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Suspension of Meetings

Following yesterday’s government announcements the Committee has decided to temporarily suspend all society meetings for the time being. It is regrettable we have to do this but we must put everyone’s health above all other priorities.

The Committee also made the decision that Society will not be attending Salute with this year’s game. In the event of the show going ahead it is up to individual members if they still want to attend.

The Committee will continue to monitor the situation and update further as and when possible.

A Modelling Miscellany

Here’s a few things I’ve been up to over the last couple of weeks.

First up is a tower.

Actually, I did this earlier in the year. It’s made from two tubs of healthy snacks – cheeselets (the wider, shorter, tube) and a Pringle tube (smokey bacon flavour – lovely!). The stairway is made from balsa that was skinned with miliput and then scribed to make it look like stonework. Then a few barrels and sacks were added to make it looked lived in.

Next up are some wall bits. I bought these at Cavalier from Debris of War. I already had some walls, bought many moons ago, so I had to paint these to fit with what I already had. Either that or re-paint the whole lot. I’m not a big fan of stark grey stone. It looks artificial and most stone is actually a brown colour of one sort another. Certainly the stone someone builds a wall out of, anyway. Back when I did the first walls grey is all I knew. So these had to be done like that as well.

Another purchase at Cavalier (this time from Scotia/Grendel) was a dragon. I ummed and ahhed for quite a while about what colour to paint it – I prefer to steer clear of bright red or green fantasy dragons. My preference is for a more believable colour (given it’s a dragon). I already have a brown dragon so I couldn’t do that again. Instead, I decided to go with green but a more drab variety like you see in nature. Once done, though, it looked too green, so I decided to add some patternation to the scales – some brown stripes. I’m not entirely happy with the result, to be honest. I think it may get a re-paint at some point.

And yet another purchase at Cavalier, and another from Debris of War – a ruined…thing. Church? Building? Something.

The tiles were a print out of a medieval tile texture I found on the internet. This ruin is going with other ruin bits that can be put together to form a ruined church or abbey complex.

Last up is a scratch build. I’ve tentatively called it a ‘Templar Hostel’ because that’s what it was made for. I don’t know what they would have really looked like, so it’s quite speculative. It was built for this year’s Open Day (presuming that still goes ahead).

The Beasts of War

Andy reconnects with his inner animal.

A couple of years ago I got a druid figure free when I renewed my Wargames Illustrated subscription, you can see him, and how I painted him, here.

He’ll be a magic user in one of my Dragon Rampant armies, but he needs an escort, and what would be better for a druid than a collection of animals?

I picked up a pack of Reaper Bones “Companion Animals” at SELWG (I think), these comprise a bear, wolf, puma, wolverine and eagle.

These are made from a type of polymer, and there is a warning on the Reaper Bones website that they may not respond well to some spray undercoats, so these were undercoated with a couple of coats of brush on acrylic matt black.

The wolf was painted with London Grey and then dry brushed with Dark Grey. The other animals were painted with various shades of brown, part of the eagle’s feathers and the other animal’s muzzles were painted black. Teeth, where visible, were painted Pale Sand. They were then given a generous wash in Army Painter Soft Tone or Dark Tone washes.

The bear’s base had a few sections of stone so these were painted London Grey, dry brushed Light Grey and washed with Army Painter Dark Tone, the remainder of the bases were covered with Basetex and painted with a couple of shades of green.

In addition to the Reaper Bones animals I had a couple of others, a nominally 10mm Giant Ape from Magister Militum who stands around 33mm foot to top of head so fits in OK with 28mm figures and a small wolf, manufacturer unknown.

The wolf was painted in the same way as the Reaper Bones wolf, apart from the mane which was painted black and dry-brushed Black Grey.
I decided to try and paint the Giant Ape as a silverback, so he was given a second coat of matt black, and his lower back was then dry-brushed Black Grey and London Grey. Teeth were painted Pale Sand.

BPM 97 Scratchbuild

John Lambert shares his latest Zona Alfa projekt.

I’d bought into Zona Alfa intrigued by the period, the campaign system and the terrain building potential. One of the mission objectives in the rulebook scenarios involves a broken down APC. I wasn’t going to splash out £20.00 for a resin cast model so what could I do instead?. Scanning the ASDA shelves for Gaslands stuff I came across this for £3.00.

Could I use the bits from this as a basis for a model ?

I’d remembered that this brand was secured by screws and not rivets so opening it up took a matter of minutes. I was left with a cab, fuel tank, wheels and chassis. I could use the fuel tank, cab and upper chassis as extra terrain pieces later. What about the lower chassis and wheels?

I’d got this plan off the internet and hoped it would work

The wheels were the right diameter but the wheelbase was 1cm too long so I’d have to cut the chassis and join the pieces with 2 x 30 thou plastic card – my go to modelling material for 45 years!. The track was a bit wide 2mm but I could live with that. I’d sketched out templates for the sides and front of the body, cut them out from 20 thou plastic card and quickly had the basis of the bodywork, which warped overnight!.
I decided to build the front wheel arches from strips of 30 thou card to provide better rigidity and to ensure a square structure. Referring to internet photos I found the bonnet top would be quite complex to make. I used 2 pieces of 60 thou plastic card and sanded this down with wet and dry to get the right profile.
On to the detailing, I decided to be systematic. First I added access doors to the rear and roof hatches from 20 thou plastic card then side access doors from 10 thou plastic card. Cupolas above the driving positions were from 40 thou plasticard. Hinges were from plastic micro rod and I made catches from microstrip and micro rod in long sections that I could then cut to size. These WIP shots show the detailing in progress – there’s more than I thought when starting this project!

I painted the body in dark green, dry brushing with lighter green and using a section from the packaging for the windows. The chassis I painted black and dry brushed grey and light brown before fixing to the bodywork.

Overall I was pleased with the results – a good project for isolation. More episodes to follow!

Forward To The Thirteenth Century

Stephen goes time travelling.

I decided to update my medievals. Actually, down-date might be a better way to think of it.

When I started collecting medievals I decided to go with early 14th century. If I’m honest, I really wanted to do 13th century (think Baron’s War of Simon de Montfort), because that’s where my interests lay. But there were few miniatures available for that and the ones there were I didn’t really like.

So I chose early 14th century (think Crecy and Poitiers). However, I recently made the choice to go with my heart rather than mind.

I’ve taken out the later figures that wouldn’t look right in the 13th century and they’ve gone into the ‘fantasy human army’ box. And I replaced them with figures more suited to the 13th century.

I asked around the club if anyone had some of the Fireforge plastics to have a look at. Andy did. And he kindly let me have a sprue to have a play with. I thought the details were good and the style of armour, clothing and equipment is right for the period.

Problem is, every time I see how people have put them together (and this is a general fault I find with plastics) they always have that crouching need-a-sh*t pose, head at 90° to body, and arms doing a double fist-pump. They just look like child’s toys.

Since they were plastic I decided I’d give them a bit of a chop. I thought I may cut the legs off and re-pose them. In the end I didn’t. In fact, in the end the surgery was quite minor. Generally, I replaced the weapons with better-proportioned spares from the spares box. One or two arms I cut at elbow and wrist. I also cut some hands off at the wrist to have them at different angles (due to the casting process I find that the arms on plastics tend to be ‘flat’, and it looks more pronounced once the arm is stuck to the body).

I think the key to the Fireforge figures (and, again, plastics in general) is to think about the pose rather than just stick them together. Maybe even stand in front of a mirror and pose yourself to see how they should go together (make sure you don’t get seen by the family or they’ll think you’re and even bigger bell end). It means you will have to do a bit of cutting here and there to make the pose fluid and as if that the limbs and head belong on the body. But plastic is easy to cut and easy to glue, so it’s really not that difficult.

In the end, I was rather happy with what I came up with. It made me re-think my opinion on them. Just minor surgery, and thinking about the pose, makes a great deal of difference.

Now I have what I wanted in the first place – 13th century medieval.

Mexican Reinforcements

Andy goes south of the border.

The fifth batch of figures completed this year are a few additional figures and a cannon for my Mexican forces for the Maximillian adventure.

These are made up of half a dozen Wargames Foundry ACW Union Artillery crew in shell jackets, a cannon and half a dozen odd Mexican officers, infantry and dismounted cavalry.

I’ve had the ACW Union Artillery crew for a while, these will serve as Mexican Republican gunners (some American troops did go south at the end of the ACW, with ex-Confederates joining the Imperial forces and ex-Union troops joining the Republicans). I’m going to be a bit hazy as to whether these are actually Americans or Mexicans, but I wanted to be able to field some “Well Drilled” field guns for the Republicans in “The Men Who Would Be Kings” games, so I wanted some uniformed artillerymen.

The Mexicans and the gun were bought from Colonel Bill’s at Cavalier earlier this year, so having these figures finished in less than a month after purchase is something of a record for me!

After cleaning up any mould lines, giving the figures and gun a wash in hot soapy water to remove any mould release agent and letting them dry, everything was undercoated with Humbrol grey acrylic primer. Paints are Vallejo unless stated otherwise.

The gun was painted Prussian Blue, with an AP Blue Tone wash. Metal plates were painted black and bolts Gunmetal Grey.

The foot figures were all given a Dark Sand base coat on hands and faces, followed by a Dark Flesh top coat and an AP Skin tone wash.

The officers and artillery crew had Flat Blue jackets, trousers were either Flat Blue or White. Anything Blue was given a good wash with AP Blue Tone. Artillerymen’s epaulettes were piped Flat Red.
A couple of the artillery crew had unbuttoned jackets, so I painted their shirts Deck Tan. One officer received a Golden Yellow waistcoat. Officers buttons were painted Brass, and other ranks buttons Gunmetal Grey. One officer had his boots painted Saddle Brown, everyone else had black boots.

Belts, other boots and pouches were painted black, as was all hair. One artilleryman had a water bottle painted Red Leather with German Camouflage Beige straps, a second had a haversack, also painted German Camouflage Beige, and one a ramrod painted Beige Brown with Buff wad.

The two Infantrymen had the same basic paint scheme as the artillery crew. Musket woodwork was Beige Brown, metalwork was Gunmetal Grey.

The two dismounted cavalry men are irregulars, so had a less uniform paint job.

The one on the left had Light Grey shirt with White undershirt, Saddle Brown vest, Chocolate Brown trousers, Mahogany Brown hat and Black boots. A bit of a study in brown! The other figure has a white shirt, Blue scarf, Dark Grey jacket, Black trousers and Saddle Brown boots. Carbines are Beige Brown woodwork and Gunmetal Grey metalwork. All the figures bases were painted Army Painter Banshee Brown and then patches of flock were applied.

Next in the Maximillian painting queue will be a dozen French Foreign Legion mounted infantry. The end is almost in sight!

War of the Roses Battle – Neville Takes the Field

Sir Thomas Neville deep in the action

With both of our Wars of the Roses armies completed Stephen and I assembled on an unremarkable field somewhere in England for our first clash. Stephen took the role of the Lancastrians and recruited Andy to act as a lesser lord of the realm in control of his right flank. I’d gone for the Yorkists and ended up with the flags of the Earl of Salisbury and his son Sir Thomas Neville. In similar fashion I recruited Tony to the role of Thomas Neville also taking command of the right flank.

The Lancastrian Billmen and Men at Arms

The Lancastrian army formed up in a neat row extending across the battlefield with their archers on the flanks and their billmen and men at arms in the centre. The Lancastrians had no cavalry or artillery, however they had more archers and had brought some mercenary pikemen.

The Yorkist Army Advances

Across the field the Yorkists took a different approach forming up with their archers and artillery out front with the billmen and men at arms close behind. The Yorkists also had mounted men at arms as well as some light cavalry units positioned out on the flanks.

Lancastrian Archers take the High Ground

The first move of the battle saw Andy move his archers to a commanding position on the only high ground available.

The Yorkists Cavalry Moves to Outflank the Lancastrians

This move prompted me to move my cavalry out past the archers flank screened by a nearby wood. My intention was not to attack the flank but to try and get Andy to weaken his archers on the hill by dispatching them to deal with the now threatened flank.

Yorkists Under Thomas Neville Attempt to Maneuver in to Position

Meanwhile on the Yorkist right Tony had found himself squashed between my artillery unit and some woods. This would cause a number of problems for Tony during the battle as he was unable to line up his units to best effect.

Lancastrian Archers Move to Outflank

Seeing the difficulty the Yorkist right flank was in Steve moved his archers in range to pour missiles into the floundering Yorkists.

The Yorkist Artillery Starts to Bombard the Lancastrian Billmen

Apart from Steve’s flaking move and Andy moving his archers onto the hill, the Lancastrians refused to give battle. Seeing the danger on the flank and with the Cavalry feint having drawn some of Andy’s archers away, I push the artillery forward and began firing on the Lancastrian Billmen. The attack did not cause any damage but it had the desired effect, soon the Lancastrian billmen would be on the advance.

Yorkist Archers Gain the Upper Hand

Seeing the Lancastrian billmen on the advance I pushed my archers forward and engaged the archers on the hill. The dice definitely favoured the Yorkists destroying a unit of archers outright but taking some damage in return.

Battle Rages on the Yorkist Right Flank

As I prepared to receive the advancing billmen, Tony had managed to engage Steve’s archers on the Yorkist right flank. Unfortunately the Lancastrian archers stood their ground against attacks from the Yorkist billmen.

The Centre Units Close in for an Intense Fight

My archers managed to get a volley off against the Lancastrian’s before the two battle lines crashed together. Unable to move the archers had to join the melee and soon succumbed to the billmen, but I had billmen in reserve ready to fill the gap.

The Battle Lines Clash

The clash was pretty even with both sides taking hits. Out on the Yorkist right flank Tony’s archers had taken a beating but he was still determined to get his billmen into the fight. In the centre Steve still had his men-at-arms directly in front of my artillery and so had no choice than to advance into the oncoming fire.

The Lancastrian Men-at-Arms Charges the Yorkist Artillery

Although the Men-at-Arms had taken some damage they quickly overwhelmed the artillery leaving them to rampage behind the Yorkist line. Tony still had his cavalry in reserve but didn’t get the activation dice required to charge in and so the Men-at-Arms got the chance to destroy them in a subsequent charge. However Tony was more successful with his Mounted Men-at-Arms.

The Yorkist Mounted Men-at-Arms Destroy the Lancastrian Archers

Charging in against the Lancastrian archers Tony was successful in gaining some momentum on the right flank. But the Yorkists would then throw away a strong position with a number of cavalry blunders. First came my charge with my light cavalry against the archers I had drawn out on Andy’s flank. The charge saw the cavalry wiped out with no damage to the defending archers. Tony then charged his Mounted Men-at-Arms against the Lancastrian pikemen and suffered the same fate!

Return of the Yorkist Mounted Men-at-Arms from the Left Flank

With the main battle in the centre going the Yorkists way and following the cavalry blunders, I turned my Mounted Men-at-Arms around and galloped back to the centre. The battle was nearing an end with both armies at breaking point.

The Yorkist Right Flank was to Decide the Battle

With the help of my cavalry the Lancastrian centre was destroyed, and with Andy’s remaining units too far away on the Lancastrian right flank, it was up to Tony on the Yorkist right flank to carry the day. The Lancastrian’s still had some strong infantry units but Steve had failed to get the activations he needed to get them into the fight. Needing just a point before breaking completely the battle came down to the long drawn out melee between Steve’s archers and Tony’s billmen.

The Last Melee Between the Yorkists and Lancastrians

But the dice finally favoured Tony and the archers were utterly destroyed, handing victory to the Yorkists by the narrow margin of 29-32!

Battle Aftermath
This turned out to be a really good battle. Three of the players had only played 3 or 4 games of Sword and Spear before and for Tony this was his first ever play of the rules.
From the Yorkist point of view, the good parts were managing to draw out some of the Lancastrian forces with a cavalry feint, and a lucky result in winning the archery duel in the centre. Having the artillery also turned out to be a good move as it forced the Lancastrians to advance when they had planned to sit tight. The bad points for the Yorkists though were the poor deployment between the artillery and the woods allowing the Lancastrians to out flank the right hand side, and the poorly executed cavalry charges late in the battle.

From the Lancastrians point of view, the good parts were exploiting the poor enemy deployment and out flanking with archers. But the bad points were reacting to the feint and being unlucky with the activation dice later in the battle preventing them from getting more of their infantry committed against the poorly deployed Yorkists.

The war will no doubt continue with the Lancastrians out for revenge!

 

 

 

 

Gaslands Geezers

Andy gets out of his car and walks.

Many, many, many years ago I bought some Platoon 20 armed civilians and SAS style figures. I can’t now remember what I bought them for, and they’ve been a small part of my metal mountain for a very long time. This range has changed hands a few times, but are now available from East Riding Miniatures. You can find the armed civilians here, and the SAS here.

Last year I got into Gaslands, and thought these might be useful as vehicle crew or aggressive bystanders.

I based them on 1p coins, built up the bases with 4Ground base render and undercoated them black. Paints are mostly Vallejo, with Army Painter washes. All bases were painted Grey Black and bare skin Medium Flesh.

First up are three ne’er-do-wells (top) in boiler suits and stocking masks (hence the ill-defined faces) a woman armed with a pistol, and two chaps one with a sawn-off shotgun and the other with an Uzi (or similar). The masks and hands were painted Brown Sand, the boiler suits Dark Prussian Blue or German Field Grey and boots black. Guns were, surprisingly, Gunmetal.

Next are a woman and a couple of men with handguns. These guy on the left has a German Cam. Med Brown jacket, grey T shirt and black trousers. The woman in the middle has a Grey Jacket and Dark Prussian Blue trousers. These guy on the right has a German Camouflage Black Brown jacket, white shirt and Army Painter Crystal Blue trousers washed with Blue Tone wash.

Another three figures, the guy on the left has a M3 “Grease Gun” SMG, and maybe a Flak Jacket. The trousers were Army Painter Crystal Blue with a Blue wash, shirt white and the flak jacket Brown Violet (which is green, go figure!). The guy in the centre just has a hand gun. His shirt is pale sand, trousers London Grey and jacket German Camouflage Black Brown.
The guy on the right is not from Platoon 20, I suspect he may be some sort of Sci-Fi figure of unknown manufacture, but I’ll treat him as (mostly) human and armed with a pump action shotgun. He has German Cam. Med Brown overalls with a dark tone wash.

Finally, the two SAS figures. I went with a camouflage pattern here, German field Grey base, with Flat Green, Mahogany Brown and Chocolate Brown patches. The Helmet and Flak Jackets were painted Brown Violet and the gas mask case German Camouflage Beige.

The Irish Rover

Stephen goes all Celtic.

Under Saga 1 the Irish were just too over-powered.

I always thought they’d be a good warband to play but the gross nature of some of their javelin abilities left them too powerful and, to be honest, it wasn’t fun playing them for that reason.

The good news is that under Saga 2 the Irish have been seriously nerfed, meaning it’s not so embarrassing fielding an army of them.

So I’ve revisited my Irish and the intention is to use them more often now they are a balanced force.

Fergal mac Amlaith’s mother is an Irish noblewoman and his father is a Viking Jarl.

He was brought up on the shores of Lough Ceagh where he looked after his father’s dogs. This love of animals has lasted into his adult life and now he has a large kennel of his own.

Since taking over his father’s lands he has demanded the fianna bondsmen swear fealty to him. They have all, both local noblemen and norse colonists, agreed to do that. This means that Fergal has a good many hearthguard to protect him and these men are led by Connor and Rory, the tribal champions – the feared curaidh.

The land tenants make up the rest of Fergal’s force. These bonnachts are well trained in how to use their javelins and hatchets and are prepared to fight to the death for their lord.

Looking over everyone’s pastoral needs is Father Padraig. He is a very spiritual man, though he is worldly too – he knows enough to know that peace is sometimes best achieved by knocking a few heads together.

They have all now sharpened their spears and swords and are ready to go roving.

A Tents Moment

Andy proves that there are no depths to which his puns will not stoop.

I picked up a frame of Renedra Saxon Tents a couple of years ago, and finally got round to finishing them.

There’s very little assembly to do, the ends of the ridge pole are seperate pieces that needed a little filling once put together, and the open tents have an upright pole at one end.

These didn’t take too much effort, the tents were undercoated black, including the inside of the open tents; and then painted Vallejo Deck Tan, Light Grey or Dark Sand. The tents were the washed with Army Painter Green Tone or Soft Tone (for the Dark Sand tent) and the wooden poles and tent pegs painted Beige Brown.

A coat of matt varnish finished them off.

Now some of my Vikings have somewhere dry to sleep!