Dearly Beloved

For our sins, Stephen builds a chapel.

At MHWC’s Broadside show in June I was glad (and surprised!) to see that Scotia/Grendel would be there.

What I bought off them was a resin ruined chapel, which would make a great piece of terrain for medieval games.

I cleaned up the pieces, cut some ply for the base, and glued the pieces together on the day after buying it. It then sat on the shelf for a few weeks. But last Sunday I finally got around to slapping some paint on it.

Before painting I thought I’d make a bit more of it. The first thing to do was create a tiled floor. I made the tiles out of thick plasticard. I chamfered the edges roughly and then scratched and gouged the surface to make them look worn and damaged. I then needed some more rubble. I made this from a mixture of sand and dried plaster broken up into bits. Though you can buy some rubble scatter mixes.

Once this was all dry I gave it a spray of dark khaki. This was then washed with my favourite all-purpose brown wash: GW’s Agrax Earhshade. I decided I wanted it to look like it was made from sandstone, so it was drybrushed with a khaki-heavy mix of khaki and grey.

An important thing to realise about medieval churches is that they were very colourful places. It was only with the advent of the Reformation and Protestantism that church wall paintings were considered idolatrous and were chiseled off or painted over. So I scoured the internet for pictures of surviving painted medieval church walls and then printed them off.

These were then glued to the walls. To make them look like they belong there and look a bit damaged and eroded by time and weather I splotched (that’s the best way I can describe it) the edges of the pictures to make it look like they belong on the walls and blend in.

Some staining and damp was added with a very dry brush using dark green and brown.

The model was then based with some mixed ballast and static grass.

The result is a ruined chapel worth fighting over!

The Wars of the Roses

Stephen updates his progress on his Yorkists (or Lancastrians, I don’t think he’s made up his mind).

Along with Jeremey I have been popping away at some 15mm Wars of the Roses for games of Sword & Spear.
I made a good start at the beginning of the year then I lost my mojo for painting these. However, I’ve got my mojo back and now they find themselves back on the painting desk.

The majority of the figures are by Essex Miniatures. The plate armoured men-at-arms are Peter Pig, as are the cavalry (not painted yet). I chose to base mine on Sword & Spear size bases (which are multiples of WRG/DBA bases) rather than small elements because I don’t enjoy playing DBA or FoG so it made sense to base them on the necessary size bases to avoid fiddling about with lots of small bases. That means they are also compatible with Armati, which is another set of ancient rules I enjoy (though not played for yonks), and also Impetus.

The flags are generic and not specific to any noble families from the period. These are just for decoration. I decided to make them generic so it didn’t tie the army down to anything specific and would give more flexibility. My intention is to give the commanders the actual flags of the nobles who fought. I haven’t yet decided whether to make a command base for each of the noblemen or whether to do like Jeremey has done with his and make them removable.

Open Day 2019

Open Day Coordinator Dave Sime gives the low-down on this year’s games…

Open Day, 22nd June 2019

The Open Day will be held on June 22nd from 11am to 4pm at our usual venue in Linton, just outside Maidstone.

Below is the list of games for the 2019 Open Day – over the next few weeks each game sponsor will be giving us more details on their respective games.

Just to whet your appetites, here are a selection of the games from last year’s event…

Strapping Jocks

John Lambert brings us up to date on his Scots SAGA warband

I’d bought a Gripping Beast 4 point Warband over a year ago. With the advent of Saga Version 2, I had the incentive to get them table top ready. I added one unit of Levy archers and a third unit of warriors to bulk it out to 6 points and out of 45 figures I only had 3 duplicates – well done Gripping Beast!. I replaced the Warlord with the Welsh Warlord on foot and used wire spears in place of the white metal ones supplied to ward off curious fingers.

I used Artist’s acrylic throughout ensuring that any intense pigments were dulled down to colour matches I had for Dark Age dyes and employed a three shade system that these figures suit. The figures themselves had plenty of flat surfaces on cloaks that would need the plaid treatment so once the basic figures were done, I sprayed with matt polyurethane to apply the plaid using a lining brush.

Levy Archers.
I decided that these would be the Warlord’s Estate workers so would have a shared colour palette – Brown, Yellow, Grey, Green, Blue.

Warriors
These would have a more varied palette and I decided to try wet blending on the shields to get a colour gradient which worked well. For shield designs, I chose simple crosses or Pictish designs.

Hearthguard
These would have more plaid cloth and more red on the clothing. I decided that they would have black shields with a white motif to match the Warlord.

Warlord
I seem to remember a doughty character in Macbeth called Lennox, well this would be my Warlord. Another trip to the Memory Bank reminded me of Bobby Lennox so he had to be kitted out in Green and White. For the cuirass, I used gunmetal/Silver and a thin coat of silver white to highlight. I added a dark purple cloak with yellow plaid. A black shield with Stags head motif completed the figure.

Basing
I added filler and stones to the base before undercoating the figures. When the figure was complete, I started the bases with black all over. I then drybrushed mid grey and then a light grey to pick out stones and boulders. I wanted a dark peaty soil with granite showing through and then the boulders. I then dry brushed the areas I was going to apply static grass in mid then light brown. I then applied Static grass in two shades.

Heather and grass tufts
To make the heather clumps, I used a piece of black pan scourer from B & Q, which I ripped open to make clumps which I attached to greaseproof paper with PVA. I drybrushed the surface with PVA and then sprinkled Heather flock lightly on the surface. Once dry and fixed with sealant spray, I could peel these off and attach to the bases. I bought some 6mm forest green static grass for the tufts. I dropped blobs of PVA onto Greaseproof and then dropped the Static grass on top. I pushed this into a clump as the PVA dried then fixed with sealant before peeling off and fixing to the base.

Men at Arms on the March

I finally managed to get my first Wars of the Roses units done. Here we have the Men at Arms getting ready to go up against fellow club member Stephen. For my units in this army I wanted a real mixed up, unevenly distributed look. I’ve never liked the standard number of figures evenly spaced DBA style units. Despite 35 years in this hobby this is my first historical army and I’m clearly not a purist! But I’ve done some research, read several books and listened to a podcast on the history of England during this period, so I’m definitely putting the effort in.To get a good mix for the units I used miniatures from Peter Pig, Lancashire Games and Essex Miniatures (plus some others I’ve forgotten). I even chose some miniatures from the early 15th century to represent a few of the less wealthy lords and knights, still using their grandfathers armour.
Another thing I decided to do was not to  chose a side in the conflict. It was clearly a messy affair with allegiances changing as the conflict went on (or even during a battle!). Add that to the fact the armies had identical troop types I went for removable flags for the units and commanders. In the first picture the units are representing Sir Thomas Neville but after a quick swap they are now in the service of Lord Dudley.I think this system will work quite well and I intend on making a collection of flags, so regardless of who my opponent turns up supporting, I’ll be able to pick an opposing lord!

Let’s Get Medieval

Stephen gives us an end-of-year Medieval treat…

I’ve a couple of bits on the go at the moment, one more or less complete and the other just starting.

First up is a 15mm Wars Of The Roses army to give that young upstart, Earl Jeremey ‘Hotspur’ Claridge a run for his money. These will be for Sword & Spear. I bought a few test packs of Essex archers (since I knew I’d need lots of archers) to get my juices flowing. I have it on good authority that I’ve been a good boy this year (well, good enough) and that Santa is going to be bringing me the rest of the army. We’re really enjoying Sword & Spear and I’m looking forward to re-fighting some battles from the WotR.

Archers

The other thing I’ve been popping away at over the last year is a medieval Irish army for Lion Rampant. These are suitable for the 13th and 14th century. I’ve now got 24 points worth with two units of Gallowglaichs (dismounted men at arms), two units of Bonnachts (light foot with javelins) and two units of Kerns (scouts with bows). I plan to add another unit of bonnachts and kerns during the year to give more flexibility and for some bigger games. These are destined for a game at 2019’s Open Day with an Irish round tower build in the offing as well.

Irish Army

Whither Shall I Wander

We had a game of Lord of The Rings Battle Game on Saturday and Tony had made some terrain pieces that just add that little bit extra to a games table.

So with that in mind, and a wet and miserable Sunday to fill, I decided to make one as well. Only I was a little bit more ambitious. Rather than just a sign post on its own I decided to make it a bit more comprehensive and to theme it to a medieval setting since road junctions in medieval times were important boundaries and points for outsiders.

I’m afraid I didn’t take any work-in-progress shots, but it was surprisingly quick to make. I thought it would draw out over several days. But no. Got it all done in a day!

The gibbet cage was made from styrene strip. It was a straightforward build, but fiddly whilst waiting for the glue to dry. The posts were made from balsa and the stones around the base made from milliput. Most of the time was spent waiting for the milliput to set – put it in the boiler cupboard where it’s warm and then off to Sainsburys to do the shopping whilst it cures. The water trough and parish boundary stone were also made from milliput.

Painting was simple as well. Both wood and stone were from the same colours – a mix of khaki and medium grey. But more medium grey in the stone and more khaki in the wood. I decided to keep the destinations on the signpost generic. Then add some ballast on the base, then add some static grass. And finish off with some clump foliage. The water in the trough is from epoxy resin (the Wickes’ home brand one is nice and cheap). The skull was from GW’s excellent (and splendidly OTT) ‘Box Of Skulls’.

And there we have it – a signpost with gibbet cage, boundary marker, and water trough for tired animals.

Mine all Mine

For some time now I’ve thought that a mining community would make a good place for a medieval skirmish game. Control of resources is a vital part of any warlord’s secure hold and a mine would make a particularly valuable resource.

Carts on tracks going into hillsides is a bit Hollywood. In reality, a lot of early mines (and mines even today) are really about digging holes straight down into the ground and then lowering yourself down them somehow, whether by rope and winch, or electric lifts. It all adds up to the same.

I decided that I’d make several mineheads with different contraptions to lower miners and raise the ore. They are, of course, variations on a theme.

The main winch was made from dowelling.

Thick linen thread was used for the ropes to lash it all together. Brass rod was used to make hooks and metal work (actually, the winch handle was made from a thin nail), and the bucket was a resin item out of the spares box.

I had to make a decision about the basing of the winch. In reality this would be pegged to the ground. But I wanted to give an impression of depth, that the shaft was going somewhere. So I decided to mount them on a raised area that I would then texture. This would give some suggestion of depth and I could argue the mound was a spoil heap. This was made from a half-inch donut of expanded polystyrene.

The winch was then glued on to this and once this had all dried the styrene was then shaped. And when that was done it was all covered with some filler.

I made up a special rubble scatter mix from sand and broken up pieces of dried filler. I then slapped PVA glue generously to the mound and poured the rubble scatter over it, pressing it down firmly before pouring off the excess.

Then on to painting. It was always going to be a drab model – brown on brown. But once painted I thought I’d put a bit of static grass on it, especially around the edges, so that the piece blends in with the table.

And finally something to set the scene.

These mineheads were very simple to make and took surprisingly little time.

This mining colony will make a good, and different, setting for a raid scenario. Although these pieces were made to a medieval style, they are pretty universal well into the early modern period. Only with the industrial revolution did things change. They were actually made for an upcoming game of Dragon Rampant, so if you fancy having a go at some ransacking and looting then come along to the club and have a go.

Rampant Lions

Stephen has written the following report on his Open Day game.

At the Open Day we got in three games of Lion Rampant, all based around the idea that the English were raiding the town of Sluys in Flanders.

The first game saw the English having to burn the town! In Lion Rampant you win the game by getting the most Glory, and you gain Glory by achieving your objectives and by also making Boasts. The English managed to set light to some of the buildings, which they gained Glory for, and also by achieving their Boasts – on this occasion that the English leader would challenge the French leader to a duel.
First game went to the English.

The second game was based around ransacking the town and getting away with as much loot as possible. In this game the English moved up quickly, but the French moved up their Genoese crossbowmen mercenaries who loosed their quarrels to devastating effect. The English had a poor time of it. Some longbowmen tried to make off with some loot but found the way to the ships blocked by some angry French knights.
Second game went to the French.

The third game was a decider. We re-played the ‘burning’ scenario with Mark and Alan from the Milton club taking command of the two sides. The English were slow to advance, which meant the French managed to move forward enough to protect the town. The English leader challenged the French leader to a duel, but it was ill-advised – the English lord was slain!

Third and final game went to the French, meaning the day had been a French victory.

The Call to Arms

​Open Day update from Stephen

With barely a week to go until the Open Day I thought I would introduce my Lion Rampant game and some of the levies who will be fighting it out.

The game is set in 1370AD. The background to the game is real but the actual encounter is fictional. Flanders had remained neutral during the early part of the Hundred Years War, with a preference to the English. But in 1369 the Count of Flanders, who had no male heir, married his daughter, Margaret, off to the Duke of Burgundy which meant that Flanders fell under French control.

So the game is a hypothetical raid by the English on the Flemish town of Sluys, where a great naval battle had been fought in 1340AD at the outbreak of the war.

The game will have the English raiding the town on several missions with the French trying to stop them.

Here are some of the retinues that will taking part.

First up we have a band of brigands in the pay of the French. They are led by Sir Leopold Von Starkenberg, a disgraced ex-Teutonic knight, who now scours the Low Countries looking for a fight and someone to pay them. They call themselves ‘God’s Bloody Hooks’ and go into battle with the war cry ‘Gadzooks!’

Next is a contingent of Irish from Cork in the pay of the English. They are from the O’Driscoll clan and we can see that Niall O’Driscoll himself is leading his kerns on this raid.

No English army would be complete without longbowmen! These are two companies of archers from the East Riding Levy. These are experienced men – good yeoman from the shires and the backbone of the English forces.

The French garrison is made up of a lot of continental troops and this next lot are no different. They call themselves the Compagnia di Santa Maria and hail from Genoa. These are also grizzled veterans who have spent good time fighting in various battles.

This last retinue of English have a bit of a funny history. Sir Anthony D’Archer of Ambridge received his summons from King Edward but with harvest troubles on his estate he decided he had to stay and instead paid for his son, Thomas, to answer the King’s call. So Sir Thomas D’Archer is now in charge of the English forces.

To see how these retinues fair, plus many more beside, come along to the Open Day and join in the fun.