West Midlands Military Show 2024

I went up to Aldersley Leisure Village in Wolverhampton to visit the Alumwell Wargames Society West Midlands Military Show 2024.

There was some excellent looking games there. I was impressed with the quality of the scenery and the painting of the models.

I liked the Warhammer 40K Last Stand at Glazer’s Creek, which was based on part of the huge Massacre at Big Toof River game that was shown at UK Games Day  back in 1997. They had lots of Praetorian Guard defending against a mob of Orks.

I didn’t buy anything, despite being tempted by a few things.

Blackburn Beverley

The Blackburn B-101 Beverley is a heavy transport aircraft produced by the British aircraft manufacturer Blackburn Aircraft. It was notably the only land-based transport airplane built by Blackburn, a company that otherwise specialised in producing naval fighter aircraft.

Only a single Beverley has survived, the first production aircraft XB259. There is currently a fund raiser to move the aircraft. In late January 2024 the Solway Aviation Museum acquired the aircraft and launched a £60,000 appeal for donations to cover the costs of further dismantling work then transporting the aircraft to Carlisle for restoration and permanent display there.

Blackburn Beverley

A photograph was released of the Blackburn Beverley and the camouflage scheme did remind me of something. Back in January 2023 I wrote a piece about an idea I had for an alternate Desert Storm set in 1959.

The re-release of the (Airfix) Fairey Rotodyne reminded me of an idea I had for an alternative history background for gaming. The basic premise was a Desert Storm background but with 1950s tanks, aircraft, helicopters and VTOL craft like the Fairey Rotodyne.

I also mentioned that:

I would have painted the models in a desert camouflage similar to the US Desert Battle Dress Uniform (DBDU).

Though not quite the scheme I was thinking about, the camouflage scheme on the Blackburn Beverley, which I am guessing is based on a real RAF camouflage scheme. So I am now thinking to use the actual RAF scheme.

Also see the Instagram Airfix posts on the Blackburn Beverley for more photographs.


This sprue of plastic space dwarves from Wargames Atlantic was a freebie on the cover of the January 2024 issues of Miniature Wargames.

You get three models on the sprue with lots of options.

The Einherjar are from Wargames Atlantic’s Death Fields range.

For thousands of years, advanced alien civilizations have visited the Earth for one purpose: to steal their bravest warriors. For centuries, the cream of Earth’s soldiers have been taken against their will to fight, die, and be reborn in arenas throughout the galaxy. The Game Guilds provide some of the most watched sport in the known universe with matches broadcast in thousands of systems. A perennial favourite of sports fans everywhere are the humans – a primitive race from the far edge of the galaxy. Over the millennia, the finest warriors of that backwater planet have been brought to the arenas to fight each other and a host of other sentient species and deadly creatures. Even now, thousands of years since abductions began, Recruiters still acquire the best of Human space’s warriors for the games. The humans go on in their tiny light-years bubble of space attacking each others colony worlds, believing themselves the most advanced race in the universe while the rest of the galaxy watches their immortal ancestors fight and die in the Death Fields…

The Einherjar were descended from Norsemen.

Abducted from their longship on the return voyage from a raid on Wessex, these Norsemen’s new owner settled them on a high gravity world and began their training for the Death Fields circuit. After each battle as wounds miraculously healed and even the dead were brought back to life, the warriors thought of themselves as the fabled Einherjar – the ghostly warriors of Valhalla who fight and die each day and are reborn to feast each night. Over the centuries, their ongoing regeneration while living primarily on their high-gravity homeworld has resulted in stunted growth for themselves and their offspring. Their diminished stature in no way effects their prowess on the fields of battle as they win contest after contest against other teams human and otherwise.

These are no squats, but they do bear a resemblance to the Leagues of Votann ranges.


An alternate SR-N1 Hovercraft

Back in January I wrote a piece about an idea I had for an alternate Desert Storm set in 1959.

The re-release of the Fairey Rotodyne reminded me of an idea I had for an alternative history background for gaming. The basic premise was a Desert Storm background but with 1950s tanks, aircraft, helicopters and VTOL craft like the Fairey Rotodyne.

My premise was that the British armed forced faced with a new threat would make use of aircraft such as the  Fairey Rotodyne.

I was reminded of this article following the announcement from Airfix that they are going to re-release their 1/72nd scale model of the SR-N1 Hovercraft.

Debuted in 1960, it hasn’t been seen in the range since the 1980s. 

SR-N1 Hovercraft

The SR-N1 was the first practical hovercraft and demonstrated the potential of air-cushioned transport.

On 11 June 1959, the SR.N1 performed its first flight in front of the public. The SR.N1 participated in the test programme for four years prior to its retirement, by which point it had served its purpose in successfully validating the concept and further hovercraft had been developed.

Now I actually remember building the Airfix kit, but I painted it up as a military version. I think it was all over black to be used by special forces.

Airfix on their site talk about the military application of the SR-N1.

The SR-N1 Hovercraft is an experimental machine with space for the pilot and his observer, although on demonstration it has carried 20 fully equipped soldiers. 

If I was to go down the Desert Storm 1959 idea, then I think I would get some SR-N1 hovercraft (well at least one) and build it as a troop carrier, or an armed version.

Buying some paint

I was shading my new Predator (and Rhino). I used some Citadel Reikland Fleshshade Shade, however after shading most of the models I ran out of paint.

I was in town, so went to MT Games and they were charging £5.00 for a pot of Citadel Reikland Fleshshade Shade.

Now in the Games Workshop stores (or is it Warhammer Stores) in Bristol the cost is £4.75.

My usual place to buy paint is The Games Bunker who sell the same paint pots at the discounted price of £4.05.

In the end I did buy the paint from MT Games, if I was buying a few pots then I probably would have made a special trip  to The Games Bunker and saved myself a few pennies.

Rescan please

This site (in various incarnations) is over twenty five years old. I first started posting images to the web in 1997.

Back in the 1990s I took various photographs of my miniatures, using a film 35mm camera, I then developed the film, before scanning the photos in. Later I was able to have the images scanned by the developer onto CD-ROM

Due to bandwidth limits, back in the 1990s most people had dial up modems, so when scanning images and editing them for the web, I kept the size small, both in terms of file size and pixels.

However now, not only do we have faster connections, fibre, 4G and 5G, websites such as this (using WordPress) can dynamically and responsively change the size of the image to meet the needs of the different kinds of browsers people are using.

As a result I have decided to start re-scanning images into the website and blog. I will be posting the new images to the blog, and I will be updating the relevant gallery pages as well.

Desert Storm 1959

Today saw the announcement of the 2023 Airfix range. I generally don’t do model kits, well I haven’t made an Airfix style model kit since the 1980s… though I have built a fair few wargaming kits since then.

I still have a nostalgic fondness for some of the older Airfix kits so was pleased to see that Airfix have announced the re-release of the Fairey Rotodyne.

Airfix Fairey Rotodyne

The Fairey Rotodyne was a 1950s British compound gyroplane designed and built by Fairey Aviation and intended for commercial and military uses. The Rotodyne featured a tip-jet-powered rotor that burned a mixture of fuel and compressed air bled from two wing-mounted turboprops. The rotor was driven for vertical takeoffs, landings and hovering, as well as low-speed translational flight, but autorotated during cruise flight with all engine power applied to two propellers.

Fairey Rotodyne
Johannes Thinesen, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Due to army and Royal Air Force (RAF) interest, development of the Rotodyne had been funded out of the defence budget for a time. The RAF also placed an order for 12 military transport versions. According to rumours, the U.S. Army was also interested in buying around 200 Rotodynes.

One prototype was built. Although the Rotodyne was promising in concept and successful in trials, the programme was eventually cancelled. The termination has been attributed to the type failing to attract any commercial orders; this was in part due to concerns over the high levels of rotor tip jet noise generated in flight. 

The re-release of the Fairey Rotodyne reminded me of an idea I had for an alternative history background for gaming. The basic premise was a Desert Storm background but with 1950s tanks, aircraft, helicopters and VTOL craft like the Fairey Rotodyne.

The British forces alongside Westland Whirlwinds and Westland Wessex helicopters would also have access to the Fairey Rotodyne for transport and troop insertion. I even thought about including the Bristol Belvedere, which though entered service in 1961, had its first flight in 1958.

Airfix have also announced they are re-releasing the Bristol Bloodhound SAM missile.

Bristol Bloodhound

It was developed in the 1950s and was used for air defence until 1991 in the UK.

Alongside the aircraft and missiles I would have also added some Centurion tanks and other armoured vehicles.

I would have painted the models in a desert camouflage similar to the US Desert Battle Dress Uniform (DBDU).

Desert Battle Dress Uniform
The original uploader was Pretzelpaws at English Wikipedia., CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Two shades of brown with those clusters of black and white spots.

As for opponents? Well that would have been Soviet aircraft and vehicles, also in a desert camouflage.

Airfix have said they will release these new models in the Autumn of 2023, so it may be a possibility, just maybe.

Remembering the Scout Titans of times gone past

Back in the 1990s, White Dwarf featured some amazing Scout Titans.

Scout Titan

These were conversions by Forge World’s Tony Cottrell.

Scout Titan

They of course were pre-Forge World. They were conversions made predominantly from two kits, the ZOIDS Scavenger.

And the legs are from a Star Wars AT-ST kit.

I quite like the hard SF look of these compared to the Warhound Scout Titan we ended up with.

3D Talisman Board

I have been playing Talisman ever since it came out in 1983. I own the second edition and this is still played regularly. I also enjoy the digital version on my iPad.

Back in the 1980s I had this idea of building a three dimensional version of the board. In the late 1980s I also managed to purchase all the metal Talisman miniatures in one of Games Workshop’s amazing sales. I had the parts, I had the idea, but like most of my ideas, it stayed an idea. I eventually sold virtually all the miniatures on eBay, keeping a couple I had painted and really liked.

The idea was still there, but I doubted it was ever going to happen…

The other day though I saw this tweet.

Doing some further clicking I discovered that Spare Oom Studio were selling STL files of 3D models for use with Talisman.

Talisman ruins

I really like these, but alas I don’t have a 3D printer. I think if I ever get a 3D printer I might get some, or see if I can get some printed. Need to check how they fit on the second edition board.