Thomo’s Division

Thomo first wrote about his and my ACW project with any seriousness in the middle of 2012 (and yes, that is not a typo). He carried on writing about it when he talked about starting the basing, and was still at it 3 months later. Somewhat ironically he then posted an update in early 2013 where he joked he might be finished by 2020, before making a little bit of progress later that month (photo links have died on that last post).

He’d got them painted by Miniatures Lanka in Sri Lanka. (the links on Thomo’s site don’t work, I did manage to find a website though it looks very old, so use at your own risk) Then somewhat ironically for a man who seemed to turn out periods and painted troops at a prodigious rate this is where his project kinda stopped, or at least stalled, the use of “finished” in his blogpost was obviously a typo or at least wishful thinking.

So when he left SG two years after starting this project he very generously, (at fair price), shifted these unfinished models into my collection. Basically there was a shit-ton of painted Union, easily tripling what I already had, and about the same of unpainted Confederates, which remain unpainted to this day. The occasion was our last time rolling die across the tabletop, he used the excuse that he needed to cut shipping weight, and after a night of laughs, beer, pizza and a victory to him no less, they moved into my collection.

It took me a while given that it is now 2021, so seven years for my glacial pace to finally rebase them all, sort them into regiments, and in some cases repaint for a better colour match (this mainly involved painting a lighter colour for pants, black for the hats of the Iron Brigade, and some command elements for the Zouaves) And to be fair, when I say they are done, I mean mostly.

Of course with Thomo’s recent passing I took a good look at my available Divisions but more so at the unused generals models I have and decided to detail the hair colour of one a little more to represent the “lost one”, and thus create Thomo’s Division, made up of troops that were once his, and led by the “reckless” commander himself. I hope they perform as well in battle under under the command of the die as Thomo* was want to.

General Ian Leslie Thompson

I think the General at left is perfect, the hand’s up (no idea the manufacturer or why they make a figure in that pose), the sword broken sometime over the years and you’ll note the gloss paint which is how they came from Miniatures Lanka along with the unfinished basing style adopted by its previous owner and now for whom it will represent. I think Thomo would get a kick out of be represented by a surrendering General on a horse…he’d call it a “cunning plan”.

* he was always a very lucky bastard with the die…all except for one set of blue ones that I have which often saw his forces befuddled with bad luck.

NOTE: I do realise that there are lots of links to Thomo’s Hole, but his death has hit me quite hard, and going back through his blog and smiling over the memories we shared has been a bitter sweet but rewardingly therapeutic journey. So if my blog ever gets any regular readership thank you for the indulgence as I dealt with the loss, and rediscovered both my writing and gaming mojo.

Cheeseburger Rating Scale

Inspired by Thomo’s take on the Angeles Burgers, he and I set about creating a burger rating system. As a starting point we used the measure he had been applying, we just codified it a bit:

The burgers being sampled will be a standard cheeseburger – be that a menu item or a request for a burger with cheese added. Nothing special or additional and no comment on the chips or fries that come with it, or indeed if it is served with no fries.

The construction will be assessed (from the bottom up, bun, lettuce, tomato, beef patty (if it ain’t beef, it’s a sandwich), onion if caramelised, cheese, onion if raw, bun. That is a standard Mark I Cheeseburger. Pickles are an add-on, beetroot is mandatory* … however, as I am not in Australia I will give that a miss. The bun should be robust enough to hold together until the last mouthful, retaining as much burger juice as possible and while the burger may be delivered to the table deconstructed, it should not require deconstructing or the use of utensils other than fingers for eating. Lastly, accompaniment should be a cold beer.

* Given that I too am Australian and yet hate beetroot, I will give this a miss on principle. I also feel for each burger to be fairly judged it needs to be built with the same items. Thomo concurred with this, but the guy did love his beetroot.

Following in the comments of the above post I asked quite a few questions and Thomo responded with:

Hey mate, at the end of the day, it is the total flavour that counts. So, for example, the Envy burger has a great taste, even though one has to deconstruct it to eat the damned thing. I guess we could adopt a more scientific approach, say, starting at 5/10 then:

+1 seasoning in the patty
+1 construction (including height, i.e., can you get it in your gob in one go)
+1 juicy – is the burger meat moist, if you squeeze do you see a little flavour leaking out (OK, oil)
+1 the bun – is it dense enough to hold together until the end of the burger but at the same time, light and fluffy enough to be enjoyable eating
-1 cucumber or other unwanted items (I’ll forgive pickles but not cucumber)
-1 undercooked … read – burger tartar
-1 overcooked
+1 just a great eating experience – you know you will be back for another in a week or two’s time!

We decided Sauce or Mayo was optional…Thomo felt that if it came with sauce it was judged as such, and if it didn’t then it should stand on its own. The conversation then moved away from the Blog to Whatsapp, but we really only talked about how to use the above scale.

I do note that Thomo himself rarely gave a burger more than 7 or 8/10 and yet starting at 5/10 and using the above scale would easily see many burgers rated a 9 or even 10, which I think is not what he had in mind when he started this, but it is the scale I am going to run with and to quote the big fella,

“…at the end of the day, it is the total flavour that counts.”

Burgers of Singapore coming soon.

Thomo, lost but always remembered.

Ian Leslie Thompson
(29 July 1954 – 20 March 2021)

“In a hole on the web there lived a Thomo…”

Sadly Ian Thompson, or Thomo as he was more widely known, passed away in the early hours of Sat 20th March after a very short illness and as a result of complications arising from the COVID virus.

Close friends for nearly a decade Thomo was a larger than life character, well read, well traveled, and with a gregarious and easy going nature that endeared him to all.

I first met Thomo in June/July of 2011, connecting as people now do via the internet when he relocated to Singapore. What started as a few emails, quickly became a more regular friendship as a shared love of history, beer, and wargaming, saw him quickly introduced and openly welcomed into my small friendship circle.

Those first months of friendship saw him helping with the christening of the Gun Bar by delivering me a handy defeat in our first battle on my home ground, and while the battles in the years that followed often swung both ways, I think in the end he got the rub of it and was far luckier with the die than I. Coincidently he also enjoyed a victory on his last evening in Singapore before he moved to The Philippines, something he never tired of reminding me.

After his move, “fly in, fly out” visits became a semi annual thing, usually as a detour on our way somewhere else or for special occasions. We shifted our gaming online with FoG, and enjoyed the regular connection that many apps and his Blog allowed, discussing gaming, military history, burgers and such, but sadly those visits never seemed long enough for us to roll die over the table again. And while I lament that such a chance will never happen, I find comfort that those times were always long enough for us to find a place to have a beer, a burger and a good laugh filled chin wag.

Wherever you are big fella, know that you are sorely missed and will always be in my heart.

RIP my friend.