Sunday, 23 October 2016

Recent purchases + honeymoon

Hi folks,

While my painting time has taken a bit of a hit in the last few weeks, I have been busy this week finishing off a load of 3mm Soviet stuff for my 3mm Team Yankee project. Pics of that to follow, once everything is based.

In the mean time, I thought I'd share some pics of my recent purchases and visits to historic sites!

Our honeymoon consisted of a week (well, 5 nights) in an apartment in Kenmore, which is beside Loch Tay in Scotland. 

Unfortunatley on our first night, after arrival, my wife took ill and we had a 1 hour journey to the nearest hospital (in Perth) at 3am. It was Wednesday afternoon before she was discharged, so the first week was mostly gone! Still, she was fine and we did get to do a little in the remaining time.

We visited the National Cranog Centre in Kenmore, just along from where we were staying:

 Where we had a lovely afternoon sitting in the Cranog in front of a wood fire hearing about the building of the structures, theories surrounding their purpose and what we know of the lives of those who lived in them. There were also some fantastic demonstrations of various ancient crafts - such as wood turning, flour making, fire starting, etc. There was also an area dedicated to weaving and dyeing. I took a picture of some of the colours that volunteers had made using locally available ingredients.

While in Kenmore we also travelled to the Enchanted Forest at Pitlochry. This is a seasonal show put on in autumn in a large section of forest, featuring light and sound displays - and a fantastic 3d holographic light show using the water from a fountain that really was spectacular. All I've got to show here is one odd photo!

After our first week we moved to a small cottage just outside Dunblane. This turned out to be a fantastic location, not far from Perth, Stirling, Glasgow and a host of other places.

Using this as a base I got to visit Stirling Castle - which features the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Museum. I took loads of photos, but there was very little WW2 stuff on display - much more was given over to regimental silver and things like the Crimea and WW1. Here's a picture of 'the thin red line' - the Argylls deployed in line beating off a Russian cavalry charge.

As well as being a spectacular castle, it has a host of interesting displays. One I found touching was these toy soldiers, found during renovations:

The castle itself has seen a lot of change over the centuries, and as such currently has a look of an almost Napoleonic defense, rather than a medieval castle. I was particularly interested in the cannon shot damage to some of the walls, mainly from the Jacobean period.

We also visited the Battle of Bannockburn visitors centre, which was really good. Not so much a museum as an interactive experience - included a walk through of the tactics employed in a room where you stand with 3d glasses in the middle of a heavy cavalry charge and archers firing - as well as a chance to take control of part of the English or Scots army on a 3d contoured holographic battle map (akin to the Total War series of games, on a simpler basis and with you giving verbal commands).

Outside, you get to visit the Bannockburn monument:

At the shop here I picked up an Osprey book on the battle - perhaps the start of an interest that might expand to the table top!

We also visited the Wallace Monument, which was built in the 18th Century to honor William Wallace and other important Scots. From the top, you can see the site of the Battle of Stirling Bridge (Stirling Castle is spotted by the gold coloured building on top of the hill on the right - the Great Hall returned to the original colour of lime wash):

After all this, I got to visit the Black Watch Regimental Museum in Perth. This was a really really good museum, much better than the Argylls museum with a lot more display space and a lot of really interesting artifacts. Again, not a huge amount of space given over to WW2, but more than the previous museum. With this visit I had also managed to visit every Regiment in 154 Brigade over my honeymoon (and all it cost me was a days clothes shopping in Glasgow!).

We also spent a day in Glasgow, where we met Paul Alba and his wife for dinner, a visit to Falkirk to see the Kelpies and a renovated defensive tower we had free entry to (and a ice cream dairy and fudge shop):

The Kelpies - dedicated to the horses who worked the various Scottish Canals
So a very touristy honeymoon with lots of visits to historic sites. If anyone is looking to visit Scotland on a holiday, I can really recommend the Stirling area. Lots to do, really friendly locals, good places to eat and really central for a lot of historic sites.

So, purchases. I was really pleased to get a couple of badges linked to my Flames of War collection:

Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders badge
Black Watch badge

I also managed to visit a games shop in Stirling and make a start on my planned Canadian Shermans. A visit to a local show last weekend also got me some Fireflys for the same list. 

At the same show, I got some Osprey books - and ordered a book online which also arrived this week. This might give a clue as to a possible project I am looking at for next year (hint, the book about Sherman Crabs was just cos it was cheap and I had change to use up!). 

Not forgetting my 15mm WW2 collection, I also put an order in for some Royal Engineer vehicles (as I've been threatening for a while). A Churchill SBG conversion kit and a Churchill Fascine conversion kit for some PSC Churchill hulls I have. As well as a Cromwell ARV conversion kit and plastic hull. All from S&S Models and the Churchill kits were only released last month. I can't actually remember if I previously bought a ARV Cromwell for my Poles, but I suspect not. 

Hopefully, I will get the AVsRE built and painted during the MMM 'Novelty November' challenge. This challenge basically involved picking something unusual from your painting pile and trying to get it finished in one month. As these are 'funnies', they qualify for me! Also on the table will probably be a 'Katy' ambulance and a British Radio truck I picked up from QRF. 

Lastly, I picked up a copy of the newest Team Yankee book, Iron Maiden. Really interesting book that has made me think I should skip the 6mm GHQ Americans I was planning and go straight to Brits. Yesterday a surprise package arrived containing some 6mm US Marines - courtesy of Des in Scotland. These will be getting used to do some cold war US marines in advance of a Team Yankee book for them!

Hopefully, thats not bored everyone to tears! More updates coming soon on my 3mm Soviets, then back to my polish Shermans before the Novelty November challenge starts!


  1. Wow. All that and a honeymoon too ?!?!

    I do hope Mrs Hatter is fully recovered.

    Visiting every regimental museum for any Bde, let alone the one which is represented by your FoW army has to be a win.

    1. Thanks, she was fine after a few days and some antibiotics.

      I was chuffed with the amount of historical sites we got to. Lots and lots of options in those areas!

  2. Sorry to hear Mrs. TinHatter got sick. Hope all is well now. Looks like a nice trip!

    1. Thanks Rod, all fine now. Just glad she was ok a few days before for the wedding!!!

  3. Sounds like a fantastic honeymoon, James, apart from poor Mrs James getting ill. Kenmore is a lovely wee spot. My wife and I had a holiday not long ago in Aberfeldy, just along the road from there. Great part of the country. +1 for the Stirling area too - but then I am biased!

    1. Thanks Kevin. It was a great area, hopefully we'll see more of it in the future!

  4. Some of my very good friends here visited the Stirling area and stayed with family in Saltcoats earlier this year. Said they had a lovely time of it. I've never explored the West of Scotland, mainly Aberdeenshire and around Inverness and Aviemore. One day though.

    At least the honeymoon sounds like it was fun for you both. Again my friend, many hearty congrats!


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