Sunday 7 April 2024

Alternative History Magazine

Out shopping with MrsJ earlier today (someone has to push the trolley or pop back for items she's missed in an aisle we've passed) I came across this one off title in the magazine shelves. Full of alternative history scenarios, some more outlandish than others.

Three pages of index listing the articles, one of which I show here.

Each article starts with a brief synopsis, and then takes the form of a question and answer session with an appropriate author.

Some subjects are more interesting than others. Most are of the usual things ,Napoleon winning Waterloo, JFK not assasinated, Hitler winning Battle of Britain; while others are less thought of, Vikings colonising America, Aztecs beating Spanish, Queen Victoria being assasinated (there were several failed attempts) and so on.

An interesting read that could give rise to some different ideas for games. 


Wednesday 20 March 2024

Presenting The Colours

 Well, I've finally completed my little vignette begun back in January. Unfortunately, just after starting it both MrsJ and myself caught some sort of virus which laid us both out for a number of weeks. After three courses of antibiotics and a couple of weeks on steroids we are nearly back to normal but still a bit under the weather. I find that extended excercise tires me out easily so don't get much done.

The figures were mastered some years ago by Kieth Over of Whittlesey miniatures (anyone remember his Waterloo range?) but I've only just dug them out of the pile. I feel that my painting has definitely deteriorated, probably because of weaker eyes and more wobbly fingers, but I'm reasonably satisfied with the result. Apart from the Union Flag, which definitely needs a retouch, though it's not going to get it.

Next on the table, a couple of units of the Eureka 'Toy Town Soldiers' range, just to get back in practice and continue another project that got sidelined.

Monday 15 January 2024

Seen on e-bay, business proposition.

Every now and then, about once a month, I have a trawl through e-bay to see if I can find anything of interest towards my various interests. While rooting through todays offerings I came across item number 225956576570 - described as follows;- Large lot Traditional Toy Soldier metal castings moulds business, 60 plus moulds plus 100s (742 in total) of castings, price £12,000. 

I did a quick search for the name in the advert, but though it seems familiar I could not track him down. I can only assume that this is an estate sale from someone who had a large range at one time. I hope it finds a buyer soon, as knowing the cost of moulds and metal the price seems reasonable.  If I were younger I could have been tempted.

Saturday 13 January 2024

Presenting the colours - begun

This is what I use as a painting table when working in the lounge. It's a replica campaign desk from a now defunct furniture company called Mulityork. Looks like a normal table when closed

but when the top is lifted it has a couple of work surfaces. It sits in the corner of the room with a light behind it, and back to the telly. I work on the front surface with paints, brushes etc. on the top. It only gets folded away when we have visitors. Grandchildren have been trained not to touch anything, though they do like to look at what I'm doing.

First up this year is a little 5 figure set from my hoard. This is based on a photo from one of the books on my shelves, showing Queen Mary presenting colours to the West Surrey Regiment. The master figures were made for me by the late (?) Kieth Over of Whittlesey Miniatures some 20 odd years ago. For various reasons I never got round to introducing the set into my range, so there are not many
 around. I see that I only have one standard (Langley) so I'll have to invest in a second before I finish.



Sunday 7 January 2024

All Change for 2024 - perhaps

 Since MrsJ and I moved to our little bungalow a couple of years ago I have been very lethargic on my hobby front. Most of my toy and wargaming stuff is still in the boxes they moved in, nothing at all has happened with my plans for small warships (50ft = 1in) of which I have a large selection of plans filed away, and the main, shed based, model railway has ground to a halt after initial enthusiasm.

The reason for the last is easy to spot. We now 'babysit' our 3 year old grandson one day a week, and he likes to spend the afternoon in the shed playing trains. He's not allowed access to locos yet, but faffs around with wagons and coaches, having come to terms with how points work, but this isn't restricted to the rails. So I plan to put a hiatus on construction until he starts full time school at the end of next year. 

I'm also going to dispose of some of the larger machine tools I used in my woodworking adventures, thus letting up space in the garage for easier activities.  I have plenty of thinner timber to use as hulls and superstructures, so the ships should be no problem. I've still got a couple of vessels started way back when, that don't seem to have progressed far beyond the hulls.

The other change will be that I have no storage space for a lot of the metal mountain tucked away in a spare wardrobe. To this effect I intend to dispose of my 18th century castings, an assortment of Minden figures, Fife and Drum, Eureka and other makers. I'll be putting these on e-bay over the next few months, so keep an eye out.

This leaves me to concentrate on the 54mm figures I have. Some date way back some 20 years, and It's time they were painted. Among them is a ful Langley Horse Artillery team, horses. limber, gun and gunners. Definitely time this was brought out and put together. I'm thinking that it should be mounted on a display plinth as a decoration once it is finished. But first, I think, practice on something a little smaller! I may have to invest in one of these magnifying spectacle type gadgets, we'll see.

I've joined a number of Facebook groups on Toy Soldiers, to see is this helps, but am finding that thw FB runners do seem to send me an awful lot of unsolicited rubbish they "think you might like". So my membership may be shorter than I expected.

Rant over for today. I promise to try do better with my blog entries over the next twelve months, keeping you abreast with progress, or lack of it. Thank you to all of you out there who do post regularly, letting me in on your activities. It does help and can be very insiprational.

Now, let's get this painting table back into the corner of the lounge.


Saturday 23 December 2023

Head wanted

 This last year I've had a very sparse hobby productivity, for various assorted reasons but we needn't go into those here. So bad has it been that I've had to make a resolution that next year I really must get on with things, and we know how new year resolutions turn out, don't we? 

Anyway, one of the projects I seem to have neglected is the production of figures in  54mm using readily avaliable figures, representing the various volunteer units of the Victorian and Edwardian era, which I seem to have neglected of late. I had a root round the shed and found a stash of castings from various makers, as well as Prince August moulds and lots of old Swoppet spare arms, heads and so on, so I have a start. Now to browse my reference books and get the old head working again.

What I do need, and don't seem to have, is a certain Britain's ACW head. If I recall it was only available in the gun team set, and is of a rider in a kepi with a full beard. The only one I remember. I've been looking online to see if I can get one, without success, so if anyone has one that they can loan to me then I can make a mould to cast my own as often as I like and produce figures of some of those well bewiskered gents seen in old photos. 

I'd be very grateful if one turns up.

In the meantime, Compliments of the season to you all, and may 2024 bring you all you desire. 

Friday 8 September 2023

Enormous model fleet for disposal.

 Philip Warren, who has spent 75 years building scale models of every ship in the Royal Navy since WW2, has decided to stop presenting his collection for display, usually in Nothe Fort, Weymouth, as it is getting too much for him to do the transporting, setting up and clearing out. He is looking for an institution to take on the collection, but I wonder where it could go, who would take on the job of care and maintenance, and would they be on view? 

I remember seeing his display some years ago, and it was remarkable. Although in only a small room I was there for a good couple of hours just enjoying the handywork and dedication, considering the models are all hand made (no frets) from matches or wooden matchboxes. I picked up a copy of his little booklet and still enjoy browsing the pictures.

Here's hoping there is a good outcome to the situation.