Friday, 7 November 2014

Private W. dreams of England, or Just a Regular Sunday in The U.K.

A stormy West Coast night has me hiding in the Shed sorting through my Gnomes and thinking of England.  Ah, England...the pitter-patter, thump-thump of the rain lulls me into some happy dreaming...

    It is a pleasant Sunday morning that finds me in a wonderfully average Northeastern English Village.  A lively hornpipe being played on a set Northumbrian Small Pipes fills the air with delight.  So I buy a Fried Snickers bar and follow a pair of Age Of Arthur Re-Enactors to a Car Boot Sale being held in the Village Green.  I poke through the boots/trunks of classic Jags, Morris Minors, Lotus Super Sevens and Ford Anglia Deluxes.   Mmmm, it is exactly like I always imagined it - there are miniatures for sale everywhere!   I see a set of C-series Orcs.  A couple Kemmlers.  A Perry Giant.  No, two!  Hey look, some Space Slann.   The Spined Dragon.   The selection is mind-numbing, the choice overwhelming - What should I spend my 99p on?   (At this, I chuckle, oh the English Collector has it rough.)    But there in a purple Jensen Interceptor I see my Holy Grail - the entire line of Dixon Dwarves!!!  I scoop them up and head happily into the closest of the eleven pubs that line the Green. 

   Inside the Pub I hear joyous laughter, merry singing and rich discussion.  On the walls there are pictures of Spitfires, the Queen, framed photos of Donald Featherstone and Tony Iommi.   I see a poster advertising the annual Bronte sister look-a-like contest.  And there are games, tabletop games being played everywhere!  I marvel at the variety of battles being fought - WWI, WWII, Seven Years War, Nap., ECW (all played with Hinchcliff figures), 3rd Edition Warhammer, Ancients, Moderns, Gangsters, Spanish Civil War, etc., etc... But what catches my eye and my awe are two guys playing a huge game using the WRG 6th edition's fantasy adaptations.   That and the fact that all the figures on the table are Minifigs from the Minifig Fantasy line from the 70's!   I want to drop to my knees in utter supplication and worship which is then amplified tenfold when one of the players tells me that this game is part of an on-going campaign that has being going on for the past 32 years!!!!

     To calm myself I go and order a pint.  At the bar I join a conversation about Chaucer and English Folk Music.  Soon the talk turns to Jutland and the best rule set to best fight this Dreadnought dream.   Before I can tell them about my boyhood spent building the Imperial German Fleet out of Lego, I notice that a new performer is mounting the stage at the back of the pub.  He looks familiar but in my delirious state it takes me a moment to place him.   He begins to sing an old English Magdrigal.  It dawns on me that he is singing all five parts.  At once!  While tastefully accompanying himself on the lute!  Amazing!   But wait!  It's Rick Priestley!!!!  

       "It's RICK PRIESTLEY!!!", I shout.

I am politely shushed by the hushed audience that has gathered around him.  

     "Man, that guy can do anything", I think quietly to myself.

Four hours later he finishes his set to thunderous applause.   I push myself through the throng of adoring fans.  I barely notice that most of them are attractive young women waving autograph books.  


This catches his attention and he invites me over to his table.  We talk about all sorts of things.   In my happiness I buy another Fried Snickers Bar. 

    "Rick", I ask, "do fanboys with Life-Sized Posters of you hanging in their Dining Rooms freak you out at all?"

He laughs and says that it was funny that I mentioned REAPER because he was planning of having a game of it when he got home and would I like to play?   

When we get back to his place he makes us tea as we set up our forces.  I noticed that his beautiful Hittite army is five times the size of the goblin force he gave me to use.   But that's okay.  Narrative, man, I'm sure he has some sort of incredible narrative planned for our game.  However, just at that moment a large Citadel box that is half hidden in his hall closet catches my attention. 

  "What's that big Citadel box Rick?", I ask.

   "O nothing.  Just my Time Machine", Rick answers.

   "Wow, Rick, you have a Time Machine?!"


Now I am really torn.  Do I play a game of REAPER with Rick Priestley with his very own miniatures, or do I ask to use his Time Machine?   AHHH! 



    "May we use your Time Machine and then play a game of REAPER with your very own miniatures?"


And that's how I got to see Hawkwind live in 1972!  With Rick Priestley.

Ahh, England!

Here are some pictures of some of my Gnomes.  

My shed table at the moment.

Got carried away pulling out figs.  Felt very old school tonight.  Thought some nice old school grain and unfocus would be nice to show.   Plus I love this picture.

And for no reason at all.

Some of my very first fantasy figs.  Actually several were/are my brother's. 

Happy full moon.


  1. My dreams of England often look like something close to it with the smell of fish and chips in the air and tunes from the incredible string band playing...and brick, brick everywhere...
    Wonderful voyage Private, thank you very much for taking us along, taht was a wonderful moment.

    1. Thanks a lot for your comment Mr.ALMan! I had a lot of fun writing this, but in reading through it now I hope it didn't freak our English friends out. Oh well, this is my fantasy England (or part of it). And it's funny that you mention the Incredible String Band because in other daydreams/fantasies of England they, or rather a Robin Williamson-like character plays a big part in idealized happy skylarking about Jolly ol'England. Bring on the Hangman's Beautiful Daughter is what I say!

  2. My Mrs. is a huge ISB fan (1000 Spirits of the Layers of the Onion would be a good name for an undead army). Reading your post I though you must be an ex-pat so accurately you describe a regular Sunday in Blighty. Astounded by the scale of your collection , and all painted nicely too!!

  3. Ah, Take me back to dear Ol'Blighty of dreams long ago and near! Well, at least to the fantasy where Every Day is Sunday... And thank you, Springinsfeld, it was actually an extended visit at Mercurius Atticus earlier this week that inspired my recent round of daydreams about England! Also, I had never seen all of your painted 1/72 stuff before - what a treat! I originally dropped by to check out some of your 54mm ECW guys to see if you had a post about having the paint stay on them. I recently picked up a Call Of Arms ACW Artillery set and no matter what I do (wash, undercoat, white glue) I just can't get the paint to stick. I'm going to try again tomorrow with a diluted black acrylic and PVC mix to undercoat. All I want is a simple Britains Deetail-like paint job for them but it is turning into a bit of a bother. As for ISB, my darling wife was the one who turned me on to their music. These women have great taste!