However after several evenings of getting them out of the bag, admiring them, laying them out, then carefully putting them back in the bag (I can't be the only wargamer who does this, can I?) I decided to actually get on with assembling and painting them, only to discover I had run out of spears.
Fortunately it just so happened (honest, Mrs Tom's Toy Soldiers, it did!) that I was passing Northstar the following day so I popped in there and had a pleasant chat with nice Mr Northstar Nick and Mark Wheatley from Great Escape Games (who apparently is only a Great Escapist at weekends - Monday to Friday he is property of Mr Northstar Nick). I bought some Northstar spears and they're very nice indeed (and bloody sharp) and a little slimmer than the Perry ones I'd used before, I recommend them (as long as you're not a ham-fisted buffoon with a propensity to stab oneself with small spears - did I mention they're very sharp). I also picked up some of the Renadra 20mm bases for use with the Romans. I've decided to move away from the GW bases because a) I don't work there any longer, so they're harder to get hold of and b) most other ancient players seem to use thinner bases meaning mine sort of tower above their opponents. The bases are very nice and do the job well. I picked up the multi base set as I like to have my models on larger bases (so I can swiftly remove the inevitable deluge of casualties), again a recommended purchase.
Here's a picture of the spears stolen from the Northstar site
Here's one on his nice Renadra base holding his painfully sharp Northstar spear.
Now normally I won't have a word said against Bill's models I think they're all great. However I kept looking at this one (and one of the other poses in the standing set) and thinking- that looks wrong. No one would hold a shield like that, and why has he got his hand open, dear, dear Bill what were you thinking). So I blue-tacked it in place just to check and confirmed what I thought - the Musketeer has lost it!)
Ah. Much better. Sorry I ever doubted you Bill!
I post this just in the hope that someone else has made the same mistake and I won't feel such a lonesome twit (and because I laughed at myself a lot when I realised my error). Of course I could just have had a look over on Bill's site and seen them all proper like.
So next step is undercoating and some hardcore painting action. Hoping to do some WiP's over the next week or so as the kids are banished on holiday with the Grandparents.
For anyone interested I also took a quick comparison shot with one of Soapy's Gripping Beast Early Saxon Killers that I also picked up at Hot Lead