Friday, 30 June 2017

TRAVEL BATTLE


Alan and Michael of Perry Miniatures have long been known for maintaining an extremely high standard of excellence in the miniatures field. Indeed, wargamers from all over the globe proudly display various armies of these exquisitely detailed (toy) model soldiers. Half my own collection of wargame figures are made by the Perry brothers, and stand in high honour on my glass display cabinets.


However, in recent years I have been having a few problems. As one gets older (especially true of hardcore wargamers.. like me) you find it becomes more and more tedious to set up a full eight or ten foot long wargame table. These rare events tend to be left for club occasions and game conventions/shows. I guess I`m lucky if I get to play one of these full blown wargames once a month.. and this last year or so, even less. And so, even though I am pretty good at painting discipline, and have entire three English Civil War armies finished, plus my Liberty or Death American War of Independence, and my Zulu Wars all painted, based, varnished, and ready for action... and even though I have about half my Bolt Action WWII British, Americans and Germans finished and ready for the table... to physically cart these with me to the clubs, is hard. Nowadays, it`s an extremely rare thing to see me actually get them out and play a game with all of this stuff at home. It simply takes up too much space, takes an age and a half to set up, even longer to play, and... frankly, I`m too old, too achy nowadays to want to lean heavily over a frickin` huge five foot wide table for hours on end moving 28mm or 40mm troops about, until even the Paracetamol won't cut through the pain of my poor tired muscles.

This led me to doing three major massive culling sessions of a lot of my wargame and rpg games. Three major `must go` blitz attacks on my lifelong collection, in so many years. I don't tend to sell my stuff when I get rid of it. Maybe I`m crazy, but I usually give things to people I know will find a use for the items I choose for them. Makes me feel good, and more importantly, it does mean I can return a bit to the hobby in general (which has been so kind to me over the years, due to the generosity of others). It`s nice when I can hand over entire collections to people who will use them (not just "thank you very much" but have them gathering dust in a box).

But I digress. When I started playing with toy soldiers back in the 1960`s, when I was a kid, and later when I discovered proper wargaming in the early 70`s, I started with Napoleonics.. pretty much the moment I saw the epic "Waterloo"  at the Cinema in 1970. The film had some awesome names to is credits: Rod Steiger as Napoleon, Christopher Plumber as the Duke of Wellington, Orson Wells as Louis XVIII, Jack Hawkins as General Picton, Virginia McKenna as the Duchess of Richmond, and Dan O` Herihy as Marshal Ney.  I was 8 when I first saw this film on the big screen, and was hooked immediately (my Dad always encouraged me with history, even as a child.. bringing it alive for me in vivid colour of description). Suddenly I was spending all my pocket money on Airfix Napoleonic little plastic men. By the time I was 14 I had struck up quite a friendship with some of the greats of the time, writing to them endlessly with childish enthusiasm and annoying charm; so that by the time I was 15 (in 1977 - the beginning era of Punk Rock) I was invited to visit and have holidays with writers like George W Jeffrey, and Donald Featherstone. Long weeks at a time with these icons of the wargame world. My goodness they honed my appetite for more I can tell you. I am eternally grateful for their kind patience with an incessantly questioning youth with a deep appetite for knowledge.

Incidentally, same time as this was happening (and for some years after) Hils was messing in entirely different circles. She was a part of the early 2000AD comic book `gang` and frequently hung out with the guys from those iconic days of British greatness. I often wonder how things would have worked out had we known each other back then. Me a raving Punk Rocker (all zips and snot), and her, a ravishing beauty with an almost ethereal Pre-Raphaelite demeanour.

But in time, I left Napoleonics behind. I left Wargaming behind too..  and for many years to come. Due in part to having discovered Role Playing, in the form of Dungeons and Dragons, and its many imitators. Mostly though, I left wargaming behind because I had discovered a new phenomena in my life.... GIRLS.... Woohooooo!!!!! .

But the pull of gaming was never far away. Even in my role playing games, I had a love for the big battles and military style adventures. And I guess it was about the mid to late 80`s that I rediscovered, and rekindled my passion for wargames, and `the bug` has never left me since.

Anyway, back to now!


We live in a big old house which is surrounded by the (usually) mist shrouded, Puka filled mountains and Banshee cry, green grassy valleys of Southern Ireland. The house is too big for us now that all the kids have flown the nest, and we tend to rattle about like peas in a very large, rattling pod.  Luckily, everyone seems to want big family homes right now in our area, and the fact we live high on our own hill which translated from Irish means "the place where Cuckoos are first heard in Spring." It overlooks an Iron Age hill fort and is altogether an idyllic spot. But this all does nothing for my hobby. We are selling it... putting the place on the market next year (once we have done some cosmetic paintbrush surgery and TLC on the outside and on the interior six bedroom walls). Meanwhile I have no grand games room: no massive sand table to call my own, and no way I can play full on wargames of the scale and grandeur I most desirously wish to pursue.

And so we return once more to Perry Miniatures. Once again they have come to my rescue. This time in the form of an early Christmas present. The second I spotted their new Travel Battle boxed set, I knew I wanted it: "pleaaaaaseeee?" I asked Hilary. And yep! she got it for me......  for Christmas. Yipeeee!!! but noooooooo!!!!! I wanted it now! Suffice to say, I, as only a husband can do best, wore her down, until eventually she let me have it..... NOW.

Travel Battle. Hmmmm, a bit of a misnomer of a name really. I would have called it "A complete wargame in a box, for the gamer who is restricted in space."  It's neat, it's beautiful, and its complete. And best of all, it`s a game of generic battles fought in the age of Napoleon`s warfare.

The miniatures are 8mm, and are sublime. I`ve never seen anyone else make 8mm figures before and certainly not in plastic. A marketing ploy you might say? Not so, I reply.... Perry Miniatures sell all the box components separately, for anyone wishing to expand the experience beyond the box (which is exactly what I have done. At £3 a sprue, i.e. three quid for a complete new army, I don`t think even the most frugally minded gamer could complain at that financial drain).


Or you can buy new moulded plastic map boards for £14 each, which is GREAT value. These are superbly detailed I might add, and a nice lick of paint sits well on them The woods and building roof tops even lift off to allow you to put  companies of soldiers inside. 
The boards all fit the next one seamlessly, which ever way you turn them, making it possible to create an endless variety of battle fields.


So, I have me a game in a box. A complete, wonderful, small scale, generic Napoleonic wargame, with the scope and potential to play the grandest of battles, all on the size of a coffee table (or a tea tray if I want to play a small encounter). I painted both my armies (British and French - about 200 miniatures) in a single day, and Hils painted both my battle boards in a few hours on day two.


I immediately ordered more troops (less than five euro with postage) and now I have enough spare soldiers winging their way to me for me to be able to create an entire Prussian army (under General Blucher of course) , and a spare Brunswicker and Austrian one too.... Oo how about a regiment of The Kings German Legion while we are about it, maybe a few 95th Riflemen to keep Sharpe company. Add a few more maps, and I could literally fight The Battle of Waterloo on the same size as it might take to play an average game of Zombicide.


So, it`s quite amazing , really the tides of fate. As it is, I return full circle to my first ever love... wargaming in the Napoleonic era. Which suits me perfectly. No matter how much I enthuse about Doctor Who, Batman, Judge Dredd, Zombies, or any other imaginary genre of the hobby; my first love will always be historical. And as I have boxed up all my other historical subjects and projects... for now, until we move house and I am settled once again in the games room of my dreams: this new Travel Battle set will adequately meet all my needs in the more serious side of my hobby, the part of me where so much of my gaming passion resides. This may be small, but oh boy, this really is a complete diminutive hobby in a box with room to expand it as much as you want.... or simply keep it a game in a box. The choice is yours.


£50 well spent I think. Especially as Warlord Games are currently charging zero postage for this game to be delivered (in Britain and throughout most of Europe). And with individual components available separately (from Perry Miniatures themselves) at such reasonable costs, I think this game is an absolute winner for any gamer who has the occasional call to indulge in the historical side of the hobby. For me this all fits as a perfect accompaniment alongside my other Sails of Glory Napoleonic naval wargame). 

Interestingly, the scale of the ship miniatures is almost spot on with Travel Battle too. Cool coincidence huh?

Suddenly, Napoleonic wargaming is within my grasp. I embrace it with a will. 1815 and Napoleon`s last campaign.. "The Hundred Day War" is the satellite I have chosen to focus on, and I have to say, even at this early stage of my new found delight, I`m having an absolute ball.


Article by Steve

55 comments:

  1. You know, looking at that second photo from the top, it looks like you get so little in the box. And indeed, Hil confirmed this was her first impression too. Until Stevie pointed out "oh no, no no guys, its what you can DO with those components is the beauty of it all."

    And then it dawned on me what he meant.

    8 British infantry companies/battalions
    4 British cavalry squadrons
    2 British artillery batteries
    4 British Generals/Staff Officers

    and..

    8 French infantry companies/battalions
    4 French cavalry squadrons
    2 French artillery batteries
    4 French Generals/Staff Officers

    Think about that a moment. Think in terms of Black Powder or any other larger 28mm game).

    That`s SO MANY UNITS, and what an awesome collection you would have if you could field THAT many miniatures in a single 28mm game. But CAN here in this game, and just with the few components in this box. Quite staggering really.

    I can see its appeal, and its value.

    Excellent and passionate review Mr. Stevie.

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    1. you got it in one Tar` hun, you really get it don`t you, woohooo!!! :-))

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    2. *smiles*

      and why stop at Napoleonic warfare. Just read the writing on the photo which shows one of the Perry brothers (zoom in and read what it says), it even talks about using the game to play medieval battles. So why not other genres as well :)

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  2. Well heck that`s rare. You`ve just persuaded me with this review (I never ever normally get seduced by reviews).

    Order placed. Mine on its way to me in the post.

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    1. Good man yerself Dave. You know it makes sense >>wink<<

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  3. Sounds great, high quality equipment...and system I hope!

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    1. oh the rules that come with it are masterfully simple, and ideal in its simplicity.

      But even if you don`t like the rules, just use ones you do like. Nothing to stop you using Black Powder or any other preferred system, and ignore they rules they offer you with the game.

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  4. I woyld have been the first to comment on this, but I immediately went to the Perry Miniatures website and spent a while browsing the game ans its components.

    This is EXACTLY the sort of thing I like - a whole game in a box, with robust, colourful components. As I immediately started thinking what I could do with this particular game and its components, I think I may also be 'sold' on this game - and I don't usually play historical. I think it was the boards that did it, as I love me some plastic tiles. Now, where do I find some 8mm tanks?

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    1. Small space required, colourful, strangely appealing in its size, compact, and folds back into its carry case nicely, easy to paint (paint everything on each sprue and simply clip the minis off.. and base them when you`re ready), and yet has the scope to play BIG scale games on a tiny area.


      {{Now, where do I find some 8mm tanks?}}


      don`t have to play Napoleonics, can use 6mm or 10mm tanks just fine >>winks<<


      {{I immediately started thinking what I could do with this particular game and its components}}


      This fact is not lost on me either mate ***grins wide***

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  5. This is awesome, great review mate and lovely brushwork the pair of you to really make the game pop. I'm sooooo tempted, it's a shame I'm a bit broke at the moment but I have got some occasions coming up.......pleeeaase missus gobbo

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    1. owwwww Andy, keep it on the back boiler, let it grow in your mind, and one day when the time is right, bingo!!!! if you still want it... go for it mate :)))

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    2. {{{pleeeaase missus gobbo}}}

      She sounds like she is always a very kind lady to you. You may just get lucky Andy, and end up with Travel all of your own one day.

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    3. * Travel Battle I mean))

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  6. Great review, and once again, you show me that when you say you want so something (like a Christmas present for example) you have a clear insight (of the potential) and self understanding WHY you want it. I will never doubt again lol. This game looks ruddy marvellous, and how much you are getting out of it, shows me.. never simply judge a book by its cover.

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    1. thanks love..... I`m so glad you can see at last just WHY I spotted this one. I saw its potential the moment I heard about it: before it even hit the shelves - and before Salute even.

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  7. As you know, based on this review I immediately went and ordered mine (I`m not usually swayed by on line reviews, if at all, and usually only if its hands on attraction in a game store or at a live show stand). But anyway, small update: both my sets have now arrived, which is incredibly swift post I must say. I couldn't be happier with them, and am so glad I bought both sets. First set just for standard French and English, normal game set up bla bla. But the second effectively doubles my playing area (and still only 20 inches square, even though it makes a huge battle field when in scale with the `troops` themselves), and the spare sprues of soldiers now gives me enough left over to make British light infantry - good old Sharpe`s boys, Kings German Legion (ideal for defending La Haye Sainte), Prussians, Brunswickers, and I am thinking if I play Waterloo, either some Netherlanders, Belgians, or maybe some Irish Inniskillings.

    Just deciding whether to buy a third set and be done with it. I can`t shift this idea running round in my head of doing the whole of Waterloo in miniature (on 30 inches by 20 inches: Yikes! how cool is that?).

    Now I just need to see if I can convert some of these 8mm chaps into Gordon Highlanders lol.

    Oh, btw, the rules work like a dream. Not many of them, learned them over a cup of coffee, and they do just what it says on the tin. Perfect really, all round.

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    1. That is unlike you Dave, and I guess it just shows how much you are taken by it. I know you watched it being played and sat in on a few games after reading this, and I guess this tipped you over the edge to buy it, but I am heartened to know you are still as happy now as you were when you first took steps to immerse into it all.

      I like your thinking concerning the spare figure sprues. I took a different route. two spare boards and then some spare sprues and bases for additional troops options. But I may well follow you and buy another boxed game, which would mean I have six boards and could actually play the entire of.... mmmmm "WATERLOO" wooohoooo!!!!!

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  8. This does sound like a great little game, whether you love the Napoleonic theme or not. It seems to me that you can use the components, the cool moulded plastic map boards, and all the trees and houses and stuff, but then transpose the 8mm figures that come with the game and replace them with your own `era` preference, in either 6mm or 10mm.

    For anyone into Napoleonics (Napoleonics is, admittedly, THE most followed subject in our hobby at large, capturing a massive 72% of all wargamers in its net), then this game is an essential purchase I would imagine.

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    1. I know one of the lads stripped the game out entirely and now uses most the box components to play World War Two using Pendraken Miniatures 10mm minis. He`s having a ball. He painted the entire board, the fields, the houses and trees... everything, like a winter snow scene; and now he plays "The Battle of the Bulge" Ardennes Offensive on a scale that suits both his pocket AND his available able top area.

      Aesthetically, it looks staggeringly good too, I should add.

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  9. It does seems to be a bit of a winner here in Eire. Almost everyone I now either has it or is thinking of getting it. Funny how groups of friends tend all to buy the same things one after another. I guess if you know someone live and see them every week (face to face) you easily get caught up and enthused by their own vocal passion: much more than happens with on line enthusiasm even.

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    1. Yeah, that`s usually the way Hils. We all egg each other on, and are utterly encourage at the same time ^ ^.

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    2. you`re incorrigible :)

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  10. Great review, although not personally interested can see loads of pluses on this for anyone looking for an easily transportable game. Thanks for sharing your insight

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    1. Thanks Dave. Always cool to hear all the comment angles. I think this one (this game I mean) might be more for the historical wargamers out there really, to be honest mate. While it is (even in its title) indicative of being primarily a travel game, a few historical gamers out there were quick to cotton onto the fact that what you have here is more than just another small scale (6mm/10mm) gizmo.... i.e.. "why bother with this when I already have its equivalent with my existing small scale collection" .... but its actual appeal is the diminutive moulded terrain/battle boards and its (peg in place) terrain additions; and the boards are fully turntable and fit seamlessly to create an exponential variety of terrain battle boards... which ever way you turn them! And being 8mm, fits perfectly with any existing 6mm to 10mm collection you might care to add in. But for the actual Napoleonic wargamers out there, who dream of sweeping epic battles of the genre, Borodeno, Austerlitz, or even the legendary Battle of Waterloo *gasp* Instead of needing a ten foot long by six foot wide table (which would be the bare minimum needed for 28mm), here at last is a game which would allow you to do that on an area of a mere 30 or 40 inches long by 20 inches wide.

      I know this small scale would be a real turn off for most fantasy or science fiction gamers out there, who like to paint miniatures and be able to see all the detail in at least 15mm... usually in 28/30mmm + (basically skirmish level gaming). But this is a Godsend for the historical sect out there, as it allows for those truly epic real life battles which sometimes had as many as a million men taking part in them. Napoleonic wars tended be vast affairs, with battle fields sometimes stretching up to ten miles across: this is so hard to replicate in 28mm, and many wargamers who yearn to play wargames in the age of Napoleon drool at the idea of a `full on` diminutive game which actually has the scope to ALLOW for epic historical depiction.

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    2. Indeed Steve, the historical seem to have a lot more available in smaller scales to cover the number of models needed, not to say their arnt smaller scales in sci fi and fantasy but seem to be a smaller proportion. I feel it is a great time to be a war gamer as there is such a diverse spectrum available to the consumer, which I feel is a great thing

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  11. Yeah, I completely agree with you Dave. Although as you say, there ARE resources for the fantasy and sci-fi gamer to join in the fun of small scale. Two things come immediately to mind: Games Workshop`s Warmaster is one.. but sadly now really hard to get your hands on. But still very current would be Pendraken Miniatures 10mm 3D resin dungeon tiles and the most exquisite (and full) range of 10mm fantasy miniatures... for either table top wargames or for playing typical Dungeons and Dragons type rpg games and smirmishes. I have well over 1000 of these cool 10mm heroes and monsters, and probably enough resin dungeon to make "Moria" hahaha. It really is exceptionally more-ish stuff Dave. There is something very appealing about being able to set up an average evenings play... i.e. a 3D dungeon session, on the size of a tea tray.

    Rebel Miniatures of course do a comprehensive John Carter "Barsoom" range in 15mm, and a staggeringly large range of ATZ in 10 and 15mm.

    Pendraken do a full "Aliens" and "Space Marines" range in 10mm, I think they do Predators now too. These work nicely as a small scale alternative for Space Hulk. But hey, what about playing Necromunda in 10mm... wouldn't THAT be soooo cool. Making the terrain would be such fun too.

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  12. Pendraken 10mm fantasy is amazing. I do wish you`d take it up again.

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    1. I`m thinking about it Hillers, I`m s-e-r-i-o-u-s-l-y thinking.

      You see, Simon`s re-discovery of retro D&D, in the form Metamorphosis Alpha and Barrier Peaks really fired up my imagination, and like many gamers do when inspired, I found myself wanting to do what Simon was doing too hahahaha. But I was good and stopped myself. That`s Simon`s baby... like everyone knows he is the Doctor Who King, and that is his main baby, and I wont do it until he`s had a good long go at it first. So I got out my treasured copy of OSRIC, lovingly thumbed through my copy of Dwimmermount, and found myself (almost subconsciously) planning a revisit to these legendary rpg hallowed halls.

      .... , I was thinking to myself: "wouldnt it be cool to do this in 10mm."

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    2. Oooo, would you blog it too?

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    3. *twinkle in my eye*

      More than that, I`d push our on-going Ravenloft campaign back to OSRIC, and combine/merge Dwimmermount and Count Strahd von Zarovich into one game world.

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    4. yeeeeeeey!!!!

      I`m in.. I`m in.

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  13. As you say Steve you can find some real gems and with gaming space being a premium for some people it means it would be more desirable. 10 mm Necro would be awesome.

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    1. {{10mm Necro would be awesome}}

      Ooooooooo yessssss.

      I`ll make you a deal. You make it I`ll BUY IT hehehe ^^

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  14. Might take some careful planning to to infringe on copy rite but I'll look into it

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    1. oh wow yesssss yes yesssss, why am I suddenly so excited. Oh gosh yes do it do it pleeeease.

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  15. I`m serious, I`d buy that. I mean it.... and lots of it too.

    hmmmm, wouldnt call it Necro` of course, but lots of scaffold walkways, high rise planking, and a suitably futuristic tone.. to be able to paint it to LOOK nostalgically Munda in its imagery. Hell Id LOVE to BatRep and AAR that kind of scenario endlessly here in TGC. I even know just the right 10mm minis to use for it too.

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  16. You know Irregular Miniatures do 6mm Daleks, don't you?

    http://www.irregularminiatures.co.uk/indexes/6mmindex.htm

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  17. {{{{You know Irregular Miniatures do 6mm Daleks, don't you?}}}}


    YOU are frickin kidding me right?

    Jezzzz are you bl***y SERIOUS?

    (I just felt the hairs go up on the back of my neck)???????

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    1. I am indeed. A pack of two is 30p according to the website - they're under the Sci-fi and Starships sub-menu as 'Attack Robots'. I think Roger may have had something to do with them. Oooooh, Cybermats versus teeny-tiny Daleks...

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    2. WOW, just WOW. I can hardly type I`m so excited right now. 10mm suddenly VERY doable as a new venture for me (meh, I say new venture.... but was doing 10mm in a big way.. years ago, but NEVER thought I might day return to it).

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    3. Jez needs a new T shirt with S J letters stitched on the front

      "Super Jez" woohooo go go go!!!!! new project on a roll.

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  18. That`s it, I`m ringing Ian Kay, I`ve known him for years and I never knew that.

    Oh my GOD, I just checked, he DOES DO DALEKS.

    I could KISS you right now Jez.

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    1. hahaa

      hey, Jez, you into the idea of 10mm personally?

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    2. *just thinking*

      6mm Daleks alongside 10mm heroes and monsters. Hmmm, they might have to be baby Daleks mind you hahahaha.

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    3. I cant say I did the original attack robots but I did do a special weapons version, that isn't on the web-site but I think Ian can do you some if you ask him nicely.

      Cheers Roger.

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  19. "Ooooh, look at the novelty salt-shakers..."

    "DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF THE
    DALEKS! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!"

    "Oww! Owww! Owwwwww! Will you STOP that!" Lol

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    1. HEheheheheheheheheheheehe

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    2. HAHHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHhaahahahaa, oh GOD I got tears rolling down my cheeks at that LOLOL

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  20. Okay Steve and Tarot, I will seriously look into this for you

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  21. YEEEEEY< THANK YOUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!

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  22. Thanks ruddy marvellous Dave :-))

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  23. Like I said over on Fantorical -

    >>>> looks up bleary eyed for a moment from his painting desk, where lines and lines of little 8mm Napoleonic Frenchmen sit half painted, impatient to get to grips with their hated enemy, the British. <<<<

    I can`t recommend Perry Minitures Travel Battle enough, for anyone with an inkling to get into historical/Napoleonics. It occurs to me that this diminutive miniatures game is a great way to dabble your toes into the water: no vast mountains of 28mm lead to have to assemble and paint, no voluminous tome of rules to have to learn, and certainly no vast array of terrain to have to buy and paint. Just a 20 inch by 20 inch game which does it all and feels thematically so right on the eyes and the imagination.

    I`m so glad I decided to treat myself to a copy - two copies in fact, after reading this article. I truly can`t say enough good things about it.

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  24. I`m with you all the way mate.... I feel just the same way about it myself. Good init ^^

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