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Friday, 28 December 2012

A Christmas Card from Darkest Harrogate!

Seasonal Tidings from The Zulu Dalek Tribe!


You forgot the tin foil!!!

Friday, 7 December 2012

Paint It Black...Or White...Maybe Brown...

Priming The Ila





One or two of you will be wondering what relevance the above picture has to with what is possibly the  most contentious of subjects when it comes to painting miniatures, the colour of the very first layer of paint that gets slapped on. The picture of the cover to Hawkwind's Space Ritual Live is extremely relevant...read on....

That nice Mr Kev Dallimore who has written many articles and two splendid books on the subject of painting miniatures advocates the use of a black first coat whie that equally charming Matt Parkes, in his Wargames Illustrated series on painting techniques, leans more towards white as a primer. I have read other guides that suggest brown as an undercoat if painting little African chaps. Aaargh!!!



As far as I could see, the function of the first coat was to give the rest of the paints something to adhere to. Barring the difference in styles there was not a great deal of difference in the quality of the outcome. I would have to make my own mind up. I gave it quite a bit of thought. I was painting an African tribe, so there skins would be dark anyway, so why not just go for black or brown? But then I thought about the bright colours of the chitenge cloths that the Ila wore, wouldn't they look muted if painted over a black first coat? What about famous artists...they all use white canvas right? Well yes, but some including Dali and several of the Pre-Raphaelites  used to paint their canvasses black to add a contrast when using golds and silvers...what a headache...time to watch telly instead.... the new Ford advert came on with a splendid tune by the chaps from Ladbroke Grove (whatever happened to Jerry Cornelius?), Hawkwind! Master of the Universe is one of my all time favourite tracks. Wonderful!!! My mind wandered into a gentle reverie....of times past....of my innocent youth....of birds singing and bees a-buzzing...of sun kissed strolls in the Valley Gardens... 

 .....of the time, Gentle Reader, I took it into my 16 year old head that it would be pretty cosmic to paint my bedroom totally black including the window frames and skirting boards. It would help facilitate the pleasure of listening to  Hawkwind, Tangerine Dream, Tonto's Expanding Head Band and others at full power through my headphones. It was pretty cool and totally far out...until, of course, my Wicked Step-Mother (WSM for short) and Father saw it... Didn't share the vibes, man. I was eventually made to paint over it before we moved house.

I discovered that painting black over magnolia is quite easy. Painting magnolia over black is a completely different kettle of fish. I took about three coats to cover the walls and I can't remember how long it took to get the woodwork looking presentable. Painting light colours over black just didn't cut it with me. Never again!!!

...I woke from my passing dream. Thanks to Messrs. Brock, Turner, Kilminster et al. I had made my decision.  I would use white as my first coat. We'll do that tomorrow. In the meantime all together now...I've got a Silver Machine dada dada dada dada....

Cosmic shenanigans at work...




Saturday, 1 December 2012

Mealie Bags and Biscuit Boxes... (pt 1)



Thanks for your patience everyone, it has been a bit of a rough fortnight what with funerals and floods and flu (Mrs Zulu Dalek has been a tad poorly...). However all is back as it should be... On with the show.






First of all this mini-series of posts is not a lesson in building barricades from empty Hobnob packets nor is it a guide to surprising your next door neighbours with an ornamental redoubt as a delightful garden feature (even if they do flood one's kitchen...). I am more concerned with what our chaps ate on campaign.I will be taking a quick look at the diet and kitchen facilities available at Rorke's Drift and providing recipes for the basic rations so that you can try them at home should you want to add a touch of realistic ambience when wargaming the period with your chums. So what were the plucky chaps in red  expecting to eat on that fateful day..... Read on, Dear Reader, read on...

Now...I'm going so stick my neck out here and hazard a guess that one or two of you will have seen the film Zulu... You know know the one; more stiff upper lip than a frozen trout and a slightly dodgy accent from Maurice Micklewhite. It is, however, one of the all time greats and an absolute must when my wife pops out shopping with her sister. Anyway, in one of the first scenes of the film the camera introduces us to the field kitchen with the Company Cook {played by that fine character actor, Kerry Jordan) tasting a very suspect looking soup while around him delightful African ladies are preparing bread and performing various other tasks. On a completely personal note, I am very impressed with the staff uniform worn by these ladies and would be happy to implement it in any of my kitchens  I digress...

The aforementioned ladies can be seen grinding some of the contents of the sacks that ended up forming an integral part of the defenses at Rorke's Drift, mielie-meal. This is one of those interesting names that basically repeats itself. Mielie  is Afrikaans for Meali which in turn is a local dialect word for the local maize or corn. It is also known as nshima and, as this is what my lovely wife calls it, thus shall it be known thoughout this post. It was used to make bread and also a type of porridge which I am now going to teach you all how to make.

The Cooking of Nshima

Nshima can be bought reasonably easily. If you are lucky enough to have a decent sized market near you there is usually a stall that sells African/West Indian foods. If not, Morrisons have started selling a similar product in most of their stores. One of the most common brands is shown below but if you can't get this then any medium ground corn meal will do (not  cornflour).

Modern day ground mielie-meal...or nshima.

You will need:
1.25 pints of boiling water
8 ounces nshima
A sturdy pan
A wooden spoon

Put a quarter pint of water and 2 ounces of the nshima into the pan and bring to the boil. Let this boil for a minute then add the rest of the water. Bring back to the boil, cover and reduce to a simmer for around 10-15 minutes. Stir this occasionally especially if your pan has a thinnish bottom. 

It will look like white lava...
After simmering this thin porridge gradually start adding the rest of the nshima making sure you stir all the time. It will become quite hard work but keep at it for about 5 minutes.

Stiff mixture
When all done get a jug of cold water and a wooden spoon. Wet the spoon and scoop onto serving dishes or plates wetting the spoon each time (it tends to stick like billyo when fresh).

The finished article


Traditionally nshima is eaten by breaking a piece off, rolling it into a ball and using it to scoop up the other parts of the meal...more about that in Mealie Bags and Biscuit Boxes... (pt 2) when I will also have a look at the equipment used to cook these culinary delights back in the day.

Tomorrow will see the first of my Christmas Dinner Specials and also a brief introduction to the forthcoming launch of my small range of diorama pieces cast in resin and pewter that I will be making for release early in the new year (I am toying with the idea of giving away a free recipe card with the first 500 purchases). The Ila Army Project will be back on Tuesday and Friday will see the first part of my Darkest Harrogate Project.... Busy, busy, busy!!!

TTFN

Liam


Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Welcome Back My Friends...

So... I get back to my humble abode and find a flood! Not from rising river levels but from a tap that runneth over in the flat above.
Normal service ASAP.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

The First Cut Is The Deepest...

Removing Bits That You Don't Want.


Now is the time to remove all the extraneous bits on your figures. Even  the best figures will have little extras on them left over from the moulding process. The first is mould-lines which is where the molten metal gets into the tiny gaps between the two sides of the mould. A bit like when you toast a sandwich in one of those dinky machines (personally I like that extra crispy bit of cheese hanging on the edge but pretty it ain't). The second thing is bits of random metal apparently just hanging of the figure called flash. This is caused by the necessity to incorporate tiny canals into the mould to allow any air caught during the process to be released and is usually found at the extremities of the figure such as the hands and feet. All the flash and mould-lines need to be removed before you lay the on first coat of paint...


The surgeon's table...


I have to say that this stage is my least favourite because it is necessary to concentrate on doing something rather tedious. It is not a job you can do while watching reruns of Dallas. Several tools are needed for cleaning up your figures:

A Stanley knife or an X-Acto knife with a heavy duty blade fitted
A scalpel or similar sized craft knife with plenty of spare blades
Needle files
Emery boards/Sanding sticks
A little brush
Protective goggles

And most importantly...

There, there, there...

Removing the mould-lines is easy. Gently use the scalpel to scrape them off. Try and use a single fluid action to avoid nicking the metal each time you apply the knife. For this I used  Swann-Morton 10a blades in a No 3 Handle. However, I found that after scraping away for an hour or so the handle was becoming very  uncomfortable to use. Swann-Morton produce a chunky plastic handle (5a) which I will be investing in in order to alleviate the problem. Try to scrape away from your fingers for obvious reasons.

Removing the flash element is not quite so clear cut. It can sometimes be quite hard to remove and you also have to be careful not to lob off an arm or headdress. This is where the heavier duty blade comes in especially when cleaning metal on the bottom of the bases. Sometimes this can be filed down but usually it needs a good scrape. This is usually where the plasters become part of the story. I suggest cutting the large pieces into finger tip size pieces in advance as it isn't easy doing so when bleeding all over the shop. Another safety point is that I suggest you wear some kind of eye protection during this stage because, no matter how careful you are, tiny bits of  sharp metal will ping into the air and land on the carpet, in your cup of tea or, if you are really unlucky, your eyes...

When the lines and flash are removed give the figure a going over with a fine grade sanding stick. It is useful to have a selection of sanding sticks of different grades. I bought a set of Squadron Sticks from Hannants. For those awkward to reach bits such as armpits and the like I use a pointed needle file followed by a quick rub with a piece of fine polishing cloth attached to an old scalpel blade. Finally dust off the figure with a small soft brush to get rid of any little bits of metal that may be lingering in nooks and crannies.

The Ila from North Star that are the main subject of this site are well moulded and needed very little cleaning up. They still took me 6 hours on a rainy Thursday afternoon. Do not rush this part of the job no matter how tedious it becomes, your miniatures will love you for it later when you come to paint them.

I hope this post comes out alright as I am using the Android App. for the first time. Still at the wrong end of the country. Normal Service will be resumed tomorrow when I will be spending some prime time with you.

TTFN

L


Thursday, 15 November 2012

Rub-A-Dub-Dub...

So, I had taken delivery of 96 metal warriors in their little plastic boxes. They were no doubt very tired after their long journey from Nottingham and in desperate need of a good hot bath...

For those who don't know such things, the miniature figures we all know and love are made by pouring molten metal into  moulds; letting it cool; open it up and "Voila!" To help facilitate the figures' freedom from the mould a release agent is used. This is usually a very fine powder such as talc although some processes use silicon sprays. Whatever the agent is it needs to be cleaned off the figures because if it stops the figures sticking to something it will also stop something sticking to the figures; that "something" being paint!

Cleaning metal figures only needs a smattering of household items but I cannot emphasize enough the importance of having a separate stash of these items just for this job; it will save your marriage and lessen the risk of embarrassing personal injury. The essential things you will need are:

Bath Time.

Some kind of medium to large bowl
A couple of toothbrushes
Washing-up liquid

I also add a splash of Dettol (which goes by the moniker Pine-Sol in some parts of the world) as this seems to give the process an edge and really gets into the nooks and crannies. It is also a good idea to wear gloves (household rubber gloves or surgical latex rather than woolen) as after a scrubbing a few figures your fingers will suffer.

Fill the bowl to about a third of its capacity, add some washing-up liquid, bung in the figures and start scrubbing with your toothbrush. Do NOT under any circumstances use your significant other's super duper electric toothbrush with gum masseur and palate scraper. They don't like it...

Mrs Zulu Dalek suggesting I do NOT use her toothbrush to clean figures...
...trust me!

 Any old toothbrush will do but the harder the better.

So... Give the boys a jolly good scrub all over not forgetting to wash behind their ears and under their little loincloths. Don't be afraid to use quite a lot of pressure as it is very unlikely that the toothbrush will do any damage whatsoever. You want these figures to shine. You will notice the difference quite quickly between the great unwashed and the sparkly washed. Pile all you clean figures on one side until they are all done. Then empty your washing bowl, rinse it out and fill with cold water. Put the figures in this to rinse off any of the cleaning solution. You might need to do this a couple of times but it is important.

When you are happy that they are nice and clean and rinsed properly lay them out to to dry. I just put my Ila army on a cloth in a warm place to let them dry naturally but you can use a hairdryer if you are in a hurry.

A nice and shiny Ila Army (with a few guests)

The more observant among you will have noticed a tea-strainer in my photograph. Quite an important bit of kit if your figures have separate shields, knobkerries, spears or handbags; it helps when rinsing them off so you don't lose things down the plug'ole.








 

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

To Begin At The Beginning...

Background Reading On The Ila.


Background Reading.

As I have already mentioned, I am very new to all this and as far as I know none of my circle of friends shares my interest. If I was going to create an Ila army I was going to have to find out everything I needed on my tod. Luckily, as I have already related, fate had already played a hand in this project; my wife hails from Zambia which is where the Ila originate from and that nice Mr Eyre at North Star had some splendid figures in production. But what would I do with them once in my possession? How were they organised? How did they dress? What did they eat? Browsing the shelves in my local bookshop I found plenty of stuff about Zulus and Rorke's Drift and even the Masai but nothing about the Ila. I asked the pleasant young lady behind the counter  to have a quick look on her computer but alas this proved fruitless. I would have to go it alone... 

I  started at the only tangible reference point I had which was the Ila page in the North Star catalogue. Apart from the usual pics of the range there was a link to an article by a leading expert on the armies of C19th Africa, Mr Chris Peers. I now had a starting point to work from. Through this article I found that Mr Peers had written (one of many) a book,  Armies of the C19th: Africa. Central Africa. Tribal and Colonial Armies in the Congo Rwand, Burundi, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, 1800 to 1900.


Chris Peers' Splendid Little book

This  has become my central reference guide on this project and I recommend that anyone interested in African history or wargaming the period gets a copy, it's available from North star. Fascinating reading.

The best thing about decent  reference books is that there is usually an extensive bibliography at the back and Peers' book is no exception. Thing is, many of the books mentioned are out of print. However the same powers that allow me to share these missives is there to assist. After Googling the night away I eventually found a website called Internet Archive. This is a fantastic site with millions of different documents, texts, pictorial media and music. I recommend you get yourself the Digital Library Card for this site. All the documents are free to download in various formats including PDF and Kindle. Check it out...
http://archive.org

Several of the books in Peers' bibliography are available on this site; among the most useful being...

Smith, Edwin W., The Ila-Speaking Peoples of Northern Rhodesia vol.1
http://ilaspeakingpeopl01smiuoft

Smith, Edwin W., The Ila-Speaking People of Northern Rhodesia vol.2
http://ilaspeakingpeopl02edwi

Coillard, Francois, On the Threshold of Central Africa, A Record of 20 Years' Pioneering Among the Barotsi of the Upper Zambesi
http://onthethresholdofcen00coil

Archive.org is a veritable bottomless ocean of resources for any period of history and has given me good reason to buy a Kindle to store these wonderful free tomes. It is also pretty nifty for any Dead Heads out there as it has 8989 live Grateful Dead concerts in its amazing music archive!

These books, and Peers',  formed the basis of the in depth research I did on the Ila. I used several books for general background reading including Victorian Colonial Warfare-Africa by Donald Featherstone which is easy to read and has lots of pictures! I was also able to make use of  a splendid article by Rick Priestley in Wargames Illustrated 292, "We Come For Your Cattle", which was a battle report of a confrontation between the Ila and the Matabele. This article was more useful when I started painting and basing the figures and will crop up again a later post.

After a lot of reading and note taking and chatting with Mrs Zulu dalek I felt I knew enough about the Ila to do them justice. Time to switch on the lights in my Indoor Downstairs Shed and get my hands dirty...

But until then...just chill....


Total float...man.







Sunday, 11 November 2012

Nyama, Yams, And Yorkshire Puddings...

  My Sunday posts are going to be a little bit special and certainly very different compared to my usual  Blog content. Having spent several years as a chef  and a few more reading up on odd recipes I thought it would be nice to combine business with pleasure and bung this accumulated wisdom onto the electronic pages of Zulu Dalek. Each Sunday will feature some aspect of  food, be it a few words on troop rations in the 19th century, a discussion on cannibalism or even the ins and outs of Nigella Lawson's decolletage...there will also be a weekly recipe which as far as possible will be something you can cook with relative ease at home. It might be something to feed the lads on Gaming Night or it might be  a delicious something or other with which  you can surprise your loved one on that special occasion.

   I will also be taking requests. If anyone really wants to know how to cook perfect poached eggs, how to bake a cake or just how to make a great salad dressing I will be only too happy to oblige. On Sunday December 2nd I be will introducing my tried and tested Idiot Proof Christmas Dinner which will help any of you strut your funky stuff on Christmas day and impress family, friends or just your drunken buddies from the pub. Anyway, this week's recipe is:

ZAMBIAN FRIED FRITTERS




The lovely Maureen (I can't call her Mrs Zulu Dalek on a Sunday) and I enjoy these as a snack with a glass of something relaxing but they can also form part of an evening meal with a little tweaking here and there. The only special bit of kit you will need is some kind of deep fat fryer. First of all get your ingredients together...

Ingredients with all important cup of tea...


I still work in old money but I have included the new fangled metric stuff for those of you held in thrall by Brussels.

1lb (450g) Plain Flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 sachet dried yeast ( I use either Allinsons or Hovis) or a teaspoon if in a tub
Half a pint (300ml)  warm (not boiling) water
Another 3-4oz (50-100g) Plain Flour for the kneading bit
The cup of tea is optional...

Sieve all the dry ingredients into a large bowl. This adds air to the mix and gets rid of lumps and weevils and the like which are unnecessary to the recipe.

Weevil free...


 Now is the time to add any flavouring to the mix. as I am making sweet fritters I am adding about 4oz of sugar, a heaped teaspoon of mixed spice and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Stir this in with a metal spoon. Make a well in the mix and slowly pour in the warm water stirring as you go.

Gently does it...

 You should end up with a bowl of sticky glup.

Glup!!!

 Sprinkle half the remaining flour onto your work surface; scrape the glup onto this and start kneading! Now is the time  to let your mind wander as you fold and pummel the dough into submission. Imagine you are getting your own back on the school bully or just softening up the bank manager. Add flour and knead until the dough is dry to the touch but springy.

Give me a bloody overdraft!!!

 Find a tray and put some clingfilm or grease proof paper on it. Tear the mix into  bits and roll into ping pong sized balls.

The shaping of the balls.
Balls before proving.

You should get 14-18 balls out of this mix. Lightly moisten a teatowel with warm water, cover your balls and leave in a warm place such as an airing cupboard or by a radiator for about an hour and a half. This is called proving and it's very important as this is when the yeast does its stuff.

Balls after proving.
Heat your deep fat fryer to 180C, if your fryer has a basket do not use it as your balls will stick to it and everything will go terribly wrong  . Roll each ball again and carefully drop into the hot oil leaving room for them to expand. They will sink but quickly rise to the surface.

Leave room for your balls to expand.

Let them fry for about 10 minutes then flip them over and give them another 10 minutes or so until they are an even golden brown in colour.. They should be light and crispy on the outside. When done remove them from the oil and let them drain on some kitchen towel. If you are doing a large amount just keep them warm in an oven at 100C. 

Shout something along the lines of, "They're ready!!!" or, "They've worked!!!" and serve.

The lovely Maureen modelling the finished fritters. Yum!


Tweaking Moment

If you want to use these as a side dish for an evening meal or as a savoury nibble try skipping half the sugar and adding a chopped fresh red chilli, some lemon zest and some chopped fresh coriander. Absolutely smashing with ice cold beer...trust me.


Next Sunday I will provide an insight into the field rations of the average British soldier during the Zulu Campaign in 1879 and a recipe for lemon spiced chicken courtesy of  Mrs Zulu Dalek...(oops!).

Friday, 9 November 2012

Why, Why, Why, De Ila...?



So, Dear Reader, what strange sequence of events makes an otherwise normal, everyday, out of work chef with a penchant for sausage sandwiches, Woman's Hour and tea suddenly decide to embark on painting 96 pointy haired African tribesmen? the answer is Love... Read on.

I am very new to wargaming/modelling but settled quite quickly on the subject of Darkest Africa having enjoyed the stories of Livingstone and Stanley when I was knee high to a pygmy. I had already bought a couple of packs of Ila from North Star and was quite happy with my early painting attempts My wife was too and was pleasantly surprised at the Ila figures as she comes from their neck of the woods. As any fule kno the Ila [...] are a cattle-herding tribe inhabiting the valley of the Kafue River, a northern tribitutary of the Zambezi, in what is now Zambia. My wife had studied them at school in her history lessons and on the basis of this connection she sort of gave me permission to spend a few bob on my first army. A little unsure about basing etc I fired off an electronic missive to the chief of North Star, Mr Nick Eyre, mentioning Mrs Zulu Dalek's Zambian origins.
    When Nick replied it transpired that he grew up not just in Zambia but in the town my wife comes from! Nick and his family lived there in the 70's. The youthful Mr Eyre attended the school where my wife eventually worked as a secretary. He even trod the boards on the stage at the Arts Theatre where my wife and I held our wedding reception!



 When Nick grew up  he remembered the Ila from his schooldays and from a magazine called Orbit in which they appeared in a cartoon strip. He eventually got together with a gentleman called Chris Peers who is an expert on African tribal warfare and the North Star Ila figures were born. With so much serendipity going on how could I not build an Ila army.

   There in a nutshell is how all this came about. I think it is a cracking little story;  Nick created the Ila figures because of his childhood and I am involved because of my lovely wife's childhood. Splendid!

If anyone wants to read a bit more about the Ila before my next post go to this page. It shows Nick's figures and has a link to Chris Peers' notes on the Ila:

http://northstarfigures.com/list.php?man=87&cat=208&page=1





Wednesday, 7 November 2012

My Indoor Downstairs Shed...

Everyone needs their little bit of space and this is mine...


My wife and I live in an upside down flat in that the bedrooms and bathroom are downstairs and the living-room and kitchen etc are upstairs. This is a corner of our spare room, the rest being taken up with the ironing board and washing baskets, bits of relegated furniture and a collapsible greenhouse. It is indeed my Indoor Downstairs Shed.

All the guys that write books and articles about modelling tell us how important this space is in helping to achieve results that are pleasing to the eye. I just like it because I can immerse my self in my own little world and listen to Radio 4. However it is also quite functional..a brief tour...

In the foreground is my extractor unit and Iwata HP Plus airbrush. The compressor is underneath on what is an old computer table. Further into the IDS  on the left is my magazine rack/bookshelf/drying table. In the corner is my workbench/desk/coffee table...


This is pretty standard stuff I suppose. I have a bright daylight overhead lamp but use the angle poise halogen lamp for close up work and helping dry items quickly when doing fine detail. The shelves on the left contain more reference books, glues and sprays, basing and diorama bits and pieces and DVD's.  The other shelf is pretty much dedicated to paints. Blades, chisels, sculpting tool etc are tucked away in drawers in the desk....


All in all not a bad work space. I have to sort of climb in but it's fine when once seated as long as I remember to nip to the toilet before settling down. The chair in the pix is a temporary affair due to the sad demise of its predecessor which sadly lost its swivel. The pictures on the wall are mainly from magazine and printouts but two deserve special mention. The picture bottom right is a print of York Minster painted by my good friend Mr Paul Foster. The African village scene is by a Zambian street artist called Sylvester. Cheers guys....

Into the Heart of Darkest Harrogate...

I am working on a couple of projects which will be vaguely connected at a later date. The first is a sort of Explorer-Cannibal-Riverboat diorama; the second is an Ila Army based for Chris Peers' Death in the Dark Continent rules. This is my first attempt at a "proper" project having passed the time doodling with this and that.

This post is really just a quick intro to what will be a more in depth Blog. I will be explaining what I am doing and why. The where and when will follow in good time. For a taster here's a pic of the scrubbed and mounted Ilas...



For painting purposes I have based them on some cheap poker chips I had in my IDS. I thought that putting the different types of warrior on different coloured bases would help me when it came to arranging units etc.
It works something along the lines of:

White...............Ordinary Warriors
Red..................Elite Warriors
Yellow.............King/Bodyguards (8)
Yellow.............Matabele/Barotse Refugee Unit (16)

All the above figures are from Nick Eyre's splendid North Star range.

There are also 8 figures from Foundry based on blue. These are Bollock Naked Warriors which I am going to convert to Ila warriors...more of which later.

The other project is based around a little river scenario. After searching high and low for a suitable riverboat I found the Frontline African Princess. It's a bit of a curate's egg kit wise. Most of it is nice but some bits are horrid. It comes with a slightly clunky roof and sides which I dispensed with. The engine is alright. The hull is nicely detailed. These are the bits I kept with basic first coat and rough detail undercoated in...


You can see two of my favourite reference books tucked behind it. This is what it looks like at the present stage...

I still have some bits to tidy up and I am putting a removable roof on made of chamois leather. I am quite pleased with it so far.

So there you have a couple of tasters of what's to follow. My next post will be a quick tour of my I.D.S....

Monday, 22 October 2012

So... What's it all about?

Welcome to Zulu Dalek's Blog in which I shall bring you a regular insight into the comings and and goings of the denizens of my world.  Most of these are imaginary; most of the others are made of metal and are 28mm tall... one or two are real. This will be an attempt to bring several projects I have been involved in over the years into one easy to manage spot. Expect to find contributions from Pub Dog from Otley, Professor J.K. Aubrey, Father Franklyn O'Hope, Jeremiah Babel and Phil Smythe my co-editor of Squat Magazine. August and hearty fellows one and all. I hope you enjoy what we have to offer. TTFN.