it truly astounds me that on every occasion, without fail, you seem unprepared and fall over. Either you have the memory of a goldfish, Baldrick, or you are the stupidest man in existence. On past experience, I believe it is the latter.”

Yes, my Lord…sorry, my Lord.” Said Baldrick, clambering to his feet.

Now,” said Blackadder, “as we – and when I say ‘we’, I actually mean ‘me’ – have ascertained that the time machine is keyed to our individual DNA, wherever – or to be more precise when-ever – we have appeared, one of my ancestors should be in close proximity to our arrival point. We therefore need to find out when we are – and on this occasion, when I say ‘we’, I actually mean ‘you’.”

Er…I don’t understand, my Lord.” Stammered Baldrick.

Blackadder sighed.

You never fail to disappoint, do you, Baldrick?”

“Thank you, my Lord.”

What I mean is that it is time to stretch your legs, Balders…to venture forth into the World beyond and find out where we’ve ended up this time.”

Blackadder released the cord holding the door and lowered the gangplank.

But…it might be dangerous, my Lord…” said Baldrick fearfully.

Exactly,” said Blackadder, pushing Baldrick out into the crisp night air, “which is why you’re going instead of me.”

The Greatest Breakthrough in Travel..

…since Mr. Rodney Tricycle thought to himself “I’m bored with walking, I think I’ll invent a machine with three wheels and a bell, and name it after myself.

Behold, the time machine…

As I am now the proud owner of the surrogate figure I’m planning on using to represent Lord Edmund Blackadder (circa 1999), in order for him to visit the London borough of Blackwell, I decided that some additional work was needed to complete his time machine.

However, as I’m sadly lacking in my very own Baldrick to delegate this task to, I’ve had to do it myself…

When we first saw the machine, it looked like this;

The initial box was crafted from an Amazon cardboard ‘envelope’, with a circular hole cut in the front and the drawbridge-like door cut into the left side. A smaller disc of card was then covered in baking foil (dull side up) to create the clockface, then glued to a larger disc of card and fixed behind the hole, giving a bit of depth to the model.

All four sides and the top were then given a covering of textured wallpaper, to represent the canvass sides of the machine. A rubber washer, topped with a smaller plastic washer and then a plastic cap were glued together and added to the top of the device, to represent the viewing port of the original machine.

This made it look a bit like a washing machine with a hatbox on top of it, but as with most modelling projects, it’s all in the details…

The machine needed four decorative ‘spires’ on each corner of the roof, some feet, a cog or fly-wheel protruding from the right-hand side of the device and some rungs on inner surface of the door, so our intrepid time travellers had stable footing when alighting – so my bits box was raided and various beads, screws and washers were affixed in the relevant places, resulting in this;

And another shot showing the fly-wheel;

I also decided to add several cut down cotton-bud stems to represent the frame that the canvass is attached to.

It’s not exactly the same as the original design, but it’s a pretty good match and I’m happy with it.

Now, as it was fairly evident that it was cobbled together from a variety of disparate parts, I decided to give it an undercoat of Docrafts Linen, in order to blend them all together.

The bases and feet were given a coat of Docrafts Burnt Umber and the frame a coat of Docrafts Classic Gold. Referring to the Blackadder: Back and Forth, I then painted the roof spires, viewing port and clockface in GW Shining Gold, and the shallow trench around the clockface with Docrafts White. And this is the result;

The exerior requires dry-brushing with a dark pink, the ramp needs a coat of brown and I need to add the numerals, decorative marks and hands to the clockface, but it’s progressing well and should be finished…in good time.

I just need to base and paint Blackadder himself and he will then be meddling in the affairs of the residents of Blackwell.

Until next “time”…

A Study in Scarlet

Sir Byron Carpenter stepped back from the slumped form lashed to a chair in his study, taking a towel from his desk to wipe the blood from his hands. Whilst he did have people who could perform this kind of interrogation, sometimes it was necessary to take a more hands on approach. It reminded his staff that he was not to be trifled with and allowed him to vent his frustrations.

He gazed impassively at the swollen features of the broken figure in the chair. He had used all of his formidable strength and techniques upon him and had discovered precisely…nothing.

It appeared the girl was more adept at concealing herself than he had first thought. She must be receiving some kind of assistance, as no-one had managed to elude him for such a considerable amount of time without outside help – especially with the resources and influence he had at his disposal.

Carpenter reached for the bell-cord and summoned one of his many servants, the muted echoes of the chimes offering a counterpoint to the final laboured breaths of the dying man.

This situation was becoming tiresome.

On the surface, Blackwell appeared to be a normal London borough, but the reports and rumours that had filtered back to him suggested that there was much more to this seemingly innocuous area than met the eye. The local ‘talent’ he had recruited had, so far, proved ineffective in locating his quarry and at least one of them was no longer amongst the living, having been found decapitated in an alleyway. Of his head there was no trace.

It was time to call in some professional help and, from recent reports, one such individual had recently taken up residence in Blackwell itself.

The door to the study opened and the immaculately-clad figure of Carpenter’s butler entered.

“You rang, Milord?”

Yes, Atkins,” said Carpenter, “send an invitation to a Mr Jefferson Lake, currently lodging at the Four Horseshoes in Blackwell. I have need of his services.” He glanced at the cooling corpse, his lip curling disdainfully. “And dipose of…that.

I shall attend to it immediately, Milord” said the butler.

Carpenter pulled back the drapes from the window and stared into the night.

Where are you, girl?” He muttered under his breath. Hopefully, this Jefferson Lake would provide the answer.

A Visit to the Workshop

As previously mentioned, I will be attending Salute again this year, but will be doing so on the other side of the fence, as I will be assisting Dave Stone of Wargames Terrain Workshop on his stand. So, I felt that I really should meet Dave in the flesh prior to April and therefore arranged to visit him in Gloucester last weekend.

Dave was a very welcoming host, plied me with copious amounts of coffee and treated me to a very interesting insight into the creative process behind the models he creates for WTW. We also managed to get a game of Death Match in, in which my Revilli Gladiator managed to slay her Ceratid opponent, TWO of the released beasts, then got pounded into the dirt by a Horned Hominid. If you haven’t had a chance to play this game yet at a show, make sure you visit the stand at Salute, where we will be running demonstration games for most of the day.

When I left, I was presented with a few items to take away with me. Some I was expecting, as these were prizes from the Death Match competitions run on The Game Cupboard last year, but Dave had very kindly added some extra items – namely a few bits that I’d enthused about when he’d shown them off on TGC.

Now, as a beneficiary of Dave’s generosity, I thought I’d take the opportunity to show some of the items Wargames Terrain Workshop does or will be releasing in the future, but with a standard 28mm miniature in the pictures, to give you some idea of scale. As the majority of the time, we gamers buy online, its always good to know exactly how big some of these models actually are…

First up, one of my competition prizes, the Creminisci;

This aquatic race was designed by Tarot Hunt for the Death Match universe, and are a race of fish-like mystics, who can harness their mental power to produce a variety of effects. As the DM range is nominally 32mm scale for standard humanoid races, you can see that the Creminisci are roughly the same scale as a DM Human, but are larger than the 28mm figure in the picture.

I asked for mine to be cast in translucent blue resin – because I’m an awkward bugger – but I believe the general release figures will be in opaque grey resin.

Next up, my winning contribution to the Death Match universe, the Nisari;

The Nisari are a sect that believes that ‘The Games’ are an abomination and have dosed their most fanatical warriors with a potion that increases their effectiveness as warriors, but also burns them up from the inside, hence the bloodstained bandages.

As you can see from the picture, the Nisari tower over a normal 28mm figure and are still pretty big in comparison to a standard DM human. But they are supposed to be, as they are Traventians, who are bigger than the humans in the game. The two figures shown are the Nisari male and the Nisari Priestess, currently milking a Dust Viper for its venom. The Nisari female comes with separate arms and as I’ve not attached these yet, I decided not to show her.

Now, as you may not be a Death Match player, you might be thinking why would I buy these models? The Creminisci would quite easily fit into any fantasy or sci-fi game of your choice. As for the Nisari…could you imagine Conan facing this in the wastes of Stygia? Or your Pulp Alley league being menaced by this because they opened the wrong tomb? Or maybe your Tomb Kings army needs a giant freaking insane mummy, because…well, who doesn’t?

Now, these aren’t on general release yet, but I’m sure Dave will let everyone know when they will be available.

Next up, the Venucian Man Eating Plant, which has been released;

The figure in the picture is one of my Victorian thugs from Ironclad Miniatures, which gives a good indication of the size of this terrain piece. Three open ‘traps’ and one currently digesting an unfortunate victim. If you play Congo, Pulp Alley or, to be frank, ANY game that ventures into the jungle, be it terrestrial or off-world, get this piece. It’s well-detailed, versatile and only £6.00.

Next, a model that came about from a conversation I had with Dave about monstrous pigs…the Grice;

I had mentioned in my ongoing Tales of the Black Museum a previous case featuring the ‘Black Pig of Awdry Gardens’. Now, I quite fancied having a model to represent this, and mentioned to Dave that I had not yet found something suitable. He queried what sort of beast I was after and after much to-ing and fro-ing, he’d got a good idea of what I was after. Thus was born the Grice. The name is actually that of an extinct Iron Age pig that was common in Scotland, but as this beast was supposed to represent a monstrous swine, either demonic or primeval, artistic licence was employed. The Grice is now an official part of the Death Match universe, but can be used wherever you need a bloody great porker. Available now for a very reasonable £7.00.

Next up, the Digestion Pool;

Designed for the Exuvium race in Death Match, which they use to break down the bodies of the animals they catch into a delicious and nutritious soup, this terrain piece has so many other uses. It’s reminiscent of the architecture in the Alien movies, but what the fluid bubbling away in it is, is entirely up to you and your paints to decide. As you can see from the picture, this is currently being scanned by one of my Ghostbusters, so it may contain psycho-reactive ectoplasm of ‘mood slime’. A nice solid bit of terrain for £5.00.

Finally, a lovely surprise for me – the Falcon Interceptor. Now, this is actually a “off-cast” (not sure if that’s the correct term). Basically, this was a model that Dave couldn’t sell, as it was mis-cast. You can’t see it from the picture, but there are a few cavities on the underside that will require filling. I’d commented that it would make an ideal alternative mode of transport for my Vin Diesel inspired Ghostbuster, especially with the tanks at the rear, but would need a light bar for the roof. Dave was already in the process of creating one of these for a new futuristic car, so Vin-Buster is now the proud owner of his very own Ecto-V8;

“It’s got, like, a cup-holder and…everything.”

He looks pretty pleased with it and it’s going to look awesome once painted in the appropriate livery.

Hopefully this post has given you an idea of how these particular items scale up against standard 28mm figures and maybe added a few items to your online or Salute shopping list.

Next time, we will definitely be back in Blackwell…

A Plan So Cunning You Could Stick a Tail on it and Call it a Weasel

Regular visitors to the Buffet will know that I’m a big fan of the BBC comedy series Blackadder, which ran for four series between 1983 and 1989, with a couple of specials broadcast in 1988 and the final instalment of the saga – Blackadder: Back and Forthreleased in 1999.

During this time, we were introduced to NINE incarnations of the titular character, from Centurion Blaccadicus, way back in Roman occupied Britain, to the most recent Lord Edmund Blackadder, who through some unscrupulous tinkering with the time-stream, managed to end up as the King of England.

Now, you might be wondering what this possibly has to do with wargaming?

Well, it would appear that I’m not the only fan of the Blackadder series, as various companies have produced 28mm versions of Edmund and his chums.

Want Prince Edmund, the Duke of Edinburgh and his father, King Richard IV? Head on over to Rogue Miniatures, who have Eddy:

Front

And Lord Loud:

Front

at £3.75 each, from their “Sword” range.

Fancy something a little more Elizabethan? Then look no further than The Assault Group, who have amongst their Renaissance range REN438 – Cunning Courtier, Manservant & Percy:

At £7.20 for all three, that’s £2.40 a figure, which is pretty good value.

Finally, should you be more inclined to game amongst the trenches of the Great War, Scarab Miniatures have this collection of individuals for you:

Lieutenant George, Private “Bob” Parkhurst, Captain Darling, the drinks cabinet, General Melchett, Captain Blackadder and Private Baldrick, all for £8.20. Unfortunately, this is the best picture I could get from their website, but if you want to see them painted extremely well and in a suitable diorama, then pay Michael Awdry’s 28mm Victorian Warfare blog a visit, particularly this post, to see what they should look like.

Now, whilst we have three incarnations of Edmund, this still leaves us short of Centurion Blaccadicus; Sir Edmund Blackadder from the English Civil War; Mr E. Blackadder Esq., butler to the Prince Regent; Mr Ebenezer Blackadder, proprietor of the finest moustache shop in Victorian London, Lord Edmund Blackadder, time-travelling ne’er-do-well and Grand Admiral Blackadder of the Dark Segment. And believe me, I have trawled the Internet, looking at various ranges to try to find suitable proxies, so I could have the ‘full set’ without luck.

Now, I’d put the idea of ‘The Blackadder Project’ on hold back in 2014, but with my current focus on all things Victorian, I thought it would be quite amusing to add the Victorian incarnation of Blackadder to the narrative. After an exhaustive search of the Internet, I still haven’t located a suitable figure to represent Mr Ebenezer Blackadder.

Not giving up on this idea, I changed tack and started searching for a suitable figure for the modern version, as whilst I would have to build a time machine, this shouldn’t present a problem.

Which is a phrase I never thought I’d use…

Strangely, finding a suitable figure for an unarmed, bearded man in a suit in 28mm isn’t quite as easy as you’d think. I did consider Tony Stark from the Heroclix Avengers Movie subset, but the amount that this was going for online was silly for a single plastic figure.

Image result for heroclix tony stark

So, I went for a slightly different alternative and have decided to use the Crooked Dice Lionel figure:

United Radionics

It may not be exact, but I think with a suitable paint job, this will make a good proxy for the modern version of Lord Edmund Blackadder. And could that be a tranquiliser pistol? It would certainly suit his character…

As for the time machine…well, I’ve made a start…

Looks a bit like washing machine at present…

Just before I go, it seems that my regular posts on the Buffet have inspired a fellow gamer to take a crack at this blogging lark. His name is Harry and his blog is War Across the Ages. So far, he has provided a very interesting introduction into how he got into the hobby, which should ring a few bells with the majority of you out there. Why not pay him a visit and see what he has to say.

Next time…we shall be returning to Blackwell to see what’s been occurring.

The Thin Blue Line

Whilst this post shares its title with the ‘comedy’ starring Rowan Atkinson about the police department of the fictional town of Gasforth, I’m fairly certain that this post will be more entertaining…

However, the title does fit the content, in which I shall be showing you the full complement of the Blackwell police department, in their various stages of completed-ness.

Whilst every character has previously been introduced in the narrative, I now have models to represent each one and thought I’d show how far I’d got with each one.

First, the first quartet who were introduced;

So, from left to right, we have Constables Moore and Nash, Sergeant Webb and the newly promoted Sergeant Rowan. I just need to complete the detailing on each of these figures and they will be finished. All these figures are from GHL0003 – London Bobbies pack from  West Wind Productions, for a very reasonable £6.00.

Next, this trio;

Here, from left to right, are Sergeant Doyle, Inspector Neame and Dr. Davis Stone. The first two figures are from VBCW14 Telegram Rifles “communications team” from Ironclad Miniatures, for £3.00. The third figure is RSF-08 Chrononaut Grandfather from Miniature Figurines, for £2.75. Also progressing well and almost finished.

Next, a new trio of models:

Once again, from left to right, these are Sergeant Randall, Constable Murray and Constable Arkwright. All these figures are from Artizan Designs, with the two figures at either end being from the Thrilling Tales range, and are, strictly speaking, from the ‘interwar’ period. However, as the British police uniform did not really change all that much until fairly recently, I think that they can pass for Victorian peelers. The middle figure if from their Victorian Science Fiction range and the weapon is supposed to be a flamethrower. As soon as I saw it, I thought “Victorian ghostbuster”, so this is Constable Murray armed with the galvanic rifle. All these figures are £3.00 each.

Finally, we have Constable O’Lantern, who cost me nothing, because I made him myself!

The head, hands and feet came out a little darker than I expected, but as he’s not finished, I’m not overly concerned. However, he is progressing pretty well.

So, that’s the current roster of the Blackwell police department, who are almost finished. I could do with a Black Maria and the actual police station, but I’m pretty pleased with what I have so far.

Join me next time for more developments in the London borough of Blackwell.

View from the Crow’s Nest – Year Three!

As today is the official three-year anniversary of this blog, I couldn’t really let this go unmarked. It honestly doesn’t feel like I’ve been unleashing my unique vision of what the hobby is for me for three whole years…

So, having looked at the statistics provided by WordPress, I know that I have (including this post) published 155 posts over the last three years, which roughly works out at one every week. Not too bad.

I’ve had a total of 29,029 visitors and a total of 49,351 views, which means that people come back for a second (or possibly third) look. I also have a total of 41 followers over various platforms.

Whilst these stats may not really compare to more well-established or more popular blogs, I’m pretty happy with them. For me, it was never about the stats, but more that this blog encouraged me to actually do something hobby-related, rather than just storing my figures in a box somewhere.

So, as per usual, I will offer a retrospective on what has occurred over the last twelve months and offer an insight on what’s to come.

Year Three saw a few changes in the content here on the Buffet, with longer term projects replacing themed months.

From February to July 2017 the focus was on Doctor Who, with brief excursions into the realms of Judge Dredd in March with a guest article from Stevie, Hils and Tarot of The Games Cupboard. This period also saw my second post-Salute report in April and the second successful Forgotten Heroes ‘community art project’ occurring in June.

After a break at the end of July, the Doctor Who project was put on hold and my Gothic Victoriana project, now known as Tales from the Black Museum, was launched. This began in August of last year and has been running ever since – and has proved quite popular.

November of last year also saw me taking part in a competition run by Dave Stone and Stevie Gilbert of The Games Cupboard to create a character or race for the Wargames Terrain Workshop Death Match universe, the winner of which would have their creation turned into a model. I won the people’ vote (much to my surprise) and my Nisari were transformed from my rudimentary sketch into three-dimensional figures! Which was pretty damn cool…

The last twelve months also saw a few changes in my immediate blogging circle, with Roger Webb – my longest supporter and good friend – of Rantings from Under the Wargames Table – sadly having to curtail his online activities. It has also seen the reduction of posts from other blogs I follow, as Real Life has prevented the owners from posting as often as they’d like.

One of the major changes was that my staunchest followers – Steve and Hilary Gilbert and Tarot Hunt of The Games Cupboard – have handed the reins of this blog over to Dave Stone, as changes in circumstances have meant that they cannot be as active as they previously were. Whilst the blog is in good hands, their articles, comments and presence are sadly missed.

Looking back at the plans I made this time last year, I feel that some of what I said I was going to do was a little…unrealistic. So rather than promise and never deliver, I thought I’d keep any proposed plans to a more sensible level.

There WILL be more ‘Tales of the Black Museum’, as certain outstanding threads need resolutions. There WILL be a return to Doctor Who gaming, as I took advantage of the sale after Christmas to bolster my collection. And there WILL be the ‘publication’ on here of simple mass combat wargame rules, currently going by the name of Feast of Crows, the first draft of which has been written.

I will also be attending Salute again this year, but on the other side of the fence, as I will be assisting Dave Stone on the Wargames Terrain Workshop stand. As I will be there the preceding evening, anyone who fancies having a beer with me on Friday night is most welcome.

As for what else is in store over the next year, you’ll just have to pay the Buffet a visit and find out.

But there definitely WILL be pigeons…

Here’s to the next twelve months – let them be filled with the clatter of dice, the scent of paint and the creative madness you’ve come to expect here at the Buffet.

I ain’t going nowhere…

Jez