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'A gaping silken dragon,/Puffed by the wind, suffices us for God./We, not the City, are the Empire's soul:/A rotten tree lives only in its rind.'

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Triscele, Trinity, tripos...

.... three, so they say, is a magic number. It occured to me this evening that I've had a New Zealand three recently. A fortnight ago a young New Zealander doing a not untypical antipodean tour of the world - in her case a six month trip - came to stay with us. The connection was via my wife, who is a Scot, and an Islander to boot (Lewis and Skye), and ergo, related to a good slice of New Zealand, Canada, and a chunk of the USA. So that was number 1. Last week was my birthday, and I received Philip Haythornthwaite's The Colonial Wars Source Book. The book was my wargaming son's idea, so you will realise that he is merely attempting to get me to build yet more obscure armies for him to inherit ! When I settled down to read the book, I decided to dip into it at random, and opened it at p.287, 'The first New Zealand War'. That was number 2. The final leg of my tripod is a blog that I have only recently begun to follow - Plastic Warriors. And the blog comes from, yes, NZ.

Plastic Warrior is a stunningly prolific wargame modeller, and one of his specialities is the 'refirb'. He takes old, battered, abandoned, cheap, second hand vehicles and 'refirbs' them to wargame standard. It is fascinating to watch (he posts almost daily - 24 hours ahead of UK types), and it struck me that I have plenty of kits that I made in the 1970s that could withstand refirb. The first three (of course) are:

Three Airfix Grants that I made in 1973 or 1974, certainly no later than 1975. At that time my resources were very limited and what funds I did have went into John Sanders' inspired projects - this one being a troop of Grants for the Gazala battles, I think. Sanders' Airfix Magazine articles on the Eighth Army in the Desert were marvellous, especially as I had no access to plasticard or anything sophisticated like banana oil, but I did have a big lump of balsa wood and card. I was saddened to read, just a year or two ago, on Vintage Wargaming, that Sanders died as a relatively young man, not long after his Airfix Magazine work.

On another note, the box that contained the three old Grants also contained a single flat that I painted in 1985:

Mmmm, poor stuff, but I thought it good at the time. Must do better with my 1812 Canadians.

A final three for tonight: I managed to get nearly an hour in on the allotment - no: 1. I have blogged - no: 2. I will now paint some Fuzzy Wuzzies - no: 3. Or, perhaps I'll have a pipe in the garden, and look at the stars.


  1. Perhaps you could turn your work into "Refirb" a tv make-over show where you tour the country refirbing old Airfix kits for wargamers of a certain age...
    I will be most interested to see the makeover happen. I gave away all my old Airfix stuff due to space issues a loong time ago. my father had collected loads in the sixties which were found by me in the attic after his death. My mother had not encouraged him in his hobby pursuits to say the least! I on the other hand am blessed with a supportive and patient wife regarding wargaming who encourages me and shows forebearance when stuff goes everywhere...although I realise then it is time to get my act a little together!

  2. Like the TV refirb idea, except that I don't like TV! What a sad tale about your father. There are a number of things that seem to me to be intrinsically 'good' - looking after children, growing stuff, repairing things and having hobbies. There is something especially sad about looking into the past of one's parents and recognising the bits that could have easily been better. Bugger the human condition!

  3. Such kind words I fear are wasted on me Steven!

    I do however like the idea of a Airfix Refirb/Refurb TV series and I am quite willing to volunteer to co-host with Claire Sweeney.

    You run a lovely looking blog with lots of interesting articles and stories, well done.

    I will add you to the blog roll and count you in for the Hawker Weather Event Build...Looking at your Hurricanes I am starting to get nervous now!

    Model on.

    Regards Paul

    1. Not at all! Your blog is a first port of call. I'm very much in favour of things looking right to the wargaming eye, and your refurbs manage that well. Looking forward to Hawker Weather Event - when's kick off?

    2. Re my 'when's the kick off?' question. Er...I suppose I could read the instructions properly - I'll be ready on the 1st May!