Friday, 28 April 2017

Outing 'N Abouting: Warhammer World

https://www.games-workshop.com/en-GB/Home?_requestid=4839224Games Workshop, a world famous publisher of wargames and role-playing games and a brand that I have been familiar with most of my life, be it in the model shops that I frequented, seeing their product ranges in magazines and catalogues I read or their stalls at the conventions I visited. Yet, with the exception of HeroQuest and Space Crusade I had never directly supported them, but not intentionally I might add! I really wanted to as it had all the makings of something I would have been 'into' but (much like Dungeons & Dragons) I didn't know anyone else that was 'into' Warhammer and so it never happened. This didn't stop me from admiring them however, despite the stories and characters being lost on me it never stopped me from admiring the miniatures and the way they were painted and that's why I was excited to learn that there was an actual Warhammer Museum at GamesWorkshop's global visitor centre! I visited last year and deliberately left it off my '2016 New Years blog post, thingy' as I thought it was worthy of its own post. So without further ado...
The global visitor centre is located at Games Workshop's base of operations in Nottingham featuring three retail stores including the world’s only Forge World and Black Library stores selling a range of exclusive merchandise and miniatures there is even an events hall made to resemble a castle courtyard filled with gaming tables which are free to request, reserve and use where regular tournaments are held highlighting how much of a social event Warhammer is, as several tables had players setting up on them. Even eating keeps within the Warhammer theme as players can stop off for a drink and a bite to eat at Bugman’s Bar (I understand it is named after the greatest dwarven brew-master) dressed up to look like an old tavern (be sure to try the Bugman Burger) where players can discuss the franchise over a flagon of ale (or coke). After a very nice lunch we turned our attention to their terrific museum open to anyone for a very reasonable entry fee. the exhibit starts with several cabinets of classic Citadel miniatures documenting the company's humble beginnings as a bedroom mail-order company first formed in 1975 that is guaranteed to have visitors saying “I remember that one” a few times, before opening up to 4 exhibition areas packed with thousands of Citadel and Forge World miniatures.
The miniatures have been painted by the renowned ‘Eavy Metal, Army Painter and Forge World teams. It has 17 specially built display boards featuring over 20,000 miniatures that are regularly changed showing off the work of guest displays with miniatures painted by members of the painting community. All rounded off by the impressively vast 'Battle For Angelus Prime' The biggest display board Games Workshop has ever created which is impossible to not be blown away by! I had a very long wander around the exhibition, as I said the stories and characters were unknown to me, but I still derived just as much pleasure from examining the details and marvelling at the little ad ons and the artist's abilities, it really is an art exhibition worthy of a visit and I urge you to seek it out.

 
 
 
 
© Arfon Jones 2017. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Strange Times in Little Happining book launch at Chepstow Steampunk Spring market

I've been out 'n about again! Last Saturday Mrs Jones and I paid a return visit to the beautiful town of Chepstow for this year's Steampunk Spring market. Following on from the very successful market held last year, Lady Alice of Frugonia organised another opportunity to update one's wardrobe, home ware and accessories while catching up with friends old and new and mingle with some of the most talented, friendly and finely attired folk in Britain oh, and launch a new book! Strange Times in Little Happining written by my talented wife Beth Jones (and illustrated by Moi) was officially launched at the event. As mentioned in a previous post this is a tale of mysterious murders and strange occurrences in the quiet (fictional) rural town of Little Happining and even though the book is available on Amazon, Chepstow seemed ideal to officially launch it, and we were right, it was very well received. Inspector Mandalay's most demanding case intrigued many a market patron who purchased copies promptly signed by Mrs Jones. The table also had a small display from the Little Happining museum and cakes from the Little Happining Tea Rooms presented free with each book! A big thank you to all that bought the book, I know you will enjoy it (Incidently, once you are done how about joining the Facebook group? or even leaving your thoughts and feedback on the Amazon page?). My/Our sincere thanks to everyone that come over to the table and supported the book and likewise to all involved in its organising, and running congratulations it ran like a well oiled cog and we look forward to the next!

Cakes from the Little Happining Tea Rooms and artefacts from Little Happining museum


Laser Supremos Rachel White and Andy Dingley of Atelier Fabry-Pérot

Charming, immaculate and all round good egg, Kolonel Mustard
© Arfon Jones 2017. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.


Monday, 24 April 2017

Dine out before they die out: Little Chef Dolgellau/ Builth Wells

The A470... the major long-distance road in Wales that stretches from Llandudno to Cardiff, 186 miles long, it is quite possibly my least favourite road to travel on. Although it passes through two of Wales' national parks, Snowdonia National Park and the Brecon Beacons I find that its' narrow, single carriageway winding roads become very tedious after a time, more so during busy holiday periods! Nevertheless, I braved it in order to add two more Little Chefs to my list, this time Dolgellau and Builth Wells.

Dolgellau, Mile End Services, Dolgellau, Gwynedd LL40 2AB. An infrequent stop for me over the years as I was rather partial to their Jubilee Pancakes (first introduced to the menu in 1977) situated within the Snowdonia National Park, this restaurant was popular with mountain bikers, ramblers, photographers and countless holidaymakers, you will note that I said “was” in that sentence, Dolgellau Little Chef ceased trading in March 2017 and I have been informed that the entire brand will be a thing of the past by 2018. At the time of writing this post Dolgellau Little Chef is being refurbished and due to be reopened as a new Starbucks.

Llanelwedd, Builth Wells, LD2 3SS. Located on Station Road, Builth Wells the official Little Chef site (which once again advertises the wrong opening times) invites us to “pop in for a cuppa with our friendly local team” and once you have done that they suggest that you, “go see the towns mascot, the Black Bull known to the locals as ‘The Builth Bull’, or if you fancy travelling slightly further afield, why don’t you take a trip to the beautiful Elan Valley Dams or visit the Red Kite Feeding Station, Gigrin Farm”. First opened in 1987 this Little Chef is particularly dear to me, because between 1988 and 1994 my family and I would brave the A470 and travel South to visit Builth Wells each year for the Royal Welsh Show, one of the largest agricultural shows in Europe and so would be regulars at this establishment in the evenings and each time my brother and I would compete against each other, if we ate ALL our food we would be given a lollipop by the waitress! I was awarded many a Little Chef lollipop for cleaning my plate at this place I can tell you!
Little Chef (and Burger King) employees Nora Morgan and Myra Price
A classic Little Chef, it has actually been sharing its premises with a Burger King since 1999. My wife and I stopped off for lunch, still largely a Little Chef, it is strange seeing people eating Flame Grilled Whoppers when there isn't enough seating space in the Burger King section. Mrs Jones had the Royal Breakfast (the classic Olympic breakfast “crowned” with a griddled 6oz sirloin steak) and I had Chilli Con Carne. Having enjoyed my lunch I was able to chat with two ladies working there, Nora and Myra who have been at the Little Chef since 1988! So it is in all likelyhood both these ladies would have at some point awarded me a lollipop one time for cleaning my plate! And this time round was no exception!

 
© Arfon Jones 2017. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Wales Comic Con 2017

Me with Kathy West as Daphne Blake
Another year, another Wales Comic Con! I had a great time at the Hellbound Media table at this year's event as ever it offered me the opportunity to meet new people and catch up with people I already know (in one instance someone I hadn't seen for over 13 years!) and signing the latest issue of Slaughterhouse Farm (that I illustrated) I knew the day was going to be a good one when none other than Sallah himself, Mr. John Rhys-Davies came over to the table to say hello and good luck! I faired a little better this year in documenting the event with photos, however my camera doesn't seem to like the lighting of Glyndŵr University's Sports Hall, never the less here's a few pics, if these feature you drop me a line so I can credit you.

    

 
He-Man and Beetlejuice
Old school Joker and Harley (can't mess with a classic!)
Mr. Freeze and Indiana Jones and the Grail Knight
Wonder Woman
 
I unveiled my 'Elvis meets a Mermaid' painting in a previous post, recounting the time Elvis visited the Weeki Wachee Springs mermaids back in July 30 1961. The print was up for sale at event as too was my second painting for this month 'The Green Cross Code Man' dedicated to an almost forgotten part of British popular culture, the Green Cross Cod Man a British superhero from 1970 whose sole mission was to teach children road safety. Before he was Darth Vader David Prowse MBE, played this enduring figure in a series of classic Information Films (PIFs) sponsored by the Central Office of Information for the UK Department of the Environment and they ran almost continuously on British television from 1975 to 1990's closing with his famous slogan "I won't be there when you cross the road / So always use the Green Cross Code" well this painting asks what if he was? What if he was there to save all children that carelessly strayed onto the road? Having wanted to paint this image for some years I made it a priority this year because the big guy himself Dave Prowse was at the event. Having been quoted as saying that the Green Cross Code Man was the character he was proudest of he was very complimentary of the piece and insisted on writing the green cross code on the original painting!

With the Green Cross Code Man himself Dave Prowse!
 
After lunch I went off for a quick change, last year I was accused of 'dressing down' (no bow tie!) by Matt Warner so with this in mind and there being little to no 7th Doctor cosplayers about Idecided to dress up as him myself for the afternoon... great fun! thanks to everyone that took the time to compliment my attire and my sincere thanks to all involved in its organising and those of you that supported the Hellbound Media table and took the time to say “hello”! Hope to see you at the next one!

Previous Years
Wales Comic Con 2013
Wales Comic Con 2014
Wales Comic Con 2016




© Arfon Jones 2017. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Dine out before they die out: Little Chef Rhostyllen/ Bangor

It seemed like a simple enough plan, book-end a trip to Wrexham with two Little Chef locations. One would provide breakfast and the other would serve us afternoon tea. But instead I was served a reminder of how important detailed research is when embarking on these excursions!

Little Chef, Wrexham Rd, Rhostyllen, Wrexham, LL144EJ
Address provided by Google we drove along the A55 express way looking for the familiar sign but I my heart sank when I noticed a Starbucks that seemed to be trading from a familiar style of building... I went in to ask if I had the right address and my theory was correct I was now standing in a former Little Chef! Sure enough when it was announced in 2013 that three of North Wales' Little Chef restaurants were to close due to “trading unprofitably for a number of years due to a variety of economic and locational factors” Rhostyllen was one of the three that was axed. A great shame, we stopped there all the same and I took a photo of what is now a Starbucks/ Subway.

Little Chef, Bangor, Gwynedd LL57 4BG
Having brushed the Rhostyllen disappointment aside we later visited the Bangor site for afternoon tea, boasting an “experienced team with over 30 year’s service between them” this Little Chef is located next door to a Burger King and a Travelodge and is a perfect stop after a visit to Beaumaris Castle. The Little Chef website states that the restaurant is open Saturdays 08:00 – 20:00 so imagine my disappointment on arriving at 5:00pm and discovering a sign (inside the restaurant) informing us that they are now open from 7am to 3pm Monday to Sunday... So there you go, two misses on my mission to visit the last remaining Little Chefs and Wimpy Bars in the UK! I fully intend to go back to the Bangor site though, now that I have the actual opening times I can correctly tick it off my list!

© Arfon Jones 2017. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Elvis meets a Mermaid

A moment in time for you July 30 1961, Elvis Presley takes time out from filming his latest movie, Follow that Dream to visit Florida's famous roadside attraction, Weeki Wachee Springs. Hundreds of fans flocked around him as he made his way to see the park's number one attraction for himself the world famous Weeki Wachee mermaids as seen in my latest painting, Elvis meets a Mermaid. It will be 40 years to this August since the world lost the king prompting me to paint this image combining America's greatest icon with another great American institution, the roadside attraction. Now also available as an art print courtesy of UK Comics Creative prints will be available on the Hellbound Media table at this weekend's Wales Comic Con, so come along and get yours and say “hello”!

 
© Arfon Jones 2017. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

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