Wednesday, 1 March 2023

Yarkshire Gamer Podcast 39 - Martyn Kelly - Big Gaming in the USA


Welcome back everyone, it's been nearly 2 months since the last episode, doing 5 in December was like setting a flamethrower to both ends of the candle and I had burnt myself out.

The episode is available on all major Podcast Hosts, or via the Podbean link below. If you do enjoy it, please like, subscribe and comment to help increase the Podcasts profile.

But after a good rest and concentrating on my hobby projects for a while I'm back and ready to go again. I've got the next 8 episodes planned with some great guests, I have Manufacturers, Painters, Authors, Big Gamers, Hobby Legends and the like to bring to you, I also hope to bring episodes from countries we haven't visited before and get the low down from fellow wargamers around the world.

In addition to that I have a tester episode with a non wargaming Historian which will follow an obviously different format, but if it works its something I plan to do in the future if it works out well.

But that's the future, it's time to introduce my guest, I first became aware of Martyn Kelly from his Facebook posts regarding some huge participation games he has put on at Conventions in the US. He's done some brilliant Italian Wars games featuring a 196 figure Pike Block which in my opinion really represents the 9,500 men who were actually in that block, much better than 24 figures for sure.

I love talking from Gamers outside the UK and getting there perspective on a hobby we all love in so many different ways. All the usual features are here, Big Game Chat, Quiz, Wargame Room 101, Desert Island Wargame and the usual chat in between.

I talk to Martyn in the Big Topic about the set up of Conventions in the US, how they are organised and what a visitor expects to see. We then move on to talk about what visitors expect from a Big Game at a convention and the differences between putting such a game on between one with friends and one with total strangers at an event.

Its then a deep dive into how my guest goes from that first germ of an idea through to actually playing the game at a show. Trust me its a lot of work and guys like Martyn go a long way to make these events what they are, so if you haven't say thank you to your game organiser.

It wouldn't be Yarkshire Gamer with a bit of Italian Wars Chat (now apparently an extension of the Wars of the Roses ;-) and we start the Pavia Challenge live on the show. Martyn has gone for 1:25 scale so I've gone 1:24 !

It was a great chat and the fact that I thought that we had only done an hour and a half when we had done two and a half shows that the phrase "time flies when your enjoying yourself" is true.

Keep up to date with what Martyn is doing next as well as a wealth of information about his previous projects on his blog, College of Kings.

College of Kings - Posts about my miniature armies.

Thanks for listening and welcome back to the show, don't forget to subscribe, like and leave a review wherever you listen to this. Not much in life costs nowt, but this Podcast does so give us a like.

All pictures above reproduced with the kind permission of my guest Martyn Kelly.

My next episode will be out in a fortnight and I'll be speaking with Steve Shann. I've known Steve for a long time and you will be familiar with the name if you've listened to previous episodes. Steve has a number of publications to his name covering diverse topics like WW2, Leipzig and The Franco Prussian War. On top of that Steve does a spot of painting so get ready for 2 hours on the correct shade of blue for French Uniforms !

Until next time, Sithee

Regards Ken

The Yarkshire Gamer

And here is my usual P.S. Its the Utubes version of the last episode.



Monday, 6 February 2023

1/700 Bismarck


Regular followers will have seen this model being gradually built on the Utubes (links below) so I am really pleased to present the "nearly" finished model.

The kit is from Revell  and sold as a full hull kit, which I didn't notice when I bought it so a sharp blade and a lot of swearing turned it into a waterline ! I was very impressed with the kit, much more detailed (and longer to build) than the Tamiya ones I've built.

The base on the ship is the same size as the Hood which is 42 x 10. My rules use standard base sizes for classes of ships, so for this scale Cruisers are on 32 x 8 and Destroyers 22 x 6. Don't get you calculator out to work out some complex formula based on model scale and ground scale to work out the reasoning, there isn't any. I am trying to protect the model.

I've done a series of videos on the Utubes covering the entire build if you are interested in that side of things.


The camo scheme is as the ship was painted in early May 41 at the start of Op Rheinubung (Sovereign Hobbies reference), I know these aren't the colours at the time of engagement with Hood, but I wanted a scheme that was instantly recognisable as Bismarck without the pain of repeating the black and white up the superstructure.

Symbols - the good old "controversial" crooked cross is not present on the model as it has been presented. I am aware of the sensitivity around this symbol for some. I will be adding it at a later stage, the Revell kit does not come with it as a decal option so that made the decision easier. I am very firmly in the camp of, if its historically accurate and representing a real moment in time I have no problem putting a symbol on a model. I'm old enough and daft enough to distinguish between an accurate model and a political ideology. When I add it I will put a note on any relevant photos.

The horizon in the background of the photo is bent because there is a dip in my table πŸ˜€

If you spot anything missing from the model let me know, I've got a couple of pieces rattling around in the box that I've missed !

Anyway I've had a great time building this model and I look forward to displaying and playing with it in the future. I was so enthusiastic I built Prince of Wales last night πŸ‘

Just for reference here's a picture of Bismarck next to Hood

And finally one of Bismarck being escorted (very closely) by four Destroyers 

Regards Ken

The Yarkshire Gamer

If you're interested in the Utubes series, links are below

Monday, 30 January 2023

1/700 WW2 Naval gets its Convoy On


I've not put anything on the blog for a while and in the meantime the 1/700 WW2 Naval Project keeps on growing. 

First up is a Trumpeter Models kit of the Liberty Ship, John W Brown. I've done it with a basic paint job.

I've upped the weathering on this ship to give it that back and forth, about to structurally fail look ! There is some discussion about the Cargo booms being out like they are on the model whilst at sea. Contemporary pictures show both extended and stowed, this is how the kit comes so that's what you get.

As a bit of fun I've added some 1/700 crew figures (from Eduard) in a couple of places on the ship as a bit of a try out. The picture above is my best effort at showing the dance moves from YMCA (although In the Navy would be more appropriate πŸ˜‰)

To make a decent Convoy I will need a whole bunch of these but every journey starts with a Liberty Ship 🚒 

Next up is another Trumpeter kit, this time its HMS Eskimo one of the Tribal Class Destroyers and probably the best British small ship of the War.

I've gone for a Western Approaches Scheme for this ship, the Green was a little but wierd looking when I first put it on, but after a bit of weathering I think it looks the business.

Definitely an upgrade for my British fleet, if I get my gaming mojo back I am looking forward to getting it on the table.

There is a second Destroyer to add to the Fleet, this time its HMS Javelin.

I picked up Mal Wrights book on British Destroyer Camouflage of WW2 and picked out this pattern for the ship. The model is HMS Jervis from Aoshima another of the J Class.

The dark Med Blue was another colour I wasn't sure about but again after getting it on the model and adding a bit if weathering it's definitely growing on me. I think it's years of painting smaller ships in grey that makes these so different for me.

I think the joy of this scale is the ability to really do camo schemes justice, I've tried this sort of thing in smaller scales and it never quite looks right. Sure 1/700 isn't particularly practical and I'm sure the comments section is already full of "have you got a car park to play in" comments πŸ˜†

And finally (Ester) I have done a second Liberty Ship this time from the Trumpeter Jeremiah O'Brien kit.

This time I've jazzed it up a bit with a Measure 32, Design 11F paint job, who said Liberty Ships can't be exciting 😁

No crew on this one (yet) but I might add some at a later stage. There are some subtle differences between this model and the John W Brown one at the top of the page, mostly minor changes to the gun layout.

Hope you've enjoyed this update on the Project. I am having a whale πŸ‹ of a time putting these together and there is plenty more to come !

Thursday, 29 December 2022

Yarkshire Gamer Podcast - Episode 38 - Yarkshire Gamer Awards 2022


Well by now you are probably sick and tired of seeing who the Best Wargames Manufacturer is and who has the best Customer Service in the hobby, its time to delve into the stuff we are really interested in like "What is the best Wargames Rumour (with or without substantiation), so sit back and enjoy finding out who is the best Wargames Troll on a Yarkshire Based Podcast, Blog or Utubes Channel.

You can find the episode on all major Podcast Hosts or via the link below

Its a star studded audience and our roving reporter will be outside T'werking mens club to see the guests arrive before we go inside the auditorium for the award ceremony itself.

I'm joined by my co-hosts Alex "Storm of Steel" Sotheran and Sean "Gods Own Scale (retd.)" Clark. So sit back with a pint of best, some left over Christmas Cake and Wendsleydale Cheese and enjoy.

The awards have been voted for by an illustrious panel of judges in the main with two voted for by the public, so any complaints, direct it to them.

All the best for the New Year and thank you once again for listening to the Yarkshire Gamer Podcast.

See you all in 2023

Regards Ken

The Yarkshire Gamer

The previous Xmas Edition of the Podcast is available on the Utubes below

Thursday, 22 December 2022

Yarkshire Gamer Podcast 37 - Xmas Brews in the Binyard 2022


It wouldn't be #Christmas without a spot of Brews in the Binyard, join me Alex and Sean as we tackle the big questions, out now on Podbean and all other #Podcast Hosts

Christmas comes round once a year and with it comes our traditional (well we've done it twice) Brews in the Binyard Special Episode (Link Above)

As always I am joined by my two scale "experts" Alex "Storm of Steel" Sotheran and Sean "Gods Own Scale (retd.)" Clark for a 3 and a half hour Monster Episode. If you are taking this in one sitting make sure you are warm and have adequate supplies of food and drink to hand and preferably something massive to paint. If that's two much then the show is split into 3 easier to digest sections.

The episode opens with a little story from Nick Skinner of Toofatlardies and if you don't enjoy that its going to be a very long 3 and a half hours. Interspersed throughout the show are Xmas messages from those guests from 2022 who could work out how to record a voice file ;-)

After the usual introductions and catch ups, section 1 has a relatively (for us) serious discussion on the tropes associated with World War 1, triggered by an episode of the American Podcast "Anything But a One". Alex and Sean are on fire in this one and have slapped the gauntlet down to the Blackadder like views of our Colonial friends.

Towards the end of the first part Sean is abducted by Aliens live on air, either that or the dial up internet connection in Stoke failed.

The second part descends to its usual levels with a review of entrants into Wargames Room 101 since the Summer Brews Episode and then Sean and Alex get to have a go at the new Desert Island Wargame Section.

Then for a finale its the usual "Ask Our Nora" section where the panel demolish the listeners questions. Sean once again is beamed up during the section but returns a short while later after a good probing by the Greys.

Brews in the Binyard is a bit Marmite, some of you love it more that the other "normal" episodes whilst others don't get it. Its designed to be fun, its a bit slack when it comes to editing out naughty words, we make a few jokes. So you have been warned lol.

Merry Xmas to all the listeners and viewers of the Podcast and thank you so much for all your support this year, Yarkshire Gamer has continued to get more followers and listeners during the year and downloads have now exceeded 50,000 which is simply amazing.

Thank you all.

There will be a special one off Awards Show between Xmas and the New Year so until then,


Regards Ken

The Yarkshire Gamer

As usual the previous episode with Henry Hyde is now out on the Utubes, this episode will, go on there on Xmas Eve.

Friday, 16 December 2022

Yarkshire Gamer Podcast - Episode 36 - Henry Hyde - Henrys Back

It's time for the 2nd Part of my interview with @battlegames Henry Hyde, its the Quiz, Room 101 & by popular demand a Podcasters Love In ❤️ Get ur lug holes round this πŸ˜€

Less than a week on from the first instalment of my interview with Hobby Legend Henry Hyde comes the "conclusion".

Regular listeners will notice that this show starts with the usual 3rd part of the Podcast, the features section so you will get to hear Henry answer the Avocado Question and are round dice still universally banned !

Its then onto Wargames Room 101 and Desert Island Wargame for some more great chat.

The final Big Topic ended up being a bit of a Podcaster Love In, as I chat to Henry about the origins of his Battlechat series. Even after around 4 hours of recording I still had a bunch of stuff I wanted to cover with Henry, some of it pretty weighty but at the end of the show we talk about how important it is to talk about these subjects. I hope to have Henry back on in the new year to go into more detail.

All of Henrys content can be accessed via his website

Battlegames – Wargaming content from Henry Hyde, Creator of Battlegames on Patreon

Next up I hope to have the "traditional" (well we've done it twice) Xmas Brews in the Binyard Xmas Special out a few days before Xmas, so until then,


Regards Ken

The Yarkshire Gamer 

And as a bonus here is the last episode on the Utubes 

Sunday, 11 December 2022

Yarkshire Gamer Podcast - Episode 35 - Henry Hyde, Hairdryer, Mud Rant


Episode 35 of the Podcast sees the first of a two part interview with one of the stalwarts of the Wargames Hobby, Mr Henry Hyde.

The link is below or just search for Yarkshire Gamer Podcast on your Podcast Host

There isn't much that Henry hasn't done in this hobby over the years, as an author, Podcaster, Magazine Editor, Wargamer, Artist etc etc etc etc !

He has been a guest and an interviewer on many occasions in the past so I've given Henry the full Yarkshire Gamer treatment and hopefully you will find out something you didn't know before, you certainly won't have heard his wonderful "Red Mud Rant" and the reason behind the soon to be released Battlegames branded hairdryers πŸ˜‰

As you would expect with me and Henry this wasn't a 5 minute chat, this 2 and a half hour discussion covers what you would normally get in the first two parts of a "normal" episode and I cut the big game chat short !

We will be back next week with part 2.

All things Henry can be accessed via his website

Until next time


Regards Ken 

The Yarkshire Gamer 

Oh and if you missed the last episode it's available on the Utubes 

Sunday, 4 December 2022

Wargames Shows, do we still want them ? Recon 22 and Italian Wars

Hello everyone, yesterday I attended my local Wargames Show in Pudsey. The venue, the Civic Hall is about a mile from my house so it's a bit of a pre game lie in for me as the journey to the show is less than five minutes.

I don't think I'm offending anyone (although my record on that seems to be quite poor recently πŸ˜†) by saying that the Pudsey show is a "small" one, especially compared with the likes of Partizan and Salute, I don't know exact numbers but I'm guessing 300 or so through the door as paying guests. There is a main hall down stairs and an additional room on the first floor along with a decent sized cafe bar area with seating, selling reasonably priced (even for Yorkshire) food and drink.

It's place in the Calendar puts it at the end of the show circuit year and it always has an end of school year party feeling, I spoke briefly to Pete Berry of Baccus and he was looking forward to a few more weekends at home for a month or so.

I had been asked to put a display game on last year but sadly work got in the way, so I was determined to make an effort this year and I took my Italian Wars Siege of Forli (What If) game along.

Now this isn't going to be a full write up of that game, I did one very recently for the display at FIASCO a month or so ago, please use the link below for a more detailed write up with Orbats etc.

I made a few tweaks to the orders of Battle contained in the above post. The Papal / French forces had an easy victory last time so I bolstered the Sfoza forces to make the game a little more balanced.

I exchanged a Heavy Gun for a Medium Gun for the Borgias, I removed the Cavalry from the Swiss and left the French as they were.

For the Sforza Forces I added a Medium Gun to the town, in the centre I added 2 units of Heavy Foot Infantry and an extra unit of Independent Shot. The Florentines got an extra unit of light and heavy Cavalry. In the original run through the central Cemetery (yes it is in the Dead Centre of the table πŸ‘) and the small farms were cosmetic where as this time we used them as actual buildings with the relevant modifiers and movement restrictions. This slowed down the Swiss Kiels a lot and only one of the two got into contact.

This resulted in a much closer game, still a victory for Cesare Borgia but a lot closer, I decided to rely more on Firepower and aggressive Cavalry use in the centre of the Sforza army which was a much better tactic than closing to melee as quickly as possible. I would certainly be happy to present this as a formal scenario now. I've put photos of the game throughout this post, the lighting was a bit difficult to get decent photos so here they are warts and all. Figures are mostly mine with French from the Collection of Harry Matthews and Italians (with the green edged bases) from the Collection of Ian Rudd.

The Future of Wargames Shows, Do We Still Want Them ?

So onto the discussion part of the piece, having returned to Wargames shows post (not for everyone I know) Covid and back to putting on display games after a longer period I've been thinking about how shows are looking today.

I imagined in my tiny mind that as we came out of Covid Wargames Shows would be crammed full of eager Gamers desperate to get their sweaty palms physically on the produce we all desire. I love the ability to order figures at 2am whilst lying on the sofa watching re runs of the Sweeney but nothing beats the physical experience of going to a show and sniffing the burnt MDF in person.

The first Partizan post lockdown was busy, the first FIASCO was too but the first Salute was poorly attended by punters and vendors alike, now there are many reasons why the latter was the case but my Nostrodamus like prediction of huge crowds kicking down the doors at shows to get that niff of MDF failed to materialise. I don't know (or if I do, I won't reveal) exact figures but my information is that attendances at shows is generally down on pre Covid numbers, so why is this and what if anything can be done to change it ?

The Finances of running a show 

I've been on the edges of running a reasonably sized show for many years so I have an idea but the first thing I want to examine is motivation.

In the good old days of black and white TV shows were generally run by a Wargames Group, a number of people from a club would take on various roles within the organisation of the show and the remaining members of the club would be press ganged into doing the back breaking shifting of tables and helping the traders into the venue on the day.

Profits from the show would then be ploughed back into the running of the club and used to help fund a venue and to help putting on display games at other club run shows so they could fund their clubs and so it went like a little Communist Collective Farm.

Then we saw a rise in shows run by individuals for Profit, the tide of Thatchers Britan entering the hobby of Wargaming probably years too late. However, I don't remember too many show organisers leaning on their Ferrari shouting into a huge mobile phone whilst wearing Ray Ban Shades and handmade loafers.

More recently we have seen a rise in Wargames Companies running shows, I doubt this is for profit, is it for the prestige and exposure ? I don't know, maybe I should have a char with someone who has a Podcast so they get the right guest on to ask those questions πŸ˜‰ 

As the organisers and helpers get older the moving of tables becomes harder and a lot slower.

Making the ends meet

As the numbers of paying punters coming through the door decreases, so does the revenue that side of the show brings.

There are set costs, hire of the hall, tables, advertising etc that have to be met and as those costs rise a show organiser needs to balance that by rising the income. Hall hire for Salute and to some extent FIASCO is eye-watering and is set to get worse in the current financial climate.

Increasing costs for traders means that they are reluctant to pay higher and higher prices for their trade stands (some never wanted to pay anyway πŸ˜†). Over the last few years we have seen stalwarts of the trading fraternity reduce the number of shows they attend with some giving up entirely. 

So we are entering a time when the margins are getting tighter and tighter for all, would a Wargames Club want to run a show at a loss purely for the "prestige" of running a show, would they want to continue the hard work for little financial rewards ? These are discussions that are going on throughout Wargames Club Committees up and down the country.

Getting Punters Through the Door 

There are some factors you can't control, if you run a show in a large Northern City at an Internationally renowned Museum you won't get any Wargames Press Interest for example (no I'm not bitter 🀣). Seriously though your location affects the catchment area for visitors and punters. If you run a show a few miles from the Nottingham Mafias Breakfast Bar then you are unlikely to be short of traders, if you are miles from a motorway in a coastal setting then its not so easy, a free ride on the donkeys rarely being sufficient attraction.

Most Wargames shows are similar, a mix of traders, display and participation games, it's a tried and tested method. There are lots of variations, having an integrated Wargames Competition (although it's hardly a spectator sport) like the now defunct Derby Show, having solely Participation Games, having guest speakers, having modelling or painting workshops, but generally they are the same.

Is their a magic potion that would get you through the door of a show ?

The motivation of the punters

This is an interesting one, why do we as individuals go to shows ? Is it to buy, play or meet πŸ€” 

Personally pre lockdown I am happy to admit that I was a little Wargames Show weary, I had reduced my visits to maybe 2 or 3 shows a year. I did most of my shopping online and kind of attended York and Leeds maybe out of a sense of duty. I very rarely came to the Pudsey show as its relatively small even though I can walk to it from my house.

Post Lockdown I have had a bit of a second wind with Wargaming, driven a lot by the success of the Yarkshire Gamer Podcast I have visited more shows this year than I have for many before, I've even been seen as far south as Newark on two occasions !

I've had the opportunity to meet with and chat in person to people who have been on the show and tap up a few new guests along the way. I'm kind of enjoying going to shows now more as a social experience than retail therapy. I rarely walk away from a show with little more than a small carrier bag of goodies. I'm well aware from my previous discussion that that isn't what the traders want to hear.

Let's face it, most will be looking more closely at their finances over the coming months.

What do you want from a show, what makes you go through the door ?

The Motivation of the Trader

Although we would love to have altruistic traders who support our hobby regardless of cost to themselves but we have to be realistic and understand that they are a business and they need to make money, not only to keep the business going but also to keep a roof over their heads. I don't think anyone outside of GW makes a huge living out of the hobby and margins can be pretty tight.

Any trader at a show wants to sell you stuff, yes it's an opportunity for them to show you their shiny wears but at the end of the day if that doesn't convert to cold hard cash it's not worth the effort. 

They will ask, is my time, my travel costs, my table fees, my staff costs, my weekend away from my family worth it ? Many as discussed above are saying it isn't anymore.

So what is the future of Wargames Shows in the UK

I would love to hear your thoughts. Me I'm hearing rumblings and it's not my stomach after a bacon butty. It's not like there hasn't been a perceived "crisis" in the hobby before just look back at old copies of your Wargames Magazines for the previous portents of doom, even a few years ago the cheery "Your all dying, Wargaming is F@*#×d" video from Little Wars TV asked a similar question.

Wargames Shows won't continue if they don't make profit or at least break even, Wargames Traders won't go to shows if they don't make money, Wargames Punters won't go to shows if they don't enjoy them.

Do we want a stage where there are three "Big" shows in the Midlands and one in London or do we want to retain the network of regional shows, only we can decide and vote with our feet.

I think I reached a stage in the past where I had been to shows and thought, oh there's another massive table with loads of figures on and paid it little attention. During Covid I realised I had taken things for granted and I missed those huge games. I promised myself I would never take my gaming for granted again and get more involved as you never know what is round the corner.