Saturday 1 January 2022

New Year, New (and old) Projects and Getting Ready

Firstly, I hope you all had a merry Christmas and that 2022 will prove to be a happier new year! 

I was not expecting to be posting anything on the blog until the latter part of January but felt obliged to on the back of what has been a very nice Christmas and new year. It was just the four of us for Christmas but everyone made a real effort of lighten the mood bearing in mind Laurel’s impending surgery and the recent loss of her brother. For the most part we ate too much, probably drank too much and played lots of games but most importantly of all did it as a family. My son and daughter have surpassed themselves in terms of mucking in (they always do in any event but went above and beyond this Christmas) and my son in particular certainly channelled his inner Gordon Ramsey in respect of his culinary endeavours. “God bless us every one!” As Tiny Tim said indeed!

New Year’s Eve was spent at a friends house and without exception we were all pleased to see the back of 2021!

The new book at the top of the picture and the other two titles from my Burma collection

The seasonal haul was outstanding (I am truly blessed) as my daughter got me a copy of Robert Lyman’s latest work: A War of Empires: Japan, India, Burma and Britain 1941 - 1945 by way of a change from my usual Amazon gift card. She had heard me mention about this title previously and so quietly squirrelled away the information for Christmas. I have developed something of a fascination with the Burma campaign and naturally this features prominently in Lyman’s work. I have a couple of other titles in the collection and am looking to acquired Slim’s Defeat into Victory at some point. I would certainly like to game it in some way but this is a while away yet.

Command and Colours - Samurai style. Let the labelling commence!

Covers not only the battle itself but the preceding political shenanigans - we are deep in James Clavell’s Shogun territory for sure!

My son went down the Amazon gift card route (with the addition of a litre bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin and a very nice Chianti - no liver or Fava beans though….) with a piece of sage advice. “Get something you would not do ordinarily” he said. Not being one to disappoint I opted to get a copy of Samurai Battles - the Command and Colours game by Richard Borg and the book you see above about the battle of Sekigahara. This is a period of Japanese history I was first introduced to vis James Clavell’s novel Shogun. Combine this with far too many days taking part in a Bushido role playing campaign back in the early 1980s and seeing Akira Kurisawa’s magnificent film of the Seven Samurai it was only a matter of time before my resistance crumbled!

In many ways I have a strange relationship with the Command and Colours series. Overall I enjoy them hugely but some are certainly better than others in terms of gameplay and flavour. What I particularly like about this game is that it is self contained and with plenty of the all important period feel. You only need the game itself and you are all set - none of this buying a gazillion expansions to complete the series - although I will now need to flesh out the library with a few select titles. For the Samurai in general then one needs only to look at the prodigious output of Dr. Stephen  Turnbull (most of which are available from Osprey) which should satisfy most of what I am likely to need. Would I use figures? Bonkers as it may seem and in total defiance to the answer most would have expected I am not averse to using figures although I should qualify that by saying that it would depend on whether it not I can get a hold of a copy of the Milton Bradley game Shogun. The figures therein would suffice for a couple of armies augmented by some 1:72nd scale Cavalry (Archduke Piccolo I am looking at you for this idea!). Again, this would be way down the batting order as I have so many other things to tackle first. Having said that perhaps something 6mm or 10mm may be a viable alternative.

Posed specifically for this post and in the hope that seeing them semi-complete will serve to inspire the final push! The masts are not fixed in place yet and naturally there are deck fittings, pilot houses, ‘walking beams’, guns and flagstaffs to fashion.

On the subject of tackling other things first I have been able to spend a little time working on the ACW ships. My trusty Dremel was gainfully employed in drilling out fourteen mast holes so seven of the nine models I am working on at least now have somewhere to step their masts rather than on my modelling tray! For the record these are not glued in as I always paint them before stepping them - it makes it a whole lot easier to get to the deck, ahem, detail…..

I have given a lot of thought to the other two models as I have the other seven of nine (Star Trek fans of a certain vintage will get the reference) ‘dialled in’. I am more or less set on one of them - the U.S.S. Ozark - but am still debating the final model for the Union. However, I am fighting off the urge to build some more steam and sail types!

In other news….

We are mostly all set for when Laurel goes into hospital on the 6th so for the next couple of days all will be a frenzy in the house as we get as much done as possible beforehand. We have already packed away the tree and decorations and even the fridge looks relatively normal after the demise of the chilled portion of the festive comestibles. The wine cellar has been barely touched though and I still have plenty of mince pies, a brace of Christmas puddings and a Panettone to get through, not to mention industrial quantities of chocolate in various guises. With the contents of a fully stocked freezer and a son who delights in creative cooking we should certainly be dining well during the Memsahib’s absence - especially as my own culinary expertise is rather modest by comparison….

We had a long chat with the neurosurgeon on Christmas Eve and he was both very helpful and endlessly patient. Make no mistake, although the procedure is straightforward (to a neurosurgeon perhaps - it still looks hellishly involved) and he is confident that a complete recovery will be the outcome one still approaches these things with a certain degree of trepidation - and I am not even the patient!

Now that the initial shock has subsided (to be replaced with something akin to a barely acceptable level of apprehension) we, or more especially Laurel, is understandably nervous but she is keeping herself busy by way of distraction - and to be honest so am I!

Happy New Year one and all - look for my next post at the end of the month then hopefully normal service  will be resumed. 


Robert (Bob) Cordery said...


It was great to read that you and your family had a great Christmas, with everybody mucking in to make it go seamlessly.

You did very well on the present front … and the Samurai game looks very interesting indeed. I’ve never actually played any Samurai battles, although the rules that were included in the PP&SW book did intrigue me somewhat.

I do hope that Laurel’s operation isn’t disrupted by the upsurge in COVID infections. Our local hospitals have closed their doors to all visitors except those seeing pregnant mothers and those undergoing end of like care. As a result, my forthcoming yearly checkup has been postponed by a month … for the moment.

May I wish you and your family a Happy New Year!

All the best,


Aly Morrison said...

Happy New Year David…

I am glad you had an enjoyable Christmas…
Please give my regards to Laurel… if I can find any more digits to cross I will…

All the best. Aly

tradgardmastare said...

Glad your Christmas and New Year went well. Some excellent additions to your reference library and gaming collection. Thinking of Laurel and yourself very much.

Maudlin Jack Tar said...

Best wishes to your wife

MSFoy said...

My very best wishes to you and your wife, David. Let's get this year off to a good start, shall we?

David Crook said...

Hello there Bob,

I was a lucky boy indeed! I have made a start on the great labelling exercise for the blocks in Samurai Battles and am looking forward to trying it out. There is a dedicated facebook group as well which will be useful. I intend to keep it as self contained as possible but who knows? Maybe I will get some figures organised at some point.

Being together as a family at Christmas - especially this year - was lovely and it did all of us good.

We are keeping our fingers crossed re the surgery date and that there is no Covid induced cancellation. Laurel has her test tomorrow so the whole house will be isolating until ‘Der Tag’.

A very happy new year to you and yours as well!

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Aly,

Many thanks old chap! Laurel has really appreciated the good wishes from people she has never met nor heard of other than my mentioning them. Perhaps there is something in this wargames blogging lark after all!

Please be mindful of your digits and be sure to count them when uncrossed in case any have gone missing!

All the best and thanks,


David Crook said...

Hello there tradgardmastare,

I was very lucky and the beauty of the whole Samurai thing is that it is nicely compact in terms of resources (aside from the books of course!).

Laurel is me at ally preparing herself and so the good wishes have really helped and she is (as am I) really appreciated of the kind words and support.

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hello there Maudlin Jack Tar,

Many thanks old chap - much appreciated!

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hello there MSFoy,

Amen to that old chap! A better start to the new year than finish to the old methinks!

All the best and a happy new year to you,


Steve J. said...

So good to hear that you all had a great Xmas and New Year! Everyone we've spoken to is happy to see the back of 2021 and hoping that 2022 will be better on all fronts. We too still have loads of food left over and still more to get through yet, even having given loads away as SWMBO gets given stuff from school and church.

Fingers and toes firmly crossed for 'Der Tag' and I will be thinking of you all on the day. I got a tad nervous before my op the day before but otherwise was completely fine. The family was more worried than me, fool that I am!

The Good Soldier Svjek said...

Good luck with the op , The C&C Samurai game is a cracker ! , I've played it a lot this last year .

David Crook said...

Hello there Steve J,

The last six months have been very trying so it was with a huge sense of relief when the clock struck the hour to say goodbye to 2021! We had a great time thank you (and I hope did as well!) and my haul was very well received.

Naturally we are all a little apprehensive about ‘Der Tag’ but the neurosurgeon certainly helped to ease the tension when we spoke to him on Christmas Eve.

Let’s hope it all goes to plan.

All the best and a happy new year,


David Crook said...

Hello there Good Soldier Svjek,

Many thanks old chap - much appreciated! I am really impressed with the C and C Samurai game and am looking forward to giving it a spin.

All the best,


David Manley said...

Hope all goes well over the next few days, thinking of you both :)

David Crook said...

Hello there Mr Manley,

Thank you old chap - much appreciated.

All the best,


Charles Litka said...

Fingers crossed that all goes splendidly and Laurel has a new, pain free back as a result.

David Crook said...

Hi Charles,

Thank you most kindly sir! The consultant is confident that the condition will be completely cured so we have to be (cautiously) optimistic.

It will certainly be a massive relief to Laurel after her years of pain.

Many thanks for your finger crossing - all digits crossed are most welcome!

All the best and a happy new year!


david in suffolk said...

Happy New Year to you, David, and I hope all goes well for your wife.
Good luck with all your projects, too, we look forward to reading about them here!

David Crook said...

Hello there David in Suffolk,

Happy new year to you old chap and many thanks for the good wishes! Things are going to be a little quiet for the next month or so but I hope to be fully back in the swing come the Spring.

Fingers crossed anyway!

All the best,