Historical Fiction is Costing me a Fortune!

And not so much for the cost of the book. Almost all fiction and about half the non-fiction I read today I read on my Kindle, tablet or ‘phone. I’ve gotten over missing the tactile feel of a new or old book as well as the lack of smell of digital editions so more and more I am downloading my books. The problem is not the cost of the book but rather the cost of the wargame figures in dollars, time and paint that results from reading the book. Within Thomo’s Hole, for example, I have noted the following projects that came from reading:

And that is just over the last 12 months. The list goes on however.

Currently I am reading two historical novels – one on my ‘phone and this one, Divided Empire on my Kindle. I had read part of this before then got distracted but I can’t recall where I got up to so I am sure I never finished. Of course, the biggest problem is that this is set in the period of the Later Roman Empire, around 400 CE and of course I am now thinking of Late Romans, Goths and what have you. This particular temptation is not helped by the fact that I have Goths left over and laying idle in the spares box after sorting and getting things ready for the Dark Age project.

Worse, there are another few books in the series and I can see myself at the minimum putting together a small set of some 6mm late Romans and Goths. Of course, if one is doing some Romans, one really should do two armies of them so that a quick civil war becomes in order so that would be a small set of three armies. Then really, one should at least have a fourth so a Big Battle DBA becomes possible. I can see where this is leading.

In a moment of laziness, I was looking through some new releases and The Black Sheep by Peter Darman popped up. I had read most of the Parthian series until Pacorus started to annoy me so thought “here is a good one to have on the list ready for when I finish Divided House, I’ll just have a quick look at the opening pages.”

The Black Sheep is set in the time of the War of Sicilian Vespers, a war I knew about in passing but not in any detail. As is usual in these things, one thing led to another and I started reading up on the Sicilian Vespers. Now I am thinking 1282 to 1302 CE and Byzantines, Sicilians, Anjou, Aragon, France, and Naples. Toss in some Turks and we have a campaign set. Best of all, some galleys as well for the Battle of the Gulf of Naples.

This will be a challenge in 6mm (and 1/1200 for the galleys I think) but hey, life is a challenge isn’t it! One a positive note, it could be the second part of a series of sets based around Sicily.

More lead for the pile! I have to stop reading.

Planning

I am currently in the middle of something all wargamers love to do … plan something. Normally it is a new period, or a battle reenactment, or a new army for competition, or a painting schedule, or something similar. So, I am planning something.

The last couple of nights as I have been thinking (OK those 10 minutes before sleep), I was thinking that blogs still provide a good, easy to search, record of something, especially something that changes over time. Of course, being as I am a boomer, I can still do things like add numbers in my head and use a pen and paper. Them young whippersnappers these days, well, they are all into Vlogs and such. I have a couple of favourites I will admit. Some I watch for fun, some for wargame painting and terrain building technique and ideas. Others are more along the line of a series that would not be amiss on TV as part of the History Channel or similar.

I then got to thinking about the past – the episodes of Callan where our hero was painting figures or playing an evil enemy across the wargame table, or BBC 2’s Time Commanders and one or two others.

Lastly, it occurred to me that once something is on the Internet … it never truly dies. Whether it is a blog on a shared service that lives on long after the writer departs, or as an echo from the past in the Wayback Machine, or from being shared by people who enjoyed it and it ends up copied across many social media platforms, it just seems to survive.

So, I thought I would combine the best of a both worlds at the moment. Wargaming, especially figure gaming, is something I can talk about. There are other things I can discuss, such as economics, business practices, banking and such, but to do that I would need to get clearances from my employer, so wargaming it is. I have been blogging in one form or another since the late 1990s (OK, so back then it was a home page with new content added when I could get around to writing it in HTML). Over the past year or two I have also started to upload a few videos to YouTube. These have been rough and ready affairs and mostly covering parcels received from various figure suppliers.

I am going to start to put an effort into the Videos. They will cover my view of wargaming and my general interests and occasionally, anything that pops up and gets up my nose. At the same time, I will back the videos with blog posts here. I will keep book reviews on the blog as well as any bizarre travel tales or food stories. The YouTube channel will mostly be wargaming.

So, Thomo’s Hole will expand. As I am almost out of space here in WordPress, I am also looking at buying more space and maybe going back to self hosting so there will be plenty to keep me busy in the evening hours, er, when there is not a good Aussie Rules or Rugby (either version) match on and a beer on the bar! Oh, and I am not planning on trying to monetize the channel, not unless a bazillion subscribers turns up! 😉

Australia Post and the Royal Post Work! – Navwar and Forgotten Orders

On December 31, 2019 I posted two letters, you know, those old fashioned things in envelopes with stamps on them – you must have seen them on the Classic Movie channel! One letter was addressed to my bank in Singapore, then other to Navwar in Seven Keys, Ilford, Essex, England!

I’ve not heard anything back from my Singapore bank yet. Perhaps they do not know how to deal with a letter.

I did notice today, however, that the balance of my credit card had depleted by approximately £100.00. That can only mean one thing – Navwar have packed my order and are about to post it. Ships ahoy. Now in the post 2019 … That’s a Wrap I intimated that I had not ordered any 1/3000 ships. I lied! I did. I can’t remember all I ordered and as the order was made by a letter, I do not have any email confirmations 😦

I do recall that I think I added some US and French World War One vessels as I was a bit light on in that area. Still, it really will be like Santa delivering a Christmas gift (or at least PhilPost) as I will not have a complete idea of what is in the parcel until I open it!

Interesting semi-Military Modern Army Training Video

One of my favourite YouTube channels at the moment is the Jolly channel. The main two characters of this are Josh and Ollie (hence Jolly). Josh is quite well known in Korea as the Korean Englishmen as he is fluent in Korean. Occassional guests on his channels are Reverend Chris and Major Charles – one a minister of the church (Church of England I believe) and the other a major in the British Army (Commandos). These two are identical twins. On the Korean Englishmen channel a series has been made where Rev. Chris and Maj. Charles are taken to various places in Korea. One such location was a Korean Army base.

This is one of best episodes I have seen but all are well worth the 10 to 15 minutes each one takes. Enjoy watching “British Twins go Training with the Korean Army Commandos…!!??” on YouTube

I Hate You Little Wars TV – 1st Manassas (Bull Run)

There I was, happily minding my own business, preparing some World War 2 1/285 scale aircraft for painting, planning then to move on to my 6mm Anglo-Saxons, and then perhaps off to something nautical, perhaps 1/1200 scale galleys or modern vessels when Little Wars TV presents First Manassas. They show the battlefield, then discuss the tactics and Gen. McDowell’s performance. Just have a look at this.

Now I am getting an almost uncontrollable itch to paint 6mm American Civil War figures. Of course, to do that, I would need to purchase some 6mm American Civil War figures as I do not have any in the lead pile. English Civil War, Ancients, Napoleonics, World War 2 and Cold War figures in stock aplenty but no American Civil War figures. I have several sets of rules on the bookshelf, lots of reference works but no figures.

I hate you Little Wars TV. I must resist!

Preparing the Soviet I-16s and SB-2s

Fat fingers drill little holes

It is and was a fairly straightforward job. Drill a few 3mm diameter holes into a soft metal and glue a 3mm diameter rare earth magnet into the hole.

The other side of the process is to add a rare earth magnet, with the polarity reversed, to the flight stand.

A very straightforward process indeed.

A stack of 3mm rare earth magnets

Of course, it would have been easier and quicker to use a small electric drill or electric screwdriver to make the holes. Unfortunately, I did not have one available so it was out with the trusty twist drill.

This is somewhat of a trial to use, especially for drilling larger diameter holes and plays havoc with the developing arthritis in my fingers and thumbs but, as they say, one should suffer for one’s art!

One magnet, one blade, ready for gluing

Now, as a guide, here are a number of 3mm rare earth magnets in the packet that they are supplied in. Fiddly little things, especially when one has fingers that are just a wee bit fulsome … OK, bordering on fat, thumbs and fingers.

So, the best assistance in this case is the Exacto knife. Use the thin edge of the blade to separate the magnets from the stack by carefully sliding the knife in.

And yes, the blurry I-16 in the background shows where I store the magnets I am about to use to determine their polarity.

Magnet in place

Those that are going in the recess created in the aircraft (see left) are removed from the stack. At this point, the end of the magnet that needs to be glued to the air-frame is the side of the magnet that is against the blade so the magnet will need to be reversed.

The simplest way to achieve this is to let the magnet grip one of the stands that have already had their magnets glued in. Now, sliding it off on the Exacto and the side that required gluing will be facing outwards.

And … it works

A  drop  of superglue then slide the magnet off the Exacto blade by dragging the blade off the magnet while the magnet is pressed either into the hole in the aircraft or onto the surface of the peg in the stand.

What we then have is an aircraft that will magnetically attach to the stand, making transport and storage a breeze.

The aircraft can easily be removed for painting and for storage as it will store flat, saving the need for magnetic sheet under the base. In fact, I am thinking that a thin strip of magnetic metal across the bottom of a storage box will allow for storage secure enough for moving figures from home to game.

Sometimes even I screw up

This is what the bottom of the aircraft looks like when you glue a magnet in the wrong way round. These magnets are quite tough and try as I might, I was not able to dislodge a glued one from the aircraft body, certainly not without some very high powered electric tools and a lot of modelling putty for later repair.

My solution, whack in a second magnet with the correct polarity.

“Why didn’t you just set some bases with the magnets the other way round” I hear you ask? Well, I thought about it but then it makes it a little difficult when setting up as I need to shuffle models and bases around until I get it right. This way all bases can be used for any aircraft.

The bio-metric door locks are screwed tomorrow … or … I am ready for my first bank job leaving no fingerprints

Lastly, this is what my finger looked like after all that super gluing. The bio-metric lock at work’s going to have trouble with me today!

Thank goodness there is some superglue remover available. A few squeezes of that and rub vigorously and voila, finger as good as new (except it didn’t work on the bio-metric locks!

Update 14 January 2020: Bob Flywheel suggested the following on my FaceBook:

“Why didn’t you just epoxy a magnet to the underside? Much easier!

Yes, thank you Bob … don’t you love people who come up with simple solutions right after you’ve gone the full Monty on a complicated, elegant one? Short answer Bob – it looks better 😛

Foul Evil Infamy and Mind Control … I weakened

Curse You Bob Flywheel had me thinking about more aerial wargaming, in particular, the Korean Air War, MiG Alley and all that. Every night this week has seen me reading and thinking further on the topic. Last night I weakened.

I did however show some restraint in not buying a complete set of 1945 to 1950 jet aircraft. Instead, I had a look at the next World War aerial warfare project I wanted to consider and one where some of the aircraft would be reusable for later conflicts. I settled on the late Pacific War – B-29s and P-51Ds up against Ki-44 Tojos and J2M Raidens. I added a couple of ring-ins just because I am a wargames tart and can’t keep to a simple purchase plan, and besides, there may come a time I need and aircraft of the type that only two were ever built! 😉

The purchases were:

Aircraft Collectair Heroics&Ros
B-29 3
P-51D 4
Ki-44 11B Shoki “Tojo” 4
J2M Raiden “Jack” 4
Kyushu J7W1 Shinden 1
B-17 C/D 3
Prototype J7W Shinden

OK, so I did not really need the Shinden, or indeed, the B-17s for the late war Pacific but hey, as I said, I am a tart, and even if I don’t “need” them now, I am sure I will need them some time in the future.

I did debate over Collectair vs Heroics and Ros and decided on Collectair for the B-29s as I think I have an Heroics and Ros B-29 back at home under the house at mum’s (Thomo’s Macksville Hole).

There were some additional purchases such as aircraft stands, 1/300 scale buildings, decals and the like but the aircraft were the principal purchases. The guilty feeling passed in about 30 seconds. Onward now with brush in hand, Anglo-Saxons to commence the Dark Age project await along with Soviet Winter War aircraft to complete that project.

Curse You Bob Flywheel

Damn, there I was the other day quite comfortable with the state of my 1/300 [1/285] Aerial Wargaming. I had rules and aircraft for the Winter War – the Finns were complete and the Soviets would not take long. I had decided that Bag the Hun from the Lardies could be added to the rules library and I had even made a cursory look through the free scenario book, resisting manfully adding any more lead to my collection this year*.

Then you had to mention Korea and visions of MiG Alley spring to mind, as well as some interesting aircraft. I could see some B-29s (does anyone still make them in 1/300 [1/285] scale anymore) trundling along on a bombing run with some MiG-15s and/or Yak-15s trying to attack them. Enter some UN support – P-51Ds and Meteors of the RAAF, F-80s, F-82s or F-86s of the USAF not forgetting some F-84s.

Add some Yak-9s and La-7s to the mix and not only are there some interesting games possible but a fine collection of aircraft for the display shelf as well.

Of course, as one would have some B-29s available, late World War 2 air raids over Japan or Japanese held islands by the USAAF are a possibility. The P-51Ds (admittedly in RAAF colours) could be repurposed as escorts for the bombers in WW2. Attacking them would be some Japanese Nakajima Ki-44s (Tojo or Shoki) and some Mitsubishi J2Ms (Raiden) to attack them. Throw in a Shinden and there is another set.

Some early WW2 combat collections have been popping up in my head as well, in part the fault of the scenario book from the Lardies, in part from Bob’s off hand remark about the Korean Airwar.

When will this wargames megoalomania end?

This has been an insight into how a wargamer’s mind works! Curse you Bob Flywheel!


* there are some orders for lead under way at the moment but they had all been ordered, online and via Australia Post, prior to the start of 2020.

Old Books … Just in a New Way

I have some of the older wargaming books, such as Don Featherstone’s Wargames and the like, on my bookshelf at mum’s. Over the years, however, time has not been kind to some of them, or they have been lent to friends unremembered who have never returned them, or they have just been lost.

Cruising Amazon Kindle recommended reads last night, one book from John Curry popped up, Donald Featherstone’s Lost Tales: Including Wargaming Rules 300 BC to 1945. At $8.27 for a Kindle version it was impossible to resist.  Another 10 minutes “browsing” the recommended reads from that purchase and I had acquired Kindle copies of:

So for less that $50, some classic reading and a copy permanently up in the cloud so I won’t lose them again!

I’m resisting browsing there again until after next payday!

 

2019 … That’s a Wrap

I was listening to podcasts on the drive from mum’s at Macksville to Sydney to catch a flight back to Manila. One podcast I listened to was the last episode (number 283) of Meeples and Miniatures (https://meeples.wordpress.com/). This podcast has been running for 12 years and whilst I can’t say I have been listening for the last 12 years, the last couple of years have provided a great deal of wargaming amusement.

In this last episode Neil Schuck (Twitter – @TheBrummieDwarf) and Mike Hobbs (Twitter – @HobbsThe Gamer) discussed their 4 or 5 best games. It was pleasing to note that I had at least one of the games they had mentioned. The podcast finished just prior to my arrival in Sydney so I spent the rest of the trip considering wargaming tasks for 2020.

As many of you will know, I have an interest in matters nautical as well as a commitment to 6mm. Two things that amazed me while at mum’s. First was the number of books that I will need to ship to the Philippines, I am thinking that maybe it will be 2/3rds of the collection that needs to be eventually shipped. The second was the commitment I had to 15mm Ancient wargaming. I will need to decide at some point whether to sell those collections or ship them.

That is not what I am talking about here though. Currently in Manila I have literally thousands of 6mm figures to paint – some sets have been discussed here previously. I also have hundreds of ships in both 1/3000 and 1/1200 scale. There are also aircraft, principally the Winter War collections, Finnish aircraft having graced my Instagram account.

I decided to reduce my Christmas gifts to myself then to just the following:

  • Terrain items and buildings from Irregular Miniatures
  • Racing Chariots from Irregular Miniatures, enough to cover the Blues, Greens, Reds and Whites
  • Ancient British figures from Baccus 6mm as one additional opponent for the Imperial Romans – DBA sized
  • Bag the Hun from Too Fat Lardies
  • General d’Armee from Reiswitz Press from Too Fat Lardies – Napoleonic Wargaming

Later in the year I may add some 6mm Napoleonics to the collection or perhaps 6mm American War of Indendence. I will make an order for some 1/1200 modern aircraft from Magister Militum to finish the modern 1/3000 naval collection. I may also buy some more rulesets … but just to plan for 2021 😉

This year then will be one for painting and finishing collections (and maybe getting off to Makati Marauders to play some games). I will play some more boardgames (more? I haven’t played any for about 20 years). I have many books to read and review on the table and hope to get two or three of those off in the next two weeks. Lastly, I want to start some more research and writing, and I am looking at both my admittedly poor YouTube channel and considering some podcasting.

So, 2020, the year of getting on top of things!

Late Addition (1 January 2020): Of course, I did neglect to remember that I had also sent some readies off to Warlord Games for copies of Black seas and Black Sails – just the rules as I have a collection of 1/1200 coastal vessels and it would be a shame to not get them on the table at some time. In addition, I have some 1/2400 and also some 1/3000 sailing vessels that need a reason for painting and then an outing. And I will be sending an order off tomorrow to Magister Militum for some 1/1200 scale modern aircraft to complete the modern naval fleets.

Any other pruchases in 2020 will be rules, books and, maybe, occassionaly, some figures to finish out a set I am starting to paint!