Friday, 27 December 2013


I'll never understand the market. I put a number of figures on ebay recently all of which have sold. Apart from this one:

To my mind he was far and away the best of those on offer. He didn't cost any more than the rest and was not the only winterised German. He's now on his third ebay rotation and steadfastly refuses to attract a bid or two.

I am genuinely curious as to why this might be the case. I guess I might be biased but why might he be such a wallflower?

Thursday, 26 December 2013


I'm doing a lot of commission work at the moment (thanks again to those who choose to use me) but I try to make time each day to do my own stuff. It means that I dont get bored with the commercial piece but also allows me to experiment with different techniques and eras. The French Napoleonics come into this category - the downside however is that units take ages to complete.

There was a time when I seemed to do nothing but Flames of War. I remember watching in absolute disbelief as a Platoon of Panzer Grenadiers on eBay went from £20 to £120 in a matter of seconds. The bubble has long burst (I think) but it meant that I had a few bits and pieces lying around. I quite liked the German Platoon in greatcoats and thought that they might make a nice change so I painted up a group of them. The first 15mm figures I've done in ages.

One base full looks a little lonely but I was surprised at how quickly they came together. It must be the simple colour shceme. No doubt camouflage would take a lot longer. Anyway I'll aim to do the full Platoon and will post them up when finished.

Monday, 23 December 2013


The firing line is now taking shape. Voltigeur company is now complete and first rifle company is on its way. Nearly halfway!

And here they are alongside their Carabinier cousins

Friday, 13 December 2013


I wish I could say that the Battalion is nearly finished. But it isn't. However these people are ready.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013


Some German infantry in seasonal wear. Figures from the fantastic Artizan range. The white coat is done as follows:

1. Vallejo light grey base coat with a GW sepia wash
2. Iraqi sand base
3. Ivory first highlight
4. Off white 2nd highlight

The helmets are the more straightforward light grey/sky grey/off white tirad

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Mont St Jean

I am sure most people will be aware of this site. However if you are not and are interested in the Waterloo campaign then do yourself a massive favour and bookmark it immediately. Its all you'll ever need for uniforms, personailities,orbats etc etc. Highly recommended.

Knight knight

Just a quick update as I've been away for a while. I did these 2 before I went away. They are meant to be senior figures for WOTR but I have no idea who they represent. Anyway fun to paint and currently on eBay.

Monday, 18 November 2013


It seems only fair that having moaned about the downside of Shows in a previous piece I should offer an after action report on my experience at Reading Warfare. It’s an eclectic mix – neither balanced nor unbiased – that no doubt says more about me than the show. But hey, its my blog
First I should say thank you to the organisers. I appreciate that pulling one of these things together takes a lot of commitment. I alluded  earlier to the accusation ‘If you think you can do better....’ well, I couldn’t nor would I want to. You have my admiration. It goes without saying that the good cause – Parkinson’s UK – has more than just admiration.

Second, the catering at the ‘bar’ was every bit as grim as I had anticipated.  My cup of Nescafe was not enhanced by the addition of two micro pots of long life chemical mix and the byzantine till arrangement (I wont go into detail) was not one of best practice. The staff in attendance were a testimony to modern youth.
For the first time in a long while I was able to access a bring and buy stall. I didn’t bring or buy anything as the prices seemed to be rather optimistic/unrealistic depending on your point of view. I thought it was meant to be a jumble sale and I would be reluctant to spend large sums of money on items here. Isn’t that what eBay is for?

Foresight junior said to me before we reached them ‘I like the demonstration games the best’. I’m not sure why some people do them.  There is a sliding scale of enthusiastic shouting to the all too prevalent morose silence. If the demo involves two introspective 50 somethings playing a game without talking then this is the show for you. It’s hardly inspiring. I went up to one table (and I’m not making this up) and asked which battle was being played. I got a one word answer and the demonstrator promptly walked off. Now there may have been many different reasons why he would do this – perhaps he was going to be sick after having had a cup of coffee – but if someone shows interest then surely thats the point of going to all the trouble of setting everything up. But it was not unique – lots of clubs do it. If someone comes and stands by your table then presumably they have a passing interest in talking to someone even if its just to say ‘nice figures’ or some such. I did laugh though.
The traders were as ever the most entertaining part. ‘Dont buy these now’ one told me. ‘There’s a 20% discount in December’. And I would have bought them there and then! The saga figures looked nice – its the LBM shields that sell them really. A masterpiece of rebranding by Gripping Beast, I bought a pack and found the same figures that I bought about 7 years ago. And why do the Vallejo displays never have Iraqi sand or Light Grey on them. You’d think traders would bring extra. And does anyone else think that Warlord are expensive?

We were there for an hour and a half and the afternoon cost me about £100 all in. We came away with products from Perry, Artizan, GB, Victrix, Rendra and Vallejo. Driving home through a grey and gridlocked Reading listening to England lose at rugby I vowed never again. But I said that last year and the year before that........

Saturday, 16 November 2013


Following on from the earlier post on the Carabinier I've been pottering around with a few more figures. I thought that I would aim for a firing line Battalion and in order to get some variety will mix in some metal figures. I have yet toget these so its a long term aspiration especially as I've been doing a lot of commission work recently so time is a factor. However once you get into the swing of Napoleonics they are not as daunting as they seem.

Anyway, here are the Carabinier Company for a French Light Infantry Battalion. I'll base them up when I can.


Friday, 15 November 2013


I'm curious. There was a significant spike of hits on the blog yesterday. The stats don't appear to indicate why this might have been although my previous blog entry seems to be the cause. If anyone can say why the sudden rush occured I would be interested to hear.

And in complete contrast to the above.......

I was standing in a queue this morning and the man behind said to his friend 'Have you seen the Times this morning? There's a photo montage on JFK. Some great shots'.

Well, it made me laugh.

Saturday, 9 November 2013


It's the rather dramatically entitled Warfare show in Reading next weekend. Foresight junior is keen to be there and as it is reasonably local we'll go. However I vow that every time I go to one of these things it will be the last. I should add that I'm not singling out this particular event rather my thoughts relate to all such shows or extravaganzas.

First its the cost. When all the peripherals such as travel, food, entry etc are taken into account then there goes the best part of £50 before a single figure is acquired. It's not the recession - I'm happy to do my bit - but when the alternative these days is to sit comfortably in front of the internet and examine new figures on screen at maximum magnification then it seems a poor exchange. And notwithstanding postal charges these days then delivery times are extremely good. Most of the stuff I order arrives within a couple of days.

Second is the catering. I do not go to a show for the culinary experience but frankly most catering outlets set the bar at a very low level. Do chefs hate wargamers? They must do as some of the rubbish I have eaten over the years betrays a psychological scarring that requires urgent assistance. I guarantee that next weekend I will be sold a cup of Nescafe instant that calls on me to add milk from a one litre container that is virtually empty and surrounded by a sea of brew-kit debris. It will not be cheap either. Let me be clear. I am happy to pay for a good product. I am not happy to pay for crap. I once attended a modelling show in Austria where the food stands were light, bright, cheerful, apppetising and alluring. And guess what? They were doing a roaring trade. Families were laughing and eating and looked as if they wanted to be there. Compare and contrast, as they say.

Third is the environment. I've been uncomfortable in many parts of the world but the morose and cheerless gloom of shows is an experience all of its own. Its not the crowdedness, the odour or the backpacks and what I really like about wargaming is the cottage industry rusticness of a business that resolutely refuses to reward enterprise. Let Foundry be a warning! No, its the fact that any show can turn even the most charming of surroundings into a mud strewn barn within an hour of the Q buster doors opening. Look at Newbury racecourse for an example. Or the Excel Centre in Docklands. Actually I'm just joking with Excel. A bit of mud adds interest to that environment.

Fourth, its the games. I will illustrate the point with an anecdote from last year. Junior was keen to play a game so we pitched up at a table ready for a quick bit of fun. Despite the obvious enthusiasm of the hosts we found ourselves lost in a convoluted scenario that in its quest for realism had long since lost sight of the fact that we were both confused and bored. And it seems so rude to just walk away. After we had extricated ourselves Junior looked at me and said 'I didn't understand a word they said'. I had to agree. Conversely can I just put in a good word for the Isandlwhana game we played a few years ago. Quick, fast, simple and over in 10 minutes. What more could you want?

So, am I being unfair? Possibly and I await the 'why dont you do something about it' feedback. But please dont start me on the bring and buy.

Saturday, 19 October 2013


I'm gradually accumulating a range of spare figures and parts from all the new plastic figures out there. Some useful, some less so but you never know. The Perry French line box has half a dozen skirmishers which it seems a shame not to make the most of. However the fact that there are only 2 basic torso/leg variants mean that making a full unit of these figures is a little challenging no matter how many ways you attach the head and arms.

Nevertheless I thought that I see what I could come up with. This first chap is a Light infantry Carabinier with one arm from each of Perry and the Victrix Guard Grens sets. I am sure there are issues over cuffs and such like but frankly I'm not that fussed. I'm working on some others and would be interested to hear if anyone has any links or ideas over conversions of the torso model I referred to above. I've got my GW greenstuff and liquid greenstuff stood by so all thoughts welcome.


Friday, 18 October 2013


My son has a box of Warlord German infantry which I hadn't really looked at until recently. I'd seen a number of critical comments on the 'cartoon' style of these figures so I thought I should check them out for myself. Et voila, a late war stormtrooper:

He's not finished yet. I still have the base to do and you can see that the varnish is still wet but hopefully you get the idea. He's a bit 'Normandy' in appearance but I could not tell you whether the assault rifle is an anachronism or not. If so, apologies to the purists.

Regardless of the paint finish, what a great figure. Assembly can be fiddly but that's what modelling is all about eh? After numerous slender, Perry waifs the chunky style was very welcome and the detail in every part of the figure was tremendous. As for cartoony, well, I know what people mean but frankly I would say this. Apart from the elite painter surely for most of us the three layer finish is designed to create a unit that bears reasonably close scrutiny whether in the display cabinet or on the tabletop. If you start to single out solitary figures then the cracks will start to appear. Three layers is in itself a cartoon style and if the figure provides a supporting template then so much the better.

So hats off to Warlord for creating a well defined and hefty figure. The rest of the box looks pretty good too but the thought of all that splinter camouflage leaves me a little nervous.

If I won the lottery then my figure of choice would be Elite miniatures. They can be pretty rough and ready in places but the final effect is fantastic. They look like they mean business.


Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Napoleonic Swiss

Finally finished! Painted to represent the 4th Regiment during their time with the Emperor. They'll be on eBay soon but if you would like to own them before then, then please drop me a PM. I should say that the Eagle is missing from the photos but is sitting on the painting desk waiting for the varnish to dry.



Monday, 14 October 2013


There are a couple of figures in the Perry Napoleonic French Battalion Command pack whose function I am not sure of. It's not a terribly good photo but hopefully it shows enough - essentially he's wearing a metal helmet with fore and aft plume and carries a halberd with a pennant.

Apart from looking terribly smart can anyone tell me what this chap does? Why are there 2 of them? What colour is his flag? In fact any links would be gratefully received.


Thursday, 10 October 2013


Something a bit different to the normal fare of model soldiers..........

In April 1983 I was coming to the end of a Falklands tour and found myself in Port Stanley with a few days spare. So I decided to take a walk out to Moody Brook and to the battlefields beyond and have a look at the ground that the Task Force fought their way through. I took several photos and thought that viewers might like to see some images of the terrain before the Engineer clearance teams tidied everything up.

This was the time when the main road from Stanley to the countryside (or camp as locals called it) was little more than a mud track. I guess that today with the link to Mount Pleasant airfield its a lot easier to negotiate. Minefields were prevalent on both sides so I picked my way along to the western base of Mount Longdon. Immediately striking was the sheer difficulty of the rocky slope that 3 Para fought their way up. I have photos of the positions somewhere but haven't been able to find these so I'll keep looking.

Anyway first photo is of an Argentine recoilless rifle positioned to the eastern side of Longdon. Its arc of fire is facing south and you can see to the left the start of the slope to Tumbledown.

I'm not sure what the feature to the right is. Harriet, Two Sister's or Goat Ridge? You tell me! The gun is positioned to cover the Stanley Road which you can see as a vague line running left to right across the centre of the picture. I estimated the range as 800-1000 metres but it was certainly dominating the ground and the minefields either side. I cannot say how this weapon was used during the battle but there seemed little evidence that it had traversed right (facing west) where the main attack came from.

Moving further along Longdon turns into Wireless Ridge where I found this German made 20mm AA gun. I understand these were used in a ground role - certainly there were a lot of empty cases dotted around. The crew quarters can be seen just above the shield but I guess that grateful British troops were quick to use them once the clearance had been completed. Thats Longdon in the background and you can see how open the ground is to anybody firing at troops advancing off it.

I should say that Longdon was covered in piles of gathered British equipment like cairns dotted along the axis of advance. This was being cleared by the EOD teams. I left the kit alone not only out of prudence but it seemed morally dubious to help yourself - during the battle, yes, several months after, a definite no. I did however find an empty Argentine utility bag just flapping in the wind so I thought, why not?

Coming off Wireless Ridge you arrive at the old barracks at Moody Brook where some kit was being assembled.

There were 12 of these armoured cars and some were subsequently shipped back to the UK as war trophies - I think the HCR have one in their Windsor barracks. Those that weren't found their way as hard targets to the ranges (Observation Rock?) on west Falkland.

So there we are. Hope this may have been of interest. Please feel free to use the photos but credit would be nice!


Saturday, 28 September 2013


Ebay never ceases to amaze. And for once I'm not talking about their commission policy.

I came across something called a static grass applicator which you can buy for £13.95. Essentially its a kitchen sieve which you fill with flock and then put a charge through in order to get the fake grass to stand up when you shake it over the appropriate piece of terrain. I haven't added the link but its in scenery and props if you want to take a look and dare I say it, feel your jaw drop.

Now I know that we modellers can be something of an obsessive lot but this takes a whole packet of biscuits. Good luck to the people trying to sell it but can there be an item more marginal? The best bit for me was that because electricity is involved there is a risk of electric shock. The advert perhaps unsurprisingly does not identify the level of risk to which the user is exposed but if you are willing to take a chance in order to achieve upright grass then you are a braver man than I

Or am I missing something? Is there a market for this sort of device which I have hitherto never seen? I doubt it but please tell me if I am. I love the home made feel of this sort of thing (think Youtube and foam cutters) but the sight of a common sieve bolted to an electrode was an innovation too far. I'm out.

Sunday, 15 September 2013


I was browsing the Vallejo catalogue last night because I need a resupply. It suddenly struck me how many flesh variants there are. Until recently I used GW's triad which gave a nice, pinkish finish but recently switched to the Panzer Aces set of shadows flesh, flesh base and flesh highlight. It's OK I suppose but in retrospect I only bought it because it's something different.

I've tried the VMC combination of cavalry red, beige red and basic flesh which is alos pretty good but what about all the rest of the colours on display? Light flesh, dark flesh, sunny skintone, medium flesh, flat flesh, basic skintone and there's even a flesh set of half a dozen colours. But apart from the latter set none of these colours seem to hang together. For a start most of them seem too yellow but for example, does anyone use the dark flesh as a base? I would be interested to hear if readers have any suggestions on how these might fit together as triads.

It may be a Vallejo thing. I still don't see how their dark red can be lighter than a red.

Thursday, 12 September 2013


Just a quick query here. I keep getting multiple hits from a site called r-e-f-e-r-e-r. Its a tedious web advert and there are a number of others but none quite as prolific. Does anyone have a way of blocking these?

Wednesday, 11 September 2013


My heart normally sinks when I paint drummers - so many additional bits and pieces and all that lace. So when it comes to French drummers for 1815 then it gets worse. But way beyond this is the Swiss drummer I have just done.

Not only do you have the green, yellow and red on the coat but the facing colour is a rather fetching sky blue. I could also have got some orange of purple in there if I had chosen to put him in a different company. Its a slightly blurry photo but I hope to have him properly based shortly.

Presumably this poor chap was something of a bullet magnet when marching into action so he can have a stand of his own as all his pals edge further away. Is there another uniform with so many different colours?

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Don Featherstone

I saw the news that Don had passed away at the good old age of 95. Off to the green fields beyond.

I've written elsewhere about my links to him so all I will add here is this. I know that he was very proud of his wartime service with the RTR - his battle dress and beret hung on the back of his study door. I don't know what he experienced but service with a teeth arms unit in North Africa and Italy must surely have had its grim moments. So when he commanded a troop of tanks in a WW2 wargame at the late, great Wessex Wargames Club there must have been some mixed feelings. As his armour approached a small village he declared that even though he could see no little plastic Germans he was going to thoroughly machine gun the place. As a simple teenager the concept of surpressive fire was something I had never even considered. It was a salutory lesson and I thought to myself that here was a small glimpse into the reality of how people, rather than models, actually fight.

So, thanks for all your kindness and wisdom Don.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Wet Palette

Can I add my voice to the growing band of wet palette supporters? What an innovation. Low tech but brilliant. Paint does stay workable for ages and it cuts out masses of time repeatedly shaking, opening and closing paintpots. I reckon on a first experience today that it has saved me about 20% of my normal painting time. If it saves a little paint then thats an added bonus. If you dont have one then do it. Seriously. Without going excessively overboard it is the most useful tool or accessory I have ever seen in miniature painting. I dont know who came up with the idea but he or she should be immediately elevated to the pantheon of modelling greats.


Wednesday, 28 August 2013

New recruit

A Swiss soldier without a hat. Standing by for a beasting from the Company Sergeant Major.

I'm just about to put in an order for some new paints and various bits and pieces. Has anyone tried the new Vallejo range of primers? Well, I assume they are new. The fact that I haven't seen them before is no guarantee of up to dateness. Normally I use Humbrol but like most modellers I'm always willing to embrace change. Or not.

I'm also looking for some new work-a-day brushes. I've been using the Army Painter ones but the most recent batch I bought were all stinkers - not one of them holds a point and I hate using W&N series 7 for other than the most serious tasks. Again, any recommendations?

Monday, 26 August 2013


Just a quick note to say thanks to all those who have made kind comments on the Swiss. Its appreciated. I am also up for some hard edged criticism and suggestions for improvement so please dont be shy in saying where these or any other figures could be better presented.

Having said all that I've had a number of enquiries regarding whether the Swiss will be for sale. Yes they will be but I cannot say when that will be. If you would like to reserve them then drop me a line at - the incentive will make sure they get done sooner.

Sunday, 25 August 2013


Every year or so there is a long gap in my blog entries whilst real life catches up. It's not that I haven't been painting but nearly everything has been commission work. I am grateful to all of you who have expressed an interest in my painting and I try to ensure that clients get value for money. The downside for the blog is lack of time and nothing to show in my gallery - I've got lots of photos but it seems a bit cheeky asking customers for permission to publish. Anyway, do give me a call if you are interested.

In between times I am trying to build a Swiss Napoleonic Battalion. I guess that sooner or later everyone gets the urge to do this simply as a break from French blue. The project is moving at a glacial pace but below you can see where I am currently at:

More photos as and when I can.

One of the main challenges I've been facing is the old chestnut of matt varnish. It's not getting the matt effect that's the problem - I use W&N which works very well - it's more an issue of coverage. Each figure gets two coats but there is always a patch of gloss varnish left shining through. These get touched up and I assume that the job is done. I go back 2-3 hours later and there is yet another bit of gloss. This gets treated and the process is then repeated and repeated.... If you have any good ideas please let me know.

I also wanted to highlight how good customer service is from the dealers I have been receiving. No doubt there are horror stories out there but I am always impressed with how quickly and reliably the goods come through. On the occasions where things have gone wrong mistakes have been corrected swiftly and without demur. Take a bow Claymore Castings, Antenociti and Nannyogg (ebay trader).

Finally a quick word on morality in wargames. I appreciate it is a very subjective issue but I shuddered at a recent set of pictures of some 'rednecks' figures which appeared to have links to the film Deliverence. I cannot concieve of why anyone would want a game with a rapist gang making an appearance but to each their own. It's not for me.


Saturday, 29 June 2013


Every now and then you have a little piece of luck. My moment came recently when Iain at Flags of War sent me an e mail saying that I had won the above vignette in his May draw. To be honest I had not really been aware that I was entered in a competition but apparently my order for those Marlburian flags had made me eligible and so I was on the path to good fortune.

Painted by David Imrie, it consists of 14 Claymore Castings figures representing the death of Douglas. It shames me to say that I have no idea who Douglas was and why he met his fate at the hands of 9 poleaxe wielding men at arms. Nevertheless there he is right at the centre of the model breathing his last - he is actually quite hard to see but right in the centre of the lower picture you can see two silver legs, that's him. I think.

Apart from being a very nice piece it is a chance to study in some detail the work of a top notch painter. Colour combinations, style, points of detail - they are all in there. The finish is fantastic with none of the minor flaws I see in my own work. I should also say that the Flags of War standard and banner look superb. If you would like to see any more photos of any part of this then let me know.

So, many thanks to Iain and David for giving me the chance to win such a great diorama. And the opportunity to get so many good ideas from a piece that measures little more than 80mm x 120mm.