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.

A Quiz on a Windy Winter Evening

So quick quiz…

Where is this the flag of:

And what is the relationship to this one…

5 points for the first question and 20 points for the second part …. no cheating.

My Shetland tale this evening revolves around the rather remarkable story of a School masters son who lived just over the hill from me.

Have you ever played the game, I would like to live there whilst driving around (a favourite game of my good lady and I) John Clunies-Ross took it one step further… in 1813 he was a mate aboard the whaler ‘Baroness Longueville’ . On a lay over in Timor he was offered the job of captain of the brig ‘Olivia’, which he took. In 1825 He was travelling with a cargo of pepper from Borneo when he stopped on the white sands of a deserted island to reballast his vessel as well as rebalance the cargo. He thought it would be a nice place to set up home and build a trade empire. Two years later he returned and set about building his empire. He arrived on the Cocos Islands, around 11pm on February 15 1827, with his wife, five children and servants. So the game is up, the flag is Cocos Islands.

And this is where it is (in case you didn’t know)

The island, did indeed become a trading post. Huts were originally constructed, wells were dug, coconut trees and gardens were planted with fertiliser coming from burnt palm leaves. John and his wife both died on the same day on May 24 1854.

A new house was built, it was quite a nice pad, a long way from the original thatched huts…

Various British ships arrived over the years, including the ‘Beagle’ complete with a certain Charles Darwin. Who mentioned the ex slaves who were working for the family. He stated that…”found the natives in a state of freedom”. But a following sentence was missed out… but in most other points they are considered as slaves”.

However, Captain Harding of the HMS Pelorus Mentioned in a letter to Clunie-Ross that after questioning the Malays about their treatment…”Not a shadow of complaint or misrule by you could be established or maintained.”

Clunie-Ross promised to provide the ex slaves an agreed wage and to provide houses and gardens and had to promise that they were allowed transport off the island should they want it.

The family were the self styled rulers of the islands. The representative of the Straits Settlements reported the following in 1885 “members of the Clunies-Ross family are to-day in every sense of the word proprietors of the islands, for Mr George Clunies-Ross makes his own laws and interprets them, polices his little domain, provides his own coinage […] controls the entire trade and acts as “the universal provider” to satisfy the wants of the community”

In 1886 Queen Victoria granted the islands in perpetuity to the Clunies-Ross family.

The family sold the island to Australia in 1978 for the sum of £2.5 million.

Hopefully this has been a bit of an interesting read.

Random Ramblings…

Warning, long, long rambling post about… er… about elitism or something like that.

Whilst waiting for the Bases to dry on this lot

I had another notification from a well known Social Media Platform that rhymes with… well as I can’t think of anything … it was Facebook.

In one of the groups someone posted the following…

“Hi quick question, do any of you think that 3d printers will kill off terrain builders like us.”

Now it kind of made me think (it does happen occasionally) and I replied in a somewhat rambling post as to how it wouldn’t as it is a tool and it might be seen as a way to support the building of terrain. As you can imagine views were pretty much split yes and no with a nice smattering of who gives a shit.

But it did get me thinking about Elitism In hobbies. Will my sub £200 Ender 3 supplant the artistic talents of some amazing terrain builders out there, Hell no and I wouldn’t even pretend it might. But it does mean if I have half a dozen things I want, I can set it away and come back a few hours later and voila there it is on the bed.

Some people have said to me as a ‘joke’ that 3D printers are somehow cheating. Now claiming that you did all the work when all you press is start is a bit arsey. I am happy to say my models etc are there because I am standing on the shoulders of giants, but I am quite proud of my 30mm bases 😂😂😂. But seriously cheating!

Am I cheating, err no, unless you count MDF and card buildings cheating and if that is the case then shop bought flock or tufts or trees are too. I have in fact made all of these myself and although relatively easy it was a right pain time wise.

Part of me wonders what the original question was posted for, it seems weird, some did take it as a deliberate attempt to stir the shit a bit. Maybe it was, who knows

But it isn’t just in this hobby, my wife is a very talented knitter and it has hit their world too. On one of the forums someone was berating those people who used Aldi’s cheap wool to knit a jumper when they should obviously be using hand spun, hand dyed, drawn strand by strand from a 4 year old sheep in a full moon in late May or some other pretentious shite. Who gives a flying fling, it’s about what you can a – afford and b- what works for you. A Printer is the same. My desert houses. I paid the designer $10 for the pattern and I can print as many as I want. But I want about 6 to 8 of them. Now this has taken away a bit of business from other people, but it has technically saved me a hod of cash …but this is where it gets interesting…..

Building on the left printed on card by me and glued together. Building on the right made by me out of cork tiles. Because I made the one on the right, I have taken away further business from the designer on the left. But according to the poster on Facebook the one on the right is better as the card one is killing off terrain builders like him.

But it goes beyond that, IRO posted not that long ago about saving a blog, the blogger had written this…

“A while ago I came across a post on a fellow bloggers site informing the world of a cancer that was driving away real wargamers from the internet…”posers” who though claiming to be gamers were in fact nothing but shameless self-promoters, who like some sixteen year old girl posting endless “selfies” of themselves, merely used their blogs to showcase their latest figures and bask in the praise of other bloggers rather than posting “Batreps” of the games that they played.”

Well that is me buggered sideways, backwards and probably upside down. I therefore apologise whole heartedly for my shameless self promo… you know what bollocks to them , I shall keep on sticking my figures up here. If anyone would like to know a blow by blow account of how the elf wanted to save the donkey instead of the maiden from the wolves let me know.

But it is exactly the elitist bullshit that is creeping in. I call myself a gamer and apart from getting back into the RPG’s I have played in one HOTT tournament and one Games day since probably this time last year.

In conclusion, my favourite Facebook post was the following…

Yes – 3D printers are evil and only for untalented people who want to pretend they are crafters.

Is that the sort of thing you were hoping provoke? Virtually the same subject was brought up 2 days ago in Dragonlock Group.

It’s all just tools.

So there you go … It’s all just tools….

One last photo for JNV 😂

That is my painting snack sorted out for tonight 👍

A Year’s Worth of Painting Stuff.

A fair few people have been sharing what they did over the past year so I thought I would have a look back through my blog posts to see what I had been up to.

The ran into three broad categories… 28mm Flintloque being the most numerous with well into the 120’s miniatures

Next were the 15mm French and Indian Wars and my HOTT army.

Bringing up the rear in scale were my 10mm Mongols and Amazons. I probably painted more of these figure wise than the other two.

I also painted up my 20mm Dark Future vehicles for Azazel’s Mechanical November Challenge. 28mm WW2 tanks and heavy weapons for a friend and bringing up the rear a Frostgrave Warband.

I knew I had painted a fair bit this year, but only when I went through the blog posts and media I actually realised how much I had done.

Now looking at my posts, I have been pretty well behaved figure purchase wise. I can’t remember when during the year I decided to try and paint what I already had, to be fair it was part way through and definitely not a New Year resolution.

So here is my purchase list…


Some 20mm operatives and drivers for my Dark Future Vehicles


bits and bobs to finish off my HOTT army and unfortunately a DBA Aztec army (I was overcome by a fit of Nostalgia!)


Some Ostarian cavalry for Flintloque from EBay. These worked out at around a pound per mounted figure instead of four so it was too good a chance to miss. One of them was the final figure painted in 2018. I still have six to paint.


Grapeshotte Schilling pack, this included 2 Artillery pieces with dog crew for Flintloque. As I already had some artillery I decided some rules would be useful (there are lots of other rules in their too) The Schilling pack was a good bargain. There was Free postage too!


Bier and Bones Schilling pack … I wanted rules and race states for dwarves, dogs, ogres etc. The Schilling packs are really good value. It did mean I ended up with dwarves and ogres to paint but hey! I also added in a squad of Savant zombies and four more ogres and a new resin ogre Officer. A pile of various civilians also went into the order (again there was free postage).

That is pretty much the purchases this year – well at least the ones I can remember. I am not counting the GW magazine figures as I bought them for the paint! The kids got the minis to paint (except they didn’t) I got three of the first one. Three of the second (I got one for me and grabbed the other two for friends, who it turned out had already managed to get one) and then one of the third.

I am going to try and follow the same mantra this year as I have enough Forgotten Forces Friday to last at least 6 months. There is however a clause to this. There is one miniature in the Flintloque range that I intend to buy should I get the chance. Lady Anna, an Orc lady is no longer available. I managed to get Lord Orcingham in a pile of other miniatures a year ago, but so far Lady Anna has evaded me… oh yeah, while I remember when the Perry’s bring out their plastic Agincourt mounted knights at least two boxes of them!

Where to this year?

I intend to keep on painting as often as I can. I try to paint something every night, not to the finished stage, but to simply get some paint onto something. Azazel’s painting challenge has definitely helped me get stuff done.

Things to paint this year are>

28mm: Flintloque …. (shit loads), Agincourt plastics

15mm: Aztecs and my prize from the HOTT competition- 15mm Lizardmen

10mm: Elves, Mongols, Sudan War, Dinosaurs, various other bits and bobs

6mm: Road wars

Not to mention various things in various scales that I find in the various boxes.

The 3D printer will no doubt become a bit more of a thing, once I get the hang of it properly. The laptop containing the splicing software breaking hasn’t helped me get on much further.

More terrain will be made. I need stuff for 6mm, 10mm, 15mm and 28mm, so plenty of choice there!

We are going to get role playing again this month with more Shenanigans in Middle Earth to begin with and I hope to get back to the club more this year.

So not exactly a resolution, but something to aim for 😉