Thursday, November 30, 2006
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
I've managed to prevent him getting the nickname Nappy but he is occasionally known as Mr Chuckles because of the happy noises he makes while he scurries about. Maybe I ought to record it and put out a cd - bet the other Napoleon hasn't had that.
Monday, November 27, 2006
Live version of the Groupies classic from this summer's visit. You get a view from the moving audience. We do a version of this song - it's a classic from 66... 'Because I love...and I live...Primitive'. The Groupies were all extremely young and when they were signed to Atlantic -got on a wrong plane finished up on the wrong coast and got dumped by the label. The 1960s NY Garage band scene
Sunday, November 26, 2006
The kind-hearted colliers of the North of Old England
Have offered to help them and set them free,
From their tyrant oppressors who have long been supreme,
And those Radstock colliers will never give in,
There's no end of danger they're in down below,
Doing their best to bring us good coal,
Yet still in this danger, they're sorely oppressed,
By those who employ them for wages so low
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Janet Tanner has also a fiction work 'Tucker's Inn' loosely based on the pub Tucker's Grave. Interestingly this must-visit cider house was also the subject of a song on the last Stranglers album. Funnily enough Hugh Cornwell was out there once when I was there. Small world.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Monday, November 20, 2006
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Just in case you are wondering who this man is and why they should be making a film of him - read his life story above. A son of a slave who raised an army to beat the French helping to create a new Republic. For military information check out the Osprey Napoleon's Overseas Army by Rene Chartrand (see image).
Fight to Control the West Indies
The period of the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars in the West Indies hasn't really had the coverage it deserves - it was essentially about who controlled these sugar-rich fever islands and was part of the maritime struggle between Britain and France in the 18th century. For wargaming it maybe the best bet is to convert Hat's Spanish Guerrilas, British Marines and sailors and French Line Infantry
Campaigns in the West Indies
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Friday, November 17, 2006
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
My son is always telling me that all he knows about the Great War is gathered from the comic strip Charley's War from the British mag 2000AD and others. Well it so happens that this strip is a good place to start for anyone's money as it is not only very accurate historically it also is very well drawn into the bargain. Check out the site if you don't believe me.
So if you want a good graphic book about this period get one of the compendium stories or put it on your wish list for the festive season. Many historical themes are covered including the Etaples Mutiny.
An interesting Dark Age battle has its anniversary today, fought between Northumbrians and Mercians. Website above will tell you all there is to know. The helmet known as the Sutton Hoo helmet is from roughly the same era. Buy your repro version here
If you're into tanks but are not bothered by modelling and more into game play you might want to try Avalon Hill's game Axis and Allies. Centred around collectable miniatures and figures and various scenarios it looks like it might be a worthwhile investment if you are wanting something three dimensional to get you away from the screen. I notice they have the Italian M13/40 (see below) as highly inflammable - nice...
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Ah nostalgia - even more poignant when relating to toys - well that's what I think. You can tell a true toy fan when they fantasise about what models they'd get when time machines are invented - mine would have to be Britain swoppets. They were amazing and this site does them justice with all manner of interesting pictures and stories about the creation of these superior toy soldiers. I had some of course, never enough and I always changed what I was interested in so I would only have about three of each range. My son was asking me about this tendency to change the period of history I was into frequently the other day - I blame movies for this - you can happily go along being quite happily into say, the Napoleonic wars and then you watch a movie about say the American Revolution and then off you go. Anyway enjoy this site and if you have any of these figures feel free to send them to me, I will give them a good home, and won't trash them like I did 40 years ago. Link to another interesting Herald and Britain's site
Monday, November 13, 2006
Out on November 14 Civil War will be a first-person action game and will take place during 12 of the war's most notorious battles, including Gettysburg, Bull Run, and Antietam. The game will feature authentic guns, like repeating rifles, revolvers, and Gatling guns, but it will also feature plenty of gritty hand-to-hand combat with bayonets, sabres, and good old-fashioned fists. Gamers can play as either the Confederate or Union soldiers.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Emhar are a British company making excellent World War 1 artillery, tanks and figures in the larger scale and are ideal for garden wargames. They are in a hard plastic and are pretty bendable. Review of their German cannon here which also contains info and a clip of the 7.7cm.
Buy the figures here at Harfields. Or on ebay.
Friday, November 10, 2006
Tonight, Friday, is the big night in the Carnival season in the West Country at Wells - Britain's smallest city. Last night was our Norton-Radstock one - not as big as Wells but it was pretty good and if I can get my pc working I will upload a few clips so you can see what it's like. Basically the season starts November 5th in Bridgwater and then does a week or so around the key Somerset towns. Originally the floats were on haycarts and were simply people dressed up but since then they have become pretty opulent eye catching affairs. They usually fall into two groups - humourous where some aspect of West Country life is lampooned or serious and these usually take the form of some people standing stock still while dressed as a futuristic warlord or Native American. People spend all year making these things and if you're not in the mood you can't help thinking 'why?' but if you in the right frame of mind it is a glorious folk art treat stacks better than anything Disney or any other corporation can conjure up. If you live in the South West get down to Wells - it's a great night out - wrap up warm and take plenty of coins. Be prepared for pumping music, glaring lights that will bleach your eyebrows and cold feet. Learn more at this Somerset carnival website
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Wargaming can be expensive - it has been estimated that a Games Workshop army big enough for a battle costs around three hundred quid and that is before you start buying terrain. And who has a table big enough? Disenchanted with the hobby I once gave my collection of tanks and figures to my then young son to play with - he and the neighbouring kids had a great time, better than I could have had, playing war with them in the dirt and among the rocks - and they brought them back pretty much intact, and then it dawned on me...why try and fight on a table when you have a garden? Wasn't HG Wells' Little Wars - the book that started wargames in 1913 ('A Game for Boys from twelve years of age to one hundred and fifty and for that more intelligent sort of girl who likes boys' games and books') all about doing it in the garden? (Read it online)
Now if that fills you with horror at putting your precious figures outside then maybe you shouldn't use them; maybe you should buy a load of 1/72 or if you have a large garden 1/32 plastics, give them a rudimentary paintjob, base them on washers for stability and use those instead. Wargaming the Great War in the garden means you can excavate trenches, dig out shell craters, and have unlimited space within reason. You can have enough room to use long range artillery fire, spotters, actually destroy trenches and troop build ups with some realism. Having cheap and cheerful armies means not spending your life modelling and instead getting outside on a sunny afternoon instead of hunched over a smokey table. Probably the easiest way is for the host to have a defensive position and the guest attack it - but be prepared for the occasional earwig or ants invasion. Whether you use normal wargames rules or ones that involve projectiles like corks to replicate howitzer fire is of course up to you. I suggest a combination of both. More about Little Wars and some great images
Harfields for plastic figures including the Armies in Plastic 1/32 pictured
Some excellent snowy pics of recreated trench warfare from the era 1914-17 are on this site - mostly taken recently. As you can see winter's already arrived with scenes depicted reminiscent of the first Christmas in the trenches. Nice to see Lambs Navy Rum still has the power to keep out the cold even that far north. Apparently there was a rugby match between the Allies and the Austrians as well, between skirmishes.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
These French and Germans ar made by Workshop toys - three and three quarters of an inch tall. I like them - this company's Samurai figures look good too. If you want Great War in the larger size like the German Trench Raider try these in the series Bayonets and Barbed Wire.
There are some pretty cool kilts nowadays - see Utility Kilts -would I wear one now?
A new range and a new company in 28mm - they look well sculpted - what they have at the moment is British and German for the last two years of the war. Apparently they tower over the old Foundry range but are smaller than Renegade Miniatures' line, but accuracy levels are high in equipment etc.
In 1/72 scale Hat are about to release Canadian infantry which should go down well with what's available already.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Don't forget to wear your poppy... Remember soldiers don't start wars - politicians do - soldiers only get killed, injured, mentally scarred and ruined in wars but they don't start them.
Photo is from the excellent Heritage of the Great War site. There are some beautiful colour postcards and photos - also some interesting items on Tolkien and the Western Front.
Monday, November 06, 2006
This is an interesting looking dvd about the area now known as the Middle East - called 'Blood and Oil' it looks worth checking out - there are trailers to watch. My Great-Grandad on my mother's side was in Mesopotamia so I am pretty interested...
Sunday, November 05, 2006
If you like 18th century warfare you might want to watch this clip - even if you don't I recommend you watch it - it's pretty spectacular - I even dragged Susan over to see it - the quality of the camera work coupled with large bodies of French, British and American revolutionary reenactors make this worth the effort of watching. I don't suppose we will get anything like this in scale in Britain but Napoleonic used to be small - this year's Jena was huge.
Anyway if you inspired to reenact the period check out my forum and if you want to build a Revolutionary period wargames army I recommend the Perry Miniatures range
'I can't think of any event in history that did more damage than the French revolution. Not only to culture, but also to society. Yes, I am English. It's in my bones. (Very unpatriotic and interested in French culture because although the revolution smashed so much, but nevertheless the French still had ideas up until the First World War)'. Vivienne Westwood
I actually enjoyed this - but I am a sucker for bison, flintlocks and indians and there were plenty of all these things in the first episode. I felt that it was in a tradition of trying to educate people as well as entertain them - I think John Ford would have enjoyed watching it. I have to admit that I am looking forward to the next instalment. Learn to speak Lakhota
If you want some further study I recommend 'To Live and Die in The West' which is a great book at a ridiculously cheap price.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
I have set up this forum for reenactors across the world to keep each other informed with news of important events, anniversaries, new websites and photo galleries. Join up if that is your cup of tea and spread the word. By the way the fine artwork here of a tavern is by Sean O'Brogain all rights reserved 2004 Grand Alliance
Friday, November 03, 2006
Wiki on Spielberg's Into the West
To say the French army of 1914 was colourful is probably an understatement. Going to war in red trousers and a red kepi may have seemed like a great idea to the politicians who thought it essential for the national glory but it made the poor French soldier a beautiful target for the accurate rifles in use at the time. African troops also went to war in outfits that to the 20th century eye look more Hollywood than practical. With almost a Lemming-like zeal the brave but foolhardy French officers in white gloves led bayonet charges against machine guns. Cavalry wearing the breastplates and helmets of the Napoleonic era clattered nobly in the streets of Paris but were denied the chance for epic charges in an era when artillery devestated masses of horsemen with ruthless effect. Soon things would change; first covers were issued for the red items and then a horizon blue uniform was introduced as well as a helmet - the age of romantic warfare was dead and a new more determined France dug in for the long haul.
What I would like to see - and I think it will work a treat - is to see a 1914 era French unit recreated by Germans. German reenactors I think would love to do this kind of unit and I think it could be a lot of fun. Basically it is an era where you can enjoy the finer things in life - red wine, absinthe, great art and grow a fine moustache. Of course it's just an idea, but one to think about for a few years and then prepare for 2014. French colour photos from the excellent Great War in a Different Light site. French uniforms are available at Italian Front.
Poilus de la Marine -French reenactors
151eme - US based group with detailed equipment pages
If you are the sort of person that gets excited by things like old-style stoves (Susan is) and objects like these washboards then this American store is the place for you. They have all sorts of useful things NOT IN PLASTIC - which is great as plastic is rubbish - it fades, cracks and then you have to get another - this stuff will last a proper decent length of time and look pleasant to the eye. The lawnmower is the only type I would contemplate these days, quiet, amphibian-friendly, and space-saving. Actually some of this stuff will be useful for World War One living history enthusiasts I should think.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
In 1916, the British Army suffered their bloodiest and most severe defeat ever in the Battle of the Somme; The Trench focuses on the awful prelude to the battle as seen through the eyes of a group of inexperienced soldiers. Billy Macfarlane (Paul Nicholls) is a 17-year-old boy who joined the Army to fight alongside his older brother Eddie (Tam Williams), whom he worships. As the members of their platoon wait for fighting to commence, Eddie climbs up on a hill to see what the German forces are up to. He's immediately hit by sniper fire, suffering a severe injury, and soon another man in the unit is killed. Suddenly the ugly reality of battle has been introduced to the soldiers, few of whom are out of their teens. While their commanders inform them bombing has wiped out most of the enemy troops, the continued attacks convince them this may not be the truth. The Trench marked the directorial debut of novelist William Boyd, whose books have often dealt with the First World War. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide IMdb for the Trench
I bought this record today for 50p - I've long yearned for it and now I can play it any time I want. The only musician I could think of from Austria and then I thought 'Mozart - oh yeah' - I think last night's attack on some vodka may have killed some brain cells