Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, with a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Bavarians - Quick Succession

Yesterday I finished off a second Bavarian artillery unit, within a day or so of the first - clearly Bavarian artillery batteries, in the time-honoured traditions of the No.27 bus, travel around in widely-spaced pairs.

Kennington gunners, Franznap guns - Hauptmann Peters' battery
All ready to keep the Austrians off our terrace
Extra picture, included for anyone who is enthusiastic about waste-management systems
I'm pleased with this. This is a battery of Fuss-Artillerie, that of Hauptmann Peters, according to my official OOB, and they are equipped with a 12pdr and a howitzer. The figure castings are Kennington, and instantly recognisable as such, and the ordnance, as with the previous unit, are splendid little pieces by Franznap - correct Manson pattern and everything. I painted these chaps myself, as you may be able to tell (!). Kennington figures are businesslike and cheerful - this lot show a good attitude, though I am not sure about the officer. It could be that he is disappointed to find that he has been drafted into the artillery, since he had been intended for the infantry for a while, but he looks rugged enough. What's all this shouldered-sabre stuff, though? Is he intending to add some emphasis to his commands to the gunners, is he just posturing, or is he preparing for the enemy cavalry to come too close for canister shot?

In passing, I have read recently that Peter at SHQ, who sadly has some major health problems, is proposing to cut down his activities to concentrate on the core WW2 ranges, so the 20mm Kennington Napoleonics and ECW figures will be looking for a new owner. I certainly hope that goes well. Kennington figures are rather taken for granted, and seldom eulogised, in my experience, but they are good little sculpts, for the most part, they are cheaply and readily available (they have been absolutely invaluable to me in my constant search for 20mm figures over the last 15 years or so) and Peter and his colleagues offer a quick, friendly service. If they become unavailable - and I certainly hope they do not - I think we would (yet again) come to realise what we have lost. A familiar story?

Topic 2 - adventures with highwaymen

This one may ramble about a bit. Recently, Prof De Vries noted my references to Bob the Postie (our mailman), and wondered what had happened to Jamie the Postie - was he all right? Had he moved on to better things?

That's easily answered. Bob the Postie is, in fact, one and the same bloke as Jamie; he now wishes to be called Bob. No idea why - none of my business - perhaps his name is Jamie-Bob - who knows? We have known Bob for a long time now - when we first knew him (as Jamie) he must have been about 20, I guess. He did once blot his copybook by crashing into my wife's car, but that was a long time ago now, and we are friends again. He is cheerful, and reliable, and a good guy to have on our side.

Yesterday lunchtime I did remarkably well on the mailing front. The Bold Bob brought me packages from Uncle Tony Barr at ERM (who had performed heroics, despite the flu, in making me some custom-sized MDF bases, cut from his last-ever sheet of 3mm) and from Wonderland (the Edinburgh model-shop, who got some paint to me within 12 hours of my having ordered it online). The direct result of this fine service is that I managed to complete the Bavarian battery featured in the first part of this post. Really can't complain at all about that.

Less happily, I now realise that my shipment of posh new paint brushes from Cass Art has been committed to the tender mercies of Hermes, the infamous courier. Every day I am invited to refer to the continuing online tracking record for my parcel, which is, as usual, bullshit.

Let me say right away that I realise that the individual delivery drivers who work for Hermes are all self-employed, and the job must be a nightmare, so I am not completely unsympathetic, but our situation here does not lend itself well to operators like Hermes. I live on a farm, in a rural area. In the time it takes to drive a couple of miles out here with my single parcel, the driver can earn far more by delivering a cluster of packages to a larger village, so we tend to get bounced off the end of the day's job list.

Cass Art were prompt, and courteous, and informed me very quickly and correctly when they sent my order out. The downside is the appearance of the word "Hermes" in the detail. Hermes offer a comprehensive tracking service, and their drivers are equipped with a terminal (smart phone?) so they can update the records in real time. Out here in the sticks, that is just an irritant. There is much reference to "attempted delivery", or to people not being at home. On occasions we have stayed in specially to receive a parcel - often, I suspect, the driver has no intention whatsoever of coming around here, he simply enters junk into the system to keep the courier firm off his back. Our current record is about 1 week elapsed, when Hermes promised (and failed) every day to deliver some clothes my wife purchased from a well-known online shop (no - not that one). Every day there was a new line added to the story, and all of it was untrue.

A work of fiction - this is the eBook version, of course. The driver has never been near my house, nor has he had any such intention, I guess
Of course, this is not really a big problem at all. If Cass Art had said to me "we'll try to get your parcel to you sometime next week" I wouldn't have batted an eyelid, but if someone from Hermes tells me a lie every day about how he has bravely been defeated in his attempt to reach my house, or how I failed to be in (although I have supplied safe-place instructions to the seller and I can see the complete length of the lane from the Real World from my windows) then that is just silly. We never see the Hermes drivers, by the way. If and when they ever get as far as our door, by the time we answer the doorbell the driver is gone - there is just a package on the doorstep. They can't spare the time.

This means, of course, that if we happen to be on holiday in Florida and it is monsoon season here, my parcel of (say) expensive books will lie there undisturbed, unless Bob the Postie very kindly puts it safely in the woodshed.

The pros and cons of the "gig" economy. Discuss.



  1. We occasionally have something similar happen here. If the delivery person would simply ring the doorbell (it functions), he or she would find, in fact, that some very much IS at home to take delivery of what is typically a small item sealed in a cardboard carton/box that could just as easily be left on the front porch out of any weather next to the front door. Don't get me started. Sigh.

    Best Regards,


    1. I guess we tend to remember the bad instances, and forget the many that went OK, but these days our service from good old Royal Mail here in the UK is so good that the couriers compare very poorly on average. Maybe in central Manchester it would be better...

  2. Lovely looking units - you have been a busy chap. By the way we suffer the same hermes related bullshit you do only our couriers are called Collisimo.

    1. Thank you JBM. I'm enjoying the new units going into The Cupboard. Gratifying.

  3. The Number 27 bus went from Teddington Station to Archway. It was useful as it went passed Teddington Model Supplies, where I bought my Miniature Warfare magazine, and took you about a mile away from Hershants Book Shop in Archway

    It was one of my key London Bus Routes.

    I do hope the Kennington range finds a new home. I rather like their artillery pieces.

    1. Mark - it certainly was a key route - when it gets to Edinburgh, the Number 27 goes along Stockbridge (where Mr Alexander's legendary Toytub used to stock Higgins and Minifigs and Lamming and Garrison and you-name-it, back in another century) and eventually up Lothian Road to where Wonderland is now, and up past the site of the old Homecraft shop in Gillespie Crescent, where i used to buy Testor paints and such exotica. Goodness only knows where it goes next. Magical Mystery Tour.

      If God had intended us to fly in jet aeroplanes (to misquote my Grannie slightly), he would never have given us the Number 27 bus.

    2. Past my mums house then on to Oxgangs

      Ah!... the Toytub... fond memories... ;-)

      All the best. Aly

    3. Did your mum live at Craiglockhart, then, Aly? You must have been posh. I lived for a while in Warrender Park, and then in Morningside, at the Greenbank end. Morningside was fairly posh, but I fear I brought the tone of the place down a bit.

    4. Polwarth Gardens...She is still there...
      Back in 1983-4 I used to have very small top floor flat on Bruntsfield Place... opposite Macsweens the butchers.... and well known maker of Haggis...
      Macsweens isn’t there any more and our little flat is now... expensive :-/

    5. Bless her! My fondest memories of Polwarth are drinking in the Gilsland with my ex-brother in law. Especially walking back up Myreside hill in the rain after 4 pints of Stella...

      Macsween's haggis is still going from strength to strength. I remember the shop in Bruntsfield - they issued numbered paper tickets to the queue, like they used to do in Paris! They closed the Bruntsfield shop around 1996, my photographer-historian pal tells me, when they opened a factory in Loanhead.

      I found photos of Macsween's, but not the Toytub - I'm still looking...

    6. Ha!...
      We used to drink in the Gillsland... mostly on Sundays... one of our other haunts was The Canny Mans on Morningside Road... it’s still there but a bit gentrified now...
      A small world or what...?