Thanks to discovering an embarrassingly large stash of twenty-year-old "Wargames Foundry" Napoleonic blisters recently, and acknowledging that if I was ever going to own the fully-painted masses of 28mm brightly-coloured voltigeurs, grenadiers and riflemen I have always wanted, I would need to do it now, I decided to make the four-hour trip up Newark to visit the manufacturer's premises for the first time. The venue is surprisingly hard to find if relying upon a Sat Nav as it's tucked away alongside an old church, and somewhat disconcertingly requires a drive along a single lane dirt road with a death-defying sheer drop on the passenger's side.
Happily however, the staff were very helpful providing me with precise instructions when I called them for assistance, and even courteously came out to check if I was alright following me abandoning my vehicle alongside a nearby building. The entranceway is actually quite surreal with its bright blue door and cream-painted brick walls. But once inside the astonishingly large property is absolutely crammed full of wonderful-looking display cabinets and an almost endless sea of packed blister racks - covering every single range the company produce.
Furthermore, I was somewhat astonished to see a few well-laid out gaming tables in the venue, which apparently can be hired out to customers who want to play a game or two at the Carriage Court. Having found my bearings, I made my way to the farthest room on my right and began casually mooching at the absolutely fabulous collection of fully-pigmented 'Oldhammer' miniatures on show. These were gorgeously painted, and incredibly nostalgic to an old gaming grognard like me, with some truly classic Genestealer Cultists from Warhammer 40,ooo catching my eye - including a throned Patriarch and accompanying limousines.
Alongside these 'blasts from the past' I also spotted the company's old range of "2000 AD" related characters, and some astoundingly large American Civil War figures (possibly 40mm), which considering my current obsession with ACW Epic Battles Black Powder by "Warlord Games" immediately caught my imagination. Indeed, there were quite a few potential distractions for the wargamer not completely committed to their current cause/s, especially once I started actually scouring all the marvellous models on sale in their allotted ranges and spied such notable periods as the Great War, the Franco Prussian War and even the Elizabethan era.
Ultimately though, I managed to resist temptation and eventually made my way through the various rooms until I reached the Napoleonic blisters. This area was still showing signs of hosting the very recent "Bring Out Your Lead" annual gaming event, with all the racks being enveloped in plastic wrapping for protection whilst they had been stored away. This initially made looking at the models I was interested in a bit difficult. But a quick word with the staff soon saw a pair of scissors being produced to cut down the temporary barriers, and I was left to pick out a modest number of French, Austrian, German and Bavarian blisters.
I was also hoping to pick up a pack of British Riflemen, which included an officer and some nicely dynamic 'sharpshooters' in a variety of poses. Sadly though, I simply couldn't see it amongst the myriad of Highlanders and Line infantrymen, so had a word with the staff to find out when it would next be in stock. A few minutes later, the incredibly amiable chap behind the desk came back from the casters with my sought after soldiers in a little plastic bag. I thought this was excellent service and has definitely guaranteed a return visit next year - once I've pigmented my my current purchases...