Showing posts from 2018

A Field in England (2013)

If you like your 'war' films full of bish-bash-bosh then this isn't a film for you.

This is a film by Ben Wheatley (who is perhaps slightly more famous for doing J.G. Ballard's "High Rise" starring Tom Hiddleston).

Shot in monochrome, the film follows a small, disparate group of individuals who have fallen off the edge of a battle. But not deserters! They are going for a pint.

En route to the pub they stop and eat a mushroom stew, some of which have, shall we say magical properties.

They then set off to pull a rope, have a major group dynamic change, hunt for some treasure, and...

...but that would be telling.

Very sweary, some nudity.

An interesting film, I mean 'interesting' in a good way. So if you like your films more arthouse than Hollywood then you might enjoy this film.
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A Year On...

A year ago when I started this blog I was pretty convinced that nobody else in the world would ever be interested in my inane ramblings. Admittedly, reaching a massed global audience wasn't actually on my agenda; I just wanted to store all my bookmarks, links, notes, pictures and thoughts all in one place.

Staff at the KeepYourPowderDry work's anniversary/Christmas party. Think the Saturday boy (front left) might be delicate tomorrow.
When it became clear that other people (who hadn't been coerced) were actually reading the blog, I initially wondered if I'd make 1,000 hits in a year. That was a sizeable, and seemingly pie in the sky target. Then the 'I wonder... target' quickly became 5,000, then 10,000, then 12,000 giving a nice monthly average, finally 15,000. The end of year stats are hovering around 15,600, which I don't think is too shoddy. Visitors come from every continent, and almost every nation. My inner anorak finds it really interesting looking a…

Artillery Park

Alas the curse of the fat fingers, combined with a teeny weeny smartphone screen meant this post sneakily crept out a day or two early, without pictures! So, now, here it is complete in glorious Technicolour. The Saturday boy will spend some time on the naughty step as punishment.

The different commanders at Ch√Ęteau KeepYourPowderDry have been having a recruitment drive, and all three factions have expanded their artillery parks.

The Covenanters have another frame gun and crew from Peter Pig, and a pack horse and horse holder from Magister Militum.

The Parliamentarians have a new medium gun (saker) and crew from Peter Pig, a limber from Museum Miniatures with a Peter Pig dragoon horse holder.

As do the Royalists.

All, of course, feature custom casualty markers from Warbases.

Now to help the recruiting sergeants assemble new regiments of foot.
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The Queen's Sconce

The fact that I am planning a sconce has got me thinking, and ultimately revisiting the Queen's Sconce in Newark. I've already blogged about having a grand day out in Newark but a more in depth look at The Queen's Sconce is required.

Newark had considerable defences built to protect the town and the strategic route North, some of these defences dating back to Henry VIII's time when he fortified the town during the rebellion against his religious reforms called the Pilgrimage of Grace.

The strategic value of Newark explains the building of castles on the site since the eleventh century. Today Newark castle remains albeit in a slighted state, as do twelve scheduled ancient monuments, all of which relate to the defensive earthworks of the Civil Wars. The King's Sconce existed until the 1880s, the site is now a housing development. The larger Edinburgh Sconce (an offensive earthwork) has been lost also.

Newark's fortifications: the Queen's Sconce is central and…

Sconce - completed

I promised myself a sconce/star fort as a reward for completing eight regiments of horse. Only taken me seven months to finish them, as I keep getting sidetracked with engineers, generals, sedan chair things.

So here it finally is. My star fort. Or sconce if you prefer.

This is the resin model from Magister Militum (a Battleground model, by the late Ian Weekley). I believe that the only other production sconce in 15mm is a paper model.

The model is slightly problematic though: if you look at the Queen's Sconce in Newark you'll quickly notice that the sconce, and other star forts of the Civil Wars were earthworks, and the Queen's Sconce has just one entrance.

Aerial view of the Queen's Sconce, Newark
The model is more Vaubanesque as it is a stone built fort, and due to the way it is sold (you buy it as a half fort, and they only make one design of 'half') you end up with two entrances.

So I have two choices, modify it with Polyfilla and a Dremel, thereby making …

Royalist Cavalry: Part Two

Here's the latest instalment of eye candy. Four more Royalist Regiments of Horse.

Eagle eyed readers will spot the newer Peter Pig one-piece cavalry castings (pack 24 cavalry+pistol+hat).

All I will say is thank heavens for washes which help hide the really awkward bits to paint* at the front of the one piece figures.

Cornets, as always from Maverick Models.

Colonel Sir Edward Widdrington's Regiment of Horse

Served mostly in Yorkshire, participated in Marston Moor, Naseby and possibly besieged at Newark.
Colonel Richard Molyneux's Regiment of Horse

Derbyshire regiment of horse based at Chatsworth, took the field at Naseby, and besieged at Newark.
Colonel Charles Lucas's Regiment of Horse
Part of the Marquis of Newcastle's Army, took the field at Marston Moor where Sir Charles was captured. He identified the eminent Royalist dead on the battlefield, and is said to have wept at their numbers. Sir Charles was later released in a prisoner exchange. Colonel Thomas Leveson&#…

Royal Armouries, Leeds

Update: they appear to have had a slight revamp of the Civil War Gallery. There's a few extra bits on display. 

One of the most stunning museums I have visited (if you can ignore the wealth of smelling mistooks on the exhibit labels and interpretation boards). One of my favourites too.
Lots to see and do. If you have small people in tow, check their Events page.  They usually put a tournament on over the Easter weekend. If you have particular interests check out the schedule of talks and demonstrations before you go, and plan accordingly.

On entry choose the stairs which give close up views of the Hall of Steel.

Civil War interest lies with the Littlecote Collection, the most important surviving armoury of the Civil War; in the audio visual theatre tucked away at the back of the gallery there is a 15 minute dramatisation of events at Marston Moor (on a continuous loop). Spot the mistake on the large interpretation board showing Streeter's Plan of Naseby - it's actually Stu…


Occasionally something really quite good crops up on fleabay.

Listed recently were some metal detector finds of civil war era cannonballs. I contacted the seller who assured me that he had permission to detect on the land.

So for £20 posted I bought one.

Uncleaned, with coaster to give idea of scale.
A gentle clean with a wire brush Dremel attachment, and a spray of Waxoyl followed by a buff with a cloth and here it is:

A 9lb demi-culverin cannonball

Now residing on my desk. One of my cats steals anything and everything that is left on my desk; I'd like to see her try to steal this.
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Witchfinder General (1968)

A confession: I have watched this film. I therefore apologise to everyone that knows me, and will no doubt burn in hell for all eternity as a consequence

Described on Wikipedia as a 'cult film', this is clearly a reference to how pants this film actually is: it is absolutely dire. When released there was consternation as the plot of torture and saucy thrills was deemed too much for audiences. Starring Vincent Price as Matthew Hopkins, an appearance by Wilfred Bramble ("'arold, 'arold") as a horse trader, and a host of young ladies screaming in what can only be described as a Carry On style. I am impressed by how shoddy the uniforms of the New Model Army cavalry troopers are: grey felt armour is possibly the highlight of the film.

The film exudes low budget, awful script and wooden acting. If for some reason your interest is piqued by this, it is available on DVD and Blu-ray, or pop over to YouTube where the whole film is available gratis.

Just don't. Trus…

Casualty Markers: Take Three

As Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer oft said "you wouldn't let it lie". Clearly I haven't. Whilst perusing the Warbases' website I noticed that they make custom casualty markers; identical to the ones I already owned but with the text of your own choice. Nice idea I thought.

That bit of knowledge sat in the back of my memory, slowly formulating an idea: wouldn't it be really good to have casualty markers with custom messages for each faction? Nice idea but preposterous! I'd have to rebase all my casualty figures, then the cost of doing it, plus there's nothing wrong with my current markers.

But, like an itch that needs to be scratched... well, I scratched.

First of all, I needed a font, and also could Warbases 'do' different fonts? They could, and I found a suitable seventeenth century pamphlet style font: Chapbook italic.

Chapbook font is available to download here - CAUTION downloading fonts can leave you open to malware and other nasties, ensure …

London, Part Three: Museums

Regular readers (hello both of you), will hopefully already be familiar with my posts on The National Army MuseumThe Museum of London and The Wallace Collection. This post will look at what, Civil War wise, is on display at The British Museum and the V&A.

The British Museum is one of the world's great treasue houses, for those of us with an interest in the Civil War make for Gallery 46. Easy to spot, you'll pretty much have it to yourself as everyone else will be swarming around the mummies and the Sutton Hoo displays.

Newark Siege Coin
The highlight, for myself at least, are the examples of siege coins and tokens.

There are some nice terracotta busts of Charles and Cromwell.

Most of the gallery is devoted to crockery and glassware from the period, particularly striking is a commemorative plate of General Monck.

There is also the obligatory death mask of Oliver Cromwell: their mask is bright red, whereas all the other masks I've seen have been wax brown. It is believed…