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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.'

Sunday, 19 January 2014


... allsorted!

At last, after a bit of paint here and there, now and then, I've managed to finish the various lumps of liquorice I had on the painting table, courtesy of Minimi Miniatures and Frontline Wargaming (both sound chaps!). The lumps are now ready for the canvas and cord covered tabletop Western Desert, circa February 1941..

Still, at that time, queen of the battlefield, and the only British tank to see service from the beginning to the end of the war (the latter thanks to the Australians).

On the other hand...

it took very brave men to go into action in 1941 in one of these.


the universal carriers are actually PSC models that I realised I hadn't finished off after making a New Zealand carrier ambulance from the Italian campaign. The Indian Pattern Carrier, however, is a liquorice lump from Minimi, and very nice too. I am a tad concerned that it might not have been chugging around the Western Desert in February 1941, as the classic Making Tracks, the British Carrier Story, is, unusually, a bit unclear; it notes that these carriers were CAPLADs (go on, work that acronym out!), but it may be that this MkII (I think) came a bit later.

And, more Minimi:

What a terrific Chevvy - the super headlights just say 'American style'.

Finally, a M13/40, and two TL artillery tractors - but just where can I get Italian crew for them??

Yesterday, I visited one of my top two second hand bookshops (well, of those that still live - there used to be such marvellous ones in Museum Street in London. Now gone, almost all gone. I grow old, and, indeed, wear my trousers rolled). In the tip-top shop I visited - 'Ross Old Books' in Ross-on-Wye - I was pleased to see that the stock continues to be updated, and that the military sections had much that was new since my last visit. So, among other books, I came away with:

 In between re-reading Beda Fomm; the classic victory by Kenneth Macksey MC, I shall turn my attention to this beauty, which is being touted widely by aircraft modellers as Airfix's finest 1/72 model to date:


Friday, 10 January 2014

Remember this ?

'And just remember this/A kiss is just a kiss/As time goes by...' plink, plonk, plinkity, plonk, 'Play it, Sam'. Atmospheric US film (movie), designed to help push the USA into the war, partly by avoiding the contested issue of 'the British', but also by using the romantic stanbys of women's hats and Bogart peering through cigarette smoke. HOWEVER, that is not what I meant to talk about.  Instead, does anyone remember this small book:

This evening, while looking for something completely different, I came across this book by David Nash, published by Hamlyn in 1974. I certainly did not buy it then (although I do remember buying a book on astronomy in the same series), and I can't remember just when I did buy it, but it was probably in the last decade. Of course, the early 1970s was the 'golden age' for wargaming, but this little (125 pp) book is a bit different. As Nash says in his foreword: 'The intention is that by relating the factual data to be found in the second part of the book to game logic[ally], which is discussed at length in the preceding sections, the reader can create his own games upon completely logical lines'. So, a wargames book with no rules. Fascinating. I think we need to know more - does anyone remember this work, did it influence anyone, what do we know about David Nash ? (Other than the author blurb which says that 'he was a founder member of the London Wargames Club). Perhaps we need the input of Vintage Wargaming?

Meanwhile, I have been tackling more liquorice:

This time it is in the form of three very nice, resin castings of Matilda IIs from Minimi Miniatures. Lewis Davis, the Supremo of Minimi Miniatures offers a really first class service, and the vehicles are of the finest wargames quality - neat, crisp castings, cheap and recommended! They come on small, textured bases, which some might find a bit off-putting, but, for the Western Desert, there is no real problem with a base, and they improve handling and increase protection for the vehicles. In addition to the Matildas, I also bought a Indian Pattern Carrier :

The carrier must rank as one of the most 'warry' looking vehicles ever used by the British (and Indian) army. 

Over the Christmas hols, I spent a good deal of time reading, so I'm facing a bit of a backlog:

 I can feel a Beda Fomm coming on...