The End of Blogging as I know It

You may, or may not have noticed that there was no blog last night. I had done no painting and was knackered so made the conscious decision not to write one on basically my day. It took a bit of willpower not to, but this morning I woke and there was no major guilt trip or worry that it might have exploded or something like that.

I though this was an appropriate track…The End another one would have been… Its the end of the blog as we know it (and I feel fine).

Up to yesterday I had done, a quite an impressive 920 day streak of daily blogs, some had more than one in and others had also my Shetland blog too. This mammoth undertaking started in 2019 when I decided I had missed a few weeks due to working in a busy school. It kind of became easier to blog than not, but when inhavent done anything to blog about, that is when I start to wonder why…

Am I stopping, Nope, not at all. Before my self imposed blog a day I was doing three to four posts week so there is still a fair old bit inside me.

In the next few weeks I want to get these Italian Wars miniatures finished, I think the destruction of the Pike blocks caused a bit of a slump in my enthusiasm. I have only three tercio shot and four units of skirmishers to finish. Hopefully without further destruction they should be done and dusted and put in a box never to see the light of day for a while… a bit like now really.

Having a Rant…Sort of…

Well as you might know I do like a bit of online gaming, and indeed sometimes I do get a bit miffed as tactics seem to be something that  aren’t considered. I mean who drives a tank into a built up area without infantry support. Come to think of it an M8 armoured car survived three hits from my Tiger, so did various Shermans.

Secondly, I had a look on Facebook to see what gaming videos were there and I was a bit surprised to see scantily clad young ladies ‘playing’ games. One if them actually had a controller in her hand 🤣. I mean I am not a prude by any way or means. But it was a bit pathetic at the amount of blokes commenting and sending tips. I mean for the young lady in question she is making a fortune and as such is very enterprising. But do the blokes honestly think that they are in with a chance. In a way it was actually quite depressing watching fellow bloke make a complete arse of themselves.

No Painting …but a Question

Tonight I looked up and realised it was 11.30, so Jo painting this evening, but I thought I would pose a question… Why do we choose the periods that we do? What draws us to them?

I will start…well that was a bloody stupid thing to say! Unless you are psychic and answered me earlier … Doh!

Anyway some periods I play and why….

First off The French and Indian Wars, this was simply down to the book Last of the Mohican’s that I read as a kid and later on the film.

Colonial… films when I was a kid again… Zulu, Zulu Dawn, and the four feathers…I decided to game the Sudan due to the different troop types available.

WW2, basically that was the stuff I was bought as a child… ww2 20mm Airfix, I dont really play it anymore but still have my 6mm Wermacht forces, plus some Americans I was given by my mate.

Other’s in the past were Vietnam, mainly in part to the influx of films like Platoon etc and also the Magazine ‘Nam’. I really like the crusades and medieval gaming, but I think this comes from Cry Havoc and Outremer board games,not to forget Samurai Blades which probably got me into Samurai gaming. OthersI haven’t got a clue… like Aztec and Conquistadors… haven’t a clue. Some might have come from the clubs I was playing in, but that was so long ago I honestly cannot say.

So the question is, why do you choose to do what you do…

Snow… What Snow?

So after a number of weeks of whiteness everywhere we awoke to pretty much this this morning…

I think I prefer the snow, the winds are up to to about 60mph, gusting higher, and at least is rain rather than snow. A bit miffed I never got my Valhallan’s photographed in their natural environment. Unst has warned that its roads are remaining closed due to severe drifting snow.

Okay to be fair it is about 40 miles away as the crow flies from my house to the centre of the island and indeed, when we were first up here we went for a day out to Unst and turned around due to drifting snow, which by time we got back to the ferry had totally disappeared.

It will soon be spring, except we don’t really have a proper spring, it’s more like winter, a few days of sort of spring then Summer. On the up side it there is still light in the sky gone 17.00 now.

Hopefully I will get more painting done this afternoon.

Big, Teeny Tiny Parcels, Undead and Chickens

Today may Irregular order came…yippeee, and I never finished my undead…boooo! The box was massive, compared to what I am used to – who cares, it had metal goodies inside…

On the left a Khmer army complete with hefalumps and on the right various packs of civilians, some Ikko Ikki monks and Nobori holders and then a Samurai hero set. The last two are to make command units for my army.

Sadly I was too knackered to paint much tonight and it was the tedious painting of weapons that finished me off.

These still have a long way to go, but the horrible bit (or one of the horrible bits) is over. Next up shields and metalwork.

Today we made another step closer to being a true Shetlander 😂. Yes indeed, we have now built a hen run covered in a trawl net. Clobbering in a pile of fencing posts didn’t do my wrists much good.

We have been asked to bake for Sunday Teas, dug our own peat (cast as they call it up here), sat on a hall committee. We are certainly ticking things off our list. If I ever get invited onto a fire festival squad then I know I will have made it 😂😂😂.

The cockerel was lovely last year, but this year he has matured and is now going for the kids, hence the need to keep him in a fully enclosed run. We have him and three hens, so this is plenty big enough for them. It is about 6 metres by 4 metres. They will also be let out too, this is until he calms down.

We’re Going to Need a Bigger Boat!

As I said in yesterday’s post, we have been visited by large pods of orca. This is someone my wife knows who had a close encounter…

Photo by Karen Hall

The boat is in the foreground of the picture.

So far this year we have had dolphins – pod of about 40 of them. Orca, humpback, Minke and also a Sperm whale.

We set the camera trap up near the stream and got some great rare birds. We caught a male teal as well as some grey wagtails. Not to forget the regular snipe, oyster catchers and mallards, including a pile of ducklings. We haven’t managed to catch the otter, but one of the Oyster catchers spend ages preening itself in front of the camera so we got loads of footage of him having a right good clean.

Shetland… Sunset to Sunrise

So I have shown a few photos and videos showing the light levels we get in the summer. Someone just shared this with me. It is a time lapse of over 2000 photos taken at Muckle Flugga at the far north of Unst.

Muckle Flugga was the most Northery manned lighthouse in the Uk. The outer stack is the most northerly part of the Uk, and is beyond the lighthouse.

Changes in Wargaming

When I found my 6mm Samurai I noticed that they were all on cardboard bases. This got me thinking as to things that have changed over the years.

I hated basing armies as you had to cut out your own bases out of either beer mats or mounting card. It took forever and I for one could never get the bases at ninety degrees all of the time. Jump forwards a few years and voila, you pay someone pennies to cut you some out of MDF. These can really be any size that you want.

Then there was the paint, highly smelly humbrol enamels. Or oil paints. I only ever tried oil paints once on a 54mm Airfix model. I don’t think it ever dried. The enamel wasn’t much better. Now we have a plethora of paints, from airbrush paints right the way through to the oils and the enamels. Of course there is my favourite go to paint in the Contrast Paints… I really must try painting with other ones again before I forget how.

Models themselves were sometimes blobs of metal or there was plastic in the terms of Airfix. My first armies were of course these. unpainted as I didn’t have the knowledge or inclinations paint them. My first ‘real’ war games army were the old Donnington 15mm Early Germans. my mate went Imperial Roman. Compared to 15mm miniatures today they are so dated… but funnily enough here I am using them and adding to them for my HOTT army.

With regards to that, here I am with Tin soldier 15mm Aztecs and conquistadors, original army sold years ago. I seem to be rebuilding all of my armies from my youth. All I need now are Museum miniatures crusaders, Two Dragon Samurai and Essex Miniatures early imperial Roman and I am there. Oh and a pile of ACW confederate troops from Essex I think.

I suppose one of the biggest changes now is the internet. I can now talk to manufactures or sellers in real time. If I want to compare miniature sizes someone out there will have done some pictures. There are so many different manufacturers out there too, so the Magpie approach to ‘my’ hobby is really bad for my wallet. It used to be the case I went to a convention and saw some great games and go and get enthused and come away with an army of Goblin Monkey riding ninja, which would end up in the bring and buy three years later …unopened! Now I can buy them whilst sat on the toilet! YouTube let’s me watch other people painting things or even playing the rules of my ‘new game’ all great stuff.

Blogging… yep it is great. I have met (virtually) some amazing people in all parts of the world. Without this here blog I never would have had the privilege of meeting them. I can honestly say that the people that are following my blog Are extremely supportive, and I hope I am for them. I have had only a couple of problems, and that is mainly people posting dodgy links as messages, they get deleted as soon as I see them.

And finally for me especially… the elephant in the room (although I haven’t printed it yet) is my 3D Printer. I remember many years ago my mate and I talking about how great it would be to get someone to make an us an army of our choosing. We talked about how much it would cost to get a sculptor to do it and then to get someone to cast them up. We did think about Prince August moulds at the time, but it never really got off the ground. Roll forward 30 years and I am printing my own miniatures and terrain in my shed. I pay for a file and print as many as I want for pennies. It gets even better than that. I can get things free and print them for pennies.

The down side of the printer is that it is sometimes too easy and cheap and I have printed so much crap that I will never use! My next consideration is to move into resin printing and give that a bash. Maybe Christmas next year.

The one thing that I do miss is going to conventions. Yeah I could go to some in time, and I did think about going to one of the Scottish ones next year just for the hell of it … If I manage it no doubt I will come back with some Goblin, Monkey riding ninja!

There are bucket loads of other things that have changed so much, but these are the ones that really just popped into my head. So what do you reckon are the big changes

A View from the Window

So I am sat here drinking tea and eating cheese and crackers (we have run out of shop bought bread – time to make our own) and I just glanced out the window. It is a pretty good view, well it would be if some pillock hadn’t have parked his car just outside the gate…

Apologies for the doggy nose prints on the glass.

It’s a pretty nice place to live. Social distancing isn’t a problem here, we basically live in the middle of a field. It is great as the kids can get out and run about to their hearts content. Once my bow comes (hopefully tomorrow) then I will pick up theirs and we can go out and practice – well that is if the snow doesn’t come!

So as we have people from all over the world I wondered what the view out of your window was.

Here is the view without the car in the picture…

We live in the bottom of a valley, you can just see one of the roads going up the hill on the extreme left of the picture. This route is a bit of a nightmare in the snow and ice, the other way has a 90 degree junction followed by a short, but very steep rise, meaning it can be tricky too.

Stream meanders past the house and can just be seen beyond the thick fence post towards the left of the picture. All of the migratory birds are back. The field is usually full of curlew, Oyster Catchers and Lapwing. I haven’t heard any snipe yet, but they will return no doubt.

The stream is full of life too. Some big eels in there as well as various fish, supposedly rainbow trout (my mate is a fisherman) but I have never seen any… we do get these chappies too…

Ignore the date stamp.. time is right, date is wrong

Based on last year’s photos we have at least two possibly three different otters. Once the chance of flooding has gone then we will get both cameras out again. You can see one of them in the shot above. This year I am going to put one of them on the other side of the stream.

So, just for fun, show me your view out of a window.

Fun Filming in the Cold

Yesterday the kids decided that they wanted to make a film. A fair bit of planning took place, with storyboards and the like being produced. When the kids were ready we headed off into the wind and rain to do our filming. When we got on site the wind chill was about -2. Luckily we weren’t out in it for too long.

The kids and my good lady did the editing this afternoon… so I now present our film.

Wild Shetland…

They have plenty more ideas up their sleeves so be prepared for more madness.