Wargaming in various media

Bovington Tiger I

A picture from the April 2009 vistit to Bovington. A Tiger I makes the son & heir look even smaller than he was all those years ago! Going back through the pictures taken that day there are plenty of images of various Tiger II tanks but this was the only one of a classic Tiger I. Such unfair discrimination.

Way back in in April 2009 The family were in the midst of their world tour … based in Bristol! Ralph had stumbled across von Peter’s old Apple hosted website and as a regular reader had seen that The family was domiciled in Bristol. He was on a course in Bristol and threw caution to the wind and invited von Peter himself out for a beer/coffee. From this meeting there came an invite of incredible generosity – and no small leap of faith! – for Ralph and his better half Michelle to host The family in Weymouth.

Amongst other attractions Ralph chaperoned von Peter himself and The son & heir around what is apparently now called The Tank Museum which von Peter himself remembers – rightly or wrongly – as Bovington Tank Museum. Much heavy metal in all shapes and sizes and it was very educational to see the beasts up close and in person.

And what is the point of this rambling prose? Ralph – or Sparker as he is known on the ‘net – has a wargaming blog at Sparker’s Wargaming Blog which usually showcases his ‘in the grand manner’ style of gaming. As a diversion from the normal however you can find his In Defence of the Tiger! article on his blog. An interesting read von Peter himself thought …

… even if Ralph did fail to mention the Pink Floyd song “When the Tigers Broke Free” which speaks sings of the prowling Tigers in Italy that killed Roger Water’s father and several hundred others.

“When The Tigers Broke Free”

It was just before dawn
One miserable morning in black ‘forty four.
When the forward commander
Was told to sit tight
When he asked that his men be withdrawn.
And the Generals gave thanks
As the other ranks held back
The enemy tanks for a while.
And the Anzio bridgehead
Was held for the price
Of a few hundred ordinary lives.

And kind old King George
Sent Mother a note
When he heard that father was gone.
It was, I recall,
In the form of a scroll,
With gold leaf adorned,
And I found it one day
In a drawer of old photographs, hidden away.
And my eyes still grow damp to remember
His Majesty signed
With his own rubber stamp.

It was dark all around.
There was frost in the ground
When the tigers broke free.
And no one survived
From the Royal Fusiliers Company Z.
They were all left behind,
Most of them dead,
The rest of them dying.
And that’s how the High Command
Took my daddy from me.

How many other tanks have had a song written about them by a super group? And of course the lyrics are a poignant reminder of why we are fortunate to be able to choose to play warGAMES.

Newish wargames site #1

And speaking of Ralph/Sparker – schizophrenia is such a terrible affliction 8O) – those of an inquisitive nature would have seen his comment on the post of 14 August 2014 von Peter’s import emporium in which he raises to the notice of von Peter himself  the newish wargaming website The Wargames Website. With such a name von Peter himself might wonder what the content of the site might be about?! Fortunately the “About Us” page provides some insight …

Welcome to The Wargames Website.

The Wargames Website is run by us; Editor Mike and Editor Sam. We are a UK based couple that are into gaming and we are aiming for The Wargames Website to offer a combined news feed and forum.

The site is in its infancy at the moment as was only placed live on 27th July 2014. As such please bear with us as we work through any bugs that may occur in the first few months. The high level of demand for an alternative to other wargaming sites has lead up to bringing our launch date forward and this may mean there are a few more issues than we (or you) would like.

And there’s more …

So what are we offering?

  • A wargaming site ‘edited’ in UK times which is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
  • A wargaming site that is run, edited and moderated by people with a genuine interest in the subjects discussed.
  • A wargaming site that makes sharing your love of the hobby easy and fun.
  • A wargaming site that makes it easy for traders and manufacturers to get their news out to the wargaming community.
  • A wargaming site that is safe to use for all ages of gamer.
  • A wargaming site that respects all opinions (even if we do not all agree all of the time).
  • A wargaming site that respects all people.

My dear Sparker seems enamoured of the place so perhaps it is worth a little recce.

The Wargames Website

Newish wargames site #2

And speaking of new – to von Peter himself anyway! – websites the 28mm Review site has been stumbled across. More plagiarism …

Looking for 28mm miniatures figures? Here are lists of who makes what and photo comparisons of different manufacturers side by side.

The idea is good. How well it develops will be interesting to see.

Literature update – Blücher: Scourge of Napoleon

And speaking of that 14 August 2014 post von Peter’s import emporiumvon Peter himself was pleased to announce his acquisition of Michael V. Leggiere’s book Blücher: Scourge of Napoleon. von Peter is now pleased to announce that he is a good third of his way through the book – being near the end of the year 1810 – and has enjoyed his reading to date.

The amount of correspondence that Blücher entered into with various Prussian monarchs has been an eye opener and the number of times he would have had Frederick William III declare war on France in the years 1807 through 1810 is truly staggering. von Peter himself cannot help but feel that Frederick William III was wisely counselled not to act upon Blücher’s advice. Such a declaration prior to the momentous events in Russia of 1812 would most likely not have not have ended well for Prussia. In fact it is possible that Prussian could have ceased to exist.

Literature update – Waterloo: The History of Four Days, Three Armies and Three Battles

And speaking of books mentioned in prior posts …the dear reader was alerted to the impending arrival of the book Waterloo: The History of Four Days, Three Armies and Three Battles authored by Bernard Cornwell. The word “impending” is now surplus to requirements as von Peter himself was able to hold a copy of the book while awaiting his departure from Wellington airport on the 16 September 2014. Perhaps we will all soon hear how well the non British participants in the campaign are covered within the books pages.

Hovels H1 Log house with thatched roof

Impertinent French pass by a Russian building on their way deeper into Russia, 1812. They will be crowding into the building on their way back … if they don’t burn it down first!!

Meanwhile back in Mother Russia

Several years ago – 2011 it is believed – von Peter himself invested in some unusual real estate. 25mm Russian buildings from Hovels. The plan was to have them ready for any 1812 bicentenial refights. Ha. How von Peter himself laughs when looking back at his pathetic dreams!! One each of the eight buildings in the range were purchased.

Father’s Day was celebrated here in New Zealand several weeks ago and The son & heir undertook to apply the paint to one of these long neglected buildings as his tribute to his father. Part of the task was selecting and recording the colours applied so that the remaining seven buildings could be likewise coloured.

And now there exists the colour prototype though some tweaking will undoubtedly occur for the others. While complete as a prototype the building is not yet complete in itself. It is to be affixed to a base which will then be textured and along with the cast on base of the building painted.

Hovels Russian 25mm buildings

The set of eight 25mm Russian buildings in the collection of von Peter himself. One down – seven to go … eventually.

Hovels buildings are relatively cheap and cheerful. GrandManner buildings are a step or two further along the sculpting and casting quality continuum and as one could suspect just a wee – spot the understatement – bit more pricey. And GrandManner now produce a 28mm Eastern Europe range. Buildings are available with and without snow covering.

Besides cost etc there is another difference between Hovels and GrandManner buildings. The GrandManner buildings are bigger. Significantly so. To von Peter’s eyes the GrandManner buildings work better for more skirmish level gaming and the Hovel’s sizing better for brigade / division / whatever it’s called level of gaming where von Peter’s double ranked 24 figure units represent a battalion. It just doesn’t seem right when a battalion in line cannot cover the frontage of a ‘run of the mill’ building.

Shamefully considering the quality of GrandManner’s offerings those of most interest to von Peter himself are the ruined buildings that are part of the range.

GrandManner Blown up Russian Farmstead

GrandManner Blown up Russian Farmstead with thatch roofs. Image ‘borrowed’ from the GrandManner site.

From the latest Front Rank News area …

 Date Posted: 19/09/2014

Alec is either currently working on or planning the following :-

28mm Napoleonic HANOVERIAN Reinforcement Packs 

We will have HANOVERIANS for WATERLOO period available October/November 2014.

40mm AWI

Light Dragoons should be available during Autumn/Winter 2014.

Emphasis here on the Hanoverian Reinforcement Packs. As far as von Peter himself has heard the Front Rank reinforcement packs are being well received. These will finally move the reinforcement pack idea on from French and British. Well – a wee bit on from the British! One can but hope that perhaps the reinforcement packs will reach the Austrian and Russian ranges … even if one would not necessarily bet any money on it.

Yet more and more and more on The Great Wargaming Survey

Karwansaray Publishers have released three more looks at the results of their The Great Wargaming Survey …

  1. The popular kids… (survey results pt3)
  2. I’m biased. No, I’m biased!
  3. More bias – a short update


That’s enough for now. Until we meet again …

von Peter himself

12 thoughts on “Wargaming in various media

  1. I taken a look at the Grand Manner Russian buildings lately, even been tempted by the sale they are having right now. Although I think I would rather venture to scratchbuild them right now, especially since I am only after some ruins, having done the mint ones a couple of years ago.

    • Hello Burkhard

      Yes I spotted the GrandManner sale too … and I realy am a sucker for ‘signature’ terrain pieces of which GrandManner have many. But I am strong and have not ordered any … yet!!!

      I have a Roman stone watch tower from GrandManner. It is a lovely item with interior details that are sadly wasted on me gaming wise though I can appreciate the artistry. I remember being told when I ordered it that mine would be one of the last out of that mold as it was nearly shot. For a nearly ‘shot’ mold the casting would put most other terrain casters to shame.

      BTW, everwhere I check on the GrandManner site ‘GrandManner’ does not have a space between the words ‘Grand’ & ‘Manner’. Occasionally the ‘M’ in ‘Manner’ may be lower case but never a space. This was news to me as I researched the post.

      I have never scratch built a building. Perhaps one day though there are still many commercially made items that I secretly covet. I am in awe of your and others scratch building.

      von Peter himself

      • I have to admit, these days I often get too lazy to scratchbuild, so I want at least am MDF base or something I can work on. Part of the problem with foamcore (which I used a lot for scratchbuilding) that you still need to be extra careful nothing drops on it or you do not drop it. They are quite stable, but will not stand as much abuse as MDF or resin.

  2. Hooray! My appetite has been sated 🙂 Great update, great to see Front Rank addressing some the of existing ranges with the reinforcement packs which are “must buy”. However, I wish Alec would do the Badeners and Hessen-Darmstadt for 1809 to 1813.

    I have plenty of the 25/28mm Hovels desert range, easy to paint up and look the biz on the games table and cheaper than Grand Manner too 🙂

    • Hello again Traj

      I’m honoured to be able to spread a little happiness around! 8O)

      Yes Badeners and Hessen-Darmstadters would be great as well as reinforcement packs for the Austrians and Russians. As a devout 1813 central europe gamer I feel that Alec devotes way to much time to the Peninsular and Waterloo campaigns. It’s time for him to show a little more love to the countries that did the heavy lifting against Napoleon! And I’m hardly biased at all!! 8O))

      von Peter himself

  3. Great post as usual your Vonship! And it brought back fond memories of your visit to beautiful Dorset back in the day! As you know that is the self-same Tiger that will feature in Brad Pitt’s ‘Fury’ – and I’m sure will upstage Brad! But what I didn’t know was that the great Pink Floyd had written a song about them, and very moving it is too.
    I agree about building scale – if I hadn’t invested so heavily in 28mm buildings I would stick to 25mm buildings for large scale 28mm games, otherwise your built up areas tend to take over the available playing surface!

    • Hello there my dear Sparkles.

      The son & heir and I both fondly remember our visit to Bovington. One thing I do remember and regret is that I got my own version of ‘tank shock’. So many tanks / armoured vehicles in such a short time. And to cap it off – not enough photos. D’oh! I blame the son & heir!! 8O)

      And I didn’t know about the details of Fury. I just had a vague knowledge of it. from the web …

      “The film will feature the last surviving operational Tiger I. The vehicle, known as Tiger 131, belongs to Bovington Tank Museum. It’s the first time a real Tiger tank – and not a prop version – has been used on a film set.”.

      So the star of the film and I are personally aquainted. One degree of seperation from fame. 8O))

      von Peter himself

  4. What a great story at the start of this post. No more changing in phone booths – Sparker’s secret identity is out and he is Ralph! (BTW, Your Vonship, have you ever heard of the saying, “Loose Lips Sinks Ships”?) 🙂 Like many of your readers, I too, have a photo of Tiger 131 although when mine was taken (late eighties?), it had no engine and very much a WIP. Also had the Airfix model as a lad (in fact, more than one – can recall cutting the transfer of ‘131’ and rearranging the number so as to have differently numbered tanks). Sparker runs a good blog and if anyone has not read his article/post on the Tiger, I would recommend they click on the link so helpfully provided by Your Vonship. Finally, here’s hoping the ‘Fury’ movie won’t disappoint – at least no-one can now say, ‘That’s the wrong tank!” (or can they?).


    • Ah yes, the great Ralph unveiling. There can’t be that many Ralph’s living in Australia. Oh no – another clue out there for the world to see! 8O). ‘Loose lips sinking ships’ is quite apt for Ralph given his past but I think his ships are behind him now. 8O)

      Tiger 131 seems to be a true celebrity. I hope all the notoriety doesn’t go to its head / turret and it doesn’t go on a bender in Weymouth or speak rudely about a minority / politicians / the police as seems to be the way with celebrities these days.

      I’m not sure about ‘Fury’. I hope it isn’t going to be a glory ride for the US Army filled with patriotic fervour. I suspect that Tiger 131 may come to a sticky end.

      Perhaps they are casting 131 as a Mark IV because they couldn’t get a running Mark IV!! 8O))

      von Peter himself

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