Friday 29 June 2018

Just a game of soldiers ?

I am in something of a reflective mood right now. Phase 1 of our planned relocation to Spain is complete, we have a new home in Ador, Gandia, bought and paid for, that we are currently furnishing, and we look forward to many happy years here together. It was a huge step, to sell up and move to another country, not to be undertaken lightly, but we both feel very much at home here already and have not a single regret ..... well possibly the English Ale, but at least I found it in cans! 

The new house has an 'underbuild' actually a large garage with access down from the main house, it is fully finished with plastered white walls and tiled floor to match the main upstairs, far too nice to use for the car which can sit beneath the integral porch to keep the sun off it. Domestic negotiations are still at an early stage, but I have made my case for the occasional use of this space for the playing of the wargame on a temporary table as and when not in use for visiting family extra accommodation. We are going to have the roll over garage door replaced with double patio sliding doors so it will become the perfect multi function space.

I very much doubt that I will want to play much more than a good old fashioned simple game of soldiers with my 40mm Napoloenics, although I do still intend to paint and expand them. I'd like to build them into 24 figure battalions for the infantry and 16 for the cavalry, with the artillery being a couple of pieces each. I have sufficient figures here for about 4 such battalions per side with a bit of extra painting work, a very good start. I really just want to be able to take them from the display shelf, place them on the table and fight a simple battle in an hour or two every so often.

I set up a 24 figure battalion for  a few pics below, together with a couple of French guns and crews, I think 24 figures looks about right in this scale?  I have a bit of basing to do this week having managed to find a supplier of such materials nearby, card, glue, filler, ruler. Stanley type knife etc.

Monday 25 June 2018

The Great unboxing - a few more pics.

It's touching mid Thirties here now, and we have moved to a different rented villa with views down over Calpe and the rock, there is a pleasant breeze, and I'm sitting by the pool updating my blog. Our new home has similar views down over Gandia, slightly further South along the Costa Blanca, towards Valencia. On Wednesday we are to attend the Notary's office in Oliva along with our excellent solicitor Josefa when the purchase will complete and the house will be ours. This one is completely un-furnished so are on the hunt now for new furniture, fully modernised and far more modest than the huge villa we initially went for, but we know we are doing the right thing, it has a lovely homely feel and a large infinity pool shared between just 6 properties in a gated community,(which also means shared costs of upkeep). Our neighbours are Spanish and German.

Meantime I have continued to unpack the 40mm Napoleonics, and have to start by saying what a brilliant job Mrs 'Big Andy' made of the wrapping up, not a single broken bayonet or sword, even the extra 'blocked in' figures all individually wrapped! I'm going to really enjoy finishing off the blocked in figures, adding detail and shading etc and generally bringing them up to the standard of the completed figures. I'm really pleased with them, and have organised them into 8 figure Sharp Practice companies. With a total of about 300 figures it did occur to me yesterday that with additional command figures I could organise them in 24 figure units for Muskets and Marshals instead, possibly for small games given the scale, I'll set up a couple of 24 figure battalions for the next post as an example. Anyway, here is what came out of the unbased/unfinished box yesterday and next time I'll feature some of the artillery and foot, along with the mounted officers.

Finished line below and Grenadiers above. I counted a total of 16 Grenadiers plus an officer.

Lower two rows of French infantry are 'blocked in', above are fully painted.

These are finished figures, ready for basing.

'Blocked in Brits'.... the hard work mostly done now it's down to detailing and shading etc.

Printed linen flags.

The view from the terrace towards Calpe.

Friday 22 June 2018

French 2nd Hussars.

I unpacked these yesterday and thought they are worthy of a post of their own. Magnificent 40mm  scale French 2nd Hussars, superbly painted and based. Once again they are perfect for Sharp Practice, cavalry being fielded in troops of 8 figures. Among the unpainted figures I added to this collection are French Line Chasseurs and British Light Dragoons and I'm looking forward to getting settled and painting again shortly. Also unboxed are the first of the French infantry and I'm organising them into 'companies' of 8 figures with lots of command choices for SP. I still have 3 boxes to tackle yet.

Wednesday 20 June 2018

Safe arrival & getting stronger!

On Friday my youngest Son in Law finished a four week work contract back in the UK, picked up my 40mm figures and caught the 5.30am train Saturday morning from Folkestone to Calais before driving the 1000 miles down into Spain for a weeks holiday. All arrived in good condition and yesterday I started what is going to be the slow and careful job of unboxing. Great care has obviously been taken in the packing, with each individual figure/base being wrapped in bubble wrap and taped. I will probably have to be patient for another week or so until we hopefully get the keys to our new home, but here are a few photos from the first couple of small boxes, including Highland command base, some Spanish infantry and a few of the 60th Rifles. The standard bearers of the 3rd Regiment of Foot (The Buffs) also emerged from the top of the second box, and I was immediately reminded that my own Grandfather served four years with the Buffs in the 1914 -18 war, being sent to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force. I have a copy of his Attestation papers saved on my laptop. No doubt the Napoleonic Buffs will take pride of place in my display cabinet. These figures are prefect for Sharp Practice rules and I do intend to use them.

The new house is far more modest than the large rustic property we initially went for but had to let go due to legal search results. It's in a gated terrace of just 6 houses on a hillside overlooking Gandia and the Mediterranean and has a lovely shared infinity type pool. We are due to visit the Notary next Wednesday with our excellent Spanish Lawyer to sign the deeds and complete the purchase, we can't wait.

I'm up and about again, but it's left me feeling very tired, it's clearly going to take some time to fully recover from what was a nasty virus, but I'm happy to be able to walk properly again.

Getting to grips with my new Cannon camera so pics not great, but working on it!

Got them at last!

All are 40mm Sash & Sabre.

60th Rifles, have a dozen of them so 2 x 6 Sharp Practice skirmish units.

Flags are printed onto cloth.

Tuesday 12 June 2018

Down but not out in Spain!

Life has been quite eventful since my last blog post here, and indeed this one has little to do with model soldiers, having not lifted a paint brush since then, but for completeness sake I thought an update was in order.

Just over two weeks ago I was struck down with the worst throat infection I can remember, so bad that even drinking water became painful, let alone eating. I spent four solid days in bed mostly sleeping before it finally began to ease up. I then woke up with an incredibly painful left knee. That spread to my right knee and my right ankle and foot, I could not stand up or weight bear at all. Last Monday we went for a second viewing on a property -more on this later - my Daughter was driving us and when we arrived I was unable to get out of the car! The Estate Agent was shocked as he had met me a couple of weeks previous when I was fine, and indeed he urged me to go to the medical centre for treatment.

We drove back to Calpe, picked up my medical card and passport and off to the medical centre where I was helped into a wheelchair and into the waiting room. Having completed the paperwork, within 20 minutes I was in with the Doctor who asked me to remove my 'pantaloons' (not an easy process in that state I can tell you). I spent half an hour so on an intravenous drip and left with my left knee heavily bandaged and a prescription, I was in and out within an hour or so.

It's now a week since my trip to the Doctor and my legs are slowly regaining strength, very slowly, still hobbling but able to stand and move about. I should just add that I have never had any problems with my legs before, indeed as my wife reminded me I have not been to hospital at all in at least 40 years so this came right out of the blue. Positive side is that I have shed over a stone in weight and I intend to work on my fitness going forward.

I have been spending a lot of time reading blogs and I'm really keen to get painting again. The 40mm Napoleonics are now in Kent ready to make the journey to Spain by van in due course. I also have the 'Tank Wars' German and Soviet starter sets with my Son in Law in Kent, as I'm itching to paint some armour again.

On the plus side we are loving life in Spain, the Spanish people are so friendly, warm and sociable. You notice how if you are sitting in a cafe or bar for example and a Spanish couple come in they will come and sit on the table beside you and immediately begin smiling and speaking to you - our rudimentary Spanish is getting us by! The seafood is fantastic,being the staple diet of this stretch of the Costa Blance coastline. You can still smoke in bars and cafes -although we avoid it - and dogs are welcome just about anywhere. Parking is mostly free of charge even along the popular beaches, and on Sunday everything closes as families take the opportunity to relax together. Children are encouraged to speak to people and be confident. What I have not been able to find is a bar selling English draught ales... yet. Every small town has it's grow shop as the cultivation of cannabis for personal use is legal here in Valencia region. Healthcare is good, expats we have spoken to tell us they get two medical screening sessions per year free of charge. Not saying it's the land of milk and honey, but certainly life in Spain is suiting us well, now I just need to recover the use of my legs again!

I hope the next update will feature some painted figures finally, please bear with me!