Will I get a chance to wargame soon?

Whilst I was driving back from Herne Bay this afternoon (Yes! You guessed right! My wife and I have yet again been doing some more house clearing today!) I began to think about the last time I actually managed to fight a wargame; not write blog entries about wargaming; not plan a wargame; not write a new draft of some wargames rules; not sort out my toy/wargames room; no … actually fight a wargame.

The answer is … longer ago that I thought. In actual fact it was Wednesday 7th September … nearly three months ago! No wonder that I am feeling a bit jaded and in need of my wargaming ‘fix’.

Mind you, my wife and I have had a lot of things to deal with since September, and it is little wonder that I have not been able to set aside enough time to actually get some terrain and figures together and fight a battle. That said, we seem to be coming to the end of that period of our lives, and the prospects are beginning to look a bit brighter. I hope to get my toy/wargames room sorted out by this time next week … and then I hope to celebrate with a wargame!


Work on my toy/wargames room continues

Now that I have just about got the storage system sorted out, I am now turning my attention to what I know will be a much more drawn out part of this big ‘sort out’ … the books!

These are currently stored in IKEA bookcases that cover two walls of my toy/wargames room plus about a metre of a third wall. They were originally arranged by theme (e.g. all the naval books were kept together) but over time this has become somewhat confused. Over the past few years books have tended to be put on shelves that had space and not necessarily together with books covering similar or related topics. The big ‘sort out’ should go some way to remedying this.

I may well end up with some books that are surplus to requirements. If I do I will probably dispose of them via eBay or as gifts. Any revenue generated by the sale of books will be ‘recycled’ to pay for future wargames projects … I hope!


Memoir of battle revisited

The arrival of the COMMAND & COLORS: NAPOLEONIC dice in this morning’s post spurred me on to actually redraft my MEMOIR OF BATTLE rules into a similar format to that I used for the latest version of the PORTABLE WARGAME 2 rules.

The new draft of MEMOIR OF BATTLE is downloadable in PDF format from here.


Recent purchases

I recently mentioned that whilst I was in Norfolk I bought some model aircraft made in China and sold in the UK by Red Box Toy Factory Limited under the trade name ‘Motor Max Sky Wings’. I bought a pack each (for £2.99 each) of two single-engined Yokosuka D4Y Suisei dive-bombers and twin-engined Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu fighters.

They look generic enough to me to be usable as single and twin-engined bombers in wargames set in the late 1930s and early 1940s … and that is how I plan to use them.

This morning’s post brought I further purchase, this time from overseas. Some time ago I decided that I would like to revisit my MEMOIR OF BATTLE rules, and that it might not be a bad idea to get some additional pre-marked dice. As I could not find a supply of any spare BATTLE CRY! or MEMOIR ’44 dice I opted to buy five sets of COMMAND & COLORS: NAPOLEONICS dice from Valley Games.

Despite reading some pretty poor reviews about these dice I decided to take a risk and order some … and I am quite satisfied with what was delivered. They will certainly be suitable for what I have in mind, and have saved me the bother of having to try to make my own sets of dice. (I have sufficient blank dice but not the patience to mark them up with suitable symbols.)


Inspiration drawn from other wargamers: Robbie Rodiss’s Spencer Smith Cavalry

I recently mentioned that I had been sent some very nicely painted Seven Years War Spencer Smith Miniatures (both plastic and metal). They had been sent to me by Robbie Rodiss (AKA rob3rod) of the Independent Wargames Group, and I promised that once I had enough space on my wargames table that I would photograph them.

Well here they are!

I have not played any wargames set in the eighteenth century for a very long time … but these figures have certainly encouraged me to think about doing so … but not in the near future!

Yet again, thank you Robbie for these wonderful figures.


Medals … are now mounted

Yesterday was very busy, but this morning I decided that come-what-may I was going to mount my father’s and my maternal grandfather’s medals in some small display frames that I had.

I labelled each display frame with the recipient’s name and rank as well as listing the medals each had been awarded.

In addition I added some details of his service record to my father’s display frame as well as his National Fire Service badge and the regimental badge worn by the officers of 53rd (Worcestershire Yeomanry) Airlanding Light Regiment, Royal Artillery.


Medals

One of the things that my father gave me before his dementia reached the state that it is now in was his World War II medals (and unit patches). He also gave me my maternal grandfather’s medals as well, and it was only this evening that I was actually able to sit down and look at both sets of medals in detail. The results were very interesting.

My father’s medals are the War Medal 1939-1945 and the France and Germany Star. The NFS badge came from his time as a volunteer fireman in the National Fire Service (he served as a volunteer before being ‘called up’), and the reproduction Airborne patches are reminders of his time as a member of 6th Airborne Division. The Chindit patch was given to him after his post-war service in Burma (he did not serve with the Chindits but did later serve with the Chin Hills Battalion) and the ‘Charging Elephant’ was the symbol of the 4th Army Corps, to which he was posted but which was disbanded before he joined it.

My maternal grandfather’s medals illustrate both the length and variety of his services. He was a per-war Territorial Sergeant Major in the Royal Artillery, and served in France as part of the BEF (British Expeditionary Force). He was wounded during the retreat to Dunkirk, and was lucky enough to be amongst those who were evacuated.

Once he had recovered from his wounds he became a Ship’s Regimental Sergeant Major. He joined a small group of senior Army Warrant Officers who served aboard troopships. Their role was to provide a permanent on-board Army presence on the troopships, and their job was both administrative and disciplinary. As a result of this service, my grandfather was awarded a fairly unusual set of medals. These include:

  • The War Medal 1939-1945
  • The 1939-1945 Star
  • The Italy Star
  • The Atlantic Star
  • The Burma Star
  • The Pacific Star (which I don’t think that he should have been awarded as he already qualified for the Burma Star. What he should have been awarded was a clasp to the Burma Star.)

I hope to put these medals into a couple of small cases that I can have on display somewhere in my home. They will serve to remind me of both my father’s and grandfather’s military service during World War II.


Lofty ambitions?

My wife and I spent most of today in Herne Bay, sorting out my father-in-law’s bungalow. My main job was to begin the process of clearing the loft … which turned out to be no easy task.

Luckily my father-in-law had had the loft space boarded over and fitted with a light … although I did not realise the latter until I climbed up into the very dark loft and trod on the light’s cable. Once I had found the cable I quickly found the plug that had to be plugged into the nearest power socket (which was in the kitchen) to provide the power for the light.

Once the light was on I saw the magnitude of my task. Besides the six large suitcases and two travel bags – some of which still seemed to be full – I found a door(!), a large toolbox full of ancient tools, more used tins of paint than I could be bothered to count, eight carrier bags full of empty jam jars, several dismantled flat-pack wardrobes and cupboards, several old curtains and window blinds, a boxful of old photographs and pictures, and a large amount of old curtain track and fittings.

With my wife’s help I got almost everything except the door and the flat-pack furniture down from the loft. We then sorted through it all, and most of it was consigned to the garage for disposal. (I foresee several trips to the local refuse and recycling centre in the very near future.)

I hope to complete clearing the loft sometime next week … but next time I will try to remember to take some sort of heating into the loft because is was very cold up there today … and the weather was quite mild today for the time of year.


Lost … and Found!

As my wife and I did not make it to Herne Bay today, I decided to spend some more time sorting out my toy/wargames room. During the course of the afternoon I opened a large storage box that was at the bottom of a pile of boxes I had not yet begun to sort through … and found that it was full of unpainted 15mm and 20mm-scale figures. I had not realised that I still owned these figures as I thought that I had got rid of them nearly ten years ago.

In amongst the figures were a large number of 20mm-scale Jacklex figures including 1904-era Russians, American Civil War figures in Kepis, rifle-armed Tribesmen, and Colonial gunners. There were also other 20mm-scale Colonial figures from Tumbling Dice Miniatures and an unidentified manufacturer (possibly B&B Miniatures?).

This discovery has placed me in somewhat of a quandary. I had planned to use Spencer Smith Miniatures for my imagi-world project, but the discovery of these 20mm-scale figures means that I already have a large number of highly suitable figures … and it would be a great shame not to use them.


Having a cracking time …

My wife and I decided to spend today sorting out some of the cupboards in my father-in-law’s bungalow in Herne Bay. After breakfast we set off by car to drive to north east Kent … but we had only driven as far as Gravesend when a stone hit the bottom on the windscreen on the driver’s side of the car and caused a crack.

The stone had been thrown up by a passing car, and normally these just chip the glass. Such damage in inconvenient but repairable. Unfortunately this was not a chip but a full-blown crack which started out about three inches long but which quickly grew. At that point we decided that the best course of action was to go home before the crack extended right across the windscreen.

On the way back we stopped off at the local Autoglass depot, who arranged for the damage to be repaired tomorrow morning. They could not do the repair today because they do not keep windscreens for Mazda Tributes in stock, but they were able to order one for first thing tomorrow morning. The repair should take about an hour to complete, but I will not be able to drive for another hour after that in order for the the fixative to harden. My insurance excess for windscreen damage is £100.00, and I will have to pay this when the repair has been completed. This sounds quite a lot to pay, but the actual cost of the repair would be considerably more if I was not covered by my car insurance.