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.