Friday, 26 May 2017

Show Report: Bovington Tank Museum Model Expo

Nicely executed turret numbers on a Pz IV at Bovington.

NB: I drafted this post mid-February, but never got round to completing it, 'cause of the ubiquitous demands of the new home. Sometimes I will schedule the old posts so as to appear more chronologically correctly. In this instance I decided to let it sit at the front of the queue!

I drove down to Bovington Tank Museum yesterday, with my modelling pal Paul. It was a bit of an epic trek for a day-trip, at about three and a half to four and a half hours each way! February 11th saw the Museum hosting a Model Expo, with large numbers of modellers showcasing their handiwork, and a smaller quantity of traders helping us part with our lolly.

The Tortoise: a hard-shelled monster!

A Sherman 'Crab' flail tank, one of Hobart's Funnies.

One thing I noticed was, and it almost makes me feel guilty admitting it, that I was less interested in viewing the models exhibitors were displaying than I was in viewing the real tanks, or buying books and kits, etc. Given the efforts modellers put into their craft this struck me as kind of tragic.

The only decent pic I took of any models, was this one of a lovely SturmTiger.

Having said this, I did take a look at most of the models on show. But for the great majority it was the most cursory of glances. This disparity was echoed, somewhat ruefully, in a notice on one stand that read 'hours to make, seconds to destroy'!

And my interest in this aspect of the show was reflected in my photos: lots of pics of the museum's exhibits, and hardly any of the models. I do regret not photographing or filming the larger remote-controlled tanks. The 1/6th scale stuff (think Action Man on steroids!) was pretty amazing.

Nice waffle-pattern zimmerit, and useful detailing stuff: logs and stowage, etc.

Visits to museums are ace for scoring some interesting detail ref.

I've not seen a Stug in uniform green like this elsewhere.

Of course, I over-spent. My haul of kits was gratifyingly large, and included four Armourfast Panzer IVs, a Trumpeter tank transporter, a Zvezda gun and crew, and quite a few planes, including some by the defunct British company Frog, a brand that's new to me. All WWII German, and all 1/72.

Book-wise, I bought some highly specialised reference material, including Valiant Wings titles on the Blohm & Voss Bv 141, and Dornier Do 17Z, a mag on 'Secret Bombers of the Third Reich', and a few misc second hand titles, on Stukas, the Luftwaffe and WWI warplanes. One of these was a larger than A4 hard book dedicated to the Ju 87, or Stuka, which had some lovely three or four page spreads.


Pz IV sans tracks.

The only hobby accessory I purchased was some 0.4mm masking tape, for masking canopy frames. Paul had advised me to invest in some adhesive foil, but I couldn't find anyone selling any. I wish I hadn't bothered with this, as it happens, as I'm not sure I'll use it for the purpose I bought it for: I want to mask the 'glass' panels, not the metal frames! Doh!! 

Just goes to show how sometimes a fog descends on my brain at these events, and the urge to spend overpowers my critical faculties. I think our hyper-materialist culture ingrains in us a sub-Descartes-ian 'philosophy'; 'I spend, therefore I am'!

Hetzer? Nice camo'!

A nice view of three different camo' schemes.

Jagdpanther road wheels and track... awesome hardware.

SdKfz 234/3, with insignia of the 16th Inf. Div.

Russian KV-1

Aah... the almost cute, and ironically named, Goliath. [*]

An early war (Pz I?) German command vehicle.

It's hard to credit that a vehicle such as that pictured directly hove could be part of the 'armoured might' of blitzkrieg. It looks more like an armoured pram or bathtub than a tank! I do like the stencilled tank ID, in white outline.

As mentioned above, I overspent, as is my usual MO these days. This time I bought loads of aeroplane kits: the Fiesler Storch was one of several different models of this gangly plane on the valiant Wings book stall. I love the Roy Cross artwork on the Fw 189. A beautiful painting!

Love the old Airfix box!

Me like Me 110s.

I bought three Me 110s, bringing my total of these fab looking 'Zerstorers' to four. The Do 17Z and one of the Me 110s were by Frog, a manufacturer, I'd not encountered (or even heard of) before. I covet one of their Arado 234 Jet Bombers. But the stall which was selling the Frog kits didn't have that particular model.

Some land based stuff!

In my more normal land warfare niche, I pony bought a Trumpeter Tank Transporter, and two sets of Armourfast Panzers. Filling a bit of a gap in my German armour collection with some medium Pz III and IV tanks. And finally, kit-wise, I bought a rather lovely looking Roden Opel Blitz Tankwagen. I also bought a few books, mostly Luftwaffe ref. 

My stash is shown in the pictures above and below. What I really need to do is to start in on building stuff from the ever-increasing stockpile.

Bought this to help with my Airfix Bv 141

... and this for help with my Frog Do 17Z

The Valiant Wings titles are superb. Pqacked with more info than I ever realised I could want to know. But, to my own surprise, if I'm 100% honest, I really did want to know! It seems madly extravagant to me to be buying books like this that cost more than the models themselves. But it gives me so much pleasure, perusing them, and using them to help build my kits, that I just go with it.

It was a good day out, despite a number of the German Tiger tank variants I would've loved to have seen not being on display.


[*] Of course no weapon interned to maim and kill could really be cute. Very tasteless of me.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Show Report: Partizan, 2017

Not having posted in bloomin' ages... In fact, not having done anything mini-military in ages (other than watch films or read books), I figured I had to go to Partizan, 2017, and get a fix of wargaming and whatnot.

This is what I needed to see!

Yes... oh yes!


I managed to persuade Teresa to accompany me, for aulde thymes sake. It seems her days of humouring me thus are on the way out. And, to be honest, I can't really complain: she's been to enough shows with me. She's done her penance! She pretty much always ends up sitting down amidst the slightly odd crowd that is the wargaming fraternity, reading or watching something on her tablet., whilst I go round acquiring more stuff I probably ought not to.

I always like baggage train stuff. Plus this has a sign pointing to Cambridge, my local/home town.

This and the above are from a very nice 28mm AWI game.

I don't know if it's just me. Perhaps any other attendees who feel similarly, or differently, for that matter, could chip in? Although I won't argue that The George Stephenson Pavilion has some  things going for it - it's far better lit, for example - nevertheless, I don't like it as a venue. 

It seems airless. Very airless. And when you have hordes of wargamers, not all of whom have discovered the concept of personal hygiene, you need lots of air! I always end up feeling very out of sorts whenever I'm in these hangar like spaces. Even to the extent of dizzy spells. Mind you, it could be I'm just rather unfit. That's certainly very obviously true of many of us wargaming types!
The jungle scenery of Like A Stonewall's New Guinea hilltop scenario was stunning.

I think I may have more, and poss a little better pics... will post if I can find 'em!

One of the reasons I like to go to Partizan, other than it being amongst the more 'local' shows for me (i.e only an hour or twos drive either way), is the eye-candy type games. And this year didn't disappoint in that respect, with many great looking games, and a few real corkers. My favourite was the 28mm WWI demo game put on by Great War Miniatures.

For me, this is how wargames should: a moveable diorama.

Getting down to eye-level revealed some stunning views.

My mate Paul is a WWI nut. He says he'll get me into it one day...

... stuff like this sells it to me big time. Fab!

I adore this gun and crew. A work of art!

From the visual beauty point of view, Great War Miniatures' Cambrai game (I think that's what it was? I didn't take any notes, or chat to many people this time!), was, quite frankly, simply stunning. I want to take a leaf from their book in both how they paint figures, and their attention to scenic detail (albeit I'm currently working in smaller scales). Their figure painting seems, to me, perfectly judged; neither too detailed nor too basic. And the colours - how close they are to 'authentic', I don't know - please the eye, and are easy to 'read', if you know what I mean.

Lots of great scenery...

Call the glazier...

Och, it's fine dae to get kilt...

Another funky German gun.

Two Mona Lisas!?


They also included some wonderful incidental detail, such as German soldiers looting artwork, champagne, and so on. And there was even a micturating Bosch, in a very nicely rendered bathroom. He'd obviously been imbibing, as he's missing the bath. Still, that room, along with most in this model model village, will need a complete refurb anyway!

My only book purchase.

What with all the expenses of our new home (nearly been here a year now!), I should’ve restrained myself after my first purchase, R. F. Delderfield’s The retreat From Moscow, which - despite its title - is the novelist and Napoleonic buff’s account of the whole 1812 campaign, which I got for £5. But, like the fool I am - and despite having forgotten to bring cash (as I did on the previous Partizan*) - I popped out to a garage for some lolly, and ended up overspending.

More WWII Jerry gear in 1/72.

Maybe it’s just me, but I was a bit shocked at the prices of all the figures and models. A pal commented on this as well, when I showed him my show swag. In the end, apart from the book, I just got some more 1/72 WWII German stuff: an Italieri Opel Blitz ambulance, and two sets from Plastic Soldier Co: RSOs with Pak 40s, and Medium Trucks. I’m in a kind of rear-echelon reverie, I guess.

It’s nice to finally see a mainstream brand suppling the RSO to those of us who, like me, love these strange little tracked tractors. But £17 for the two vehicles and two guns (plus crews, etc) did kind of hurt. On the plus side, PSC are generous in a supplying sufficient variety of parts to allow one to build 3 variants of the RSO (round cab, square cab, and mounted Pak 40), and either Opel Blitz or Mercedes trucks.

A smaller scale WWI game. Not sure who put this one on.

I always like being able to take serial shots such as this.
Another WWI game I didn't find out the name of.

More WWI: Lenton Gamers' 'Oppy Wood', in - I think? - 54mm.

I noted that there were quite a few WWI games. more than I'm used to seeing. I guess its the centenary of that conflict, which has no doubt focussed interest on it.

The brass.

Nice pink facings on these dragoons!

I like this panoramic eye-level shot.

The Perrys had a beautiful Egyptian Napoleonic game, which might've been the Battle of Alexandria (is this historical, or fictional?), pictured above and below.

Beautiful figures, beautiful scenery... fab!

Mmm... beige facings.

As a major fan of the work of Tony Barton, it was nice to see the 15mm Battle of Dresden, which featured hordes of beautiful figures from Barton's capable hands. I meant to ask if these were Battle Honours era figures, or the later/larger AB range. But I was in a taciturn mood this show, so just looked and snapped these pics. Was this the Too-Fat-Lardies game?

Beautiful lancers.

Nice scenery too.

Dem guns, dem guns... 

More fab cavalry.

I was sorely tempted to start buying figures for a new era; English Civil War, American Civil War, even WWI, perhaps. But I managed to restrain myself. This meant not even looking too hard at some stalls. Adler, who do the 6mm ranges that are the backbone of one of my Russia 1812 collections, aren't at that many shows. And normally Id make a bee line for them when they are. This time a furtive glance was all I dared! In case I suddenly bought a new army in a new era.

So, all in all, fun was certainly had. By me at any rate. I think Teresa's highlight was eating chips and beans in the caff! Actually, thats another thing I don't like about these sorts of modern venues: crap overpriced catering. Still, I enjoyed the show. And it gave y my fix of mini-military delights. So... mustn't grumble!

*Unbelievably, there are no cash machines on the site.