Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The 'Art of War' gets nominated for an 'award' and ANZAC Day 2011

I was quite chuffed to have been nominated for a blogging award the other day by the redoubtable Miles of 'Lair of the Uber Geek' - so a big 'thanks' to him (his latest post has some drool-worthy pics of his latest AWI game at his mate Ernie's wargames room - a gamer's sanctuary most of us can only dream about - lucky sod!)

As far as I can tell its a kind of chain-mail type of thing where you are nominated and in turn nominate others - which is quite OK as it is a form of peer recognition and shares the love!

Now the rules of this award are to:

        1.  A 'thank you' and link back to the nominating blog (done!)

        2.  Share seven things about yourself.

        3.  Nominate 10 or so other blogs you deem worthy of such an award (the chain-mail aspect)

        4.  Let them know of your nominating them for the award.

Hmmm...  seven things about me.  Now what can I tell the world that won't have me hunted down by Interpol or burned at the stake?  I'd better keep it simple - always follow the KISS principle - and make it about things not obvious from reading my blog!
  • (true confession time) I'm an avid AFL tragic.  For all non-Australians and rugby league supporters its our distinctly national code/form of football - and just the fastest, most exciting and most dazzlingly athletic form of footy on the planet.  It has similarities to Gaelic football and a national AFL team tours Ireland every year to play the Irish.
Taking a 'screamer' - mark - catching the ball aloft in AFL
  • I've both coached (schoolboys) and played (in my distant youth) other forms of football, particularly soccer and rugby (union) but AFL was always the one for me - and apologies to the schoolboy's Queenscliff/Point Lonsdale team for being such a crap centre back!
  • I'm a born and bred St. Kilda supporter - I remember the only flag (Grand Final) they ever won when I were but a young'un in 1966!  And the two lost GF's in the last two years - so I know all about pain and suffering!  
  • I have passed this sad affliction onto several of my children, the youngest of whom is not only the best Xbox AFL player in the country (really!) but also a very good 1st div U14 centre forward (did NOT inherit his skills from his old man) and even my beautiful daughter who was a national level gymnast and has the ambition to be betrothed to champion St Kilda centre Leigh Montagna (provided he stumps up the required dowry!)
My youngster (blue & white jersey) successfully 'roves' the ball from the centre bounce
  • Other non-football related revelations include just finishing (very late in life) my Masters at Uni. 'Terrorism, Safety and Security' for those who are interested (I can hear the snores already...)  Quite proud it took me two and a half years instead of the usual 4 - 5 while I also held down a full-time job and helped out officiating at my son's AFL games etc, etc AND retained my sanity (questionable) through my hobby of 'collecting and painting little men' (as my spouse derisively calls it) 
  • In my past I was a reasonably successful graphic designer and even got into the New York School of Art once upon-a-time, neither path pursued as a career option but rather channeled into my hobby some twenty or so years on!  Have also edited, art directed and published a wargaming rule set written by another ('Elan') which almost saw the end of me BUT am also a huge admirer of Battlegames' Henry Hyde who DID manage to be both a successful graphic designer and wargames mag publisher! This is what I'd really like to do - combine my hobby and skills in a job that would pay me to...   indulge in further fantasy!
  • Plan for my (early) retirement which is not too far away (and would involve a substantial lottery win) to enable me to get back into my fine art pursuits (painting and drawing), publishing and writing (or vice versa) and pay for furthering my indulgence in collecting and painting little men! (OK - the last not much of a revelation to followers of this blog but a feller can still dream can't he?)
On a different tack, I took my youngest Son and Heir to the War Memorial on ANZAC Day.  Although not sharing in my hobby enthusiasm he does have a genuine interest and enjoys his dad's amateur military historian  ramblings as a guided tour.  It is a superb museum and although there are some things I would like to see them do better (like promote and sell Australian model and figure manufacturers in the Memorial shop instead of all the irrelevant foreign rubbish they flog!) it is the best repository of our military history and can rightly boast of being one of the best museums of its kind in the world.

Some of the interactive multi-media exhibitions are truly mind-blowing including the G for George (above Lancaster bomber - air war over Europe), the WW1 air war on the Western Front (Peter Jackson's mini film with some stunning CGI from his Weta Studios) and the latest Battle of Kapyong (Korean War exhibition  - where you are also in a trench system on the 48th Parallel).  

Restored German Albatros fighter

Night attack, Kapyong (Korean War)

I heard one visitor remark that it was why he got into collecting and making models in the first place.  The model dioramas, particularly of the fighting in WW1, similarly inspired me at a young age.    

Light Horse charging Turkish trenches at Magrehba, Palestine

Bullecourt, winter 1916 (one of the earliest uses of tanks)

These are truly inspirational and but a small glimpse of what is on display.  Most of the WW1 dioramas were made in the 1920's from exact records and photos of the actual battlefields, much of which were still as they were at the time.  This and the restoration work done by the War Memorial itself is amazing.  While I have not tired to replicate any of the above in my hobby, I DID do a restoration job on a Turkish map taken from the Turk HQ at Bersheeba as a gift for my father and donated several others to the Memorial.  

One of my ancestors was with the Light Horse at that famous charge and helped himself to some 'memorabilia' in the Turk headquarters in Bersheeba after the battle.  Many years later I discovered them in an old trunk and got an Arab-speaking friend of mine to translate and work out where they depicted - only the entire Turkish positions in northern Palestine! They also had pencil drawn estimations of the Allied positions - pretty accurate too.  The maps were extremely good - much better than the Allied ones as they were done by German survey just before the war.  I'm sure my light-fingered ancestor gave the important ones to the intelligence boys at the time!

Well that's my indulgence for ANZAC Day 2011.  Now to finish off my FPW Prussian Guard and Jaeger and maybe catch a movie to fill in the end of the Easter break.



  1. Congratulations, would love to see that place, the pictures were great.

  2. Congratulations and wow those pictures really are awesome, especially the night attack!


  3. Congratz on the award! I totally agree with you other comments, the pictures are fantastic!

  4. Thanks guys - much appreciated. The night attack one at Kapyong is an exact replication of an action by four Australians at the most forward (and exposed) positions. They were repelling attacks by hundreds of heavily armed Chinese, literally down to their last bullet. The model-maker went to the spot in Korea and recorded it correct in every detail - and the soldiers depicted are exactly the same ones that fought (and fortunately survived) the action. The lighting is what makes the diorama so I had to try and avoid use of flash that would have given more detail but ruined the effect - bit tricky! Fortunately my little Panasonic Lumix camera is great at low light photography.