Welcome to my blog, the story of my continuing journey into the World of Zombie Wargames.

Monday 26 December 2016

Good, Bad, Ugly 2016

It has long been a tradition to briefly review events that myself and friends have attended, to categorise them under the heading of good, bad and ugly and I thought it could a suitable way to also review my take on 2016, so, here goes, some of my more notable GBU things of 2016 :

The Good
I once more attended a couple of wargame shows and despite there being only two, from the potential four (at least), local shows, I did  enjoy them immensely. In my hey-day of attending shows I’d have also attended Durham Wargames Open day, Border Reiver and Stockton. (Shildon btw is not really that local to me and fairly new).
It was a pleasure meeting Roy Williamson at Shildon, a fellow blogger (link) and a truly gifted miniature painter, he also introduced me to Dave Docherty (another blogger).  Whilst I haven’t met that many fellow bloggers (a handful at most) those I have met have always been very friendly.
Having the wherewithal to purchase items for projects, whilst not in the same league as other gamers, my purchases have been modest, but in comparison to the almost nil purchases I’ve made over the last few years was a step forward.
One of the things I particularly like doing is tinkering with rules, whether my own or those of others and my recent correspondences with another blogger to polish up his rules where necessary, make suggestions to content and wording etc. – I know this probably sounds more like work than pleasure, but to me it beats the heck out of painting figures or modelling!

The Bad
 Not playing a single table-top game over the entire year, has to be the #1 bad thing on the list.  I find it quite depressing having a fairly good set-up imo (my own wargaming room, permanent table and so on).
The explosion of “Boutique” games, (which I call games in a box). In case you don’t know what I’m talking about think of the many games played on a 3 foot square “board” (or smaller) with just a couple of dozen figures, some shiny (expensive) rules, lots of cardboard and so on. To me this is not wargaming, but is a form of step-up from boardgame to tabletop with all the inherent advantages and disadvantages they entail. I can see all the enjoyment from these types of games though and good luck to those that play them, but they’re not wargames to me!
I’m also under the impression that many new sets of rules have been dumbed down –but that’s just a feeling.
Not having a regular opponent, despite a couple of false starts and realising that my historical interests can’t compete with Orks, Space Marines and all things plasticky. Solo gaming just isn’t for me!

The Ugly
The use of the term “28mm Scale” has always bugged be and imo it’s a way manufacturers can get away with not having figures made to an actual scale. I know that many refer 28mm as 1/56th scale which would make a figure representing a six foot tall man at about 32mm – so why 28mm ?
Seeing models of grey rocks, castles and walls still annoys me, though I’ve grown to having to accept them - I guess. (I still feel the same shudder seeing ‘eyes’ painted on miniatures less than 72mm tall too).
I find I can’t keep up with the multitude of blogs I follow. It’s so easy to miss someone’s latest blog
Post and I seem to be forever playing catch-up.
A Zombie Forum that I’m a member of has slowly been dying a death for the last year or so; it had such potential but the many interests of the members outside of the Zombie gaming genre is another nail in its coffin, sadly. I haven’t posted in over a year, which probably hasn’t helped, but then again neither did the moderators giving out offencive comments.  

Whilst my enthusiasm for this hobby is up and down  like a Bride's nightie most of the time I am looking forward to 2017 and getting my Wargaming room back !

Have a happy and pious New Year one and all and here's to 2017!

Monday 19 December 2016

Merry Mithrasmas

So another year and another seasonal post, this year though I've purposely avoided using the usual "merry Xmas" or "Happy Holidays" in an attempt too avoid the usual artificially inflated page-view figures, after all we have the Russian spam-bots for that sort of thing,
It's been an interesting year on blog, one I've,  at times, struggled to get out a post to the dozen or so followers who regularly comment (for which I'm very grateful). I also can't recollect when I gained any new followers either, despite losing several earlier in the year when blogger had some sort of update.
I'll be looking at the past year in next week's post but for now the purpose of this is merely to wish you all a very Yule,  Mithrasmas, Saturnalia  or any other pagan holiday or religious festival you follow at this  time.

As always, your comments are both welcomed and appreciated.

Monday 12 December 2016

A Ship (and more)

As real-life continues to deploy obstacles in my path to foil most of my attempts to do anything
significant on the hobby-front but I thought I'd show a vignette painted and assembled by a good friend that died earlier this year. Thanks to his spouse I've come into possession of a large number of his models (mostly 54mm), mostly painted, but some requiring assembly and paint. They include a fair number of the old 54mm Airfix figures and a large number of Historex figures. My favourite amongst all of them is a 7YW Austrian (currently packed away with his chums), but this particular vignette has been on semi-permanent display. and was thus easily accessible for posting about!
I can't tell you much about the two figures represented, but no doubt the more knowledgeable will know!
I can't foresee any time when I'll assemble (let alone paint) the large amount of figures and sadly haven't found a single one of my acquaintances that is interested in obtaining any of them .
Anyone that is interested, please get in touch!
(As usual, sorry for the poor quality photographs, but I'm still unable to replace the photographer)

Front of box
In other news I purchase a toy "pirate ship", for the princely sum of £10 from "The Works". I'd scouted this model but couldn't decide if it was a good enough size, so armed with a tape measure I went off and ended up buying one (now regretting not buying at least one more).
There's a fair amount of usable 'accessories'  including a 'longboat' (should have been called a shortboat) that wasn't apparent at first inspection.
Of course the figures are huge (about 60mm) and their weaponry and other things are completely unusable , but the model still has a lot to offer. I'm currently taking is apart, removing bit and pieces and deciding how I'll  progress with it.
Rear of box
My daughter's temporary residence within our household has had a very pleasant side-effect of her
My new paint station
being disgusted at the state of my paint-table and design to do something about it. I've ended up with a very pleasing set of drawers as the table (hiding and sorting just about everything I'd want hidden and sorted)  and with the additional bonus of being on casters, means it can be easily moved about, keeping my scalpels away from the inquisitive hands of my granddaughter (seemingly the two are not a good mix).
The helicopter that is prominent in the foreground is the only physical object I've been working on this last week and I've manged to make a little progress on the paintjob on it).
Most of my hobby-related progress has been using paintshop to design eight 'shops', (mostly originals) for a project I've been thinking of for a few years now.

And that's it, little to nothing done, but even a little is bonus to me atm!

Thanks for taking the time to visit and peruse what I'm up to and as always your comments are both welcomed and appreciated! 

Monday 5 December 2016

Spinning Plates

Ground floor and first floor of the new build.
This week has seen a major upheaval in my household as we have my daughter and her family living
The outcome of this is that we have a lot let space and a lot of my own projects etc have had to be stored in my wargames room (now very crowded), but there are is also the more important tidying up to do after any hobby-related things I do - no more leaving things out until tomorrow!  It seems that scalpel blades and 3 year-olds are not compatible!
with us (and all that that entails) as she has had to vacate her own place and has to wait for her new home - probably sometime early next year.
Some of the ground floor walls
I am still managing to get a few things done though!
I've made some progress on my new build (The Federal House from Stoetzels) but wasn't that inspired reading through the initial instructions that it could take some two hours or more to build. The initial cutting out of the ground and first floor floors walls etc. (and edging them too)  took at least that amount of time! (and there's an attic too).
A very "wrong" wall
My wry smile took  a down-turn as a worked my way through the model and realised that one wall was mistakenly labelled and there ere also a host of other minor (very minor) 'problems' with the model. I'll talk about these though later, but as an example, one of the walls, (shown right) has a major 'problem' with it (though easily fixed), as it's an internal corner but allows for a wall attached to it (the blue rectangle).
Further work on this model had to be halted as I ran out of glue and when I came back to the build, after tidying up I'd accidentally stuck  a scrap of foamboard to two walls - duh!
I couldn't repair the damage and now I have to await the re-printing of these two walls (luckily though they're on the same page - so just one copy needed.)

Undercoated chopper, with Sid for scale
I did manage to grab the chance of a clear day to undercoat my helicopter, so that's coming along slowly but surely - though I'm not entirely sure why I used #2 son's gloss black instead of my own matte black as an undercoat !

My solitary palm tree

 In other news I have started to try and accumulate some scenery for my pirate project as I didn't think my single (rather pathetic) palm tree would hack it.
Evil- bay was my friend in this and I found some very reasonably priced palm trees for about  £4.50 (including p&p) for 2o of he. - each approximately 13cm (about 5").
The most surprising thing was that they were from an English supplier (from Basildon IIRC) and cheaper than some very similar models from China , so I went ahead, splashed the cash and bought two bags of them!

40 Palm trees - woohoo!

Sid and the Palm trees
I guess for the price, you get what you pay for, they're bright, very plasticcy and have a shed-load of flash on them, but they'll do the job just fine imo.
I'm as yet undecided as to how to base them and will be considering all the various options carefully an will also be awaiting further varieties of palms sometime next year. (who knew that there were so many different varies and models of palm trees ?
It also turn out that plastic palm trees can be waved bout with great abandon and glee, though whether as fairy wands or dolly feather dusters, you'd have to ask my grand-daughter
(they're in a safe place now though).

So, progress then, and although little has been made, in the quieter moments I've been working on my abstract ship-to-ship rules -something which I enjoy but is made difficult without having a friend as a 'sounding board' for my ideas and checking the rules generally.
 I also been busy designing some builds for a project I (and probably every other Zombie gamer) has sought since I started  down this track, but more of this as I make some proper progress and have something tangible to show!

That's it then for this week - things can only get better - right ?

Thanks for reading through or at least for visiting and looking at the piccies and as always your comments are both welcomed and appreciated!

Monday 28 November 2016


The five sets
Following on from last week's Cottage build post, as promised here's another look at some of the furniture items that I bought recently. There are five sets in the series (as far as I can tell), the photograph on the right showing all of them.
From top to bottom, left to right:
Bedroom, Living room (shown last time) Kitchen, Study (I think) and finally, my favourite - the Bathroom.
All of these contain very small parts and whether it be an oil lamp or a toilet roll holder they're very identifiable as to what they're meant to be.
The packs also contain cross-over bits, so that identical chairs appear in different packs and the round tables appear in three packs., but they also all contain at least one unique item too, for example the coffee-grinder in the kitchen pack or the wall telephone!
 The bathroom set is my favourite of all the sets, probably because I've tried making baths (without much success) and toilets (with only a little more success).
The little detail bits that also come with it are a joy too, from the sink unit, the previously mentioned toilet roll holder, a stool and so on.

The kitchen comes with the ubiquitous chairs (just the two though) and the familiar table, but it also has three unique furniture items too. 
As one would expect, there is a stove (Arga type -middle back of piccy) , and two cabinet type things; the coffee grinder (red) is unique to this set whilst the jug and bowl can be found in others too.

Kitchen pieces in place

Back of Bedroom Set.

 The bedroom set contains what you probably would expect to find in a bedroom - a bed (surprise surprise), a set of drawers, a bedside table and a dressing table. There is also another oil lamp, bowl, jug and chair too.
 I chose to show the back of the set to illustrate the fact that most of these pieces don't have a back to them and are obviously designed to be placed up against walls .
Bedroom bits
Bedroom furnishings in situ
I haven't as yet glued any of the pieces in place in the cottage, but as I bought two of each of the five sets, I have plenty of options.
The study's unique pieces


The "Study" set has a mere two unique items in it, the other pieces all being found in one or more of the other sets (mostly the dining room set). However the two items are worthy of a mention as they're both rather large pieces (and of course another three chairs and a table are not to be sniffed at!).
As can be seen in the photograph there is a rather grand panelled cabinet and another desk, larger than the living room one, shown in last week's blog post.
Obviously all these models have nought but a basic colour scheme on them and would benefit greatly from a decent paint-job.

Desk and cabinet

Finishing off the "grand tour", here's a couple of photographs of the 'furnished' cottage from above.
If the furnishings had been some of my own scratchbuilt items or even, card ones there would be a lot less space and it would probably look very crowded. As it stands, with a dozen or so pieces furniture in place it may look a bit sparse, but there is more than ample room for figures (even those on 25mm bases!).
Another view , for no real reason.
So that's it, the cottage could be ready to 'movein' at a moments notice (if I ever finally decide how to arrange the furnishings). I'm sure it hasn't escaped anyone reading this that there is no obvious time period that applies to this collection either. Many of the pieces are as usable for the 17th Century as the 21st century, though the upright flush toilet probably dates back to the late 19th/early 20th century and the oil lamps don't see much use nowadays. either!
My Stoetzel build.

Other than practising my Fen Shui this last week,  I've also started another Stoetzel build, that came with it's own list of 'problems'. It's one of the larger produced and despite looking forward to making this model, has not been a very satisfying build so far. - More of this at a future date though.
My Poundworldbargainbuy Chopper.

 In between cutting and gluing I've also been working on that £1 bargain chopper, cutting the toy components away and attempting to smooth out the 'joins', with varying success. It has reached the stage where it's been undercoated (gloss black) and requires painting  - not something I'm looking forward too and a bit of research, revealed it to probably be a representation of Airbus.

Despite real-life domicidal upheavals, ongoing health issues and Xmas on the horizon I've also been working on my version of Two Hour Wagames' Pirate rules "And a bottle of rum", which I've found to be the most akin to what I've wanted from a set of their rules (though I still dislike their shooting rules - haha) and 'pirate' rules in particular. I have a lot of THW rules in many genres and these I have found the most likeable. Other than the shooting rules I've mostly been making the game into more of a rpg than the pg 'lite' type of game is is at present. Also, as I don't have a lot of room to fight sea actions with my 20" + ships on my 8' x 4' table I've developed a set of abstract ship to ship combat rules and am awaiting some much needed feed-back (as I am with my gladiatorial beast rules).

Finally, am I the only one that dislikes the new-look blogger dashboard? - Just saying 

That's it then for another week, I hope that this spurt of enthusiasm will continue unabated for some time despite all the hurly-burly that is continuing around my own purlieu.

As always I hope you've found something of interest and your comments are both welcomed and appreciated.

Monday 21 November 2016

The Cottage

Stoetzal's Cottage
Well, I did manage to finish off the Stoetzal Cottage build that I'd started last week.
There wasn't a lot I could do to this model to make it different from those of everyone else. The files don't allow any image manipulation (from someone with my techy skills at least.!).
The model itself has a footprint of 7"x7" and the height to the roof ridge is about7" too.
The 5mm 'step'
One of the features of all Stoetzal buildings, as far as I can tell is the "step" that appears (or rather doesn't) at entrances.

As all the walls, floors etc. are designed for 5mm foamboard it does mean that door 'float' 5mm above ground level - a feature I'm not particularly fond of.
To cure this is an easy enough task (as can be seen in the photograph above) by adding one's own step. I had originally intended to incorporate the step into the base foamboard, but tiredness ended up with me cutting the wrong bit!.
The fix was simple enough, I cut a separate piece of foamboard to a suitable size, and with minimal modelling
The finished 'step' piece can be seen below:
The step

The 'step' was painted very quickly before glueing onto the front wall and base (using the 'tag for extra support') and although it appears grey, I only used browns and sandy colours with a dark brown wash to get the effect I wanted.

The roof was probably the most difficult to assemble even though it was a mere two parts glued together, but luckily the two parts meet at about 90 degrees making the use of foamboard pieces at right angles fairly simple.
The chimney though for the cottage is one piece and if using a 'lift-off; roof makes the positioning of it important.
 I decided to cut the chimney into two parts, with the upper part attached to the roof (giving it greater strength) and the lower part, being shorter, making it easier to move figures inside the building.
Chimney bit inside roof

The photograph on the right shows he model from above (without the roof - duh!).
All internal walls are rabbeted into other walls or the chimney breast; the latter having been cut down to allow the easier roof removal as mentioned above and also making it less likely that the building will be knocked about ( I guess).
Whilst I didn't have any of the three doors (two internal and one external-) open-able. Whilst it's an admirable feature of model buildings, I've never had the need in any of the games I've played.or seen. 'Glazed' windows on the other hand do make a building look 'lived in', I think many appear Ghost -like without ! Clear plastic pieces glued between the foamboard and the outer paper skin is a quick fix and well worth doing imo.
Internal view

Alternate internal view. (spot Sid through the window!)
So what about internal detailing ? Well, that's for another time and another post (probably next week) and as I 'll be using my recent furniture purchases will simply be a matter of opening the blister packs, placing them and photographing them

Overall I'm pleased with the model, it's simple and useful over many eras, 17th -18th century onwards and I can see it being used in my pirate games (now that I've just about got the rules to the state I want them)

That's it then, once more, for another week and as always, your comments are both welcomed and appreciated.

Monday 14 November 2016

New Build

New Build (Stoetzal Cottage)l
This last weekend has seen me make inroads into another building, a Stoezel' Cottage, probably the simplest of the many models he makes.
Progress was slow simply because it took  more time than I had imagined to get prepared for it. Finding new scalpel blades,glue etc. and even just locating my cutting board all became unwelcome hindrances.
I was hoping to finish this off in an afternoon but, as always, real-life had to interfere with far more problems than I envisaged.

Nevertheless progress has been made and once I've found another felt-tip I reckon I can finish this off in another two or three one-hour sessions (all I can manage at the moment).
One of the reasons why I'd have liked to have finished the above Stoetzel's Cottage is that it would have been the ideal setting to show off the new furniture that I've bought.
Sid went missing for the first photoshoot so a random gangster figure that was on hand, was recruited into the role.
The photograph has a ruler also which I don't normally do, but was at the request of my good friend "Captain Jack" (no blog but he can be found on FB)  who was intrigued by the furniture (- listed as 1/48 scale and imo fits perfectly with 28mm figures.)  and wanted  Grandfather Clock
Sid  with table,chairs, and oil lamp
The Grandfather Clock was only one item amongst many, most of the bits fitting somewhere time wise, interwar, but obviously usable in a great many other periods too!
Writing desk with great internal detail
Mystery object -though the mystery is now solved!
Group shot
Scale-wise I think these fit really well and I'm very pleased with them, much more so than the sample multipart 1/43rd scale shop assistant. As can be seen in the photograph, he's a giant compared to the "28mm" (ahem) figure of Sid alongside him!
It was a big disappointment as there were at least another 50 or so civilians that looked ideal for a Gangster era game.
In the catalogue of 1/43 goodness I'd also thought that I'd found a very useful figure for a fellow blogger but alas the size of the figure ends that particular line of though. (On the good news front though, I have found, what I consider to be just what he is looking for!)

That's it for this week, I'll hopefully finish the cottage this week and post about it next week, again showing off some of my new purchased furniture.

As always your comments are both welcomed and appreciated.

Monday 7 November 2016

Interesting finds

Bikes !
Another week and more visits into the world of Poundbargainlandworld, well quite a few visits if truth be told. I regularly visit two "Poundlands" after my hospital visits (of which there have been quite a few recently), my local "Poundland" and "Bargain Buys", more frequently (Mostly for glue, matt spray and sweets) and I only occasionally visit "Poundworld" as it's a bit of a trek to get there.

The packs as they come (yep, I know it's a shit photograph)
However, I have had the opportunity to tour all five shops in the last week and this post shows the  results of my wanderings.
First up then are these two packs of bikes, three different colours per pack, so I bought two packs to include each of the four colours available.
I'd spotted these a while ago and didn't get the there at the first opportunity, I was very happy to find them again as I missed out so many times not purchasing something the first time around!
Sid with the bikes, showing how good (imo) they are scale-wise.

Sid showing the scale isn't bad at all.
I have to confess, I love Helicopters,I really love helicopters and I 've looked at this particular one for a very time. It's a push along kid's toy and I wasn't sure if I likes it or not, as it comes with in-built 'features' I really don't like.
I decided though that it would be worth a little effort to 'sav' it (and for a £1 I  thought it was worth a punt)
Have you spotted the unwanted "feature" yet? 

How about now ? (The arrow shows the pull-string thing)
The underneath reveals the monstrosity that shows this s the toy it really is.
Once out the packaging it's revealed as a pull the cord and watch the this 'fly' along the floor, couple that with the truly awful wheel assembly sitting on the underside.
I foresee a lot of sawing and filing to get this into any semblance of a usable model.
I haven't a clue what make it's meant to be either, which won't help with the paint-job it'll need (maybe it'll just end up black!)
The close up view -aaarrrghhh!
A bus!
Another, rather cheap looking vehicle (It's a bus- surprise, surprise!) was this 'Greyhound' bus.
There were several,  differing only in the stickers that had been applied and the one I plumped for was the one with the US flag on it (naturally), the other choice being Australia!
Whilst it's very basic (no interior detail etc.) the scale is quite good. It will add to the general gridlock chaos on my roads and shouldn't look too out of place.
A bus' rear end!
Out of interest I showed this particular purchase to my wife (and not for any reason to try and justify my flagrant spending, oh no!)  and asked her what she thought , as I really didn't quite know the original purpose.
She thought they were either dress  'buttons' or cake decorations.
I on the other and saw cabbages and flower beds!
I didn't think to take a photograph of them sans-packaging, with Sid for scale, another time maybe.
Photoshopped to show all the 'intersting' sheets (and photographer's shadow)

Though maybe not immediately apparent from my photo collage these are pages from a "Basic Art" design pad (or so the blurb says).  It consists of 30 sheets 6" x 6" with three sheets of each different one. I've shown the ones with what I consider the most interesting ones  from my viewpoint would be very useful as wall paper for some of my scratchbuilt buildings. The sheets not shown are rather bland colours but still usable.
A second collection of potential 'wallpapers' also grabbed my eye and these can be seen in the photograph on the left. There are only eight sheets in the pack each 6" x 4", but they are adhesive backed and feel like a very thin cotton. Once more hey could be used as wallpapers or carpets (they really do have that feel). Other than the rather 'meh' black and white striped one, the others all have great modelling possibilities.
There is at least one other pack, but with different designs.

My final purchase was the pack shown on the right, a collection of plastic see-in-the-dark glowing dinosaur bones/fossils.
Despite my best efforts at using photoshop the pieces are very difficult to see.
I though of particulal interest to some gamers would be the mammoth (bottom right) which maybe would be a little too small for 28mm figures, is probably near enough in scale for 15mms, the other dinos less so.
I have no actual use for these, but having missed out in the past I did think I would purchase the pack anyway and to my delight I got it for 50p ! Poundlandbargain world after all! 

So, two weeks ' worth of pocket money just frittered away, but I was very happy with all my 'bargain' buys.

That's it then for another week, but I would like to add that I have ticked off another item from my 'Bucket List',  namely taking part in the  'Gladiatoris kickstarter!.
You can read more about this on my other blog (Zabadak's Gladiator World) HERE.

As always your comments are both welcomed and appreciated.