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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.'

Thursday, 12 February 2015


... in the sphere of toys...

It has been suggested that my recent battles with short-run plastic aircraft kits have led to some degree of emasculation on the kit-bashing front. God forbid that I should betray the men who have gone before me. So, as suggested by the kind correspondent, I peered into the depths of my stash, and withdrew a clanky, heavy metal type of thingy:

Ah, that maid of all work, the Pz III!  And in its Matchbox incarnation. Oh, what joy it was that day to be alive when Matchbox unleashed the Pz III on the wargame and model world back in the mid-1970s. This box from my stash isn't quite that old, but the faded price label (£2.99) tells me that I bought it about 20 years ago, from 'Wonderland' in Lothian Road, Edinburgh, to be precise. 

Having dug out the kit, I'm wondering about what finish I should opt for. The good thing is that one can go panzer grey or dunkelgelb. I fancy something a bit out of the usual, and not Western Desert (as per the box lid), as very few 'long 50mm' saw action there. Out with my favourite all in one place Eastern Front reference:

As older readers of the blog might remember, I have Romanian forces, but ... according to Zaloga and Grandsen, no Pz IIIs for Romania. Nor for the Bulgars, nor the Slovaks (well, Pz IIIN, but not L). It looks like Hungary, but overall dunkelgelb with no obvious markings. Neither do I have Hungarians in 20mm. Blast!

Last week I spent a few days in the glorious North Yorkshire market town of Thirsk, a noble, pleasing, English town, full of pubs (as befits a market town), fine buildings, and the best coaching inn - 'The Golden Fleece' - I know.  Thirsk is full of small wonders, including this mile 'stone':

London, far away, as it is from the lives of most of the English. And look at the happy farmer, in town for the market, with his mug of ale. Aaaaah! I drank 'Black Sheep' in the Golden Fleece, before a log fire. Happy man.


  1. Time to start some Hungarians in 20mm I think...

    1. No, no, nooooo!! Get thee behind me plastic tempter!

  2. HE's back ! I must say the Pz III is one of my favourite Matchbox kits. I remember building mine all those years ago and marvelling at the beautiful fit compared with the previously ubiquitous Airfix. Are your 20 year old vinyl tracks still nice and bendy? IIRC the Pz III wasn't among those Matchbox runs that suffered from the dreaded in-box track melt...

    Cheers, Dave

    1. Hi, Dave. Yes, they bend, they bend! They're as soft as a baby's bottom. I'm never sure how much effect storage conditions have on old kits. I've used 30 year old decals, for example, that I've kept in cigarette packets all that time, and they've worked fine. As you can see from my post tonight, I've nearly cleared the work (dining. 'Dining' ?) table of the Wellesley and am looking forward to a good, solid, old time kit bash.

  3. I'm not sure who impugned your masculinity, sir, but they should get a damned good thrashing. I once had my masculinity questioned by an RSM when he found me with a Starbucks Chai Tea Latte.
    Thirsk sounds like a very pleasant place to visit.

    1. I thank you for your support, sir! But I must question your choice of beverage.
      Thirsk is a fine place, the past seems just around the corner, and one wonders where one has left one's tricorne hat.