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Sunday, 25 October 2015

Fiasco 2015

Today I made my annual trip to the Royal Armouries in Leeds for FIASCO 2015, presented by Leeds Wargames Club. This was more of a product recce than purchasing trip, but I bought a few things.

Minifigs Napoleonic Ottoman figures sampler packs for their new range
2 packs of Minifigs Ottoman Line Infantry and a Perry ammo cart

I am preparing my paper on Wellington Invades France. His opposing Marshal was Soult.  A couple of days ago I remembered there was a biography of Soult published a few years ago - I should find a copy. By coincidence there was one at the fair.

There were some interesting demo games, including a Star Wars games, based on the rebel attack on the Death Star ( very current ).

A very pleasant morning trip.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

"The Pacific" and "Nazi Megastructures" (timewasting?)

I have been catching up on a few television programmes that I had recorded.

First up - from Sky Atlantic - "The Pacific" - produced by HBO, Playtone and Dreamworks - a 10 part series following a group of men through the Pacific Islands campaign. This series was very well done. Each programme had a three minute introduction using maps, original film from the time and a voice-over explanation by Tom Hanks. The early episodes had some back-story and action from Guadalcanal but as the series' story progresses through Pellilau, Iwo Jima and Okinawa, the action sequences get better and better, and the experiences of the young men and their struggle to survive and keep some sanity come to the fore. A very good series.

Related to this series was a programme from the second series of "Nazi Megastructures" about the Japanese response to the American successes in the Pacific theatre, the formation of the Kamikaze squadrons and the design of suicide aircraft.This is a branch of military history that I have little knowledge of, in particular, the Yokosuka MXY7 "Ohka", a rocket propelled plane that was two-thirds bomb, 2,600 pounds or 1200 kgs of explosives. The Ohka was slung underneath a medium range bomber and flown to about 25 miles from the target. The Ohka would be released, the pilot flew it as a glider to within striking distance and switched on the rocket engines to power into the target ship.

The Japanese had a few successes and some US Navy ships were lost.

Now that I have watched these programmes I am feeling a little guilty of time wasting as I should be preparing my talk for York U3A next month. I am getting on with it and the research is very interesting, but sometimes the spirit is a little reluctant.

Saturday, 10 October 2015


I watched this film on Blu-ray and I really enjoyed it. It is about the 1964 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, led by Martin Luther King. Even though we know how this ends, this a good drama that is well told. The performances by David Oyelowo (as MLK) and Carmen Ejogo (his wife, Coretta) also show great insight into the effect of being a leading light of the civil rights movement had on the Kings family life. Also great performances from Tom Wilkinson (as President LBJ) and Tim Roth (Gov George Wallace)

(Usually, at this point I include a copy of the poster for the film, however, yesterday I uploaded Windows 10 and today the upload pictures function on Blogger is not working. This could be coincidence...maybe...)

Monday, 5 October 2015

"The Martian"

Cinema trip to Cityscreen in York on Saturday to see "The Martian". Wow. As a lover of sci-fi films and of the films of Ridley Scott, my totally biased opinion, this is an excellent film, we thoroughly enjoyed it.