Thursday, September 20, 2018

September 2nd, Peterborough

Peterborough Wargames Show: Hereward 2018

We really enjoyed this show last year and were pleased to be invited again.   The Peterborough Club have contributed a number of innovative participation games over the years and have a nice little regional show on their hands.

They had a no-show on the day, plus, for my preferences, a 10 or 15mm figure trader would be a bonus ... then again, the guy selling brushes was an unexpected addition and I filled a number of upcoming requirements at his stand.

We were there as the Society of Ancients and Northampton Battlefields Society and we took along the participation version of the Northampton 1460 game.

(Northampton 1460 on the NBS stand at Hereward 2018)

We spend a good part of the day meeting wargamers and family visitors, explaining medieval battle, weapons and equipment, and encouraging (the youngsters, at least) to try the weapons for size ..

(Hereward 2018: Northampton 1460, weapons and armour, battlefield publications)

It is all part of our project to raise the profile of ancient and medieval warfare and awareness our local battlefields.  People are always very interested and supportive.  Like the problems at Bosworth, however, they are not always aware of the issues.  The news agenda is not controlled by historians and heritage activists (or by ordinary people at all) - so people only tend to be most aware of what the media chooses to put before them.  This is often very partisan and not at all reflective of people's real interests and concerns.

(.. don't call me pig face'.   Trying on helmets is always popular)

In addition to 1460, there were a good number of other ancient and medieval games, mostly participation.

(a participation game of getting the fragments of the Ninth Legion back up the road to Longthorpe)

(the battle of Hegerley Moor using Peter Pig's bloody Barons)

(Playmobil longships participation game)

... and ... drawing a lot of attention ...


This was a 54mm Big Battle DBA Punic Wars battle which I think went to Salute a few years back ...  anyway, it was good to see it again and kept a lot of players engaged during the afternoon.  Good also to see a DBA participation game at a show.


... and the big figures ...

(eye-level with the 1:32 plastic warriors ... Punic Wars DBA at Hereward)

... so a big thumbs up to the Huntingdon Club for this one.

In addition to the ancient and medieval games, there were one or two there things to look at, a fair few traders (including the brushes guy) ... and Harry Sidebottom was signing copies of his latest book.


All in all a pleasant day out and just a short distance up the road for us.  Given it looks like nothing is happening at Bruntingthorpe, this is now our local show.   Please look out for it next year on the first weekend of September.  

I guess it is now officially Autumn.  It used to be a season of wargame shows but with Colours shrunk and Derby gone, we'll mostly be out and about supporting the DBA League.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

August and September, Middle England


On the Battlefields of historic England

The outdoor heritage event and battlefield anniversary has always been an important part of our English Summers.  The traditional campaigning season made May to September an active time for warfare and, as a consequence, many of our historic battles took place in the Summer months.

With wargame shows now happening in the Summer (when wargaming was 'young', July and August were pretty much left clear for family holidays ... ) there are plenty of clashes.  Over the second and third weekends of August we had 6 wargame shows or battlefield events to participate in - just for the East Midlands.
  
The engagement feedback shows all these activities are worth doing but it does mean both Bosworth and Partizan, for example, were 'morning's only' for me, as I swapped shifts with someone else in another part of the region.

(Naseby 373 .. Civil War exhibits and the Northampton Battlefields Society)

Late July saw the Sealed Knot and Naseby Project celebrating the birth of the Army of Parliament with a public event in the village.   The Northampton Battlefield Society and Battlefields Trust were present and NBS were running games of Northampton 1460 to entertain visitors sheltering from the squally conditions on what was the bad weekend of a splendid Summer.

(NBS at Naseby 373: Paul explains how to play Northampton 1460)

We were involved in two guiding days at Fotheringhay, on with NBS and one with the Friends of Kettering Art Gallery and Museum.  Fotheringhay in Northamptonshire was, of course, the hub of the Yorkist homelands in the Wars of the Roses, birthplace of Richard III and resting place of his father Richard Duke of York who was killed at the battle of Wakefield just after Christmas in 1460. 

(the motte at Fotheringhay with the iconic Yorkist church on the horizon)

The following weekend started with setting up the 54mm DBA-based game of the battle on the Battlefields Trust stand at Bosworth.  Much in the news at the moment, this battlefield needs protecting.

(Bosworth 1485 on the Battlefields Trust stand at this year's Bosworth Festival event)

Hinckley-Bosworth Planning are considering giving permission for the construction of a vehicle testing track on what is the bottom left-hand corner of the battlefield layout above.  It needs to be stopped.

Is this on the registered battlefield?  Yes.  Were soldiers on that part of the battlefield?  Yes. Has archaeology been found there?  Yes.  Are there important battlefield views from there?  Yes.  Could the test track be built somewhere else?  Of course (though the developer says not - but they would say that, wouldn't they?)

Here's a link to the petition.  Please sign it.  Even if you are not in the UK, your 'vote' is important ... this is a heritage site of world-wide interest (as the Richard III reburial coverage around the World showed) ..


D-Day for this is 15th September when the Planning Committee makes a final decision.  I will be there putting the case for conservation and I need your support.

This is an important part of one of the most important battlefields in England.  It is on the Battlefields Register and the associated Richard III story brings millions to Leicestershire. The issue couldn't be clearer - if you can build here then no heritage site is safe.  Sign the petition.  Write to your MP.

(more scenes from my morning at Bosworth 2018)

(Bosworth 1485: small medieval field guns)

Here's another view of the DBA model ...

(Bosworth 1485 ... the shoot-out between Norfolk's and Oxford's divisions)

... and from Bosworth it was off to one of the Fotheringhay tours above and then to Partizan.

Meanwhile ...


Northampton Battlefields Society has been a strong supporter of the town's Heritage Open Days, and offered hourly interpretations of the Queen Eleanor Cross and the battle of Northampton.  You will recall that the battle was watched from the cross and that, 9 years later, Warwick brought the leaders of the Royalist army his men had defeated at Edgcote to the cross for execution.

(the NBS heritage gazebo and HQ at the Eleanor Cross, Northampton)

We had to put up a gazebo on a windy Sunday morning (three people trying to hold down four wayward legs!) but we got there in the end - and over the weekend we were able to introduce a valuable number of new people to the views of the battlefield and the story of the cross.  Some had come from as far away as Surrey to hear about Northampton's past.

(Nenefest ... celebrating the heritage and diversity of the River Nene Regional Park)

And then there was Nenefest.  And an opportunity to get the Northampton 1460 model out.  The event was not over-run with visitors but it gives me an excuse to put up some pictures of the battlefield!

(Northampton 1460 ... the Yorkists advance)

(Nenefest 2018: Northampton Battlefields Society display weapons and meet the public)

(Northampton 1460: the Lancastrian defences ... 15mm figures by Phil Steele with Fluttering Flags by Graham Fordham)

There's one more of these events to come, BBC Radio Northampton's Northamptonshire Day at Delapre Abbey on September 30th.  It is usually a fantastic event and very well supported.  The Battlefield Society will be there, the Shows North team will be there and we will have lots of battlefield stuff in the marquee and guided visits to the battlefield. 

All in sight of the battlefield and a short walk from the Eleanor Cross, symbol of Warwick's victories (and logo of the Battlefields Society).  Amazingly, despite all our campaigning, it is another heritage monument at risk.   It is a national treasure.

(heritage at risk: a medieval masterpiece, Northampton's Eleanor Cross)

Monday, September 3, 2018

19th August, Newark

More Partizan at Newark Showground


It only seems a few weeks ago that we were at Newark for Partizan  ... oh yes .. it was ...

The second Partizan show of the year - which used to kick off the Autumn season - has migrated into August and is now a Summer show on a busy weekend of events.   Unfortunately that meant I could only do the morning shift.

Still, the History Zone was full of good stuff and familiar faces.   And the show was good.

(Partizan's History Zone: The Lance & Longbow Soc; The Pike & Shot; Waterloo Uncovered/Replayed; The Society of Ancients; The Naseby Project; The Battlefields Trust and Northampton Battlefield Society)

Wow!  Great to see all those key Societies taking centre stage ... they make this show a first class event.  And yes, maybe I am biased.


At the heart of the ancient and medieval periods, NBS were reprising the fast play Northampton 1460 historical game which was, in turn, much praised (and a number of punters picked up copies

(Get your copy from Northampton Battlefields Society)

Ancient?  There was also a splendid 15mm (and other) scale presentation of Magnesia, refought by Simon Miller and friends using To The Strongest.

... and a Participation/promo game of Gangs of Rome ...


(the splendidly panoramic 15mm scale - good to see at Partizan)

(28mm ... 1/1 scale pikes?  a nice addition to the Magnesia display)

(Magnesia: from the big battle ... )


Medieval?  In addition to Northampton, you could play Hedgeley Moor ...

(More 15s at Partizan in this figure-heavy Bloody Barons take on Hedgeley 1464) 

Otherwise here were some nice offerings amongst the predominantly 28mm demo tables ..


People seemed to be enjoying themselves and I did like that big ACW naval/riverine one.


... and we're kind of doing a 'lace wars' thing at the moment so this year's trends (well 'pre-modern' anyway) are quite attractive ...


Stand out amongst the Participation Games, of course, would be WD's Cliches of the Great Patriotic War and (naturally) anything using Playmobil ...

(the ever-reliable WDDTN participation game)


Apologies for such a rushed synopsis ... there was much more than this.

This rather nice waterfall caught my eye, though ... I have long wanted to do some 'Last of the Mohicans' style terrain for Quebec/Montmorency - and this is the sort of thing (will just have to be bigger though ... ) ..


But I am straying off topic.

By the time you read this, we will have done the Hereward show and I will be behind again.

Next up I will look at some of the heritage events - especially the battle of Bosworth where the battlefield is now threatened by development.  Keep reading and think about signing the petition.  Every supporter counts.

More anon.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

11th August, Manchester University


Which brings us almost up to date ... August saw Britcon again ...

For me these days no longer the exhausting long weekend of DBM, Armati or FoG but a quick-fire day of DBA.  Saturday only ... five games.


Britcon is generally a themed competition and this year Simon was moved by the one thousandth anniversary of the battle of Cannae (the later one between the Byzantines and Lombards) and offered a list of Armies and enemies of 1018.


This actually fitted quite well with my tidying up programme as I have been working my way through an old Byzantine (generic) collection and it would be a useful spur to the process.  I got the new (8Bw) infantry finished and completed the army with Anatolian cavalry etc. and the previously refurbished camp.  It is all coming together ...


Now I said 5 games ... well in this case not for me ... like thousands of others that Saturday morning I fell victim to roadworks and sat on the M6 for 2 hours missing games 1 and 2.  They are building a smart motorway by means of running a thoroughly dumb one.

Fortunately the Umpire was able to stand in for those 2 games so no byes ensued and I was able to take my place for the afternoon session.  I got to play against East Franks, Early Muslim North African and Early Bulgar ...




I achieved a timed-out draw and 2 wins ... and a 4th equal finish.   Not bad for the only Byzantine in a Frank fight!  Of course I had set out to shoot my way to victory and the results were predictably random.  Against the Franks I couldn't hit anything.  Against the North Africans I probably had the right army ...

... and against the Bulgars I hit everything.  I think my averages were about on par but the 6s came all at the end against the benighted Bulgars.

Results ...
1. Mark Johnson, III/52 West Frankish;  2. Colin O'Shea, III/52 West Frankish3.  Tim Rogers, Fatimid Egyptian; plus ...
4= Baldie Storey, III/53 East Frankish and Phil Steele, III/65 Nikephorian Byzantine6. Richard Pulley, III/52 West Frankish7= Arnaud Marmier, III/33  Early Muslim North Africa with Tuareg Allies and Malcolm Hogg, III/52 West Frankish9. Tamara Fordham, III/71 Georgian10. Chris Rigby, III/14 Early Bulgar.


Aggression 4, I attacked in all games.

It was the last day of the heat wave and it rained stair rods in the evening.   Yeah, yeah ... I know ... it rained in Manchester (big news story ... !) and I bashed my car in the car park. Eventful day.

Hoping to do it all again next year.  Partizan in a week!