In March this year, my wife and I moved to Oxford in the UK. We will be here for a several years while my wife does genius things that I do not understand, similar situation to my wargaming.
I miss the AWC and its excellent members not to mention my Romans and newly painted ACW army. However, with England being the home of toy soldiers I have an excellent opportunity to buy buy buy. With that in mind, I visited the Foundry in Nottingham on July 23 for their open day with Sean (who was visiting the UK). Firstly, Nottingham has very few trees, no men in tights, no sheriff, and maid Marion had no teeth but she knew where St Mark’s road was luckily.
Secondly, Foundry has a nice website, but is a factory and warehouse/office in a crap part of town. The staff were very nice, Bernard in particular as he knew us from our previous orders. It is excellent to wander the rows and rows of figures although that much-unpainted lead is slightly scary. I picked up a few packs of Vikings I wanted though one that was out of stock. Within minutes, I held in my hands a warm foundry blister of fresh lead, and then I made a resistance roll and put it back on the rack. The advertised cheap blisters were a bit of a have, a trader got there early and grabbed 300 or so, i.e. most of them. He sells them on eBay, davent5 is his name and his auctions are loose foundry figures with a blue background. I did get a couple of double packs for 5 pounds, which gives you an indication of how much that trader is marking his figures up. Some of the staff comments regarding other figure companies were interesting. There does seem to be a bit of rivalry with the other figure makers. I guess Foundry have seen their business shrink over the years while newcomers have grown at their expense.
Northstar, also in Nottingham, is simply a warehouse operation on an industrial estate [I’ve just bought some Great War Miniatures WW1 British Artillery Limbers from Northstar, very nice they are too – Ed]. Again super helpful staff and they have a great range of stuff from Ancients to WW1. The new Gripping Beast Viking plastics are excellent and the Warlord Games Roman Testudo model looks very good in real life. For ACW fans, there is a new set of regimental rules for Fire and Fury due soon as well [Already out! It was released at Historicon 08-11 July 2010 – Ed].
The Oxford Wargames Society is my new local club. They are very handy to home, around 5 minutes away. There is also a club not far south of Oxford, maybe 30 minutes away so plenty of local gaming to be had. The OWS meets each Monday night from 6pm and what seems to be the third Sunday of the month. They are charging per meeting rather than an annual fee. The club seems very healthy, about 10 or more Ancients players along with another eight chaps playing 6mm Franco-Prussian, ACW or Nappys. The meetings I have been to have been well attended. The link is to the club website.
A couple of members, David Fairhurst and his wife, will be heading to Wellington in 2011 to play in the FOG World Champs. David’s wife is Lynda; she is very nice, a good FOG player, and knits excellent terrain! He’s a good bloke and an excellent player in both club friendlies and competitions around the UK.
This weekend, July 31/August 1, the Oxford Club hosted the British Historical Games Society (BHGS) doubles round. This was a FOG competition with 900 points aside on 6 x 4 tables in 15mm. It was well attended with 12 tables for FOG. There was also a FOW mid war competition with 10 tables in action. Finally a small competition using the new FOG Renaissance rules. There was one copy of the final FOG R rule book along with a list for the Wars of Religion, Western Europe 1610 – 1660 on display.
Only one trade stand was present, 15mm Donnington Miniatures. I think these were the figures Richard Hornell used for his excellent 15mm Gauls. They have two lines now, “Originals” which are the original lines strangely enough, and “New Era”. The “New Era” figures are very very good, current ranges cover Low Countries, 100 Years War, Burgundians, Vikings plus an excellent range of camp, baggage and train (weapon racks, a forge, prisoners etc). Further plans include a Saxon range.
Upcoming competitions/shows are numerous. Britcon is happening in 2 weeks in Manchester featuring a demo game of FOG Napoleonics. I am not able to attend but hoping to get to the Old Glory World Wargames in October hosted by the Darby Wargames Club, there is a FOG Team event with armies from three different books.
Warfare in Reading is on November 20/21; the link has a list of the competitions. Plenty of FOG, DBMM, and even WRG 6th edition.
At the Oxford event, I met a kiwi called Dave Madigan who has been over this way for 20 years. He was playing FOW and raved about Warfare at Reading, a great show with plenty of trade stands. He was also trying to recruit me for an event in Lisbon in September. There is almost a little too much on over here.
Anyway, if you are over this way holla at me. I will send another postcard after Darby.