Monday 26 February 2024

Of Cavalier and Car Parks

Rainham Wargames Club ACW nava game using Hammerin’ Iron by Peter Pig

Some of the Union vessels

More Union vessels including the U.S.S. Indianola

The rebels including the two ironclads the C.S.S. Tennessee and the C.S.S. Albemarle

It was, even by my standards, a pretty eventful morning yesterday! Cavalier is the annual wargames show organised by the Tunbridge Wells Wargames Society and is one of the first shows on the calendar for the year. It is a great excuse to get out and about, catch up with gaming acquaintances old and new, gain inspiration from the games on display and to indulge in a spot of retail therapy. In of the above categories i would say that I was only partially successful!

I was on very tight schedule which meant that whilst I was able to say hello to a fair few people (not as many as I would have liked to have (apologies to SEEMS and Mr Fox) my visit consisted of one walk around the main hall and then numerous trips to the car park! I was able to get pictures of one game that caught my eye and chatted briefly with the denizens of the RainhamWargames Club who were running it. The action was an American Civil War Ironclads fight using Hammerin Iron and a nice selection of Peter Pig 1:600th scale models. 

I also managed to pick up an item for onward delivery to Paul O’G of  The Man Cave fame which will feature in his latest project (check out his blog for details). He is in town so we are meeting up for beers and chinwag later in the week.

I was also able to score some 1:72nd scale figures I have been after for an absolute age and the lack of which was crippling a project I have planned. More about this when they arrive, hopefully later in the week.

Business was very much the order of the day and so my first stop was to drop off a box of books and have a chat with Dave Lanchester. A brief view of his stand did little other than to pour far more temptation my way than would have been good for either my wallet or domestic harmony so I quickly did an about turn and headed away!

I had two deliveries to make - each being parts of Eric’s collection - and so the first was to none other than the legend that is Ray Rousell - painter of figures large and small, enamoured of the late 17th century and member of Postie’s Rejects. This particular transaction had been outstanding for around three years for one reason or another and so it was good to be able to finally pass over to Ray four boxes of goodies (he was only expecting one and so four came as quite a surprise. Given that he has only just gotten over a recent bout of the screaming awfuls I felt obliged to carry them from my car to that of Big Lee - which was in another car park the other side of the centre! For all that it was great to see him again and recovering well. Enjoy the bits and pieces Ray!

No sooner had we got back into the centre and had a quick chat when our ambassador for Suffolk arrived. This of course is the esteemed David Barnes of The Ragged Soldier fame. Aside from being of a similar vintage to yours truly David and I also share a quite close geographical connection in that he grew up in Ken not far from the Isle of Sheppey from where I come from. Although we never met during our early years we both used the Kentish Town of Sittingbourne as a central point of reference and the two model shops it used to have - Man and Boy and Beannies. Once again another trip to the car but mercifully this time his car was at least in the same car park (and he carried his box of surprisingly heavy goodies - this time from Eric’s WW2 collection).

We headed back into the centre and went our separate ways - always a pleasure chatting Mr Barnes - when I then bumped into my old friend Bob Cordery of Wargaming Miscellany, the Portable Wargame and inspirer of many fame. We spoke briefly, along with Nick Huband and also Henry Hyde - the former will be providing valuable assistance with the revised and expanded Portable Ironclads Wargame and the latter regaled us with the story of his recent restoration of a Charles Grant (Snr) Spencer Smith infantry regiment (the name escapes me but I believe it was Ostgoterland or similar) that featured on the cover of the classic book The Wargame. Henry was as engaging as ever and is firmly of the school that superglue can solve many ancient plastic woes of the brittle kind!

It felt like I had only just arrived when it was time to head off to Rochester for a very special meeting. 

Years ago I used to live just outside of Maidstone and knew the roads etc into Rochester pretty well. In fact getting there was really easy and usually only took around fifteen minutes or so. Rather foolishly as it turned out, I relied on the the Sat Nav to get me to Rochester from Tonbridge and it took me on a rather circuitous route that took me into Rochester from the other side of the Medway, via Strood and other such places. Clearly this was to avoid Maidstone town centre but clearly the Sat Nav did not know that I knew the best way of getting through the town!

Anyways, some forty five minutes later (and twenty minutes late) I arrived at my destination - another car park at the back of the main high street in Rochester and tantalisingly close to Baggins Book Bazaar - an absolute treasure trove of a secondhand book shop. The car park was full and so I cruised aimlessly around until, as luck would have, I was spotted by my contact (it sounds rather like a bad Cold War spy novel at this point!). I was not able to get a parking space and parked up by his car, hazard lights flashing.

The reason for this meeting was one of collection. I have acquired the 3mm ancient collection painted by that renowned brushmeister, none other than Lee Gramson. It was a pleasure to finally meet Lee in person, along with his wife, daughter and granddaughter, albeit briefly. The transaction was partially completed and a large box and a bag of goodies were soon safely packed away in my car. A quick visit to the car park ticket machine - a wise precaution as although I did not technically park you need to have entered your car number plate in order to exit the car park - and a brief chat followed, with a promise to meet up in somewhat more convivial surroundings and in warmer weather. The whole exchange took around fifteen minutes or so and then it was back on the road again for the journey home. 

The collection is gorgeous and I will write a full blog post with pictures in due course.

Overall then it was a good, albeit whirlwind kind of a day and many thanks to all that took time to have a chat - and apologies to those that I missed out!


Ray Rousell said...

Great to meet up yesterday Dave and once again thank you very much for the 4 boxes of goodies, you're right it was a long wait (but well worth it) to get the what I thought was 1 box, that turned into 4. I hope it doesn't take me that long to sort them all out!!
Thanks again, Mr Cook, t'was a pleasure as always!

Jonathan Freitag said...

From the sounds of it, a very good day out for you!

David Crook said...

Hello there Raymondo,

My pleasure old chap and seeing you on your feet and up and about was a big plus! I hope the weight did not stress Lee’s car axles too much! Of course it would have been handy if he had parked a little closer…. :-)

I am looking forward to see what you can do with the collection in due course. No rush, next week will do fine…. ;-)

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Jonathan,

For all the rushing about it was great to get out, meet a few people and look at some inspiring games.

A great way to spend a Sunday morning!

All the best,


'Lee. said...

Hi David, was indeed a pleasure to meet you yesterday even if the car park was completely full! Having broken the ice I will look forward to having a chat over a beer come Summer :) I wish you lots of pleasure with the contents of the Sparkly Box and the other bits :)


David Crook said...

Hi ‘Lee,

The car park was suitably chaotic and indeed, the drive there was an interesting one to say the least!

I should have followed my instincts and went via Maidstone….

A quiet beer in summer would be a magnificent idea and I will look forward to that - and unleashing the sparkly box of goodies!

All the best old chap,


david in suffolk said...

Great to meet you David, and thanks very much for the new toys, I am very pleased with them - and a lovely bonus! I will show them on my next posting.
I do like 'ambassador for Suffolk'!

Simon said...

I thought the show was good, but quite down on traders. This seems the way of things now. Also I thought the footfall was down, but that could have been because the stands were spread out more. Got to say I did not buy much and some of the traders looked a bit bored.

Aly Morrison said...

It sounds like an eventful day David…
And yes all those quick car park exchanges certainly look dodgy…

“Honest officer when I said it was “ grass” I meant it was static grass”
“I don’t care if it was running a marathon or waiting for a bus… your nicked sonny “ 😱🤣😂

All the best. Aly

Scott said...

Hi David,

sounds like you had a good time at the Wargames Show. I've seen Lee's painting work in the 2mm wargaming facebook group. Do you plan on trying Strength and Honour Rules for your 3mm figures? I am currently painting Romans and Barbarians for Strength and Honour rules using Antonine miniatures carried by Warbases. At first, I was put off by 2mm miniatures but I feel I made the right decision. Painting 2mm is a lot less work than painting 6mm and 2mm is relatively cheap. One other advantage is 2mm can pass for othter armies like the celts in Britian or the Slave Revolt armies.


David Crook said...

Hello there Mr Barnes,

It was a pleasure as always old chap! Us old Kentonians should stick together - especially as we are both now in foreign climes, blazing a path that others might follow!

Really pleased that you are pleased with the new kit - I am sure that I will be able to find some more bits and pieces for you.

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Simon,

To be honest I was not there long enough to really compare it to other years - but it seemed quite busy in terms of footfall. I hope that it was successful from a financial perspective so that it continues.

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Aly,

“It’s a fair cop guv!”

The static grass I would not be guilty of - I have never used it!

For all the running around it was a great day out!

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Scott,

The figures are gorgeous and organised for DBA but I reckon Strength and Honour may be a good shout. I share your thoughts about the whole ‘variable army’ thing as well as the relative ease of painting etc. It is something I need to explore further for sure.

All the best,