Monday, 16 January 2017

Really useful things


Firstly, a disclaimer:
I have absolutely no connection with any of the companies or services mentioned below, except as a satisfied customer. Other companies or services may be available that are every bit as suitable/ good/ useful/ other as the ones I have used. Pay your money and make your choice!

Yesterday saw me visit the Penkridge Tabletop Wargames event in Penkridge, Staffordshire, an annual affair I do not normally get the chance to go to and one which is basically a jumble sale/ car boot/ flea market for wargames figures and material and I mean absolutely no disrespect by that. There are a few traders who attend but a lot of what is on offer seems to be Joe Public selling off spares.

I went with one thing in mind - a visit to Commission Figurines to check out and possibly acquire some of their MDF trays that fit inside Really Useful Boxes, available from places such as your local DIY or hardware store.

Having checked the website ( and confirmed that Walter Anstiss would indeed be there in his guise of head of Commission Figurines, I set off to the bank, drew out some cash and went along to the show.

Follow the story below!

The trays come in various depths, ranging from 20mm to 70mm - see the bar at the right of the packaging. I bought 2x70mm, 4x50mm and 1x40mm. NOTE: THE DEPTH INCLUDES THE DEPTH OF THE MDF (2mm), SO FACTOR THIS IN WHEN YOU CHOOSE THE SIZE YOU WANT. As you can also see, they are designed to fit either the 4 Litre or 9 Litre boxes and you buy enough to enable you to fill the box from top to bottom, or 140mm in the case of the 9 Litre box I chose.

The pieces laid out. Depending on how you glue them together, either with or without cross-pieces, you may even have some spare to use for terrain, bases, etc.

One box, glued using normal white PVA glue and held together during the drying process with a trio of elastic bands. This represents about fifteen minutes work, including poking out the little slots to use those pieces as log piles, fence posts, etc.

Spare bits from one pack - a decent sized piece for terrain and some of the aforementioned fence posts or whatever.

The tray lined with standard 200x150mm steel paper sheets from Magnetic Displays.

And now I have a home for my fledgling French troops for the French & Indian Wars.

And also for the corresponding British troops. With both the French and the British, I have more available, in the form of Compagnies Franches de la Marine, Highlanders and loads of Indians, as well as officers for both sides.

2x50mm and 1x40mm trays in place, tightly but safely fitted into one 9 Litre Really Useful Box.

And the uppermost tray, too shallow at just 40mm to hold 28mm infantry, is there to hold the rules, cards, tokens, dice and other basic game materials required. Job done!

I plan on using the other four trays for some French Wars of Religion troops. The lower, 50mm deep tray will hold arquebusiers, the upper 70mm tray holding pikemen, who can have their "long sticks" protruding by 15mm or so without fouling on the box lid.

Finally, how much did each MDF tray cost me???

A paltry £3 each!!! They retail at £3.50 each unless you buy three or more. BARGAIN!!!

I have made my own such trays before to put into deep boxes to maximise space, but it is a chore. This product removes that chore at a low price and high quality. RECOMMENDED. All three trays took me just 45 minutes to make, then were left to dry overnight.


Wednesday, 4 January 2017


Happy New Year to you all!

A bit late, I know, seeing as how it is now 4th January, but it is an earnest wish!

Is anyone else having such trouble with the light here in good, old Blighty? What with the festivities, my work schedule and the climatic conditions, I am getting little painting done. And my Man Cave is a south-facing conservatory!!!

So, what to do about the problem?

  1. Well, although I exclusively paint in daylight, I really must seriously consider buying a good quality modelling lamp and experiment with daylight bulbs.
  2. I am fortunate in having some smaller scale (i.e. more quickly finished) figures available to work on until the situation improves.
  3. I have a passion for the bigger skirmish games such as Sharp Practice 2, so they should not take me too long to get up and running. I already have a lot done for the French & Indian Wars, for example.
  4. I can find another job that does not require quite such an investment in time and energy!
In the meantime, I have a stock of things I have not yet published on here and hope to get a few games in soon enough to write about too. Add to that the stuff I am slowly completing and I hope to be able to post rather more than the paltry sum of posts I managed last year...

See you soon.