Wednesday 27 August 2014


We piled into the car today and headed up the Wye Valley to Goodrich castle. Last time I was there was in 1997 with the ECWS taking part in a brilliant siege with earthworks , gabions etc , probably one of the best re-enactment events I've taken part in.

English Heritage have tarted up their reception area, and racked up the prices, but there were some interesting exhibits,

Roaring Meg, the only surviving ECW mortar used in the 1646 siege

Two gargoyles I don't remember from my 1997 visit.

The Norman keep

The castle seems to grow out of the rock

Some lovely Herefordshire/Monmouthshire countryside

George tries his hand at the mysterious art of gunnery.

After visiting the castle we went on to Westbury Court Gardens, a rare surviving example of a late 17c Dutch style water garden

A fine canal

Neptune reigns here (I am writing a paper on pagan imagery in 18c gardens, but may have to include this as he is 1690's)

I can just imagine Mr. Neville from the Draughtsman's Contract setting up his easel here.

The pavilion from the end of the long canal.

All in all a jolly day out mixing warfare and gardening.

Sunday 17 August 2014


The usual apologies for not posting for a good while, I've just been bone idle combined with a large black dog hanging about in my head . Every so often (usually in the Autumn) I feel like chucking all my figures out of the window and starting a single project from scratch, one that doesn't need rare and hard to source figures and provides a game with nice neat lines of soldiers in uniforms found in handy reference books and not too much imagination.( I suppose it's a comfort thing, like putting on a favourite jumper or cravat after a long and tediously hot summer).
 This generally means any conflict between 1700 and 1900. Seven Years War and Napoleonic don't really float my boat (although I do like Napoloeonic Bavarians and Brunswickers), but I have always had a real interest in The War of the Spanish Succession. The uniforms are attractive, but not too complicated and of course the wigs are a bonus. There is a good supply of uniform and reference books (including plenty of eyewitness accounts) but not an overwhelming amount. Likewise the figures are readily available, but not too much choice. I find the 28mm figures out there a bit bobbleheaded, so that leaves a choice of 20mm, 40mm or 54mm. The latter ticks the toysoldier box and inspiration can be found at the wonderful (but sadly quiet) blog Vauban and Shandy . 20mm are cheap, the rank and file coming from Zvezda's Infantry of Peter the Great . Zvezda likewise do artillery and some cavalry which could be supplemented with Irregular and Les Higgins figures , they also paint up nicely with a nostalgic "Airfix" feel. I have never painted 40mm figures before but I have a Marlburian officer I picked up on ebay and it's a nice scale. Figures from Irregular , supplemented with Price August semi-rounds, the cavalry would have to have the coat tails converted.

Just to get in the mood, and wielding a paintbrush again, I tried painting a few plastic Zvezda infantry as British foot. I was quite pleased with the result, 10 figures in an evening using white undercoat, and then yacht varnished.