I've already played about a bit with the prototype pieces, but I've now taken delivery of the full shipment of my cunning new hex-grid river system - I have to admit that even I was a little taken aback when I saw how much of it there was, but you know how these things are. I reasoned I needed a dozen straight sections, a dozen curves - may as well make it the round 20 of each - plus a couple of add-ons - junctions (confluences?) and a source (or, as Michael the manufacturer would have it, an end, which to me implies that the river would run uphill to reach it).
The wargaming world is full of nifty rubber things which may be painted as roads or rivers - some of them are lovely, but this dual-purpose styling means that the rivers are actually canals, and mostly turn through right angles. My river system is designed for my 7"-hex battlefields, and is deliberately made to be as flexible as possible (as are the rubber ones, I suppose, come to think of it). The pieces are all laser cut from 2mm MDF, by Michael at Supreme Littleness Designs (see link on the right, listed under "other useful stuff").
Michael was kind enough to make a variety of bank profiles, to give a natural look, but the simplicity is impressive - the stack of parts comprises a full-hex (water) underlay for each river/water hex, and then banks of just 3 types - innies and outies (for the curves) and straighties (for the, erm, straights). Throw in a source, a couple of junctions and a customised version of one of Michael's super bridges (check out the website) and I can construct all sorts of weird and wonderful structures - some of which might make an unlikely battlefield, but it is the most excellent fun.
|OCD playground - innies, outies and straighties systematically laid out for painting|
- note the small "Achilles' Heel" corner on each piece, where I hold it to paint. All
the heels get sorted out at the end of the job (you probably guessed).
The scale of the undertaking is partly explained by the fact that I am now running an extension to my original table, and I treasure the fantasy that one day I may get to lay out a full, double-width Epic C&C board. The fact that this, at 16 feet long, would require a church hall or a large marquee is a mere detail - I have already ordered the Grande Battle C&CN supplement as an act of faith - how much commitment do you want? All I need now is for some previously-unknown eccentric relative to die and leave me his castle.
|This is just a fraction of the full set - test run on the Garden Room floor. Note that|
I have built the bridge, though it isn't painted yet. I could do naval battles with
this lot. Hmmm....
You should contact Michael and get a set of river bits, so you can play too - you know you want one.
Topic 2 - An Unusually Noisy Sunday
Something you don't get every weekend - yesterday the Berwick & District Motor Club staged their annual Berwick Classic Historic Car Rally. These days there are very severe restrictions on rallies which use public roads in mainland Britain. In the case of this particular rally, it is probably just as well, since the machinery and the drivers are all getting on a bit - good fun, though. The rally really consists of a fairly leisurely tour through East Lothian and the Borders, with a few time-trial sections on private land, to give a bit of excitement and splash some mud. One of the special sections was held on our farm - about 60 cars running along the farm lanes, starting at 1-minute intervals, and all trying quite hard - hard enough to justify a thorough wash and wax afterwards, which is only right for a rally.
The cars weren't too exotic - a nice old Allard took my eye, but mostly the entry consisted of 1970s Ford Escorts, which were by far the quickest things on show, but somehow also the most boring. One of my neighbours was taking part, so a group of us hung about to give him a cheer as he came through. I have no idea what the results were - somehow results seemed unnecessary on such a nice day out.
|AC Ace? - not sure - if so, this is the granddaddy of the Shelby Cobra|
|Elderly Volvo going faster than I've ever seen a Volvo move - it didn't have its|
headlights on, which is another first for my experience of Volvos
|Ford Anglia, circa 1960 - haven't seen one of these for many years - very quick,|
but they had almost all rusted into the ground by about 1963
|Austin-Healey Sprite "Frog-Eye"|
|And there were loads of these - iconic rally car of its day, I guess, but I can't|
get very excited about them