Fun with telephones

Today I had some fun with a call from an unknown company, previously logged on my i-phone as an “ambulance chaser”. i.e. someone who has, possibly illegally, picked up information about an insurance claim.

“Ring – ring” “I-phone – ‘Ambulance Chaser'”
Me: “Hello”.
Them: “My name is…”
Me: ” You should be aware that all calls may be recorded for training purposes.”
Them. “My name is…”
Me. “Can you please provide me with your postcode for security purposes?”
Them: “Why?”
Me: “If you do not know your postcode, can you please give me your mother’s maiden name?”
Them: “What?”
Me: “If you do not know your postcode, can you please give me your mother’s maiden name?”
Them: Brrrrrrrrrr……

Success!

Getting the look right

Sometimes I play my wargames with mediocre models on mediocre terrain, but not often.

Nowadays a lot of my games are played using home-produced gaming tokens on a recycled board game map.  I would like to spend more time creating good terrain with good models, but I seem to have to many irons in the fire.

However, when I do play a “proper” game with 6mm models, I like to get the look of the thing as good as I can.  For example, this is from an e-mail campaign of Operation Sealion, the German invasion of Britain in 1940.

The German player was sent three “postcards” before the game, on the basis that they had been found for sale in the post office at Lewes, captured the previous evening.  These photographs are taken directly from the 1:285 scale wargame table.  Only the “sky” has been blurred to remove the background shed planking.

 

 

Measure twice – cut once!

Recently I have been working on how to use  Bob Cordery’s gridded wargame systems with my 6mm toys.

I have spray-painted and gridded a small cork board (already painted and gridded on the other side for another game).  I have been trying to find a way to satisfactorily reduce (or bathtub) large battles such as Blenheim into a grid of 18 x 12 squares.  Previous efforts at this sort of thing can be seen here.

From my viewpoint there is one major problem.  A battle like this has three or four villages that must be occupied.  If you put houses (a house?) in the square at this scale there is insufficient room for troops.

Yesterday I remembered the pictures I had seen in Chris Kemp’s ‘Not Quite Mechanised’ blog, where he uses something looking like cinema flats across the sides of the squares to represent towns.

I decided to create some outline towns in a similar method, using the 3d printer.  I also had the same idea for woods that could be occupied by troop blocks.

I use the free online site Tinkercad to create my models.  I created a trial town with terraced gables on a 40mm x 40mm base with a 2mm “wall” depth, and a similar woodland with greater depth to the trees.

After a few hours printing the town I was quite pleased with the result until I tried it on the board – and realised my squares are 30mm x 30mm!  Doh!

I immediately cancelled the woodland print half-way through, but realised that I can use the resulting half-model, inverted and cut into pieces,  to make 6mm gabions on a parapet.

So I reduced the size to 75% and tried again.  This time I was not impressed with the result and the wood was too small to accept a troop base.

And thus I started all over again.  This time I think it will work.  The woods need to be filed on the inside to insert the troops on a 2cm 2cm base.

Below are the undercoated pieces (and some fresh from the printer) awaiting detail painting.  I think that once the houses are painted in a variety of brick, stone or render shades, maybe with some half-timbering detail, they will do the job.

Front row, left to right:  original 40mm print, reduced 30mm print with command unit, typical “Blenheim” infantry unit, redesigned 30mm print.

Second row, left to right:  inverted half-printed piece (now destined as gabions), 30mm outline wood (too small), redesigned outline wood.

Third row, left to right:  hexagonal outline town, Heroscape tile for this town.

I may decide to make models of only two sides (3 sides for hexagonal towns) so that larger built-up areas can be constructed.

We shall see.  Far more pressing projects await.  Little lead men keep screaming at me in incredibly high-pitched voices things like: “I love the hat boss, but can you PLEASE get round to the breeches?!”

 

 

Upon nearly reaching 65

Be it known to all that upon Wednesday next I will arrive at the grand old age of 65.  This used to be a major life point, when one was officially recognised as “old”, and could amongst other benefits travel free upon the omnibus.  However, due no doubt to budget considerations, Her Majesty’s Government has decided to postpone this “milestone” for a further six months in my case.

Therefore I similarly intend to postpone my celebrations until 1st November when (Brexit permitting), the parsimonious Department of Work and Pensions will commence repaying some of my contributions to their coffers over the last 47 years.

No doubt I shall have to make an application, but I have been preparing for this eventuality for some time…

I am lucky.  My wife’s original expectations have been delayed for more than six years!

Not how I expected to spend Easter

Recently I have been concerned about my health. Over the last couple of months I have been frequently short of breath and “wheezy”. In addition I have a chesty cough that will not go away. I went to my GP who scheduled several tests for me.

Blood test, chest x-ray, spirometry all came back “normal”.
I was given a nebuliser to try, but it appeared to make the cough worse.
In the last few days, a couple of times I have coughed so much that I actually blacked out for a few seconds. I checked out the NHS “111” service and the recommendation, as usual, was “Get to A&E a.s.a.p.”

Easter Sunday. Not the best day to choose, but off we went.
Two hours later, having been tested twice for blood pressure and oxygen levels I was put onto additional oxygen and then almost immediately examined.
My blood pressure was in the “normal” range, which was odd because it has been worryingly high for years. Oxygen intake was flashing “low” (below 90 whatevers that they measure).

Another blood test, another chest x-ray. Both showed nothing abnormal.

In the end I was diagnosed with underlying asthma with gastro-respiratory complications.
I was advised to use the nebuliser more frequently and with a heavier dosage, and prescribed some gastric inhibitor pills on a trial basis. Oddly the accompanying label says I should discontinue them if I feel sudden wheezy-ness, which is what triggered the whole investigation in the first place!

Last night I found that when I was lying flat (back or side) I was unable to take a deep breath, and spent half the night coughing pointlessly and getting out of bed to breathe properly. Sleeping in a sitting position triggered the cough, lying down made me puff and pant.

Back to the doctor tomorrow.

Meanwhile we have a couple of air purifiers arriving today. Since 26 years of secondary smoking and the occasional bowl of pipeweed have apparently left no effect on my lungs I wonder if I have developed an allergy to the dog!

A storage solution

Over the last few years I have bought several of Richard Borg’s games based on the “Commands & Colors” format.  These games contain a lot of cardboard terrain hexagon tiles, but are not very good at providing storage for them, particularly once one begins to acquire expansion sets.

My particular bug-bear is Memoir’44, which does provide storage boxes, but made in a way that makes the tiles difficult to extract, and they are quite flimsy.

And so I have pressed my 3d printer into service, and using the online free design program “Tinkercad”. I have created my own boxes.

Each of these holds 36 double-sided tiles, and should fit nicely into a Really Useful Box (we shall see when I have printed enough of them).  I might get organised enough to label them, but that’s a job for another day!

The downside is that each one takes over four hours to print.

When I have enough of these I will try making boxes for the rectangular terrain elements like bridges and bunkers, and maybe even circular ones for the counters.