Saturday, 28 February 2015

The Two Towers (part 2)

So, the basic construction work was done, but the new stuff needed some texture. Cue a pot of brown wood filler (mine was bought from Wilkinson's in the UK, but any type should do), an old dining knife with which to apply said filler and an old pencil to scribe some masonry.

Both towers now done and almost dry after a couple of days' drying time. I also took the opportunity to hide those unsightly gaps around the doors and blend the window surrounds in as well.

And I was very careful not to miss the inside of the battlements and the tops of the walls too.

And a close up of a garderobe - I did not forget those either! I did take the liberty of running a finger over the new texturing to smooth out the roughest bits of scribing.
So there we are, up to date as February closes and with just seven more working days to finish all the extras that we set out to do to enhance the "Mayhem in the Med., c.1565" game we will be showing at the WMMS show next Sunday, 8th March, at the Aldersley Leisure Centre in Wolverhampton (final plug! Maybe...)

Now for some painting.


Wednesday, 25 February 2015

The Two Towers

With apologies to Tolkien, I have been busy this week upgrading a couple of features from our "Malta" show game, namely the two towers that guard the boom that blocks the harbour entrance to keep out sundry undesirables...

...and attacking Turks and North Africans in boats.

A couple of members of the Retinue (as in "Wyrley Retinue") thought we could enhance them easily enough, though the originals served us well for our first outing. I got the gig...

So here goes a blow by blow account of the work done so far. They are not yet finished, but just some texturing and a paint upgrade is all that is basically left, so they are not too far off.

The original towers were 18cm high, so truly dominated the harbour entrance, but had aesthetics more akin to chimneys than habitable defenceworks. They needed chopping down a bit.

So I measured 4cm and 8 cm from the top and drew a line around the whole tower at these two heights.

Then cut out the two sections had marked out.

The original top section was inverted, glued down on the top of the main piece of the tower and crenellations cut into the card. Be careful here - knives are sharp. I did not cut myself, but I do not want a lawsuit from anyone who tries this for themselves!
 I used a bit of my schoolboy maths for the crenellations, as in the circumference of a circle being calculated using the formula 2PiR (I cannot find Pi on my PC, but you know what I mean...) This gave me spaces of 6mm and walls of 18mm, or ten alternating walls and spaces in a 24cm circumference.

The second cut out piece was cut vertically and used as a wrap around to bulk out the walls. Then I used bits of old corrugated card to bulk up the crenellations. I also added window surrounds from matchsticks and a garderobe, carefully placed to be able to drop its "contents" into the sea below.

The story so far...

The last bit done so far isd to add a floor, complete with trapdoor to access the roof, add more bulk to the crenellations and tile the roof of the garderobe.
I am confident the enhancements will work, but feel free to come and have a look at the WMMS show on Sunday, 8th March, 2015, and let us know what you think. See you there!


Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Ever onwards

One of the things we members of the Wyrley Retinue engage in when we put on a game is try and enhance that game in preparation for further outings.

Our "season" starts with the Wargamer Show in November/ December, at which we like to debut our latest offering. Thus, by the time show number 2 comes around, we want people to see something slightly different to what they may have seen before. With that same show number 2, the West Midlands Military Show (WMMS), just 18 days away, we have been busy doing just that.

One of the problems we encountered with the original layout for "Malta" was warping to the water board sections. Thus, I cut these out and cut some new pieces, which are now painted and have been varnished four times so far, with more layers of varnish to follow to try and build up a watery sheen.

Next, the original layout perhaps lacked a little texture, so some added paint effects and a few patches of scrub grass have been added to the original landscape.

The original quayside was made to represent wood, which we never really felt was appropriate for "Malta" (so I do not know why we went there...), so Nephew Paul has cut and attached some stonework pieces to the original underframe to make it a stone quay, which I have now enhanced with some weathering, waterline greenery, etc. This same waterline effect has been taken around the various cliffs and we have added a couple of small beaches on which to land a few rowing boats.

We still have things to do and things to finish - quayside cranes (having seen them on the "Pyke" episode of "Game of Thrones"), racks for net drying, more harbour side goods by way of barrels and the like, more figures, the aforementioned rowing boats, etc - but what people will see at WMMS on 8th March is not what was on show at Wargamer back at the end of November.

So, in line with our collective aim, we have achieved.

How well we have done so remains the preserve of the viewer however, so if you can make the WMMS show in three weekends' time, come along, say "Hi" and give us your verdict.

We look forward to seeing as many of you there as possible.


This is about half the game right here. The land boards fit along the near side and left hand edge to create the full layout. This is about 6 feet by four of the overall 8 by 6. Random foot at top of picture is supplied by Nephew Paul. I think the water is too streaky...

Cliff weathering. Any relation to anyone of that name is entirely coincidental...

Nephew Paul's relationship with a sharp knife and ruler is still in its infancy, so break out the cork bark rocks, filler and a dollop of seaweed to hide the gaps...

I heartily recommend a trip to a model railway show near you when you are building terrain of any sort. The dock is faced with plastic stone sheets from Wills (readily available) and the surface is made from card sheets by Faller (I think but, again, readily available in a model railway shop or at a show). More filler etc to hide the gaps and we are done. I have added more weathering since this photo was taken.

The view from the harbour entrance. Frances is there for effect, but I might just repaint her in a more "Malta" style and bring her along on the day. She is in the position occupied by one of our boom house towers that hold the mechanism for raising and lowering the chain that guards the harbour. The round hole opposite is where the other one sits, removable to access the chain itself and unhook it when the Turks/ North Africans take the tower to allow the galley into the harbour.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Crud 2: Nutty Night Goblins

Some fantasy!!!

For the first time ever (I think...) on the posts on this blog, I give you an entry from the wonderful, wacky world of Warhammer. And boy, are these guys almost totally rubbish!

To be fair, the deranged loons who take up the spinning, metal ball of doom, otherwise known as Night Goblin Fanatics, might be considered rather less cruddy than the rest of the Night Goblin troops I field alongside them, but it is only by pure luck that they ever really achieve anything.

For the uninitiated, these guys hide within a basic unit of Night Goblin troops until something or other from the opposing force comes within 8 inches of the unit. Then, with a heave and a shove, the Night Goblins forcibly eject these fellows from their ranks and launch then at the enemy that has encroached within the magic 8 inch range. Each Fanatic throws 2d6 for movement, in inches, so, if I throw 8 or more on the dice, I can attack the nearby enemy!

The problem is fivefold:
  1. Rolling 8+ on 2d6 requires my dice rolling to be above average...never likely, as those who know me would probably testify.
  2. The enemy unit can be anything and is most likely to be the worse sort of peasant rabble who I basically would not want to waste my Fanatics against, but I have to launch them anyway if they get within 8 inches.
  3. After managing to roll 8 or more, I am then required to roll high on 1d6 to see how many hits I get against the enemy. The chances of me rolling good dice twice in succession are even less than rolling one set of good dice...
  4. Having done that, I then have to roll more dice to wound the enemy, who may also get to roll armour saves in response, thereby minimising any damage I cause.
  5. Once the Fanatics have moved and hit anything, they move randomly in future turns. This means more d6 rolls, but also a scatter dice to determine direction. I have not kept accurate count, but I reckon I have killed far more of my own troops than any enemy as the Fanatics have a habit of turning round and coming straight back!!!
Given point 5, it becomes almost a blessing when they roll a double for movement and strangle themselves inadvertently or hit some rough terrain and dash out their own brains on a tree...

But it would be remiss of me not to mention the singular success these guys have had.

An Elf Lord on a dragon decided to plough through a lone Fanatic in order to contact the Night Goblin unit behind and scare the bejaysus out of them, no doubt munching a couple of dozen of the hapless greenskins in the process and routing the rest. Cue a most uncharacteristic bout of dice rolling by yours truly and said Elf Lord hit the dirt with as much of as thump as his puny, elven frame allowed, as dead as a dead thing. The dragon then stood there glowering for a turn before flying off to bother me no more. RESULT!!!

I think that is the only game I have ever won with an army composed mostly, if not entirely, of Night Goblins...

To add insult to injury, I have nine of these fellows and, mad, crazy deluded fool that I am, I like to use all of them simply because I have them. Will I ever learn?

To break up the monotony of black which these guys wear, I have divided my army up into little cults. The Fanatics each have a purple and white hood to show their allegiance to mayhem, each hood with a different pattern. My Squig Hoppers*** have yellow patterns on their hoods, etc, etc.

I do like a bit of variety after all.


***Squigs are spherical bundles of muscle and teeth the Night Goblins breed and use as cavalry mounts. They are marginally more predictable than Fanatics...

This trio of tat, like all my Night Goblins, are Games Workshop figures. Some are so old they are metal!!!

Inane grin, big ball and chain...must be a Fanatic!

Almost out of control...


Example hood pattern number 1...

...and 2.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Crud 1: The Sorry Segbans

Hello again.

Last time out, I raised the subject of the rubbish some at least of us like to include in our armies. So, continuing that fledgling theme, I present here a sure-fire contender for the honour of being one of history' successful military forces - the Segbans.

With a stat line that makes an unarmed, octogenarian goblin with a severe cold fancy his chances in a straight fight, the Segbans have never let me down on the crud front.

They featured initially in the "By Fire & Sword" tournament, and the few preparatory games I had for it, last year. In about six games to date, I think they have scored one, solitary casualty and have run away I would say two-thirds of the time. They are so poor, they require two command points to give them a different order to the one they start with in games of "BF&S", compared with just one for the ropey, but not as ropey as the Segbans, Feudal Spahis etc. In fact, just about anything else.

They count as having "poor quality firearms", "poor tactical discipline".....

Let's just go with "Crud".

But where else do you get cheap infantry to fill out your Turkish forces of the late 17th Century? Where else can you get someone almost willing to hold a strategic village for you for a turn or two before their inevitable flight? Janissaries are better (just by this late stage), Tufengchis better too, but both are rare and not allowed in skirmish level forces, just in grand armies. So, the Segbans are here to stay.

The figures are by the "Wargamer" company from Poland, who produce the "By Fire & Sword" rules and produce several little boxed sets of figures, as well as blisters, to support their game.


I don't know why I bothered with the flag. A map of the route back to Istanbul would have been better. I think they have managed to rally just once in their half a dozen outings to date.

I like a bit of variety and the Segban blister does not disappoint, with different poses, different clothing, etc.

Standing on the side of a snowy hill won't help either (another quality photo! [sic])