Friday 31 January 2020


I recently read a short article about trying to get more people to read your Blog. For full details see this link. While in the past I have also seen articles questioning if Blogging is dead.

I got into blogging by accident. I had intended to open a full website, but after a couple of abortive attempts (which my son helped me with) I found Blogger was so much easier to use. Ten years on and I find the systems and procedures of Blogger are now second nature to me. However I am aware that  there are many who do not like reading or following Blogs.

Sometime last year I was speaking to a well known wargamer who said that he NEVER used Blogs as he finds them too awkward to navigate!

As I have stated, I have been writing this blog for over ten years and think of it as an on-line diary more than a question and answer forum. I can confirm that views and followers have stayed much the same for most of its' life with regular readers and followers taking time to comment and even write to me on my personal Dampfpanzerwagon e-mail address. The blog has also meant that I have been able to sell three self-published guides or books (the last book Dampfpanzerwagon Guide No. 3 - Models for Wargamers is now running very low, with less than 10 copies available. Should you wish to order a copy please see the link to the right).

I do enjoy comments but this is NOT the main reason for writing my blog. They are great to receive but as I don't write questioning posts or posts that I feel need comments, the number of replies are not my reason for posting. I have been asked why I don't write on Facebook. I don't write on Facebook as I find the platform to 'clumpy' and not to my liking. I have a Facebook page but hardly ever use it to post and mainly use it to see what manufacturers are doing. My son and daughter are continuing to push for me to experiment with 'other' platforms like You Tube but so far I have resisted.

I am worried that if Blogger ever closed, there would be a lot of information and posts lost forever - similar to what happened when Yahoo Groups changed (I am no longer a member of Yahoo Groups and miss the interaction that happened in the earlier years of this platform as well as the huge amount of files that have been lost forever). My daughter has pointed out that there are ways to save Blogger posts, and maybe one day I will get around to doing something about this.

So why do I post on blogger?

Mainly to act as a personal diary and record of my modelling, painting and gaming hobby. When I receive comments I am very grateful and appreciative, but as stated, this is not my main  reason for blogging.

I'd be interested to read why others blog.....


Tuesday 28 January 2020

The Lexian Chronicles Full Circle

While browsing a charity book shop in Droitwich, I came across this hard back graphic novel for just £1.00. This is the Markoshia Omnibus edition of The Lexian Chronicles by Harry Gallan and is in perfect condition. I'll enjoy reading this once my current reading projects are finished (I had so many books as gifts for Christmas that this could take a while).


Sunday 26 January 2020

Practical and Simple Wargame Terrain

Earlier this month I blogged about a magazine article I have had published in Miniature Wargames - issue 442, February 2020. I commented on the fact that this was the first of what I hoped would be a short series of tutorials on building simple, practical and robust wargame terrain build from easily sourced and everyday materials. For details see this link.

However I thought it would be interesting if I gave more details as to the reasons for producing such a series.

Following on from my earlier self published books or Dampfpanzerwagon Guides, I had received many positive comments, but a few criticised me for my use of non-standard or specialist products, for example industrial or specialised superglue and high quality green foam (a product designed for the professional model making community). In addition there has been many comments on my preferred basing technique of building my models on small diorama bases with lots of 'clutter' to decorate the base and add some interest.

In these articles, I had decided to cut-back on the specialised products and build robust and strong wargame terrain using nothing but everyday materials - for example cardboard, egg box card and plain card.

As you can read in the article in Miniature Wargames, the simple Storehouse was indeed built from simple materials - cardboard, card and egg box cartons and I can confirm that it is very robust. I have been able to allow my two grandsons to play with all of the models and so far they have held up very well.

In my article/tutorial and in the future articles I have set myself five simple rules or guidelines;

1 - The model should be constructed from simply sourced or everyday materials.

2 - The model should be generic and able to be used in a wide variety of different games or genres.

3 - The model should be robust enough for wargame club use.

4 - The model should be finished to a good standard and resemble the building it represents.

5 - Finally, it should fit into a 6 inch x 6 inch x 6 inch box - for easy storage.

It should be obvious, but just for the record - the models do not have an integrated base or an interior.

I would hope that this model 'ticks' all of the criteria above and that the following articles (so far there are three similar article with John - the editor of MW) will give some inspiration to others who want to produce practical wargame terrain for next-to-nothing cost.

I would be interested to hear from gamers about their views on such a series and also welcome criticism or comments, particularly suggestions for future practical wargame terrain models.


Thursday 23 January 2020

The Witcher - the Netflix series

Sue and I have just finished watching the first series of The Witcher on Netflix. We had seen some reviews prior to starting the series, but recommendations from my son and daughter prompted us to start watching it - and I have to say that we have enjoyed all of the first 8 episodes and are looking forward to series 2.

I did not have any preconceived ideas about the character of the series as I had not read any of the books or played the game. I do think I had heard of it, maybe on gaming or entertainment sites.

The story does play around with the timeline quite a bit but in the end, I think we followed it close enough. I would say that there are some fantastic characters in series 1, but if Henry Cavill was paid by the word, I don't think he would be earning that much (grunts are a totally different matter.....) Even so I would say that he does pull it off and makes a convincing anti-hero.

I would say that it is a good series (if a little short) and well worth searching out.

For more information see this official Netflix site.


Wednesday 22 January 2020

Lead Soldiers Haul

I am well aware that Blog posts this month have been slow.....

I have been working on a couple of commissions and finishing off a number of magazine articles for publication later this year. But this week we have had visitors. My Brother and Sister-in-Law were up from South Wales visiting Sue and her mother. As well as bringing fresh Welsh cakes and faggots from Swansea market, I received this margarine box of toy soldiers or 40mm lead soldiers. I would suggest that they are new models from traditional moulds cast in lead. Possibly Prince August.

It's quite a haul.....

They are definitely lead. Bob found them while attending an auction.

A dozen mounted Hussars.

50 advancing infantry.

50 kneeling riflemen.

5 Flag wielders or banner carriers.

18 marching drummers.

12 Trumpet or buglers.

And 6 cannon.

I'm not sure what I'll be doing with this load of old lead - over 150 models but will keep you informed should there be any developments.

Thank you Bob and Anna.


Friday 17 January 2020

Miniature Wargames Magazine - issue 442

Issue 442 of Miniature Wargames contains the first of a series of articles/tutorials written by me showing how I built a range of simple, practical and affordable pieces of wargame terrain from easily obtainable materials.

For details see this link.

The models were all built with the following rules;
1 - constructed from everyday and easily obtainable materials
2 - be generic and able to be used in a number of different scenarios
3 - the models must be robust
4 - and finished to a good standard
5 - sized to fit inside a 6 inch x 6 inch x 6 inch box

The first model a European Storehouse is featured on a three page spread in the latest issue of MW. Hopefully there will be more articles to follow.


Monday 13 January 2020

Dracula - the BBC drama

Sue and I have just finished watching all three episodes of the new BBC drama Dracula. We watched it on catch-up and have to say that given some of the scathing reviews I have seen, I was not sure how or if I would enjoy it.

After watching the three episodes, I have to say that I enjoyed it. It was more fun than I had expected with many one-liners and nowhere near as gory as I had expected. The performances by Claes Bang (as Dracula) and Dolly Wells (as Sister Agatha) were fantastic - I really liked the interplay between these characters and would welcome more, either as another Dracula series or as a Sister Agatha spin-off. I think she would make a great series hero.

For more details see this BBC link.

Given the themes and writing of Dracula I was even more disappointed with the new Dr Who episodes - who used similar gender changes/swaps but completely failed to engage with me or Sue. In the past I have to admit to looking forward to new episodes of Dr Who and would never have thought of missing a Christmas special, but this year I can honestly say I have no wish to watch any more of this 13th Doctor (is it possible that the 13th doctor is cursed?)

I also know that there have been many who have criticised the BBC on the implementation of a female doctor and these criticisms have been shouted down as sexist. However In Dracula we have a new drama based on a very old character with gender rolls reversed (sorry spoiler alert) similar to the new Jody Whittaker doctor and where as one fails to engage and is loosing viewers in droves, the second (Dracula) has a strong female role model and a fantastic story thread. Surely there has to be a lesson learnt! I cannot help but compare and contrast these two BBC dramas and where Dracula succeeds on so many levels, Dr Who just falls flat.


Thursday 9 January 2020

Mortal Realms - the new part-work from GW

I picked up Issue 1 of the new Warhammer/Hachette part-work from W H Smiths yesterday called MORTAL REALMS the large card backed presentation pack contains 13 GW miniatures - 3 gold plastic Sequitors and 10 Chainrasp Horde all for just £2.99.

You also get the usual leaflets and information that is always present in these part-works giving details of what is to come and how you can save money by subscribing. There is also 12 page booklets showing how to put the miniatures together and play a simple first scenario.

I'm tempted to get issue 2 as well - but we will have to see. The first pack offers great value for money.....

For more information - see this link.


Wednesday 8 January 2020

Wargames Soldiers & Strategy issue 106

Another month with two wargame magazines which include articles written by me. This is not a unique experience but one that is rare enough to be commented upon. The image was taken in the local W H Smiths store in Bromsgrove.

Miniature Wargames issue 441 has already been mentioned in an earlier post. The article shows how I modelled the gaming board for the Flash Gordon crashed rocketship that was featured in issue 440.

Wargames Soldiers & Strategy issue 106 includes a two page tutorial on building and painting a Zulu hut. The tutorial/article was originally intended for the Pen & Sword book Wargames Terrain & Buildings - North Africa and the Middle East but like a number of others was never used. It is good to see it featured in a modelling/wargaming magazine instead.

For more information, please see this link.


Tuesday 7 January 2020

Wargames Terrain & Buildings North Africa and the Middle East - update

Earlier this week I saw that the publication dates for Wargames Terrain & Buildings North Africa and the Middle East written by me had been brought forward to March 2020. there are also two special offer deals from Pen & Sword working at this moment;

The first offers the book at a the introductory price of just £11.99 and the second suggests a link-up with book one Wargames Terrain & Buildings The Napoleonic Wars.

For full details see this link or use the Blog link found to the upper right of this page.


Monday 6 January 2020

Christmas 2019 - update

Another Christmas update.....

I received this book as a late Christmas present from my Brother and Sister-in-Law. Sherlock Holmes and The Christmas Demon by James Lovegrove and a signed copy as well.

In addition we also had this new game - Unstable Unicorns as a gift to the family. I'm looking forward to playing it.

Thank you.


Wednesday 1 January 2020

Looking back on 2019

When I was growing up the big landmark was the year 2000, The Millennium and now, today sees us enter the 20 - 20's. How time flies..... I thought I'd look back at 2019 and comment on some products or purchases that I have made through the year.....

I'll start with magazines.

2019 saw the launch of a new modelling and figure painting magazine called Fantasy Figures International and so far I have picked up issue 1 and issue 2. I like the content, layout and themes in this magazine and have even thought of taking out a subscription. Maybe I'll do that this year. However if I were to pick just one magazine it would be Airfix Model World which I think has the ideal mix between aircraft, armour, figure modelling and painting. I tend to read it from cover-to-cover and enjoy most, if not all of the content and reviews. I tend to pick my magazines up on a monthly basis or as happened this year at Scale Model World, Telford where I was lucky enough to find a huge batch of second-hand mags at a very good price.

Next books.

Up until Christmas I would have said that my favourite book purchases were a couple of modelling books bought from a charity book shop in St Johns, Worcester. The first on narrow gauge railway modelling and the second featuring wargame figure painting. However as can be see in my earlier Christmas present post, I had two books for Christmas - the first from my daughter, Holly called Rices Language of Buildings by Matthew Rice and the second called Making Rural Buildings by David Wright from my Mother-in-Law which have taken joint top spot. Both are fantastic reads and books that I very much look forward to finishing.

Then Shows.

In 2019, I attended WMMS at Alumwell and Scale Model World, Telford. I still believe Alumwell to be one of the friendliest shows on the circuit and have already booked annual leave to attend this year however due to other commitments, I will not be exhibiting this time. Then Scale Model World - I had planned to miss SMW this year as I had attended for the last four or five years without missing one. However in the end and as I had the weekend off, I drove up to Telford and although I spend less time at the event than normal, I did enjoy myself. At this moment, I would not expect to attend in 2020, but this could change.

New products.

I have been experimenting with Luke's Aps or Geek Gaming Modelling Compound to build up rough ground on various terrain boards, a sort of paper-mache and filler or plaster mix that sets into very realistic rough ground or rock formations. I have also built a number of models featuring surface detailing built from the cardboard found in egg boxes. The first of these models is due to be featured in Miniature Wargames in the new year. It is an easily and readily sourced modelling material that I find very easy to use. Look out for more information in future posts.

I have also been experimenting with glazing medium. I purchased Liquitex Glazing Medium earlier this year and so far have had fun using it. I think I need more time to play with this new product before I can comment on it properly.

Magazine articles.

As noted above I have written a number of how-to modelling articles for Miniature Wargames featuring simple and practical building materials to make tough and robust wargame terrain. I'm expecting the first of these articles/tutorials to be published in the next issue of Miniature Wargames and will add details to the Blog as and when the magazine/magazines are published.

I am also continuing to write for Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy. These articles will be less frequent but will hopefully give more detailed or in-depth techniques, similar to the featured content in my books or guides. As with the Miniature Wargames articles, I will post details on the Blog as they are published.

Published books.

I am expecting the second Pen & Sword book to be published soon - Wargames Terrain and Buildings - North Africa and the Middle East will follow the same format of the earlier P&S book but feature buildings from (obviously) Africa and the Middle East. I do not have any plans for a third book but plans can change. I've enjoyed producing these two books but do find the lead times from writing them to finished results a little frustrating.

I am not planning any more self-published guides - Dampfpanzerwagon Guides as the up-front cost of publishing in the UK is too high. Once again this may change in the future. I would be interested in a wargame terrain collaboration book or various articles from a number of terrain or model builders - anyone interested in commissioning one?

Figure painting.

I would hope that I would be able to paint more miniatures than I did in 2019. I still have boxes of lead that deserves to be finished. I think it's either paint them or sell them!

I am planning on selling-off some of my scratch-built terrain (as I did in 2019) so if you are interested in owning a piece of my wargame terrain keep checking back on the Blog.

You Tube.

During 2019, I have found myself watching a number of You Tube channels particularly Lukes Aps, The Terrain Tutor and Tabletop Minions, however my favourite has been Night Shift or Scale Models by Martin Kovac. I particularly like his informal presentation manner and informative advice.

There have been times when I have thought that I should also post up You Tube tutorials, but I am much more comfortable with Blogging - after all I've been doing it for so very long.....


I am very much looking forward to the new how-to book being written by The Terrain Tutor - Terrain Essentials (published by Dave Taylor Miniatures) which is due in 2020 - I have my order in place. Good luck Mel.

Well that's it for my look-back of 2019. I hope you have enjoyed it.

Happy New Year.