Inspired by spotting the last available item of steel racking on display in our local Homebase yesterday, I have ordered some “special offer” racking for the shed and for the lock-up in which all our camping stuff is stored.
I hope to better organise this stack of boxes housing my Kallistra terrain hexagons, and at the same time to get the tents and awnings off the sometimes damp floor of their storage facility.
Terrain production for the next Arnhem game proceeds with painting the last two railway hexagons.
While the paints were out and the railway sleepers drying I took the opportunity to paint a few bits of other wargaming projects: some 6mm MDF cavalry horses and the musket stocks of the US “Toy soldier” style infantry extracted from the box game of the American Civil War.
I have discovered that my bench in the shed is really not suitable for early Autumn morning painting. The amount of sunlight is brilliant, but directly into my eyes!
But while I have been painting the sun had dried the grass in the back garden so I had a go at mowing what is humorously referred to as a “lawn”.
The weed collection having been trimmed to an acceptable level I ventured out to the garden centre for some restorative grass seed for the bare patches.
One Kilo of grass seed and three bags of mixed soil and horse dung later, covered with a protective grid to keep dog and pigeons off, I could return to small scale landscaping.
(Sparky is not pleased with this new arrangement of his playground.)
While applying a steel metallic surface paint to the top of my model railway lines, and then applying the same to the ACW infantry barrels and bayonets I was reminded of an encounter some years ago at Kirby Hall (a multi-period reenactment event staged by English Heritage).
– Returning to the camp from our Napoleonic era display we encountered a Sealed Knot musketeer carrying a somewhat rusty matchlock musket of dubious safety.
– He asked us if our firelock barrels were “dummies”, made of aluminium. We replied: “No, proper steel, proofed for shot, but clean.”
– Our cleaning method was to scour the barrel, inside and out, using tools available in our chosen period, followed by an application of olive oil to lock, stock and barrel. We learned the “olive oil” trick from some French re-enactors at a somewhat wet event on 30th August 1997. (The date remains in memory because the Princess of Wales died the next morning and our weekend was spoiled.) Returning to the subsidiary topic, an oil-soaked cloth in a small leather bag, used to wipe the metal parts of the weapon at the first sign of rain prevents rust and keeps the musket working in most weather conditions. It works equally well for swords and pole-arms.
Before adding the newly-painted tiles to the wargame table I watched the film “Stalingrad” in the original German language, and it reminded me what a total shitty waste of lives real war is. Reminders of H G Wells comments at the end of his book, “Little Wars”.
Somehow the Germans are able to show the gritty reality in their anti-war films so much better than the English-speaking countries. Maybe it is something to do with the comparative suffering of their countries? The only film coming close to depicting the horrific reality of war that I have watched is the Russian “Come and See”, where the director even used live ammunition to enhance the reality!
And with all that in mind, this evening’s plan is to set up the townscape of Arnhem for yet another table top representation of historical futility.