A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that


Friday, 30 September 2016

Pottery Buildings - probably getting a bit silly now

I mentioned recently that I was not going to buy any more Tey Pottery buildings on eBay, since I have enough for my ECW wargames/sieges (in fact I am going to get rid of a couple of the less useful items) and, to be honest, I'm running out of storage space for the beggars.

I did, however, admit to a strong fancy to get my hands on a specimen each of Anne of Cleves' House (Lewes) and the Mermaid Inn, both of which looked splendid but regularly sold for far more than I was prepared to pay. Sure enough, I was lucky enough to land a nice, cheap example of Anne's house, but I held little prospect of getting the other one, which is much coveted (by proper collectors, in fact) and seldom seen.

Well, last week I was very surprised to see that some fine fellow was selling two Mermaid Inns on eBay simultaneously, at very reasonable starting bid prices. With little hope of success, I placed a modest bid on one and - by Jove - I won it. Even more surprising, the other did not sell at all.

The Mermaid Inn - three views



So here we have the Mermaid Inn, which I understand is in Rye, East Sussex (anyone ever drink there?). I have washed the spider poo off it, but have yet to "improve" it to the house standard, which means detailing the chimney tops, obliterating the pub sign over the door, repainting the ivy on the back (maybe that's the front, mind you...) and applying matt varnish, to get rid of that fearsome shine. This, of course, is why I have to avoid contact with the aforementioned proper collectors...

The real Mermaid Inn dates back to 1420 or thereabouts, though I understand the beer taps have been cleaned regularly since then. A fine addition to anyone's 17th Century town, I would say.

Storage - hmmm. I reckon I'm going to have to get rid of some of my Lilliput Lane houses to make room for these. That is definitely the end of the Tey collection - definitely. I have consciously resisted the urge to make a bid for the (even larger) Alfreston Manor, which is currently on eBay.

So there you have it.

18 comments:

  1. That is a nice one! What are the dimensions?

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    1. Hi Jon - it's 20cm wide, 14cm deep, 10cm to the chimney tops. For scale, it's smallish 15mm scale, I reckon, so 10mm or 15mm devotees would be happy with it, and also lunatics like me who use underscale houses with their 20mm soldiers!

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    2. You are no lunatic! Most of my buildings are underscale too. For me, 6mm buildings work perfectly for 15mm figures especially when one figure equals 50+ real men. I always attempt to make the unit's footprint and buildings conform to the same ground scale (if that makes sense!).

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    3. I believe this is the correct approach - I realise it's heresy, but I still can't get my head around Peter Gilder's Waterloo field having enough room for the entire Imperial Guard in the orchard of La Haie Sainte. I regularly get slapped for mentioning this, so I'm ready...

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  2. Used to go to Rye for an afternoon out quite often when I lived in Folkestone in the mid-80s. Very nice town. The highlight for me was the Michael Bentine-style sound and light show of the town's history. A large model of the town with key parts lighting up when the story got to that point. Complete with footsteps sounds and voices - not quite 'ah oui Herr Generaaal' but nearly.

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  3. Don't remember the Mermaid Inn specifically but I'm sure I must have been in at some point.

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    1. Sounds good - I understand the Mermaid is famous for being haunted. As I recall from business trips to Dublin, the pubs you can't remember are sometimes the ones to be wary of!

      I also understand Eliz I stayed there - she liked her ale, old Eliz I.

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  4. Altough technically under scale (whatever that means), it's still an impressive edifice. I had some small wooden toy buildings which were bought for me by my wife at some Christmas market or whatever as a bit of a joke. They gave excellent service as '15mm' villages and just looked like smaller versions of Charles Grant's housing stock. Conversely, about five years ago I received a present of one of those Total Battle Miniatures 'town' bases complete with an assortment of buildings which slot into it. The whole thing is about a foot square, which is, I think, totally impractical for most 15mm Napoleonic games. It languishes in the garage, untouched and unloved, but in limbo as I haven't got the heart to dispose of it - present from the kids.

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    1. This is one of those areas where everyone has his own view - each of us has to be comfortable with his own game. I don't have a problem with it really, but it is only a smallish number of years since I went to "one-size-down" buildings for wargames, and I worried a lot about it at the time - can't quite remember why it was so serious now, although it probably has something to do with banter I got from other gamers. All good natured stuff, but no-one likes to admit that he is a rotten driver, or a poor lover, or that his wargames look stupid.

      My good friend Jake Winthrop - now, alas, no longer with us, used to tease me about the fact that my soldiers would have trouble squeezing in through the front door of my miniature manor house (and I do still keep to a personal convention that underscale buildings must be big enough to avoid a mounted cavalryman being taller than a house - though, of course, it doesn't matter really).

      I used to retaliate by pointing out that the beautiful "Grand Manner" church he had just bought (at monstrous cost) was the same size as Leeds on the tabletop, and that worrying about which toy soldier was in which toy house and could fire out of which toy window was inappropriate for a game involving many hundreds of the beggars. It is not unconnected with my use of hexes, and thus of "areas", but - unless I start looking seriously at skirmishes along the lines of "Song of Drums & Shakos" - I find a group of little buildings which defines a built-up area is neater and less ambiguous. You are in the village or you're not - I don't care how many of your men I can see behind that tree. I also think that a cluster of small houses looks more convincingly like a village than does a single house model, and gives an intuitive definition of how big the village is.

      This, of course, is a very personal thing, and as I say it has taken me longer than I might choose to admit to become truly comfortable with it. It's mostly Jake's fault - he'll be laughing somewhere, as I type.

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  5. Hi Tony,

    I stayed at the Mermaid a couple of times in the 1980s, I remember it as a very very nice hotel and a great bar. If you asked for a martini you got a real one containing gin! Great place, I hope it is still as nice.

    Cheers

    Jay

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    1. Excellent - did you meet any ghosts?

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  6. You know, it's not a bad model building at all, even with the ivy in its current incarnation and the shine. So long as you don't start collecting vintage Hummel figures via Ebay. That's the REAL road to ridicule, ruin, and eventual madness. A public stoning might be in order were word of that heinous offense to leak out.

    Best Regards,

    Stokes

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    1. Stokes - I thought you promised you wouldn't mention the Hummel figures...

      I have to admit that the main reason why I put matt varnish on these buildings is so that I don't get invited to the Tey Collectors' cookie parties via Facebook. A public stoning would be a blessed relief.

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  7. Sharon and I had dinner in The Mermaid during a whirlwind romantic break a few weeks after we met in 1985. I don't think I had a martini more probably draught lager (I was that sort of lad). Come to think of it I did see something ghostly that evening but it may have just been a shadow made by Sharon's 1980's hairdo!

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    1. A lovely story - thanks for this! I had to check to see how long ago the 1980s was (since I switched off my data-collection sensors around that time).

      I am increasingly sure that the Mermaid is famous enough and prominent enough to sit side-by-side with Chester Rows, Shakespeare's birthplace, John Knox's House, Suffolk and Devon churches, other famous pubs in Colchester and Norfolk and so on and so on, in a siege situation, circa 1644! Just a perfectly typical provincial town, your Honour, but the tourists would love it (not the siege, of course...).

      Perhaps my next daft hobby might be to arrange visits to all these famous places.

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    2. My sister-in-law lives just round the corner from the Mermaid in Rye. On the several trips I've made to the UK, a drink at the Mermaid is always one of the first things we do when hitting Rye. To a Kiwi, where a really old pub is still well under 200 years old, a drink in the Mermaid is an amazing experience.

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