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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.'

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The shape...

... of things to come.

Not, you'll be pleased to hear, yet another boring post about the whys and wherefores of H G Wells' fiction. Mind you...I don't think I've mentioned before that I used to shop in the same Windsor store that Wells was an apprentice window dresser in - shades of Mr Polly.

No, instead, the shapes of things to come here at the Hobbit bunker:

What ? Lumps of liquorice ? 

No, some of Frontline's finest resin in 20mm. Recommended. Actually, the black, undercoated lump above will join these two below:

Either on their way to, or from, the Egyptian frontier.

Perhaps in as hopeful a mood as this chap below:

One of the few historical experiences I really do wish I had enjoyed is visiting Alexandria, not in the Classical period, when the Macedonians founded the place (did they ? Or did they just re-name it?), but in the 1940s, when it was a place of beauty, where the clear waters lapped the beaches, and Egyptian women sunbathed (yes, and wore clothes that reflected a degree of public freedom), Greek merchants sold stuff, and the Jews were still there - along with Britain and its cohorts. If you want to break your heart for somewhere you never knew, read Penelope Lively's latest.  But, it's gone, like so much else, good and bad.  I really must give up the Aussie wine.

Thursday, 5 December 2013


... disaster.

Not entirely, but I suppose I shouldn't have expected too much from decals that were at least 20 years old. The Heller Nord Noratlas in 1/170 was a funny little construction project: too soft plastic, poor fit, massively over-scale rivets and panel lines. In the end it really became a sort of filler-come-plastic lumps model, but that got round the rivets and panel lines issues, and nearly dealt with the fit problems. But, then the decals...:

It was a case of disintegration time. The 'walk here' markings on the fuselage top were ok, but I struggled, not entirely successfully with the roundels... 

only to be totally defeated by the tail stripes, which just broke into a thousand pieces.

I could, of course, mask and paint them, but I am a 'kit basher' after all.

Overall, as a small project, 6/10; perhaps more, because it is such a fascinating aircraft, just shouts 'Cold War', or 'Bush War'.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013


... result.

The gridded game can certainly give a quick-fire result, in the right conditions, and with the 'right' dice. Thinking about this particular Morschauser-Cordery style conflict in retrospect, it seems to me that the necessary condition for both Reds and Whites - that they take the built up area around the rail station - determined a lot of what happened. Once both sides had entered the nine built up area squares, it made any attempt to use artillery just too dangerous - in terms of friendly fire. For example, without really thinking, I ended up with the White command stand (worth one activation die in its own right) in the built up area, and too close to Red stands to risk White artillery fire. I suppose that is a pretty accurate dilemma in such situations. The built up area also conferred an advantage on defending units (and the Reds got in first) versus attacking units when it came to close combat. I could, I suppose, have had the Whites stand off and bombard the place with shot and shell, but, given that the idea was take the railway, and its station in a usable condition, I decided that that wasn't an option. And, as it turned out, God and the Saints were with the Whites....:

On the Whites' left flank, there was heavy and continuous hand-to-hand around the railway line. In the case above, both units were taken from the board.

 In the town itself, unintended consequences came from not paying enough attention (how can that be, when it was just a solo game?), and the opposing command units found themselves in close combat - the long military experience of the Whites seeing the Red command off.

Meanwhile, events moved more slowly on the right flank (between the heavily forested area and the town). This was largely due to limitations imposed by the activation dice throws, with activation points being absorbed by the urban struggle. But, above, the White m/g stand throws a 4 and finishes off a Red infantry stand caught in the open.

The Reds were beginning to suffer from the loss of activation dice, and continued pressure on the White left flank saw more Red units perish.


the Reds suffered a general collapse, and only two Red units lived to flee the field, above.


The Whites took town and rail, and:

a satisfied Morschauser-Cordery gridded man sat by his stove, still with time to drink the red, red wine and read a good book - Anthony Powell's The Valley of Bones...

Tuesday, 3 December 2013


... and distracted.

A damp, grey day in dear old England, so I stoked up the stove in the Hobbit bunker, and got out the Morschauser-Cordery gridded wargame tin along with the squared bit of canvas:

But, while looking for more scenic items, I was distracted by these Heller boxes from the early 1990s:

This type of top opening box is so much more useful then the end opening, letter-box type thing that is only fit for the recycling pile. And what fine bits of artwork - click on the image and, in particular, admire the Ni-D 622 artwork, which is really splendid. You can see how I was distracted. But, then, of course, I began to open them:

The Heller boxes, and a raft of Cuban cigar boxes, contain 15mm armies. The Rebels above being some of my 15mm ACW. For many years, I could only afford 15mm, and I stuck to the ACW for similar reasons of economy. So, happily, I have around 1,500 15mm Yanks and Rebels; they were what my madly wargaming son (now wholly given over to the dark side of sci-fi, fantasy type rhubarb gaming) cut his teeth on. But other 15s lurk in the Hellers too:

More civil war types, but this time from something a little more mechanical.

But, finally, I put the 15s back in their cardboard barracks and returned to the gridded front:

Somewhere in Russia, sometime during the Russian Civil War. Rail lines, the key to mobility in that vast, swirling, horrible war. Two armies, Red and White, must seize and hold the rail line and the small station town.

Reds won the initiative, and quickly drove down the line:

Infiltrating the station and the town (some 9 squares of 'built-up' terrain, which confer a notable advantage to defending troops under the rules).

After a slow start, and some jockeying to gain position, the Whites tentatively enter the outskirts of the town, destroying a Red unit in close combat, and another with long range m/g fire.

But, there is still all to play for as the initial action centres on the fighting in town and station...