Wednesday, 1 November 2017

'Historical' Rohirrim and Updates

First of all, I must apologise for the unintended hiatus that has befallen this blog. A number of factors have caused this: moving to Oxford, a distinct lack of a schedule, and a lack of enthusiasm, not so much for painting but for showing it off (this may also be because of a general dissatisfaction with what I have painted). Hopefully, I will get into something resembling a schedule and then can pick up with regular posts.

So what have I been working on?

I have been mostly working on low fantasy inspired humans. For all intents and purposes, these are Rohirrim, but using more 'historical' equivalents from Tolkien's legendarium and Lee/Howe's classic artwork. 

Using the Footsore miniatures Goths, Early Saxons, and Romano British cavalry I have put together a force of Eorlingas. So far I have split them along the lines of Royal Guard (using the most cloaked and fancy figures), Warriors (who have armour and helmets) and finally basic Riders (who have no armour and not all wear helmets). The biggest dilemma I have faced has been in regards to horse archers. The Rohirrim DO have horse archers, the problems arise in terms of aesthetics and miniatures. Footsore miniatures (which I would use to match the scale of the other horsemen) do not do Germanic horse archers, only Late Roman. These would be fine with some small conversions (head swaps mostly). It mostly comes down to whether I want them and do the fit the theme I'm going for? as of now, I am still undecided and as such this requires a little more research.

A WIP photograph of my Royal Guard, Banner Bearer, and Leader.

For the infantry, I shall be using the Saxon Miniatures Royal Anglians for dismounted Royal Guard and Footsore heroes/command for their namesakes. The basic warriors are to be made from Gripping Beast's Dark Age Warriors but using a mixture of West Wind dark age heads (for the helmets).

Anyway that's pretty much my update, I shall hopefully post another tomorrow with my recent trip and purchases from Spiel in Essen!

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Moving and Other Stuff

Sorry for the very quiet few weeks/month I have been rather busy with organising where I am going to be living for the foreseeable future, so the old figures have been on the back burner. I would like to start rectifying that sooner rather than later, even if it is just a discussion of ideas as opposed to the posting of figures.

I have done a few 'tiny manz' related thinsg however. These have included tidying up/adding a little more to a few Romano-British figures. I have also thought about restarting/finishing off my GorkaMorka gang, although I need some decent Boyz for that. All those thoughts of GorkaMorka have also put me in the mood for some Post-Apocalytic gaming. As some of you may know I wrote a S.T.A.L.K.E.R/Metro2033 esque skirmish game a few years ago. This new adventure, however, lends itself more to the Mad Max/Road Warrior theme. Hopefully I can get a few pictures/thoughts up in the coming week!

For now, I have little to show for my efforts but soon there shall be more frequent and exciting updates.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

A Fistful of Centaurs

Having been thinking and working on Aristeia again I have had the compulsion to work on a few Greek figures. To this end I have added to the three original Centaurs I made last year. These additions include a Centaur hero and two archers. This gives a total of six Centaurs, one hero and five regular.

The full herd of Centaurs

Like the other examples these Centaurs are a conversion of Victrix plastic hoplites and Perry medieval horses. the hero is simple enough but the archers require a little explanation. The arms are from the plastic hoplites with the hands taken from some Perry plastic archers. The use of such 'long' bows, not being the type of bow found in the Aegean and its environs, is purposeful. First of all it helps to create the idea of the 'other' for the centaurs and highlights their barbaric and non civilised nature. Secondly, they were all I had available as I have no recurve/eastern style bows.

Archer Centaurs
Rear of archer Centaurs
Hero Centaur

 I think this is the full amount of Centaurs that I shall make, at least for the foreseeable future. My hopes are to cobble together a few Satyrs using Citadel Ungors. However, the kit seems to require a great deal of detail removal to be suitable so some experimentation may have to take place. There seems to be limited alternative to this experimentation as most metal examples of Satyrs lack a certain je ne sais quoi.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

M18 Hellcat and White Scout Car

The amount of painting I have been able to accomplish this month has been rather limited due to one thing or another. I have, however, been able to finish off two vehicles that I started well over a year ago now. These are a M18 Hellcat (early version) and a M3 White Scout Car. These are designed as support options for my Normandy US Paratroopers. There is not specific engagement in mind for this force organisation it is merely a collection of units that were available in Normandy. 

The M18 was used throughout Normandy but the White Scout Car is another matter. It was generally replaced from mid 1943 onwards with M8 or M20s. However some were still used in Normandy although in rather limited numbers. I remember reading very briefly about an Airborne reconnaissance unit that had one or a number of Scout Cars which inspired me, as I find the vehicle rather appealing. As such the crew are painted in the khaki/yellow paratrooper uniforms and represent a recce element of the Parachute Infantry Regiment of which my platoon belongs. 

M18 Hellcat

M3(A1?) White Scout Car

Interior of the Scout Car, note the Airborne uniforms.
This miniatures were also my first experimentation with weathering powders. It is a technique/material I have wanted to try for quite a long time. What I attempted here was quite simple, merely muddying the tracks/wheels but it looks alright and breaks up some of the shapes.

The other problem was I have no transfers/decals for the large allied stars, so I freehanded them. While not as good as a transfer, they certainly came out reasonable. Due to the positioning they may look a little off but this is partly done by the slope and some hinges on the engine of the scout car.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Aristeia Activation Methods

Work on Aristeia still continues, even if the blog is not updated with much. This work however, is relatively slow. A lot of it is me second guessing my methods or reasons for having something do a specific way, which does not help. In the example used we are going to look at the activation methods.

The original activation that was to be used for Aristeia was something quite simple; IG/UG or just alternating units. I have scrapped these methods for a number of reason
  • It limits the way in which units and players can interact
  • IG/UGs not 'responsive' enough while alternating does not give enough variability
  • Alternating focusing too much on many small units?
In light of some of these complaints I have decided upon a card based activation system. These have been quite popular over the past few years with many games (Sharp Practice, Muskets and Tomahawks etc) using this method. I feel that such a method allows for a relatively responsive system where the choices are important and the for the ability to add cards throughout the deck during the game. These may be random events, Hero or Deity abilities and the like. It also gives some greater weight to NPC interaction and 'decisions' as it is unsure when they will take a turn.

I am unsure whether a hand system (where you draw the cards but add them to your hand to be played during the turn rather than instantaneously) would limit some of the randomness and allow for a more 'tactical' approach while still keeping a level of uncertainties, especially with cards added during a turn.

Hopefully I shall get a quick set of mechanics written down to test out in the near future.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Osprey Modelling Competition

A little while ago (mid march) I entered the monthly Osprey Modelling competition. The theme was 'Dark Ages' and as such I used some of my Romano-British figures as my entry. Below were my entries, I'm not sure which was used in the end. The Osprey Blog should showcase these next week (commencing May 1st, 2017) I have been informed.

My Dux/Comes
The Infantry

It turns out that I won! I was rather surprised as I thought my efforts distinctly average, especially in comparison with some of the fantastic figures seen online. Anyhow, my prizes finally arrived today and I'm quite chuffed with what I received. All of it rather interesting and useful to my wargaming/historical interests. I have not heard anything at all about the game Scrappers but I intend to have a good look through and see if it is suitable for my modern/near future Eastern European post -apoc needs.

My Prizes!
With the Muskets and Tomahawks game fast approaching I have been finishing off the last few figures required. I have also been (finally) getting to grips with my 28mm WWII US Paras from Artizan. Compared to the 18th Century uniform the dull colours certainly make painting a lot easier and faster. Hopefully the reinforced platoon should be ready soon, pictures to follow.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Compagnies Franche de la Marine 400pt List

This is my 400 point list for the upcoming three way/two sided game of Muskets and Tomahawks. The force is formed around a core of Compagnies Franche de la Marine regulars with some irregular Marine/miltia support with a few Ottawa to round the numbers out.

The thoughts behind the force are quite simple; the line infantry are the decisive arm and to be used to deliver the important blows via volley. The militia to harass, redirect the enemies attempts. Finally the Indians for scouting and aiding with the harassment, due to their small numbers they can not stand up in a fight but can make a few shots. Hopefully the force can do reasonably well and isn't picked apart due to the larger blocks of Marines.

1x Compagnies Franche de la Marine Officer - Regular, Light Troop, Visionary      32

1x Compagnies Franche de la Marine Officer - Irregular, Light Troop, Inspiration    32

10x Compagnies Franche de la Marine                                                                     80

10x Compagnies Franche de la Marine                                                                     80

6x Canadian Militia w/native                                                                                       60                                                                                           
6x Canadian Militia w/native                                                                                       60

4x Indians                                                                                                                   28

4x Indians                                                                                                                   28

Total                                                                                                                          400
For the officers some background has been created using the TFL Sharp Practice character creator. This is not anything overly serious but more some limited characterisation and role play elements outside of the narrative tables at the rear of the rulebook. The names are as of yet undecided as nothing suitably amusing has come to mind.

  • Military family but poverty stricken, a Gentleman
  • Honourable
  • Strapping fellow, fair face and affable
 A Canadian born fellow? would explain the relative poverty and military nature. Generally honourable makes for a good leader type character that cares about his men and useful for general interactions with natives/enemies.

  • Nobility with wealth and influence
  • Rake
  • Average Build, Handsome devil, dullard
 A younger son sent away due to causing mischief in the family home/operations? interesting counter point to the Capitan.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Göteborg City Museum

Having spent this past Easter weekend in Gothenburg I have a few pictures from the City Museum. I found the museum exquisite; the building beautiful, the exhibits well organised and informative in contextualising the artefacts and Gothenburg as whole. The majority of the photographs below are from a military history perspective as befitting this blog but there may be a few others thrown in if I deem them interesting enough.

My knowledge of the artefacts pictured below is not that great and as I forgot to take notes/photographs of the details there will only be a brief description/thoughts. Just enjoy the pictures!

Bronze Age Weapons. What appears to be a 'Grip Tongue' type sword, A classic Bronze Age Spear
head and what I can only assume in a ceremonial axe head of some type.
Two Early Medieval spear heads and a shield boss. I am
unsure whether these are Vendel or 'Viking' era.

A Dane Axehead, unsure of the date.

Three Swords, all of a different type dating from c700AD onwards.
A of Late C15th through to early C17th weapons and armour.

A of Late C15th through to early C17th weapons and armour including
caltrops and shot. I am unsure about the ceramic tiles and
why they were included in the display.

A Winged spear and a Swedish Morion/Pot
A very fine pair of flintlock pistols with ivory and gilt inlay.

17th Century wheelock arquebus.
A pair of 17th Century Swords. Right is a Swedish M1685 I believe. I am unsure
about the left example but it is earlier I think.
The equipment of a Gothenburg City Watchman
And finally, after all those poorly explained photographs comes something rather exciting. The only extant 'Viking' ship in Sweden! It is an exmaple of a Knarr, a trading vessel.

Monday, 6 March 2017

North American Blockhouse 2

Work continues on the blockhouse with the roof being tidied up (slightly) and most the paint work being completed. Some touch ups and refinements are required but it is taking its final shape. I tried for a weathered look to the timbers, I am not sure that I fully achieved this but they seem rather reasonable in tone. The base is painted in the same manner as the infantry (both the Indian, French and eventually British), While this makes the blockhouse seem rather dark when flocked etc it should be far better. I am reasonably happy with how the painting came out although the palisade made reaching certain point (especially under the fighting platform) rather difficult.

If I was to attempt the project again I believe keeping the block house separate from the palisade and base to facilitate easier painting. While it may make construction a little more tricky the effort saved in painting would more than make up for it.

The view inside the palisade and fighting platform. The door to the blockhouse itself can be clearly seen.

I have also attempted to tidy up the roof somewhat and while it is better than it was it is still not quite up to par. It will do for now, however I shall build a better, non rushed, version in the future. The base needs to be flocked and 'tufted', if there is such a word. I am undecided on what else to add to the base, as it is quite a large area and may look a little barren without something else. My British allied Indians (which are yet to be posted) have fallen/brown leaves due to the predominantly forested areas they would fight. It is tempting to to this for the blockhouse as well. However, I have yet to develop a method of placement that appears natural rather than odd clumps of leaves. I believe some practice and trial runs may be in order!

Sunday, 5 March 2017

North American Blockhouse

One of the key features of Colonial North America is the network of forts and defences along the frontiers. Some of these fortifications are massive and as such would take a great a deal of effort to create while only being able to be used within only the largest of games. What was more common, and far more usable in a wargaming sense, is a smaller outpost or blockhouse. Maybe such a structure is the refuge for a settlement or an outlying position for one of the larger forts? Either way it doesn't take up too much space on the table while giving that wild and frontier feel, it also gives a focal point to larger settlements.

The terrain piece has languished in a state of incompleteness for a number of years but I have resolved to finally see it finished. The blockhouse itself is a rather cheap and simple construction but one that I think is eminently usable. The pictures show the almost complete structure of the blockhouse and palisade.

The view from the front and entrance
The palisade and fighting platform

The doorway to the blockhouse.

As you can see, it's not the greatest construction. The roof is not very well done to be honest but is serviceable and can be tidied up in future. 

There are a number of things that still need to be completed before the Blockhouse is ready to be painted. The edges of the base sanded and bevelled as well as the top textured and sealed. The styrofoam stone work also needs to be sealed along with the balsawood planks.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

French and Indian War Beginnings

Once again my enthusiasm for my Empire army has trailed off, I was however happy with the amount that was achieved even within such a short period.  Instead I have diverted my attentions to the French and Indian War. There are two reasons for this: I absolutely love the period and have been working off and on for some years and that I have a game of Muskets and Tomahawks organised for May.

As stated I am very interested in 18th Century North America, mostly related to the French and Indian War (the name for the American theatre of the Seven Years War). The core reason for my interest, especially from a wargaming perspective, is the freedom that the period offers. Innumerably small actions can be fought using a wide range of figures whereby allowing for a great number of differing stories to be told. This strikes to the core of wargaming views; a method of telling stories, whether fictional or historical. This is combined with a love of the wilderness of colonial North America, the primordial forests which played and shaped the lives and warfare of those involved.

 This interest in the F&IW has manifested itself over the years in the formation of three wargaming forces. First of all my French. My most beloved force for the period and arguably the largest. This stems from a number of reasons generally related to siding with the underdog. If one is unaware the French colonies were large in area and very limited in manpower, roughly 75,000-80,000 settlers. The second is the Colonial Compagnies Franche de la Marine. I find these soldiers deeply fascinating, French enlisted recruits and (eventually) Canadian Officers useful as both light infantry manning the many forts in the vast Canadian/Louisiana/Ohio wildernesses as well as disciplined to conform to European methods, with the training and rigour to boot. This is coupled with a rather simple yet pleasing uniform and the option for a more relaxed frontier style of dress.

Compagnies Franche de la Marine in their normal European style Uniform. 
The drummer is in the standard colours of all French drummers (Michel Petard)
A break down showing the shirt, waistcoat, coat breeches and gaiters. 
Note the buff/brown belt. (Michel petard)

The above illustrations are partly what captivated my regarding Colonial Compagnies Franche de la Marine. I love the simplicity of the white/grey and the blue. The drawings themselves also having a certain style and panache helped as well.

With this in mind there are a few rules that we use or that I have used for other periods that overlap/ are suitable for the French and Indian War. Arguably the most popular and widely considered to be the modern classic for this period is Muskets and Tomahawks. With a relatively easy to use but yet with highly adaptable mechanics meaning that the battles scale well from rather small skirmishes with a handful of figures a side to larger games with regular firing lines and units. This combined with a robust narrative and random encounter system make the 6 or so scenarios contained within the book rather more varied. The only downside, and this is a rather personal opinion, is the lack of a campaign system regarding troops, experience/morale etc. These can be easily house ruled but I would have liked an 'official' system, possible with expansion random encounters and talents.

There are however are great number of other games that cover the French and Indian War or Black Powder periods in general that can be adapted/have supplements or expansion suitable. These games also cover different scales of combat ranging from individuals or small groups to large battles and sieges.

The two smallest scale games that I know and have played are Song of Drums and Tomahawks (a variation of the very popular Song of Blades and Heroes franchise) and Long Rifle. While focused on a smaller skirmish wargame both take rather different approaches. Song of Drums and Tomahawks is your standard 5-10 figure aside skirmish game, infinitely familiar to those who already know Song of... games. This is not to suggest it is a poor game merely that it is immediately accessible. Long Rifle, in contrast, has a great deal more RPG elements as well as greater reaction and morale mechanics. Long Rifle is also designed with solo play in mind and is most definitely campaign focused, it being inherent to the development of your character.

Sharp Practice  fills a similar niche to Muskets and Tomahawks in terms of game size. It is, however, eminently more restrictive in terms of force composition due to the fixed nature of unit sizes. Sharp Practice also lends itself to more regular actions, although it is capable of doing skirmishes or irregular battles as well. The background designer is wonderful at adding character to your officers and developing their actions throughout a game/campaign. It does the same as Muskets and Tomahawks' optional objectives albeit with a more concrete and structured mechanic. There is currently no official campaign structures other than linking scenarios and devising them yourselves but hopefully there will be an expansion release at some point in the future.

Hopefully this gives a reasonable introduction to my thoughts in regards to the F&IW. In the coming days or weeks there will be some photographs of my collections and terrain developments as well as the plans I have relating to the upcoming games in May.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Nordland Halberdiers

  A few photographs of my work in progress Empire halberdiers. The figures are from Artizan Designs with a few Citadel pieces (the Standard and halberd heads). The hafts are made from 1.2mm plastic rod, any larger and it would have seemed unwieldy. Overall I am quite happy with the finished unit. As of now they have been scraped and cleaned some more and finally undercoated.

I also received another unit of 20 Landsknechts that will be pikemen/spearmen. While they are assembled and based in the same manner as the halberdiers I have no photographs to share.

In other news the Mordheim campaign has begun and during which Heinrich's Heroes lost their first game rather dramatically. Having suffered five out of actions which resulted in the death of one witch hunter, one witch hunter being sold to the pits and losing against the pit fighter and the loss of one warhound. In turn the opponents suffered one out of action, a dwarf slayer. This is despite the heroic actions of the warrior priest managing to knock down and stun the Dwarf thane twice. Overall it was not a great time for the band but a few figures at least got some experience which hopefully with another game will lead to greater things.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Nordland Battle Standard

Here is my Battle Standard for my Nordland army. The figure is the 6th Edition Army Box standard bearer. I replaced the head as I as unsatisfied with the base model. The bare head and shaved sides didn't seem to fit the general aesthetic. I used a 6th edition plastic command head as it had a suitable number of feathers and plumes.

The head was fitted to the gorget and a little more hair sculpted, in a suitable 1520s style, to cover the join. The head may be a little large but I have trouble with scale of the figure and put it down to general inconsistencies with a Citadel figure.

The standard is once again a transfer, as I said before that I am a poor free hand painter. It is once again an Imperial Eagle, I feel that relatively simple and plain designs are the best and are especially well suited to transfers. This eagle is a little more embellished than that used for the greatswords which is rather fitting for a Battle Standard. The transfer is also the first I have done that involved colour. It worked well on the bright, yellow areas but no so well on the blue. I should have anticipated this but I merely went over the image with a suitable colour on the feet and beaks. It seemed to do the trick. Overall I am quite happy with the figure and especially the flag.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Nordland Greatswords Completed

The final ten Greatswords have been finished for a while now I just have not been able to take the pictures. The still need to be based but I have run out of the correct shade of static grass. Eventually I get some more and tart them up.

I am not particularly happy with the photographs I have taken of these figures. the paint jobs, while not stellar, do look a little better in person. hopefully I shall get a proper set up some time.

In other news the final copy of the Warhammer 40,000 comic Will of Iron arrived, now that I have all four issues and prologue I shall get down to reading! I have also recently finished a 'new' Gotrek and Felix, City of the Damned. Being a huge fan of Mordheim and  all things related I was intrigued. I was not overly impressed. The prose was too purple for what is a rather simple and adventure series and the general plot, while Gotrek and Felix in nature fell short and the big reveals rather easily telegraphed and generally lacking. I intend to start the new Osten Ard book soon to wash away the taint of that lacklustre effort.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Nordland Greatswords

Some photographs of the my Nordland Greatswords. The first ten are shown here out of the unit of twenty five. These are all done apart from basing and the next ten are currently on the work bench. They are part of my Warhammer Fantasy Empire army that is currently being rejuvenated.

The unit both with and without movement tray. They have been rebased on Renendra 20x20mm plastic bases as I am not overly fond of the high Citadel style bases. Below is the a close up of the standard bearer for the unit. The banner motif is a transfer done inexactly the same manner as my Greeks. This however seems to be rather more successful which I am putting down to more experience and a far higher quality of Image.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Witch Hunter Warband

Just a few (very!) work in progress photographs of my Witch Hunter warband. It has some expansion figures including (the zealots with crossBOWs and sword and shield) ready for the campaign. Most of the figures are converted and kit bashed from a variety of sources (apart from the warrior priest).

The five heroes of the warband. The Captain Heinrich is in the centre. Converted from an Empire hero with plastic greatsword legs and hat and a cobbled together zweihander. The figure is based off a piece of 6th Edition art. Far left has a witch hunter made from a Marienburgher Captain, I changed his sword to make it a little beefier. Centre left is another witch hunter kit bashed from greatsword/empire soldiers/archers. Centre right the final witch hunger converted from plastic great swords and Perry Miniatures Mercenaries bits, for the arms and polehammer. The Warrior Priest is untouched, I especially like the way the figure is in the middle of a service rather than the more common combat poses.


The four Zealots (in two groups of two). They are not modelled on the traditional Zealot look but more in line with soldiers of the order and as such a have a more traditional Empire look to them. Two have swords and shields and the two Bowmen (who have crossbows but that is mostly thematic, I hope to get them actual crossbows as the campaign progresses). The figures are made from a mixture of plastic greatswords, empire soldiery, free company and the older (5th/6th edition) soldiers of the empire set.

 The three warhounds. These are original witch hunter figures that have just been rebased.

Two photographs of the warband all together. I'm looking forward to getting the painting on them finished (some have been languishing for over two years!). Thematically I am very happy with how they work together. I am a massive fan of the Empire aesthetic and it's very late 15th early 16th century inspiration. The background for the warband is yet to be decided as stated in a previous post. The colours that have been painted would be that of Solland (entirely unintentional), which would have been destroyed over two hundred years previous. A group of nobles looking for wealth or power to retake their lost land? Eventually  I will come up with something unoriginal and pun filled.  I look forward to sharing there adventures with you dear reader!