Sunday 22 September 2013


A trio of small scatter terrain pieces what I have made recently


An irregular MDF shape I had knocking around.
I covered it with some sand and a few pieces of slate and small rocks leaving a few gaps in between for pools of water. Then it was sprayed and painted in appropriate colours (mainly using cheap emulsion pots from Wilkos). The watery areas were given a few coats of yacht varnish to add depth and shiny wateryness and finally static grass and some coarse turf added.

Ploughed field

Another piece of MDF with some corrugated card glued to the top. Then sand added as above (though I sieved it to get finer sand and fewer lumps and bumps) before spraying, painting and flocking the edges.
Ideal for a Saxon farmstead at the start of the Viking raiding season.


I actually made two or three of these, but can only locate this one at the moment.
Again, MDF shape - this time with some large stones glued on and some sand applied to the rest of the base. Sprayed grey then the rocks were drybrushed up to almost white and the base painted to match the rest of my terrain.

Friday 20 September 2013

Ready for the dip

I finished these off soon after my return from the desolate Chaos wastelands otherwise known as Swindon.
This post was supposed to be a before and and after shot of them getting dipped. However matt varnish problems have put a stop to that, so here they are before being coated in dip.

First the archers. I've just been reading She by H Rider Haggard for my book group, which rather inspired the leopard skin loin cloths.
Very basic paintjob - plastikote chocolate brown undercoat, overbrush with Dark Flesh, Iyanden Darksun loincloth with Scorched Brown blotches and pick out the spear tip in Chainmail and the hair Chaos Black. Leather bits Snakebite Leather and the flights in white.

Spearmen painted exactly as above:

Askaris have Deneb Stone clothing and one has a Blood Red hat, while the rifle stocks are Bestial Brown

Meanwhile here are better pictures of the Americans (who needed a little tidying up once I got them away from the hotel room and back into some decent light)

As I say, they've all now been dipped but until I can get some matt varnish I can't make any progress.

Thursday 19 September 2013

Ibn Coldir against the Infidels - a WAB El Cid game

Ibn Coldir, loyal servant of Allah and brave commander of a mighty host of Berber warriors surveyed the land ahead of him. The field was broad and featureless and in the distance he could see sunlight glinting off the spear heads of his enemies. Shielding his eyes from the relentless Spanish sunlight he strained to make out the forces that faced him. However the colours of the enemy were clear, even at this distance, the vivid reds and yellows could mean only one thing - the cursed infidel known as El Scrivs once more confronted him.
Turning to his officers Ibn Coldir barked his orders - this time the Christian dog would get his just deserts

Scrivs and I once more convened at the rather splendid new club venue.
All week I'd been planning to revise my list to give myself a better chance against his Berbers but alas ran out of time. In the end I was glad I hadn't made the effort as Scrivs decided to dig out eh Christians once more.
We decided to play pitched battle and decided to follow the rules from WAB2 for setting up the table. The result  was a featureless plain. Muttering darkly about the influence of tournament players on WAB 2 I got Scrivs to agree to putting some terrain on the table for a more aesthetic appearance. And yes I know ancient battlefields were probably mainly featureless plains, but the visual experience is a big part of playing wargames for me so I like some hills, trees, and rocks scattered about.
With that we were off.

 El Scrivs at the head of his army

 Turncoat Spanish mercenaries in the service of Ibn Coldir

I pushed my skirmishing archers forward on my left and the Berber horse forward on the right. My centre moved a little to get into firing range.
The servants of Allah advance

Some of them are caught in the open

On the right my Berber cavalry launched themselves at the Caballeros - with the aid of the Sayyid in the unit they managed to win the combat (just) which was something of a surprise.
 Oh, a Cantador, eh? Well see how you sing on the end of my spear!

In the centre my mercenary knights launched themselves at El Scrivs and his Caballero Hidalgos. Once again the resulting combat gave Scrivs the opportunity to demonstrate that throwing spears > thrusting spears. "If you miss then you can't kill - even with +1 strength". I know this to be true but the image in my head is of charging christian knights with couched spears, not chucking sticks at people.

El Scrivs demonstrates the correct use of the charging knight.

Back at the game, my spear blocks overwhelmed the Spanish Peones, sending them fleeing from the table, while the Berber cavalry finally saw off their opponents on the hill top.

Eat Berber spear Spaniard!

The endgame saw my cavalry first chase off some light Christian cavalry before succumbing to bow fire while El Scrivs launched his knights at one of my spear blocks. That was a much more favourable match-up for me and eventually Almoravid might saw the Christians routed.

With that the game drew to a close and remarkably the field belonged to Ibn Coldir.

Of course the other view of the game is available over on the Scrivsland blog

A splendid game, with a great opponent and lots of lovely soldiers on the table. That's the way wargaming should be.

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Dux Britanniarum

So some month ago, having had the rules for nigh on a year, we embarked on a Dux Britanniarum Campaign.
I had high hopes for the game as the feedback around the interwebs had been universally positive and sensible fellows with good taste like Guitarhero Andy and Fleetfoot Mike had been having lots of fun with the games.
Sadly I have to report that I don't like Dux Britanniarum, There. I've said it. Apologies to all of you out there enjoying it, but I'm not feeling the love.
I've tried, really I have, but I just can't seem to get on with it. After the last game my opponent looked at me and said "If it wasn't for the campaign system, we'd have given up on this long ago" and he was all too right. So when he returns from his enforced leave from gaming, induced by that terribly illness fatherhood I doubt we'll be picking up the floppy rulebook and tasteful plastic box of cards again. I think we'll play something we like.
That said we struggled on through  a number of games all of which were pleasing on the eye and I took some pictures, so there will now follow a few blog posts with eye candy of the Fall of Elmet campaign

 The hairy raiders race down the valley with stolen cattle in tow

 Suddenly the British general appears to block their way

 In heroic style the British leader hurls himself at the Saxons

 Meanwhile the raiders continue to driver their plunder on

 More Britons block the way

As the casualties mount the brave British warriors begin to melt away

This was our second game. The first had ended somewhat prematurely when the random set-up and starting rolls meant I was unable to envisage a win and so withdrew to preserve my forces - historically accurate, maybe - but not much fun for an evening gaming. 
I'm pretty sure the Saxons won this game - I think the British broke and fled leaving me the field - possibly after I had killed their general.

Friday 6 September 2013

Swindon Sojourn (3)

And so the week draws to a close and I must bid a not so fond farewell to my beige featureless hotel room.

However I do so with a happy heart because I have managed to get some hobby done.

Ten Africans with bows and ten with spears, together with a couple of chiefs and five Askaris have been successfully glued to the face of her maj and equipped with weapons.

Meanwhile I have managed to apply all the base colours to a dozen US infantry models, meaning I should get them dipped next week with a bit of luck and a following wind,

Here they are - poor quality iPhone picture again.

In other news I am being leaned on to play In Her Majesty's Name.

Generally my views on VSF and Steampunk are best summarised by this article.
There's just something about it that seems, well a bit silly really so I can't get too excited*

On the other hand the rules have been well received and are only £6 on the Kindle and I've probably got models that'd be suitable up in the loft somewhere....

*And yes I know I happily play WFB and other equally silly things but this just crosses some sort of line I didn't even know existed

Thursday 5 September 2013

Swindon Sojourn (2)

A bit more progress was made on Tuesday night, but yesterdays sad news delayed this post.

Anyway some more Africans were glued to bases and given nice sharp Northstar spears. Ouch

I think these are Foundry Darkest Africa Tribal Warriors

Then I added some khaki clothing to the US infantry

I also glued these Askaris to pennies on Monday but forgot to post them in that post

Last night I ate and drank and did no hobby.
Tonight I'm back to webbing for the US infantry.
Living. The.Dream.

Wednesday 4 September 2013

Donald Featherstone RIP

Very sad to hear the news today of Donald Featherstone’s passing.

Just like Fleetfoot Mike I read (and re-read) many of Don’s books at a formative age borrowed from my village library (possibly this is because Mike and I shared the same village library – albeit unknowingly).

At the time I think I struggled to completely grasp the rules and I know my chums and I only ever tried a couple of times to actually play the games he described, but there is no doubt his words and books were influential on me and the excitement they inspired eventually led me on to D&D, Citadel miniatures, Warhammer and the rest of my misspent youth and adulthood.

I was particularly pleased to discover a few years ago that John Curry History of Wargaming were reprinting many of his books after some years of watching originals go for silly money on e-bay. I was delighted to re-acquaint myself with some old favourites and find myself once more enthused by his passion and ideas.

The rules still confused me, and I've still not actually played any of them, but I think I can safely say without Donald Featherstone’s skill at passing on his love for this crazy hobby of ours I certainly wouldn't be the toy soldier enthusiast I am today.

Thanks for all the years of pleasure you've given me and many others Mr Featherstone.

Tuesday 3 September 2013

Swindon Sojourn

I am in sunny (no really) Swindon all week with work.
Unfortunately no-one I work with actually lives in Swindon, so my evenings are spent in solitude in my hotel.
There was a time in my youth when I found this impossibly glamorous.
Now I just find it a drag.
Anyway to stave off boredom I remembered to bring some soldiers with me to help pass the time.
So last night was spent cleaning, glueing and painting to the sounds of 6 music

Here's what my desk looked like when I started. Glue, pennies and Foundry Africans

After an hour or so I had this to show

Ten archers all glued to Brenda's face.
They're these models I think Stealthy Tribal Archers

After that, with the superglue fumes inflaming my brain I started in on painting the Americans I picked up last week

Just base coats on the trousers, faces and helmets so far. I'm doing them the same way I did the last lot - simple base coats and then I'll dip them when I get home.
Apologies for the quality of the pictures - it's just on my i-phone with a hotel light bulb.

Tonight more basecoating and some spearmen I hope.

Sunday 1 September 2013

Arab Spring

Scrivs and I finally managed to get our calendars to coincide for a game of soldiers.
Given that he's running a WAB El Cid event that I've signed up to and the last time that I played WAB was at the Peterborough event last year we decided to dig out the splendid El Cid supplement.
I was expecting to play the Infidels of the redoubtable Christian general El Scrivs, but it turned out I was to have a civil war on my hands as Al-Scrivensar and his Almoravids had turned up to the battle.
So the scene was set for some hardcore Almoravid on Almoravid action.
As Al-Scrivsenar was a venerable Emir and I a mere Emir we decided that Ibn Coldir was clearly the charismatic young leader trying to overthrow the wily elder statesman.
Our lists were quite different I was character heavy with two large units of spearmen and bows with some Christian allies ready to ride down the Islamic hordes. While Al-Scrivsenar had placed all his faith in lots and lots and lots of spearmen.

The ensuing battle was a titanic struggle that started cagily with neither side willing to charge.
Eventually I broke the deadlock and was rewarded for my impatience by seeing half my army turn tail and flee. It looked all over, but some fortunate rallying and a terrific pursuit of some over enthusiastic spearmen hauled me right back into it.
Sadly the wily Al-Scrivsenar was able to turn the screw once more and finally the forces of Ibn Coldir were surrounded and cut down.
Apologies for the picture quality my camera battery died faster than even my Christian knights and so I was forced to use the i-phone camera

 Skirmishers forge ahead

 Ready your bows my brothers

 Turncoats crest the hill

 Ibn Coldir's cavalry ride to meet them

 You cowardly infidels! No pay for you!

 Stab, grind, stab!

 Right, lets take a breather


 Aha, our foes are vanquished. Apart from the ones behind us.

We go to Allah!

Al-Scrivsenar's biased portrayal of the "facts" can be found here.

A splendid game that lasted well over the allotted six turns but we were having fun, so who's counting. Great to see and play Scrivs again and the new venue they've secured for the club is fantastic. Really looking forward to the event there now.

In fact the only downside of the evening was that top chum James turned up and left me with a whole pile of free lead (and the start of a new project). Thanks James.