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).
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!
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.
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 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.
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.
The first move of the battle saw Andy move his archers to a commanding position on the only high ground available.
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.
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.
Seeing the difficulty the Yorkist right flank was in Steve moved his archers in range to pour missiles into the floundering Yorkists.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
But the dice finally favoured Tony and the archers were utterly destroyed, handing victory to the Yorkists by the narrow margin of 29-32!
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!
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.
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.
At the start of my posts about doing a Wars of the Roses 15mm army I mentioned this was actually the first time in 35 years of Wargaming, that I have put together a complete historical army. Yes I’ve painted a force of 40 odd Dark Age warriors for Saga, but this was the first full army. While collecting and painting up this army I have been watching and listening to various Wars of the Roses documentaries and reading a number of books about the period.
It’s easy to see the appeal of doing historical gaming but I know when to stop over accuracy and just get on with a good game.
For the game to come we will have two players per side, so I have the larger part of my army under the Earl of Sailsbury with a slightly smaller force under his son Sir Thomas Neville.
On to the game, we are going to be using Sword and Spear. So stay tuned for the battle report that will hopefully be reporting a victory for the Yorkist cause.
Finally got the last of my Wars of the Roses units completed. This time it was the archers. As with the other units I did buy a number of different brands but ended up just going with Essex miniatures and Peter Pig for the unit commanders. Like the other units I wanted to avoid the uniform two rows of miniatures on a base and so for the fist units of archers (the Retinue archers), I created a clear front line with a archers milling around on the second row.
I wanted a mix of archer types and did a couple of militia archer units again using Essex miniatures.
When painting the militia archers I realised that all but one of the miniatures was in a shooting stance, I could not therefore have a second line, but I wanted the militia archers to look undisciplined, so put them in irregular lines on the base to look more like a mob.
With the archers done so was I, but my would be opponent for the planned Wars of the Roses game mentioned having some artillery. Entering in to the arms race I also put a unit of guns together.
I do have plans to do some other Wars of the Roses units like spearmen, some Welsh and other mercenaries. But this will do for the first battle.
First items finished this year are some reinforcements for my 6mm English Civil War forces.
We’ve played quite a few games of Sword and Spear recently, these are Ancient & Medieval rules, but on the publisher’s forum there were some discussions about adapting them for the Pike & Shot era, so I thought it might be interesting to try these out. To do this I needed to paint up some Commanded Shot, Firelocks and Camps.
My ECW forces are based for Polemos on 6cm wide by 3cm deep bases, either 24 foot (in varying proportions of pike and shot) or 9 or 10 horse to a base. I’ll be using these for the Sword and Spear try out, so needed to keep the same size bases.
The figures are from Heroics and Ros, painted with mostly Vallejo acrylics. Once painted they were stuck to the bases, labelled with unit description and flocked.
Commanded shot were detachments of musketeers taken from regiments of foot and attached to cavalry brigades to augment their firepower. Not always a successful idea, as the horse were slowed down by the foot, and if the horse routed or went off in pursuit the commanded shot were left on their own.
For the Commanded shot I decided to have 12 figures per base, painted as if they were from 2 or 3 different regiments (above).
Firelocks were foot equipped with early flintlock muskets rather than matchlocks and usually assigned to guard the train of artillery; lighted matches and gunpowder not being a good mix.
For the Firelocks I decided on 16 figures per base.
For the camps I bought some tents from Bacchus, and raided the spares box for various figures to add to the bases, some are from H&R and some from Irregular Miniatures. I built the camps on 6cm square bases.
I also had some carts and wagons, so did some baggage bases.
Finally some group shots, the Parliamentarian camp and troops.
I’d enjoyed using Norse Gaels in Saga Version 1 and was interested to know how they might fare under version 2 of the rules. I thought this faction was one that had changed the most under version 2 so decided on a new build based on the Footsore Irish and Viking ranges, taking advantage of the 3 for 2 offer they had running at the time. All figures painted using Artist’s acrylics.
Warlord – Hakon Maddadarson (The Hall Burner) – front pictured above
“Die bravely my slaves and I will take good care of your Dottirs!”
I mounted the Warlord on a piece of slate for a more imposing look. He has a rare and highly prized white Icelandic Gyr Falcon on his shield.
In version 1, there was an additional Saga ability bonus for taking Dane axes. This has gone in version 2 so only 1 point for this build.
I added 2 points of standard Heathguard. In version 1 Dane axe armed Warriors were the best option. In version 2 a powerful ability, Norse can only be used by Heathguard and Warlord so these appear to be a better option.
These are fearsome mercenary warriors for which I used the Footsore Scots/Picts
Levy – Slaves
I used the Footsore Irish warrior range for these. Of limited use in Version 1 of Saga, they are a key part of my army in version 2. I painted 2 points of these.
The History of the Norse Gael Earls of Orkney is detailed in Orkneyinga Saga, an epic tale of bravery, treachery and Sainthood as rivals vie for the Earldom, raids in Russia, raids on Sicily, The First Crusade and an encounter with a Byzantine Dromon! How would the 28mm metal version fare on their debut?
The answer was rather well (see Jeremey’s battle report), despite misreading a SAGA ability and missing out on the chance to trap Andy’s Warlord, I really enjoyed the faction and the battleboard mechanics. Well worth a celebratory snifter or two of Highland Park ”Viking Honour”.