The Waving Flag: Hobby Haul

Tuesday 27 June 2023

Hobby Haul

I don't normally do this but what follows is that staple of wargaming blogs: the "what I bought at the last show" post but with a twist or two.

Ten days ago I spent the day at the Phalanx show (St Helens, UK) helping Dave Lanchester run his bookstall.  I didn't get a lot of time for shopping but I went prepared with a list to focus my efforts.  The purchase of the day was a rather special dice tray:

Here's what I bought:

  1. Vallejo Game Colour washes x4 (Pendraken)
  2. Vallejo Matt Medium (Pendraken)
  3. 40x50 mm MDF bases (Pendraken)
  4. Essex 15 mm Arabs x 5 (Instant Armies & Veteran Miniatures)
  5. Museum 15 mm Byzantine Light Spear x 2 (Instant Armies & Veteran Miniatures)
  6. Collapsible dice tray with Ahura Mazda design (Iron Gate Scenery)

There was a story behind each purchase.

The washes are an experiment.  I don't use deep washes in my painting as I feel they darken the paint too much.  I have used very dilute craft paint (black, burnt umber or dark green) to act as a filter and tone down colours when I've used too light a highlight.  However, these have recently received a good press so I thought I'd give them a go.

The matt medium is just in case I need some to dilute the washes plus there was a bulk deal for the purchases of five bottles.

The MDF bases have already been converted to magnetic sabots by the addition of magnetic vinyl.

The sabots are for converting heavy infantry units to heavy infantry with missile support units.  In Art de la Guerre (ADLG) this is achieved by the addition of a light infantry bow marker (20 mm deep) behind a heavy infantry base (either 30 or 2x15 mm deep).

Essex Arabs
A week before the show I asked Dene to bring along their box of unpainted 15 mm Arab figures.  Sadly, Instant Armies no longer bring their 15 mm stock to shows but they will on request.

Having recently finished the core of my Arab army I was looking for a few extras like command figures and a maybe a few camels.

I got lucky and found two mounted generals, a pack of medium cavalry and a pack of camel archers; all from Essex.  Plus I bought enough Essex Arab spear & command for two units of heavy infantry: Black Guard perhaps?

This was more Arabs than I'd planned but they make three mini painting projects.  I've already started the camels.

Museum Byzantines
These were a pure impulse purchase.  I don't need these.  They don't fit easily with any of my existing armies.  But they looked so well modelled and cast I couldn't resist.

I now have 16 figures (BZ11) which I plan to turn into two ADLG units of medium infantry & two units of skirmishers.  I going to try the washes on these as they look like they'll take a wash well.

Collapsible dice tray
I've been saving the best until last.  All the above items were ticked off my list leaving just this item to find.  I had seen some on eBay at about £5.00 plus postage and I hoped to buy one in person and save postage.

I wanted a collapsible tray to form part of my travelling tool kit for competitions and was miffed when I couldn't find any on sale anywhere.

What I haven't mentioned so far was that my wife often accompanies me to Phalanx and this year we both helped with the bookstall.  Now my wife has a special ability.  After 30 years of marriage to a wargamer and a veteran of many shows she's become very good at finding things.  So much so that, when we visit large second hand book shops, I often ask her to look out for certain subjects and authors.

After I'd returned from a second tour of the show without finding a dice tray I asked her if she'd have a look.  Within five minutes she was back having found exactly what I wanted.  How I missed it I don't know but one swift purchase later my shopping was done for the day.

To cap it all, as I walked back from the stand, I spotted some of the Chinese imports on the next stand but the one I bought is better as it's softer and fits in my competition tool box (read as a Really Useful Box).

At this point you may think this anecdote is done; far from it.

Whilst at the bookstall I saw Martin Charlesworth who I met when I attended some adult education courses on ancient Persia he ran in the early 2000s at Liverpool University.  I showed him the dice tray and mentioned the reasonable price.  He became the second person to buy the Ahura Mazda tray that day.

Within ten minutes word had spread further and I heard a third had been purchased by Phil Halewood (Martin's wargaming buddy).

Not long after, I bumped into a fellow Society of Ancients member Chris Ager and as we approached the trade stand to buy the fourth Ahura Mazda tray of the day the bloke running it said "Not another one? We only brought six of each design!".

And thus legends are born.  Iron Gate Scenery had nearly two dozen designs of dice trays on display but I'm sure they'll remember the show when they sold four Ahura Mazda trays within 30-40 minutes.  They may never sell as many ever again but if you decide to follow this link be sure to tell them the bloke(s) from Phalanx sent you.

1 comment :

Vexillia said...

I used the dice tray for the first time on Sunday. The dice kept bouncing out! There's obviously a knack to this which I haven't yet acquired. Stay tuned.

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