So, some writing finished and shared

I actually sat down with a single idea in my head, inspired from a simple plastic model miniature I made up and modified, and then wrote out an entire back-story to put that little model into context.

Here it is.

Mercy Well Met – v2

It’s had some interesting responses, a lot of it very positive. And that in turn means I may soon just write up the other two ideas I had. Good to get creative, get thinking and produce something new.


Time for some writing

Indeed. I have actually been inspired to set down some fiction. It all came about from making up one of the Ogre plastic miniatures, a MkV Ogre to be precise. It was a little twisted, the moulding slightly off in some areas, so I kit-bashed it into something different. An exercise also in seeing what you could do with this plastic and super-glue. I will say, these models are very easy to work on. Luckily it’s been the only misshapen model I’ve found so far from several packs I’ve now opened. Here’s hoping that luck remains.

But the writing. I was suitably impressed with the model to then think on a back-story to justify it’s appearance. That then led me to look up a few sections of the old Ogre Book. And so I’ve come away with an idea, and have started typing it out.

At first, I was a bit slow, kept bouncing back over what I’d set out, re-writing and then lurching off again. In truth, I was almost definitely annoying myself. That’s not how I’ve done my writing in the past. After an hour of all that I had two hundred words. Slowed then stalled – then it was time for coffee. Obviously.

It was good to take a break, distract myself with other ideas and do some other things to blank the brain and reset. Dishwasher loaded; kitchen bin emptied; cats fed; orders parcelled up; labels paid and printed; mindless scrolling on Farcebook. I returned to the desktop re-focused.

First thing I did was hunt out the music downloads. Ogre sound suite – no. Gregorian chant – no. I just wanted fast-beat familiar stuff. Cued up New Order, Prodigy, Banshees. That will do for me.

Two hours later I had two thousand three hundred words.

I think I’ve found a suitable methodology to get back into the swing of writing again.

I’ll revisit it and read it all again tomorrow. It might, after all, be a complete load of tosh.

But it felt good to be creative again.


Selling & Sales

So I’ve continued to have some good luck on disposing of some of my old gaming collection. And some other items I hadn’t yet considered selling but had caught the interest of other collectors. Which is actually really handy as I took the opportunity to acquire some new items in some sales – mainly for current wargaming projects – and so those funds helped me pay for the new stuff.

This ‘recycling’ idea is working then.

The offers I’ve received have made me re-evaluate what I want to keep. There’s a few games that I now believe will not see the tabletop again – unless I suddenly create a brand new regular game group to play them with. Unlikely in a rural village location only used to whist drives and domino evenings. They can therefore go on the disposal list too.

As the emphasis continues to be on wargaming, it sort of makes sense too. I’ve been incredibly fortunate there too. Like the skeletons I picked up a while back, that turned out to be just what someone on the LAF needed. And in that case I ended up with a ‘trade’ for some useful items to serve several purposes. And I also sold on the plastic British Paras I ended up with too, along with some German WW2 I was unlikely to ever finish up.

On the KickStarter front I’ll be ending up with a lot more Ogre Miniatures. I already have some basic sets (No.1) plus some of the Ogre sprues that have a MkIII and a MkV, and there’s some of the last stock of white metal to come too. As I’m actually painting (aye, don’t faint, it’s only been a 4 year break!) I will soon have some more 15mm terrain that will be useful for the Horse & Musket periods (GNW, Marlburian & Napoleonics) and these same resin-cast items might also provide me a Tiffins Games product line too. So at some point I plan to put in a proper order with the intention of painting those up for EBay. So as a follow-up to the terrain painting, at some point I need to prime and paint some of the Ogre plastic minis, just so I can share my efforts, which in turn hopefully encourages me to paint more.


There’s also the 60 militia types and character officers who will serve as great additions to the Balkanesque TMWWBK ready for priming as well, hopefully this week. Then it’s some experimenting with block painting and some highlighting to then finish off with a variation of the ‘dip’ method. My aim will be to do it subtly different. Add black or brown ink to diluted brush-on acrylic varnish and to see what we produce. If it works – I have some slight reservations – then we have a method to churn out much more, and a lot faster.

TMWWBK front-cover

And the aim for the tabletop out in the DoMA is to set up a handy scene for some repeat practice with the TMWWBK rules in my Gothic-Balkan setting. Again, it’s been really useful to have had a good sort out. Items are now sensibly stored, easier to locate and use. I’m looking forward to that as it pushes me further into other related projects that will also require more figures to be painted and terrain to be produced. It’s motivated me to look at alternate options, like the idea of using magnets for 28mm cavalry. That means I would only need a certain number of mounts, and I can have riders to swap on and off. As the mount – be it horse or gashant – is the most expensive of the pairing, this could certainly work to my advantage. And dinky little 2mm and 3mm magnets are a lot cheaper in the grand cost of things. This could be a handy idea to extend to a few other things as well. And I’m a tad enthused about some MDF kits for aerial steam launches too. More expense, so more recycling I guess.

Finally, the company accounts should be in now. Before deadline too. That’s actually a good result as I’m notorious in doing it all last minute, much to the angst of my accountant no doubt. It’s good to achieve something like that as it proves to myself I’m restoring a little bit of proper ‘time-management’ back into my life, outside of the old working environment. It has also nudged me to look at new approaches for the games company too, such as Amazon Marketplace set-up, and to get some costing work and commissions of new product lines underway. I like the way it’s progressing, at a steady pace, and I’m looking forward to seeing what can be achieved.


Some Classical Stuff

So the past three weeks have seen my re-appreciating some classic items.

Firstly, there’s the old classic boardgame of Alquerque, an ancient game that some say sets the foundation for Draughts/Checkers later. I’ve been looking at this as a possible product line for the future – source some aptly marked boards, and the glass/stone pieces, make up some drawstring bags for storage and print off the rules and associated information. It’s public domain after all.

BGG info here: Alquerque

It’s available online for practice too, at Jocly: Jocly’s Alquerque

Alq-Spain 1273 Alfonso X

Then, onto yet more classic stuff – well, classic in a game sense, I finally managed to re-acquire a copy of SPI‘s mammoth game, The Next War. I had this when I was a callow youth, who failed to keep it safe for the future. So I’ve been steadily offloading other items, and part of those funds helped me buy this when a copy came up.

It may have been surpassed by more modern designs, and certainly some of it’s assumptions for the military capabilities of that time may have been slightly off, but it’s still a classic monster game of the SPI era. It is mainly nostalgia for me, but I think we all have at least one game like that.

EricTheReds NxtWar

(Picture credit: Eric-The-Red on BGG)

And then there’s the music – not so much ‘classical music’ – although I do have some loaded up onto the Desktop PC for when I’m working. No, this again is nostalgia from my youth – Blondie and Siouxsie & The Banshees mainly. Along with some Cocteau Twins. Listening to these tracks brings memories of those days-back-then, and also prompts me to recall (or try to) on what I thought I’d be doing now – aged a half-century.

Did I ever think I’d be living on the Borders?

Or that I’d ended up in the jolly old Civil Circus, following the family traits (to a fashion)?

That I had indeed ended up working in an office after all?

Such reminiscences can be both a humorous and yet solemn exercise. But there’s no regrets. There’s no point wasting time like that, as I cannot change what I have done. And I am here as a result of all that has come to pass.

‘Atomic’ – ‘Spellbound’ – ‘Union City Blues’ – ‘Israel’ – ‘Hanging on the Telephone’ – ‘Arabian Knights’ – ‘11.59’ – ‘Dazzle’ – ‘Dreaming’ – ‘The Last Beat of My Heart’ …. and that’s without also immersing myself into Liz Fraser’s intoxicating vocals.

I save all the CT stuff for other deep-thinking moments.

Cocteau Twins 80s

And Reading. I’ve actually been reading – real books and all. Mainly I’ve been consuming Italian Wars, Renaissance Europe, Condottieres and fifteenth & sixteenth century history. All in aid of the planned wargaming projects of course. It is actually quite enthralling to delve into an amazingly complex period rich in new detail and information, and to overturn old assumptions. There’s incredible potential for a glorious campaign full of character. I can see why this is such an attractive era to some wargamers.

Still much to do, and much to co-ordinate. But I’m enjoying having the freedom to do all that.


And there’s more!

More figures. A lot more. An old gaming friend who’s way more productive and better painter than I can ever hope to aspire too, decided to shift his 28mm Medieval/Renaissance stuff. Painted and unpainted. And I took them on, to provide them a new ‘forever’ home, as the pet people would say. So I have a lot more figures now. So many in fact that I had to spend most of this weekend sorting out the DoMA. It was a case of rationalising the storage cases – long overdue. With that done, it was then time for a re-stack. And at least now I have it all stashed in a far better arrangement to set-up and take down wargames. Method has tainted my madness. And Really Useful boxes have proven to be exactly that.


Also had some success shifting yet more S&TO Countersheets to the other Ogre fans. And some chatter has inspired me to continue with the Mini-Campaign ideas I had. It’s always good when you have like-minded strangers bounce creativity between you. A good nudge to get me writing again as well, as part of the scenario design aims to include some mini-fiction inserts to help flavour and set the scenes.

Triple-hex Port Active

I also took delivery of yet more SoG ship models, and there’s a few more cheap offerings on their way. After they arrive, I’ll have something like 25+ ships! Actually, it may well be more than that now. So, I think I also now have enough of them to be going on with too.

Finally, Ook has done wonders and sent me my latest 28mm Victorian Sci-Fi batch. Some more Hinterlands ladies, this time the Naval Landing Party, complete with ‘Pompom’ gun. The Officer with her sword and fobwatch is just delicious. Should I say that? Ah well, I just did. Plus, at a wargame show last year I acquired a few packs of ACW Iron Brigade figures from Colonel Bill’s – he deals with selling on what he calls ‘pre-loved’ collections of unpainted stuff that he buys from other gamers.

ACW I here you mutter, why? Truth is, when I saw them online, with their longcoats, tall hats, brim turned up plus other features, I instantly went to the Space:1889 ‘Soldiers Companion’ army lists and matched the pose with the description of Ruritanian infantry – Mounted Rifles to be precise. So I gambled, bought the figures, drew up the uniform guide, gave it to Ook and he delivered. Exceptionally well too. 24 figures easily provides me with two units under TMWWBK and that adds a new option to the slightly Gothic direction I want for the specific campaign format I’m planning.

So dear readers, you can say I interrupted my train journey on the Trans-Balkan Express with a brief sojourn at Strelsau, capital of the Kingdom of Ruritania. Marvellous – the patisseries are divine.


Too many miniatures? Never happen!

So I did get productive after all. I now have 120+ based and undercoated elves destined to end up as Canal Martians and Hill Martian troops. I will also soon have 50+ Prussian Landwehr based and undercoated too – and these are destined to end up as ‘generic’ Militia types for any of the pseudo-Balkan nations I’m working on.

TMWWBK front-cover

It’s to use TMWWBK rules with the information from the ‘Soldiers Companion’ to do the Ruritania/Graustark/Axphain games. I’m determined to get some of these painted up first, perhaps two-dozen, to then have them ready to be a few trial units. Turns out it’s a handy model – ragged trews, longcoat, field cap, and a weapon where you cannot see the lock to discern whether it’s a musket or a breechloader. So it suits perfectly for my use. And these were a very cheap acquisition in one of the periodic sales from Warlords.

And I need to stay on that focus too, as a whole horde of 28mm Late Medieval turned up in the post today, the last consignment of my recent acquisition from a friend of mine. I don’t think I’ll ever have to purchase any more for this project again. But I bet I will. I bet I’ll find some critical troop-type I need for re-fighting some historic battle, and I’ll find out I have nothing suitable. But for now, I have enough. And I suspect I’ll be re-basing some or all of it too. Typical.


At long last – we have – Ogre Miniatures

Today, the long-awaited box of Ogre Miniatures Set 1 was finally delivered to my door.

I will be honest – it’s a relief. Sadly I have come to the conclusion that with as much patience as I’ve given out, and with all the hopes I had that things would improve, it’s all kind of foundered. I don’t know the full story, not sure I want to delve too deep to be honest, but those guys in Texas are great with the gaming stuff for Ogre – they just can’t fathom ‘international trade’ at all. This hasn’t been a one-off – my original consignment from them (the BIG one) was also plagued with various errors and cock-ups, that cost me additional funds to sort out. I am still hooked in for Ogre Miniatures Set 2, but only as a pre-order with W23. And if there’s a Set 3? We shall see. It needs to be pretty special.

So keeping it in a generally positive vein (I did get the long awaited goodies after all), I’ve reconnected with the Cartography Guild. I first joined up back in April 2014. I even dropped them some funds back then as support for the site. And then, of course, a major life/job/house/location change ensued. I lost contact, only visited a few times, despite them sending me the rather nice automated birthday greeting, and lost my grasp on it. Well, no more – back in there tonight, gave them some more support money, even sorted out my profile properly and started a CG blog too. Somewhere to put down my notes and thoughts on map stuff. Aye – I know – I’ve been piss-poor and keeping this up-to-date, and I then go start another I’ll need to keep on top of? Mad? Quite probably.

Weekend plans then:

  • Get the Martians undercoated and ready to begin painting next week.
  • Sort out my 28mm Border Reivers for some photo snaps to send onwards to the new owners of the old Vendel Miniatures moulds.
  • Find all the packs of 10mm figures I purchased a while back so that I can pass the lot on to the decent chap who wants to buy them off me. Just need to recall where they were stashed!
  • And set-up the DOMA table for some TMWWBK-Gothic flights-of-fancy, as those naughty Axphainians look set to encroach upon Graustark territory once more!

So, if you’ll excuse me, the Trans-Balkan Express is set to leave from Platform 4 in a few minutes, heading south-east via Dresden and Strelsau, and I fear my man Carstairs may be having a little trouble with the German porters. Must amble.

German Empire