Monday 12 November 2018

Wargames Show: TARGE 2018

I went along to TARGE in Kirriemuir on Saturday. I had some stuff to sell at the Bring and Buy and was also hoping to get in a couple of participation games.

I have always enjoyed the Kirriemuir Wargames Shows, both originally SKELP and it's more recent replacement TARGE. However, this year it turned out to be somewhat of a disappointment. On a surface level, I don't have anything to complain about. I sold most of the stuff I took down and bought a couple of things that I hadn't expected (and still came away in profit on the day).

However, the display tables that were there were all very familiar and I had certainly seen most of them before. I can't really complain, it is the last show for the season, so most of these tables should be retired now, with new ones appearing for the next year, but it did make for a less interesting show.

There were also quite a few empty tables in both rooms. I don't know if this was down to participants not turning up, or the organiser overestimating what they needed. If it was the former, it is a shame, but if it was the latter, I feel it would have been better if the occupied tables had been spread out a little more.

I must admit, the whole show seemed extremely quiet this year. I held off taking the photo of the hall, hoping to get a shot of it looking busier, but it was very quiet all day.

My son and I also only managed to get in one participation game (the, always quality, Leuchars Veterans) Carry On Up The Khyber, which we had already played at Carronade earlier in the year.

Anyway, that is enough of my moaning, here is the photo dump:-

 Leuchars Veterans Carry On Up The Khyber game!

A lovely table with a Batman game on it. Unfortunately, the rules are apparently quite impenetrable, so the game was purely being run as a demo...

I really like the look of this table, it is very simple, but it catches the feel of the territory and works really well.

This Stalingrad table was lovingly produced with scratch built scenery and 3D printed vehicles.


This was an amzing collection of beautifully painted miniatures.

So, that is my very brief round up of TARGE 2018. Hopefully, it will be back to its normal standard next year, as I usually really enjoy it!

Tuesday 16 October 2018

Future Worlds Landscape - Modular Wargames Terrain

As I slowly get back into my model making and wargaming hobby I have been looking for new and interesting projects to sink my teeth into. I was contacted by Nick Fatchen and asked if I would like to review his Kickstarter Project called Future Worlds Landscape, and this seemed like a perfect little project to get me moving again.

I have always enjoyed the terrain making side of wargaming, probably more so than painting the figures. So when this came along I jumped at it. I wasn't sure about the idea of 3D printing a large number of tiles to make the terrain, but I soon realised that I can slowly add to the set as and when I need to.

Before I go any further, here is the link to the Kickstarter:-

Now I must state at this point that when Nick asked me to review these kits I had planned to print off the whole set straight away, however, both my sons and my 3D printers have been playing up and I have not been able to print any at home. I have had a couple of tiles and some of the connecting clips printed on the machines at my work, but they are too busy for me to do any more at the moment. I hope, from what I have printed, that you will be able to get an idea of the system.

The idea is that you can build up a collection of tiles that clip together to build different hills and obstacles for different games. There are a series of different tiles that have internal and external corners, straights and pieces that change height from one side to the other. There are also edging pieces which give a smooth transition from the table to the hill (unfortunately, I have not yet been able to print any of these).

The tiles clip together with a firm push and grip tightly, but also come apart easily, when you need them to.

The clips push into slots in the sides of each tile and these line up perfectly, with each different configuration.

Obviously, you do need to make sure that the edges of the tiles match.

Depending on the tile, there are between 2 and 4 slots on each side. I have found that 2 should be fine to hold the tiles together, but it is handy that you don't need to use the same two every time...

Underneath the hills, there are extra supports that hold them up. These also hold the tiles together for added rigidity. I have only printed the 1" pieces, but there are also larger ones for the higher hills.

 I had hoped to have a few more printed and have them painted for this review. As that hasn't happened we will have to make do with the painted examples from the Kickstarter page (which can be seen at the top of this article and also below).

 Personally, I am not to keen on the paint job on these examples as I think it highlights the edges of the tiles, however, as this is promoting the tile system, that is probably the intention.

The detail on the tiles is fantastic, and really captures the different textures of the scenery. I was really impressed by this once I had the actual tiles in my hands.

The process of 3D printing this system is not a fast one, and there is a certain amount of clean-up involved. Although the clean-up should be minimal as the files are designed to be printed without any support material. Mine were done with support material as the guy that runs our printers felt they needed it. I will be doing the next lot without, both for speed and to save filament.

I must admit, I think this isanm excellent system and I am looking forward to getting more printed to build some nice big and versatile layouts...

Monday 15 January 2018

Book Review: China and the West by William Edward Soothill

China and the West by William Edward Soothill

Subtitled: A Short History of Their Contact from Ancient Times to the Fall of the Manchu Dynasty

I have been putting off this review for some time, I finished reading the book a couple of months ago and I have felt that I needed to time to decide how to approach this review.

The book in itself contains some very interesting detail about China's interaction with the outside world, and the West in particular. It was first published by Oxford University Press in 1925 and the author, William Soothill, was a Professor of Chinese at Oxford University.

Therein lies my problem with this book. I am not an expert on this period (one of the reasons that I wanted to read this book), but I am well read on the Mongols and the rise and fall of their state, and I also have an interest in the British Colonial period (mainly in North Africa and Sudan).

The book was written at a time when the British Empire and colonial views were still firmly held, at least by many in the West. The author, William Soothill (who lived in China for 25 years), was clearly still of the opinion that the Western powers could run China far better than it's own people. It is apparent that he felt that China was being badly run because it wanted control of its own trade relationships with the West, and indeed wanted to cut all ties with the West at one point. Considering how the West, and Britain in particular, was treating China I personally feel that they were extremely justified in breaking off relations with these Western states.

Soothill clearly, had some very "Victorian" views on many other aspects of  Eastern culture. As a secular Buddhist myself, I found his description of Buddhism particularly offensive and completely inaccurate.

"A religion which is based on a mistaken philosophy of the world, of life and of human nature, and which makes the monk, with his parasitic life, the noblest form of earthly existence, may bring more safety to the lives of the rest of humanity, certainly more than Islam, or the pagan Mongol, but its inevitable result is intellectual stupor. The fundamental force in Buddhism is escape from all earthly attachments and entry on earth into Nirvana, which in effect becomes spiritual inactivity and intellectual torpor." - Page 44-5

Leaving behind the opinions of the author, I also found at least one factual error in the book:-

"He (Genghis Khan) now turned his attention towards China, the northern half of which was under the Chins, or The Golden Horde By 1213 he had overrun most of their territory, and they were glad to buy him off with promises of heavy tribute, which they in turn squeezed out of the unfortunate northern Chinese whom they ruled." - Page 38

I don't know if the title "Golden Horde" has an alternate usage in the early part of the 20th century, but every reference to it that I have found all refer to the  Khanate of Batu (otherwise known as the Kipchak Khanate or the Ulus of Jochi), which only came into existence after 1259. Named the Golden Horde after the colour of the Khans tent...

Due to this error and Soothill's tendency to inject his personal "opinions" into the text, it does bring some doubt into much of the rest of the book. As such I find it difficult to recommend it as a source of information on the subject covered by the book. In fact, I ended up learning as much about the attitudes of the colonial era than I did about the actual history of China and the West.

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