Friday, 30 December 2016

2016 Xmas project

This years Xmas project is rebasing my old WAB Norman army, did base textures today. Going to have a brown wash tomorrow or Sunday. I need a couple of bits and pieces to finish units up to their new sizes and a couple more 40 X 80 bases. All the old cast lances are being replaced too, but I can do that easily later, with stiff wire ones - no more bending!

Another update soon.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

To save a queen ......

I had collected a couple of sets of rules for gaming swashbuckling action in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. We decided to start with Flashing Steel, a Songs of Blades and Heroes variant from Ganesha Games.

If you have played any of the SoBH games you will be right at home with these, two stats Quality and Combat plus special rules or traits. We played with fairly balanced forces at approx 500 points each. In our scenario, Queen Elizabeth has taken refuge in the farm, perhaps she was taken ill, her retainers are on their way to collect her. Meanwhile at sea, the Spanish hearing the news plot to land troops, seize the Queen and take her back to Spain for Phillip to make her his bride and seize the English throne.

The farm is from EM4, Bridge from Hovels, trees and hedges from Last Valley. Miniatures are from Foundry apart from the Queen who's from Bad Squiddo Games.

Here's the Queen with her bodyguard.

The English arquebusiers and swordsman and led on the table.

The Spanish leave their boats and advance.

They choose to leave their sword and buckler men behind and race for the farm. Meanwhile their fanatical assassin has reached the farm and is approaching the English. The arquebusiers take cover behind a wall.

The Spaniards open fire and but do no damage. The Assasin sieges his opportunity and attacks the arquebusiers driving one of table with his fearful demeanour. The English open fire on the Spaniard causing him the fall to the ground. The English hero charges and administers a coup de grace.

The Spanish have now advanced in to range and continue to fire whilst the sword and buckler man try to force the sturdy farm gates.

English swordsmen are working their way to cut off the route to the boats.

The English have to charge to protect the farm and melee with the Spanish.

As the swordsmen advance, the English Arquebusiers and hero are killed, the swordsmen scatter but gather themselves enough to engage the Spanish at the gate. The Spanish aren't able to force the gate and as the day draws to a close they retire to their boats.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Halfling are here!

Midlam Miniatures have delivered their latest Kickstarter one month early! Halfling wizards, here's a good selection including one who could even be a Druid. Fab stuff and great castings.

I took advantage a good the villagers pack too, there's an obvious fighter in mail, a thief and assassin. Great stuff for D&D.

Sunday, 20 November 2016


Sunday took us to Reading for Warfare, traditionally our last show on the Wargames show calendar. After sitting in traffic due to an accident on the M40 we eventually rolled up about 9am and began setting up our Somme game. Figures and terrain provided by Paul and Sally at Kallistra.

No trip to a show is without a shopping list, here's today's haul;

  • Zulu huts from Empress - these are for next weekends game, got to get them painted this week.

  • SwordPoint from Gripping Beast - new ancients and medieval rules

  • Tufts from Great Escape Games

  • 1/2400th Napoleonic ships from Tumbling Dice, inspired by my recent game of Trafalgar, the Langton 1/1200 models were too complex and delicate. This is a good compromise, 8 ships for the price of 1 of the bigger and easier to build.

  • Movement trays for more Zulu units

  • Queen Elizabeth I from Bad Squiddo Games

  • 10mm ECW Parliamentarian army bag from Pendraken - I've wanted to try Pendraken for a while, I'm hoping this pack will build two forces for Pikemans Lament as well as get me started for Pike and Shot.

  • MDF Fountain and summoning circle from Blotz - spotted these as I was leaving the show, super cheap kits for Frostgrave but I could see that fountain in Three Musketeers type games.

  • Friday I went in to Birmingham Waterstones to see and hear Simon Scarrow launch his new book. Was great to hear how he started on writing, his method and plans for the future. He was kind enough to sign my last paperback.

    Sunday, 13 November 2016

    Field Forces for TMWWBK

    Here are my first field forces for The Men Who Would Be Kings, first up in the British Infantry for the Anglo Zulu War. We have a large selection of manufacturers. The British infantry are a mix of Foundry, Empress and Black Tree Design, the artillery is from Rapier Miniatures, the NNC comprise Foundry, Wargames Factory and Casting Room Miniatures, finally the Natal Native Horse are from Empress.

    Coming soon, a Gatling gun and crew, rocket batteries and some vignette pieces.

    The Naval Brigade where often used in Victorian times, being immediately available, deploying from ships where needed. This is a versatile force useable all over the colonial world from Africa to Asia. These figures come from Perry Miniatures Sudan range.

    My Zulu force is made from Wargames Factory plastic figures mixed with Casting Room Miniatures and some odd Foundry figures from eBay. These six groups will be added to with more Wargames Factory and Married and Unmarried tribesmen from Warlord Games bringing the total to 12 groups. These need reorganising in to regiments based on their shield patterns.

    I am currently working away on the Boer figures from Black Tree, as they are in mixed civilian dress they are taking a while.

    A Nautical Evening

    Last weekend at Wyvern Wargames we had a couple of games with a nautical theme;

    First up Chris and I played Trafalger, the napoleonic naval games written by Mark Lathan and published by GW in the Warhammer Historicals brand - now sadly no more. The ships belong to Chris and are in 1/1200 scale from Langton Miniatures. The game was lots of fun I've been wanting to try it for a while after picking up a very tatty copy of the rules on eBay. 

    I'm very tempted to pick up some ships of my own but I'm not sure if my patience will stretch to all the rigging, it does seem to make the ships fragile and more like scale models then gaming pieces. 

    Stu debuted Cutlass along wide some Atlanteans and mysterious fish men.

    I'm going to have to pull my finger out and make my jungle terrain for Congo and trips to the Lost World.

    Monday, 7 November 2016

    Midlam Miniatures Wizards Apprentices Kickstarter

    Midlam ran a nice little Kickstarter for six wizards apprentices and there was just a single freebie on offer. To some that might disappoint but I think many Kickstarters over promise and undermine their business. See AQOTWF as a good example of this.

    So we have, clockwise from top left; female carrying a selection of scrolls, tubby male brandishing a frog, young woman puzzled with a wand, youth carrying spell books, another young with a wand and over large hat, a concentrating potion mixer completes the initial six with 'sanloss' tentacles bursting from his spell book.

    Midlam's next Kickstarter is for 'Halfling Wizards and Apprentices', the figures are completed and I'm expecting them to be dispatched soon. If they keep up like this, small contained projects suitable for RPGs like D&D, I will keep backing them.

    Friday, 23 September 2016

    The Men Who Would Be Kings

    Finally after whats seems like months of waiting, TMWWBK was finally published at the end of September and I have a copy of my own. Our Colonial collections have been languishing in their storage boxes for a couple of years now since we tried them with a unpublished version of Warhammer Colonials. We've also played Black Powder but that's more for bigger games and The Sword and The Flame, which is closer to the spirit and scale of these rules but with limited distribution outside America.

    We played our first game recently using Stuart's Boxer war collection in 15mm. Great fun was had dispite us generally rolling up some quite poor leaders. Pinning units is quite key in this game, quality can win over quantity but it's in no way certain.

    On to the game, this is another 'grand skirmish' sized game. Expect European forces around 40 or 50 figures, whilst their colonial opposition will be larger, say 60 to 100 figures. This is achievable in 28mm especially with plastic kits from Perry or Warlord. The rules will also happily work in other scales, so long as you can break your units down to show and track casualties. 

    Players take turns activating units. They can take their free action, which depends on their type, or you can roll to carry out another action. Typically European Regulars can shoot for free whilst Tribal Infantry might be able to move. Shooting and Combat are rolled per figure involved and units must take a test if casualties are inflicted, fail that and you are pinned and unable to move. Subsequent rally actions are easier to perform but rely on your unit leader, failure will result in a retreat move.

    Many players will be pleased to find a set of rules for solo play, Mr Babbage, who typically will play against the Europeans. This could also be used for a large multi player game where the players play against the game rather the each other.

    We are planning a large multi player game in November and I am needing to get some painting done soonish, I already have the following;

    • Six units, 24 points of Zulus painted and a further 4 units, 16 points unassembled and unpainted.
    • Two units, 12 points of regular British and a gun and crew painted with another unit, six points unpainted.
    • Three units, 24 points of Boers unpainted.
    • Two units, 12 points of Naval Brigade plus a Nordenfelt gun painted.

    Finishing that off will keep me busy.

    A Tale of Two Castles Part 2 - The Tower of London

    Last weekend we made a trip to London specifically to visit the Tower of London, cheap tickets on the train also got us half price entry in to the Tower.  when we thing of the Tower we usually picture the Norman 'White Tower' but the Tower has been expanded in to a enormous complex almost like a village inside.

    The moat was drained and filled in on the instructions of Wellington who also had all the animals shipped out to form London Zoo.

    There is so much to see you could easily spend most of a day here. The shot below shows the inside of the Byward tower. To the right is Mint Street, the original location of the Royal Mint.

    Traitors Gate

    The White Tower now a Royal Armouries museum 

    Waterloo Barracks, now the home of the Crown Jewels

    The Itish Guards were on duty

    The guns were captured at Waterloo

    The Yeoman Warders AKA Beefeaters are all servicemen with at least 22 years service, a good conduct medal and have reached at least the rank of Warrant Officer or Senior NCO. 37 Warders plus the Chief Warder live on site with their families. They give tours of the site and are very funny.

    The 'Bloody Tower'

     Tower Green and the Queen's House

    The Scaffold Site - Royalty and Nobility were beheaded here, others had a public execution on Tower Hill

    The Norman keep was built on the site of a Roman Fortifications

    The White Tower is full of armour and weapons, much related to the Tudor and Stuart era.

    You could recreate the inside of the Tower complex with some suitable castle walls and a cobblestone mat, buildings line the inner walls of the outer bastion. The mint could be robbed or rescue attempts on famous prisoners could be made.