Sunday, 14 May 2017


For any number of reasons - many of which don't merit repeating here - I haven't blogged much lately. Since few of you, my usual readers, are waiting with bated breath for what I write, I'll just add a little to what has gone before.

Last weekend, I had taken the weekend off and gotten a supply for duties at the church. My family and I intended to go out to the Longwoods Conservation Area for the first reenactment event of the season.

But it rained.
I mean it poured.
I mean parts of Toronto and Ottawa, the province of Quebec and the Maritimes were flooded.
The army was called out to aid in rescue and damage control.

So we stayed home, had a few friends in and played board games... of which I cannot find any photos. You've all seen games of Risk and of Ticket to Ride, so I will rely on your memories and imaginations.

Sunday dawned bright, glorious, and DRY. So we went out to the Conservation Area and met with our old friends from Fort Meigs, OH and their group from the 2nd Artillery. Some members of the Canadian Volunteers were also there as were the members of the 14th Infantry. This last crowd are actually members of the group that reenacts the 41st Regiment of Foot of the British Army. They just turn coat sometimes. (The following photos show what a nice day it was and all are courtesy of my wife, Beth.)

Rob, my son, and I as we crossed the bridge from the forest trail to the reenactment area.

The 17th (Croghan's Company) following the 14th on parade.

Awaiting the order to advance
Rob, Lyle, Matthew, Tyler, and myself
Since we would be in the woods, we went with soft caps rather than shakos.

The Canadian Volunteers with additional troops from various units
 - including the Kentucky Rifles - served as skirmishers

The Light Company of the Royal Scots (1st Regiment of Foot) lead the advance as skirmishers.
The "battlefield" for Sunday was rather small and attempted to resemble the actual field.

The 14th in the woods behind some fallen saplings and other gathered wood.

The Canadian Volunteers+ skirmished outside the woods while the line infantry entered woods.

The 17th in the woods. I have been roundly mocked for not kneeling down and simply taking cover
behind a tree. It's not the getting down, but the getting back up that's the problem!

The Scots fall back while the cannon prepare to fire.

The Crown Forces return, advancing in column.
With such small numbers (but such a beautiful day), some imagination is required.
In the skirmish at Longwoods, the British advanced on the US position and were
roughly treated by the Kentucky Volunteers who made up most of the US force.
The end of the battle and the butcher's bill.
Some of the reenactors appear to enjoy stacking themselves up like cord wood.

After the battle, salutes were exchanged and a medal was given to one of the Scots.
I don't know who he earned it,but it looked cool and... why not?
Present arms!

The salute is returned.

We all served under Major Marty of the 2nd Artillery and Major Phil of the Volunteers.

Parading out.
The 2nd Artillery, Cushing's Battery added an Ohio militiaman to their ranks.

Kettle corn - an all-time favourite!

Sutler Cyrus selling his candy wears.

4 & 20 Blackbirds always does a great business. Best cookies anywhere.

Cookies, Pickles, and scone mix for the home.

As a last comment, you can see how the black powder smoke lingers when we fire it.
Congratulations to Matthew, who served his first battle in the line and did an admirable job. He did the drill and learned his lessons, even though he was not given cartridge and powder on his first time out.

Monday, 1 May 2017

London Games Crawl --- 29 April 2017

The Hamilton Road Games Group meet almost every Saturday at the Couch Branch Library on Hamilton Road in London, ON. We tend to go with table-top games of a more military/conflict type of game, but we're not completely tied to that. This year, we had the chance to be part of the London Games Crawl. The Games Crawl is a program to raise awareness of games available in the London area and (to be honest) to increase 'pull-through' for the gaming and/or comic book stores in the city. People visit the stores, get their card stamped, and enter raffles for prizes... of games!. It's been going on for a few years and this year the Games Group (33 or so years active) was part of it. Since we didn't have prizes and give-aways, the small number who stopped by were from the neighborhood and wanted to see what we being played.

We wanted to have a showing of table-top figure gaming that wasn't too complex, so we felt the best game to fill the bill was "Wings of War", a very playable and enjoyable game of WWI airplane combat. It's a game coming out of Italy and can be played with or without models.

Of course, it's 'way more fun with models.

I was "flying" Richenbacher's SPAD, the bottom plane.

Bear and I fly by each other.

Katie's Italian SPAD

The card are chosen three for each turn and show where the pilot/player wants to go.
Often we can't tell left from right, especially when your plane is headed toward you.

Martin's hand? Could be. He's maneuvering the Neuport.

Bear, Matt, and Beth discuss flying, lunch, and guarding the dumpster in basic training.
Martin's Neuport

Arial traffic jam

... although they get sorted our at times.

Katie's SPAD takes a run at Bear's Albatross.
If you get shot down, you just choose another plane and enter on the next cycle of turns.

Once the SPAD went down, I chose a British SAE to try out, and the game ended soon after.
Colour commentary from the press box - Aurel and Andy do the play by play.
Following this, Martin, Matt, Bear, Katie, and I played a game of "Ticket to Ride", a train line building game set in the 1880-1890 era in North America. It's a great game but there's no sense taking photos of the playing. If you like board gaming, "Ticket to Ride" and a number of it's variants are well worth the time to get and play.

More to come later... again.

Recent painting

I enjoy Easter and the Easter Season. I enjoy the worship services of Holy Week and I find them quite meaningful. I do get tired because there is a lot to do and plan for during this time. So I don't paint much and what I do goes slowly.

I did get to paint a little lately. I even finished a long term project of some 25mm ACW troops. I had made an order from RAFM in Cambridge, ON. That's really quite local. They brought the figs to Hot Lead, a convention for Southwestern Ontario, and made good very quickly on a small mistake they made. I like the figures and many of their other ranges are quite fine as well.

My latest rendition of the 54th Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment
They were recruited in and around Lehigh County in Pennsylvania. The town band I played with for 16 years -
The Macungie Band - had volunteered as the band of this regiment at the beginning of the war for a 6 month enlistment.
The command stand including an officer, a First Sergeant with the national flag, a soldier
with the regimental flag, and a drummer.

A better view of the flags.
I had intended to use my computer's printer to make better flags, but the coloured ink has crapped out and  printed
red as a sort of pink. The flags that are included in the box of Perry Zouaves is not correct. The national flag only has
eleven stripes! So I fell back to painting my own flags by hand.

Flags and troopers

All the figures are RAFM. They are nicely moulded and the firing figure and the kneeling figure
without the pack have separate heads. The ARE true 25's and so look a bit smaller next to some others.

I use commercial acrylic paints and ink the finished figs with a watered down ink.
I think the colours - with certain exceptions - are quite true. The blue of the coats is
called "Blue Velvet" and is very, very dark, far darker that the same company's "Navy Blue."
The group I play with is converting our rather large personal stocks of ACW 25's to Black Powder basing. We'd been doing a "home-brewed" skirmish game with singly mounted figs. I worked slowly, one base at a time. Probably not the best way, but what I could do under the time constraints.

Another short term and amusing project involved some Peter Pig ACW 15's I've had in back-stock for a long time.

Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln

The finished couple

After I took the photo, I touched up the spots where the primer coat showed through.
I don't generally ink my 15's, but a little might help Mary look a little less ghostly.

The 54th PA on a photo trestle.
More to come before too long. Quite a few things have been going on.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Museum Holiday, part 2

     The Canadian War Museum is a treasure trove for military buffs, collectors, and people who wonder about things that go "boom." Last Wednesday, through a driving rain and Ottawa's efficient but convoluted bus system, Beth and I spent the day at that museum. Lots of photos to follow.

     Since this year is the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in the "War to end all wars", the specially featured display is focused on Vimy. Many folks believe that this battle was the one that inaugurated Canada into the family of nations as an independent nation rather than a colony. The memory of the sacrifice there is held in memory by Canadians.

A chilling piece of art that features both the Vimy memorial and the ghosts of the troops who died taking that ridge.
It is quite moving. No matter what anyone might think of the command and the reason for that war, the bravery and sacrifice... on both sides... is to be held in memory.

One light for each Canadian casualty

A view of most of the display -  much of it interactive.

Elsewhere in the museum, in the WWI portion, an aeroplane still flies.

An 8-inch howitzer.

An original uniform of the Canadian Nursing Sisters.

The original light blue has faded to grey over the years.
In the War of 1812 section, we found General Brock's coat.

The General took this wound at the Battle of Queenstown Heights in October, 1812.
The black spot is the actual hole from the shot that killed this man, one of the few
British officers who understood fighting in North America and how to work with the First Nations.
We didn't go into the WWII section or the UN peace-keeping section. We wanted to go downstairs to the BIG display of vehicles and artillery.

Quite a garage.

A t-34/85 and a Churchill tank. A Sherman 76 is trying to photo-bomb this shot.

Your humble blogger attempts to read the bronze plaque on the Canadian Leopard II
that warns that the coating on the tank could be toxic if you take a metal grinder to the armour.
I quickly ditched my grinder and Dremel tools.

A Canadian APC - a Grizzly, I believe.

A variant of the M-113 with a TOW projector on the top.
These are hefty vehicles.

For a change of pace, a soup-and-hot-coffee wagon from the UK.
built on a Ford chassis, it would make a nice side piece of "table clutter" for a WWII game.

German searchlight with the business end turned away.

Quite a line-up!
Sherman 75, Sexton self-propelled gun (25#), the clumsy-looking Lee, the sleek Panther, a Sherman 76, and the T-34/85.
Classics of armour each one.

My friend, Martin's favourite vehicle - the Bren Carrier.
The F-101 Voodoo in Canadian markings.
I'd heard that this venerable warbird soldiered on with the RCAF for a long, long time.

Need a garden tractor? Try this engineering vehicle!

A German Kriegsmarine midget submarine, brought back to Canada by Canadian author, Farley Mowat and the unit he was assigned to in the Netherlands at the end of WWII.

Goliath, a small, fully-tracked, remotely-controlled demolitions vehicle used
by the German Wehrmacht in WWII. It's smaller than my kitchen table,

Various trucks and cars, including a VW amphibious Schwimmwagen just to right of center.

If I had one, I'd ride it... and the neighbors would hate me.

A rarity! The German 2.8cm light anti-tank gun (2.8cm schwere Panzerb├╝chse 41...translation -
28cm heavy anti-tank rifle) referred to as a "squeeze-bore" weapon. The bore tapered and provided
more power and velocity to the projectile.

The 17-Pounder British anti-tank gun. This could take on almost any of the Axis
tanks near the end of WWII. The main armament of the Sherman "Firefly"

A German 8.8cm rocket-projector called the P├╝ppchen ("Dolly" as in toy)
Beth wanted to get an idea of the bore so I put my hand against it.

A bronze 18-pounder

A carronade on a garrison carriage

Looking into the display area from the outside.
You can see the Zimmerit anti-magnetic mine paste on the Panther.
Some "nose art" from Canadian aircraft.
If you get a chance to go to Ottawa and see this museum, I don't think you'll be disappointed. There is much we didn't see this time and much that we saw and didn't photograph. It's worth the trip... and you can purchase a pass that gets you into a number of museums for a discount price over the space of three days. Well worth getting. Beth and I saved about $18 by buying the pass and going into the three museums. There are also other ones we didn't try to see, either because they didn't interest us or they were closed when we had the time to go.

Meanwhile, back at the Museum of Nature, I engage the staff in a deep conversation.