Thursday 8 November 2012

Museum of Passchendaele

As usual, on our way back to the ferry after the Crisis show we stopped off somewhere with a WW1 connection. This year it was the fairly new Museum of Passchendaele in the chateau at Zonnebeke.

It's a very good museum and well worth a visit if you are in the area. Set inside the chateau are various rooms with lots of uniforms and other information about the area during the 14-18 period and in particular the third battle for Ypres in 1917. One of the most interesting parts of the museum is a reconstructed command dugout, which you go down into by a series of steps. There are lots of vignettes in there of command rooms, dressing stations and dormitories, and I can tell you that on a bleak Sunday afternoon, when you are the only people in the museum, the sound effects are very real!

The museum is in the process of expansion (like many other places getting ready for the forthcoming centenary) and from April next year will have a much bigger dugout and reconstructed British and German trenches in the grounds, so should be even better!

I took loads of pictures (as usual!) and some are below. The uniforms are of course in glass cases so some of the pictures suffer from a bit of reflection.

The chateau
French cavalryman
Belgian infantryman
German infantryman
French infantryman
German infantry and pillbox
Dressing station in the dugout - glad I'm not that casualty!

Photos from Crisis

Back from Antwerp now and what a great show it was. Congratulations are due to all at Tin Soldiers of Antwerp (the club who run the show) for another excellent day in a terrific new venue. There was plenty of space, plenty of light and plenty of gamers! If you were one of the many who stopped at our game then we'd like to say thank you for the interest!

This was the last outing for the Race to the Sea game, and it will now go into dignified retirement in CTK HQ. But we'll soon start to build our 2013 show game, which is now likely to be based on a part of the Battle of the Marne in 1914, so watch out for updates - I'll post photos as we build it as ever.

In the meantime, here's some last photos of Race to the Sea.


Thursday 1 November 2012

Crisis Wargames Show

Just finished loading the car up to go to a show that in many ways is my favourite of the year, Crisis at Antwerp. It's in a new venue this year, which promises to be much bigger with better lighting and even better catering! There are lots more traders too, so if you are in Europe and have the chance to get to Antwerp on Saturday I can thoroughly recommend it!

It will of course be the last outing of the Race to the Sea game, which is appropriate really since the game is also based in Belgium.

See you there Sander!

Tuesday 30 October 2012

Photos from Legion Show

Sunday was a very interesting day, as for various reasons I ended up at the show doing the game on my own! Luckily there were several people who joined in during the day so I was able to give the rules a bit of a playtest, and make some amendments. Everyone who played the game said how much they enjoyed the rules and that they gave a really fun game whilst being reasonably realistic. At one point we changed history too, as Keith Park (flying a Bristol F2b) shot down Herman Goering (flying an Albatros DVa) in flames! This lead to a bit of debate over who might have become head of the Luftwaffe in WW2.....

Legion isn't a big show, there were about a dozen or so games and a few traders (but very good ones!) I did manage to pick up a copy of "The tanks at Flers" for under a tenner, which was a bargain! The lighting isn't great in the leisure centre, so the photos below are a bit on the dark side, especially as I had to resort to a brown cloth to cover the table (no prizes for best scenery this time then!).

I was using our new style aircraft bases, made from magnetic pointers - they worked a treat!

Triplanes head in to the attack
Several Albatros DIII's
A Triplane vs Triplane dogfight develops - and a Sopwith Pup gets involved too!

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Legion Wargames Show

This Sunday (28th Oct) we're going to a small show at the old Pfizer's leisure centre in Sandwich, Kent. Legion is a show now in it's 5th year and is unusual as all the money taken is donated to the Royal British Legion, which is always worth supporting. There are usually a smattering of interesting traders and some even more interesting games!

As we've said previously, SELWG was Race to the Sea's last UK outing, so we won't be taking that to Legion - in any case the 6 x 6 table that we have at Legion wouldn't be anywhere near big enough! Instead we thought that this might be a good occasion to try out our new WW1 air rules, provisionally called "Dogfighting!". They are not finished yet of course, and are still a work in progress, but for those of you who do come to the show we'll be running a small participation game to play test the rules (as far as they have been written!) so please do join in.

I will try to post some pictures of the game after the show. It won't of course be a visual feast like Race to the Sea as this is just a "playtest" but we need to know if our systems work!

Wednesday 17 October 2012

Photos from SELWG

As promised I'm attaching some photos of the Race to the Sea game from SELWG. I'm sure you are all thoroughly bored of pictures of this game by now but hopefully I've managed to take a few from angles that I haven't previously shown!

SELWG was the game's last UK outing, and there will be just one more show for it which will be Crisis at Antwerp in November after which it will go into a dignified retirement in CTK HQ. Some of the figures will re-appear though in our 2013 game, which is likely to be based on part of the Battle of the Marne in 1914. We will of course post pictures of construction as it happens.

But for now, here's some more of Race to the Sea...


Sunday 14 October 2012

SELWG today

We had a really good show at Crystal Palace in South East London today and had the chance to chat to lots of people! If you were one of those it was really good to see you. I've taken some more photos of the Race to the Sea game which I will post shortly - hopefully they are ones that I haven't taken before!

We also met quite a few people today who said they would look at this blog so if you are one of those, welcome!

I'm off now to unload the car!!

Tuesday 9 October 2012

Crystal Palace this Sunday

Our next show will be SELWG (South East London Wargames Group) - always known as Selweg - this Sunday at Crystal Palace. We will have Race to the Sea again, which will probably be it's last outing in the UK although we will be taking it to Crisis at Antwerp at the start of November.

We had hoped to have Over by Christmas ready for publication for the SELWG show but unfortunately delays in getting the photos completed for the rules have meant this can't now happen. But with luck it will be ready for Crisis! If you are at SELWG do please stop by and say hello - we will have the final draft of the text for Over by Christmas with us so you can get an early peek at it!

We are of course also planning our show game for next year. It was to have been a Middle East game but we've been drawn (like moths to a light!) to the idea of another early war Western Front game - so watch this space for announcements and photos of construction!

Thursday 20 September 2012

Thank you, Miniature Wargames!

We have just seen the latest issue (September) of Miniature Wargames - it must have been out a little while now but we've only just got hold of a copy here at CTK HQ. In this issue they have reviewed both Where the Poppies Grow and Tools of Victory, and it is really pleasing to see that they rate the rules as "very highly recommended indeed". They say some very nice things about them, including commenting on the extent of the research and playtesting - and for Tools of Victory are surprised that the Portuguese are on the Western Front!

So, thank you very much MiniWargs!

Tuesday 11 September 2012

More from Colours - new releases

I forgot to say yesterday that there were lots of new releases that I saw at Colours for the WW1 gamer. I have already mentioned the trenches from Early War Miniatures but I also picked up some more of their British Tank MkV, which is the first wargames model of this tank in this scale and very good it is too. I also forgot to mention that along with the trenches EWM do a nice set of trench stores, and that the dugouts really are dugouts with detailing inside and lift off roofs.

Just as interesting are the new figure ranges from Lancer Miniatures. I was very excited to see that they have now released the first figures in a range of Portuguese infantry for the Western Front 1917-18 in the fluted helmet (and so excited that I bought some!!). Excellent figures they are too, as are their French infantry in fez.

I also managed to pick up a set of WW1 pilots and aircrew by Orion. I hadn't seen these figures before but they really are good, very well moulded and some great characters in there (have a look at them on Plastic Soldier Review). Looking forward to adding character to my WW1 planes!

Monday 10 September 2012

Colours 2012 at Newbury

Back now from our weekend at Colours, and as this was our first time at this show I have to say what a great show it was. The venue is excellent, with the Grandstand at Newbury Racecourse being very comfortable and with superb views over the Racecourse. Not that we were looking at that very much of course, we were spending our time talking to all the interesting people who stopped by to say hello!

There was a lot of interest in our game, and we had some enjoyable chats with many gamers as they stopped at our table - so if you were one of those who did, it was great to meet you! There was also a welcome interest in our rules, which was gratifying (!), and particularly in the final draft of "Over by Christmas" which we had with us. Judging by the interest at this show once we publish this (which we hope to do in the next few weeks) it will go like hot cakes!

While at the show I also saw (and bought!) some of the new vacform trenches from Paul at Early War Miniatures. If you haven't seen these yet go to his website and have a look at them, they are really, really good and fantastic value for money.

I took a few photos of the game at the show, which I have posted below.

A British Avro 504 which just happened to stray over French lines!

Friday 10 August 2012

Our next show and work in progress

Our next show will be Colours at Newbury Racecourse on 8th and 9th September. We'll have the Race to the Sea game of course, so if you are at the show do please come along and say hi!

As well as working on finishing off Over by Christmas and starting research for the Middle East supplement, I've been busy here at CTK HQ on some more wargames figures. I'm currently building up my late war French army, mostly using Revell and Pegasus 20mm infantry with artillery by HaT, SHQ, Skytrex and Early War Minatures and the excellent St Chamonds and Schneiders also from EWM. Renault FTs are the HaT ones, and I've recently got a couple more boxes so that I can finish off a battalion for Tools of Victory.

I'm also using some extras by EWM such as their 37mm trench artillery piece (very nice) and their De Dion Bouton 75mm AA guns - a photo of which is below. They don't come with crew (at the moment) so I've used some figures from the HaT French Artillery set to crew them, which seems to do the job quite well.

Sunday 22 July 2012

Home from War and Peace - and more photos!

Home at last from the War and Peace show! It was a very busy show over the 5 days, and we saw and chatted to loads of people. Everyone was very complimentary about the Race to the Sea game, and there were some interesting WW1 re-enactors and vehicles there - as well as some great WW2 and post-war vehicles too!

Here are a few more photos of the game - including some of the Fusiliers Marin for you Sander!

And here is an MMG that was used as a Turkish AA gun - it was for sale but it wasn't cheap!

A couple of Model T Fords - I actually rode in the ambulance (as a passenger, not a patient!) around the showground 2 years ago!

Saturday 21 July 2012

Oops - it's not the War Horse tank!

Sorry for misleading all of you, but it turns out the tank at War and Peace that I photographed isn't the one from War Horse - apparently that wasn't allowed to attend due to adverse ground conditions! Very typical for a WW1 tank - they needed the best ground to advance anywhere!

Thursday 19 July 2012

Pictures from War and Peace

As promised, here are some pictures from today at the War and Peace show. With some good weather today the show ground is drying up nicely and we should be in for an excellent weekend!

And here are some pictures of the replica WW1 tank, which I think was the one used in War Horse:

And lastly a Nieuport 17b, painted up for Albert Ball's machine:

Wednesday 18 July 2012

At the War and Peace show

Well we have spent our first day at the War and Peace show! It was good to see old friends again (hello Jay!) and to have a busy but enjoyable day.

I must admit the photos of the site I had seen before we went this morning were not promising, and for once this year we'd already decided not to camp but to drive in each day, which has proved to be a good call! But we got in, unloaded and out again this morning with no problems at all, thanks to great work by the marshalls and staff at the show. Yes it is very, very, very muddy in places, and more rain isn't helping, but it didn't stop us having a good time today.  It did mean that we couldn't easily get round the trade stalls (good thing, saved some cash!) but I did manage to pick up the new HaT WW1 German wagons, which are lovely!

I'll post some photos of the game once I've taken some, probably tomorrow. I think the MkIV replica tank that was used in War Horse is there, so if I get the chance I'll take some photos of that too and post them here.

Tuesday 3 July 2012

Off to the War and Peace Show

It's not long now to the War and Peace show! We will be in the model tent (it's a full size tent with models in it, rather than a 1/72 scale tent) on all 5 days of the show from 18-22 July, so if you are at the show do please come along and say hello. We will of course have the Race to the Sea game, and if any of you haven't yet picked up a copy of "Where the Poppies Grow" I think we may just have a couple left from the first print run (and it is only a couple!). "Over by Christmas" is still in preparation but we hope to have it ready very soon, and I have just started research for the next main supplement, as yet un-named, which will cover the Middle East. I'm also working on the new set of air rules, which will cover the whole war - these are also as yet un-named.

For those of you who don't know about the War and Peace show, it is the largest gathering of WW2 re-enactors anywhere in the world now. Over 5 days, at the Hop Farm, Beltring  near Paddock Wood in Kent thousands of WW2 re-enactors and military vehicles from all over Europe (and it is literally thousands of military vehicles, including tanks) gather. We are not re-enactors of course, but there is also a thriving model arena with a couple of wargames, some excellent scale models and some good traders. It's also a lot of fun and a jolly good day out! Last year there were some WW1 re-enactors there with a very good trench system, and I hope they will be there this year too as they are well worth seeing. For extra realism they get the fire brigade to fill their trench thigh deep with water in the morning and then they stand in it for most of the day! Then again, with the amount of rain the UK has been experiencing recently I guess the fire brigade might not be needed this year!

Sunday 20 May 2012

A few more photos from the trench game

Here are a few more pictures from our game at Milton Keynes last weekend.

Tuesday 15 May 2012

Photos from the trench game's last outing!

We really enjoyed Campaign, the 2 day wargames show in a shopping centre in Milton Keynes last weekend - many thanks to Neil and the other organisers at Milton Keynes Wargames Society for putting on such a good show!

The unusual thing about having a wargames show in the middle of a shopping centre is the number of "non-wargamers" - the general public - who stopped to look at the game and to talk to us about it and about the Great War. It was great to talk to so many people and to explain what we were doing, and also to talk to wargamers who appreciated the work that had gone into presenting the game. And the cold tea in the shellholes drew loads of attention again!

This was probably the last outing for the trench game at a waragames show. It will now go into a dignified retirement (in the new wargames shed!) as we concentrate on the Race to the Sea game. We have already started planning our game for 2013 as well!

I took a few photos of the game, with some interesting results as we were in direct natural light from the glass roof:

Tuesday 8 May 2012

The trench game gets another outing!

We are off to Campaign this coming weekend, which is a wargames show staged over 2 days in the middle of a shopping centre in Milton Keynes! So we thought that it might be best to take the trench game, rather than Race to the Sea, to illustrate the Great War to the general public. We'll have all the usual stuff with it, hordes of aircraft and too many boxes of figures to get in the car and this time I will charge up the battery for my camera! If you are in the Milton Keynes area this weekend, do drop in and say hi!

We won't have the new aircraft stands yet though. I've found a magnetic pointer in a well known retail store in the UK (five letters, last four ESCO) that extends over seven sections and ends up 24 inches long (or high, depending how you look at it!). They were selling at the grand sum of £1.27 each, so I bought 18 of them! Soon you'll see these on the table as we develop our WW1 air rules further.

Tuesday 24 April 2012

And some photos from 6milPhil

These photos were kindly taken by Phil Page, otherwise known as 6milPhil - thanks Phil! It was good to see you on Saturday.