Monday, 11 February 2019

Hinton Hunt and others

While rooting about in the storage boxes to check what I had in the 54mm lead pile (which is larger than I thought) I came across some momentos of how I got into the military model side of things. Along with assorted notes on uniforms, postcards and booklets I found a Hinton Hunt catalogue dated 1969 and a couple of figures that I must have painted about that time.

These show that I must have had some sort of Imagi-Nation ideas even then, as the lancer (originally Prince Poniatowski) is labelled as the Nanneghat (Nannygoat) Lancers , a non-existent Indian regiment, while the highlander is one of 'McCordle's 9th' (?). Evidently I couldn't be bothered to paint a tartan then.

These two figures came from a toy shop in Loughborough market place when I was working there as assistant manager at W.H.Smiths. They had a showcase full of unpainted models, which I see from the catalogue would have been 13/9d. Rather a hefty sum when my weekly wage was about £12. No wonder I only have two.

Most of my collection of catalogues seem to have disappeared, probably in one of our recent house moves as MrsJ insists we need to downsize, and most of the makers are no longer in the market, though some, like Replica, Glebe, and others have been absorbed by others I regret losing people like Whittlesy Miniatures, G.B.& E, and others, while there don't appear to be many newcomers to the fold.

I discovered recently that Patrick Willis, owner of Sarum Soldiers, is no longer with us, and that the range (along with the Marlborough figures that he took on) is in limbo at the moment.. Oh I wish I could go back 30 years with todays bank account, to stock up with items I can't get any more. I had a quick browse around e-bay and found very little on offer.

Where are the collections of Blenheim, Nostalgia, etc, that were among some of the first in the 'New Toy Soldier' market? Are they hoarded away, dumped on decease of owners, or passed on as playthings to grandchildren? I notice that the BMSS, in their occasional auctions, don't seem to offer much in this line, concentrating more on old Britain's and such.

On another subject entirely, I notice that lately none of my comments on other blogs seem to get through to publication. I haven't stopped reading them, just can't praise you. Apologies.

Monday, 28 January 2019

Procrastination, and overcoming it.

I have a number of projects in the pipeline, with a list of models to make (military, naval and railway) as long as my arm, which don't appear to be progressing. I happened to catch an item on BBC Breakfast the other morning about research done recently into  why people procrastinate like this, and it was mentioned that some feel that unless they feel they can do a 'proper job' on something they can't start. This rang bells, as I often put off something because I don't think I can do it to my best efforts. So the job doesn't get started, or fall by the wayside half finished.

Recent scares on the heart scene have made me think of the time I have left to do these things, and that I shouldn't be sitting around trying to find motives to get on with them. Hence, over the last few days I've been in the shed digging out my military lead mountain and looking at it. I find I have quite a few things that have been sitting in boxes for years (literally) some for twenty or thirty!

A lot of them are 54mm figures, including a Langley artillery team, a Replica screw gun team and assorted cavalry figures. It's my intention to get on with these this summer and I have re-opened my painting table in the lounge with a set of Artists Rifles, an old Steadfast set that I obtained as castings and have had waiting since. More news of these later.


In the meantime, here are a couple of pictures of the most recent unit I painted, which I see by the date on the bottom was 2016. They are from Brigadier of Australia, and though they no longer operate I was able to get the figures cast as a favour by the old owner. They are painted as the West Yorks Rifle Volunteers ,1862, to fit in with my Tetrarchy armies.
I hope to be more forthcoming in the future, feel free to remind me of that promise if I seem to be slipping.

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Boston Bomb Fall - new book

I don't post for ages, then three come along at once, almost like London busses. But I just thought I'd let you know about this new book, published on the 16th and launched at the WW2  Home Front Museum in Boston, Lincolnshire.

This book is quite locally specialised, covering, as it does, the various air raids on the town and area through two world wars. Boston was, at the time, a medium sized market town and small port on the east coast. Its only claim to fame being the large parish church of St.Botolph, known as "The Stump" and a connection to the original Pilgrim Fathers. The book came about through the author hearing that a schoolteacher had told a pupil that Boston had not been bombed in the war.

Using newspaper reports..... "a small East Coast town last week..." etc., with county and national archives, the author has produced a detailed account and analysis of the sixty or so raids, along with the types of assorted bombs that fell. He also covers the casualties and damage to the town. (I always wondered why there was a single bungalow in the middle of a terrace of houses in the next street to us). The town actually got of very lightly. Out of a population of about 30,000 there were 21 civilians killed in the area.

Probably not a title of general interest, it gives an overall picture of time and place, worth a read if you are interested in the air war or civil defense.

There's also a picture of my mum in her AFS (Auxilliary Fire Service) get up, so it's personal.

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

A Range Re-appears


Way back in May of this year I mentioned the passing of one Pat Campbell, one time supplier of solid recast Britains (and others) 54mm toy soldiers. It came to my attention yesterday, via the Funny Little Wars Yahoo forum, that the range has been taken on and reintroduced under the name of Replica Model Soldiers.
There is a website which is relatively new and (I found) a little awkward to travel round, with many photos still to appear. Andrew, the new proprietor, intends to get the whole range on the go, along with a spares section. Both unpainted castings and painted sets will be available.
 Worth investigation by those of us who have units for 54mm gaming, and to encourage the new owner to persevere. Up top the picture is a page of the pdf catalogue that can be uplifted from the website.

Monday, 17 December 2018

Compliments of the Season

I seem to have become very lax in my postings of late. I put it down to having been volunteered by various of my children to baby sit assorted granddaughters throughout the week. It appears that I only have the weekends completely free of constraints, though MrsJ takes full advantage of my availability during that period for various domestic duties. Don't get me wrong, I love having the girls, but too much of a good thing wears me out. They are at the age where they need constant supervision, so nothing else gets done. Next year will see a renegotiation of terms!

I'm taking the opportunity to wish you all a very merry Christmas, with lots of goodies to keep you going over the next twelve months, and a happy and prosperous New Year.

I have already received my obligatory present of slippers and hankies, no doubt the socks and ties will arrive in time. This in spite of my presenting anyone who asked what I wanted for Christmas with a detailed list of hobby related items. Right down to code numbers or ISBNs where appropriate.

I'm currently working on my resolutions for 2019, which will include making time to get back to my painting table. I also have a couple of model railways started, for which I hope to start a separate blog, and there are a number of model ships on the to do list. All I need is the time!

Anyway, I look forward to reading how you are all doing over the next year, please keep the stories coming. I do keep up, even if I can't seem to get all my comments published I am taking notice.


Friday, 21 September 2018

For The Shipbuilders

A number of bloggers I follow have recently been writing about naval wargame rules and the building of ships to take part. Naval history and the making of model boats is another of my interests, and I'd like to share a couple of sources with you.

Just arrived in the post yesterday is a copy of the new Osprey in their naval titles. This one is New Vanguard number 262 entitled "British Ironclads 1860 -75, HMS Warrior and the Royal Navy's 'Black Battlefleet'".
As the title explains, the booklet covers the development of the Royal Navy's battlefleet from the building of the 'Warrior' to the first mastless turret ship the 'Devastation'. It covers design and development, tactics, armour, ordnance and life on board.

Each class has a brief description with a small table of important essential information, such as size, speed, armament etc. ; and many have a small coloured profile illustration. I've given examples of both in the following pictures.

For those interested in this period on warship developemet it is a handy little reference.
The second source is one I've only just discovered, having been pointed to it by a friend while I was digging out details of HMS Glatton. It is probably unknown to a lot of people and likely to remain a mystery to most, unless you have a good reading knowledge of Polish, as it is a model boat magazine in that language.
It is called MODELARSWO OKRETOWE and comes out at intervals. The issue I obtained direct ( was issue 69, with 45 pages of text and drawings. As I was only after the Glatton drawings the language barrier is no problem, though I could probably find someone to do a translation for bits I needed.
This particular issue covered, among other things, five pages of close print with illustrations, of new release kits, both plastic and card; a to page colour spread on the great Jim Bauman's 1:700 HMS Magnificent of 1899, a fold out plan of a patrol vessel 'Tur' at 1:100, a drawing of the Danish coast defence monitor of 1909-39 'Peder Skram', six pages mainly of drawings, of the British 4.7 QF mkIX mounting, two pages of drawings for HMS Glatton at 1:400, and a seven page monograph on the Deutchland class of WW11, including details of many books on the subject and a catalogue of kits issued over the years.
one page of the Glatton drawings


one page of the Deutschland article. Nice to see the old Eaglewall kits in the listing.

Evidently many back issues are still available, so I may look into what else may be useful. The web site shows them with an index of contents.

I hope this has been of some interest to some of you. I will get round to normal posts eventually.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

War of the Worlds update

Following my last piece about the new War of the Worlds sequel, I have found out, through the Radio Times TV listing magazine, that the BBC is making a new version of the original H.G.Wells book for showing 'later this year'.

According to the article this version will be firmly set in and around Edwardian London, will be a three part drama, and faithful to the tone and spirit of the book while also feeling contemporary, surprising and full of shocks. A collision of Sci-fi, period drama and horror.
Eleanor Thomlinson (Poldark's Demelza and Rafe Spall play the leads while Rupert Graves and Robert Carlyle have major parts.

I look forward to the CGI tripods and HMS Thundercloud.