Sunday, 29 March 2015

End of March musings

We are a quarter of the way through this year already, so time to take stock.

1) I have played precisely two games - a 15mm Napoleonic affair with my Austrians vs Nephew Nick's French and the "Mayhem in the Med. c.1565" outing for the Wyrley Retinue at the WMMS Show earlier this month.

2) I have spent well over my budget already this year...

3) I have painted around 90 28mm figures, all infantry, and finished off another 11 or so I started before Christmas got in the way.

I always see myself as a slow painter, but I am seriously pleased to have got through effectively 100 figures (-ish) so far this year, as well as acting as family taxi, working full time and having a life. I even have time to speak to my wife occasionally! A fair chunk of these figures were additions to the "Mayhem" ranks for the show game, but I have also managed to paint up two 4-point Viking warbands for SAGA, the last figures for which I varnished this morning before tidying the man-cave. I will photograph these once I get the bases textured and the first ever games of SAGA are set for Easter Sunday, so I may even squeeze in a game report or two...

So what does Quarter 2 hold?

Well, changes of mind aside (and I expect there to be one or two...), I plan on some Dark Age civilians, an Irish warband and possibly a Norse-Gael one as well. So, Ireland in the Dark Ages is very much in my wargaming thoughts. I blame an old issue of the short-lived "Wargames World" magazine of a couple of decades ago, specifically the issue that featured a scratchbuilt model of an Irish Rath - a ring fort to you or I. I have that issue in my loft somewhere, so I think a sort out up there is in order too, before it gets too hot now we are officially into warmer times after passing the equinox in the early hours of this morning.

After that, I feel a need to get something less skirmish-orientated underway and those 19th Century conflicts are most appealing...
To close, I have a couple of shots of the sort of modelling project I like. I am not a fan of plastic or other kits, which may be why I tend to avoid WW2 in the main, though I do build figures of course, but I do like to tinker with the sort of detail bits that I think help to raise the level of a game.

Boxes, barrels, crates and the like are easy to place into all sorts of game situations, but our "Mayhem..." game features a harbour. After watching the "Pyke" episode of "Game of Thrones" recently, I had to have some stuff from there. So here goes...


Dockside cranes! These are made from strip wood I bought at a model railway show, their bases being metal washers. The discs two-thirds the way up the upright are from the push out bits from "X-Wing" game fighter display cards, the spars from cut down spears. Finally, the rope is either cotton or Gale Force 9 model rope, rope eyes from small lengths of biro inner, staples used as rope securing points on the uprights and bent wire for hooks. Simple but effective I think.

As well as ubiquitous barrels (from Ten Commandments, who make stuff for railway modellers and who are well worth a look), I made some net-drying racks. The netting is security fencing material from "Greenscene" (model railways again...) and the weights on the nets are old anglers' lead shot. I have a stash of this stuff lying around from aeons ago - I think I have been fishing twice in my entire life.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Final reinforcements

Somewhat out of sequence, I present for your viewing a few shots of what will probably be the last figures I will paint for the Wyrley Retinue "Mayhem in the Med, c1565" game. These were finished in the week running up to the show.

I want to move on to pastures new now, though, so. like I said, these will be the last for "Malta".

I do have vague plans to boost the forces though. The Turks are quite easy, as after adding cavalry and artillery, along with some more infantry and bespoke command, they will do for a couple of hundred years and numerous opponents. The problem is which opponent I want to build to go with them...

Hungarians for Mohacs? Imperialists for "The Long War"? Poles? Imperialists for Vienna (1529 or 1683)? Imperialists for Peterwardein and Eugene Of Savoy?

The Christians are a little trickier. Spanish and Dutch? English in Ireland? French Wars of Religion? I certainly like the look of the last two...A few more cavalry and I already have Border Reivers!

So, what crop will those new pastures deliver first? Hmmmm.


More Old Glory Sword and buckler/ target men. A mix of Spanish, French and "unmarked" probably hints that I should build them into a French Wars of Religion set up...
A close up of the rear rank from the above photo.

Some Vendel arquebusiers.

The religious contingent. Brother Inebriatus, Brother Leelove, the priest I painted up as a sample Arthurian character a few years back and have finally based, Brother Spock and Brother Gluttonus with unfeasibly large left hand. The priest is from West Wind, the monks from Foundry.

Some Gripping Beast Arabs, from the plastic set. Half the bows in my box were broken, so I built them like this. When I had finished, I kicked myself for not doing a simple hand-swap conversion for some variety!!! D'oh! They did prove to be demon shots at WMMS though, killing four tower guards with their first volley regardless of the hard cover provided by the tower walls!

And Gripping Beast Arabs built as spearmen, from the same plastic set as the archers above.

Monday, 9 March 2015

West Midlands Military Show, 8th March, 2015

Just a few pics from yesterday's show, the second one to which we have taken our "Mayhem in the Med., c1565" game. I did not get out much, so most of the pics are of our offering, but there was some good stuff there to be seen and I am only sorry I could not capture much of it.

I think the overall standards were higher than previous years so a lot to aim for!

Marines and galley awaiting the lowering of the harbour boom at the start of the game.

North Africans ready to assault the tower, with its forlorn hope of locals ready to sell their lives dearly. They actually went down in the first couple of turns due to some well placed firepots and demon archery!

The sailors of the good ship "Maria" lasted rather longer.

An overall view of the game at the start.

Spanish arquebusiers, who went on to account for a unit of Janissaries and other Turkish troops as they fought a valiant retreat down the main street. 

These guys were rather less successful in holding up the North African contingent.

A VBCW game that looked rather characterful. I do not know who was showing it however, nor why there were German cavalry present.

Same game, same lack of knowledge about who these redshirts are. Too late for Garibaldi is all I know.

An overall view of the VBCW game. I like it.

The Telford STAGS put on a WW2 game in 28mm, but I think it was more static display than game. Looked decent though. Geoff's belly top centre!

Back to Malta and the Turkish advance down the main street to the town walls.

Another interlude and one of the Birmingham group's (October? Circle? SODS?) Sikh Wars game. Massed Sikh cavalry charge the British lines.

The British left

Nephew Paul's cavalry were supposed to sweep away the Corsairs and save the Christian left flank. However, someone forgot to give them the script, the Corsairs fought like tigers and the cavalry routed!

The Blue Janissaries were more cautious than their red counterparts and advanced on a narrow front along the harbour. They did take a few casualties from the sailors aboard "Maria", however, but got revenge by wiping them out in melee.

The Spanish survived the onslaught of the Turkish fanatics, but had to retreat shaken nevertheless.

"Son of Frances" slowly rolls down the main street towards the all important town walls.

"Ramming speed!"

We won "Best Wargame Terrain". I was trying to avoid reflections and managed to get a part of all three of us!

And little Seb, who came to help late on, got a piece of the action too!

A Normandy game that won 3rd. Again, I am unsure who these guys were, but very nice game.
Leamington won "Best in Show" with a ECW game that, in my opinion, looked very pretty but was also just a straight fight, so a bit disappointed they did not do more with it. Shrewsbury had a few boats on their 18th Century skirmish which, I think, was French Revolution era due to the guillotine on the table. There was a massive GNW (I think) at the far end of the hall with plenty of Warfare Miniatures flags in evidence that looked very colourful. Border Warlords had a Greek and Persian game going on which, again, warrants some respect for its quality. There was a Battle of Ashdown affair too - another good looker. There were others too many too mention that looked good, but I have no idea who they were!

I spent way too much but got what I wanted in the main. I have a passion for all things Austrian in a military sense (no, I do not know why...) so bought a load of Austrians and Sardinians for Solferino etc, along with the relevant Osprey campaign book, the Wargaming in History book on the 7 Weeks' War and a copy of Regimental Fire & Fury which is the ruleset of choice for the WiH book writers. I have had 1866 Austrians and Prussians for ages (unpainted) and recently read "Viva Radetzky" by Nigel J Smith about the 1849 Novara campaign for further inspiration. I have read Geoffrey Wawro's excellent history of the 1866 campaign too on several occasions so it is about time I got on with that...And I love beating the French, so cue some zouaves etc in the not too distant future. All that lot, when painted, will allow me to game 1849, part of the Crimea, 1859, part of 1864 vs Denmark, 1866 and 1870!

I also bought a load of Dark Ages stuff to go with my fledgling SAGA set up.

And a guy offered to buy all my Christian figures on the Malta game there and then! All great fun.

Lots to do then!!!


Thursday, 5 March 2015

The Two Towers (part 3 of 3)

At last, after the various work in progress shots of the revamp of the two towers that control the harbour entrance on our "Mayhem in the Med. c.1565" demo game boards, I can finally show you the finished articles.

(Though you will have to wait until I take some photos at Sunday's WMMS in Wolverhampton to see them in situ for "the full effect").

Now fully painted, fully detailed (as much as I am detailing them, at any rate) and ready to go, I hope you like them.


All done. Walls painted first with Wilko "Nutmeg Spice", followed by a heavy drybrush of Wilko "Chocolate Dream" and a final, lighter drybrush of Homebase "Sandstone" masonry paint to give a nice, warm, Mediterranean stone colour. The original doors have been repainted to show more weathered wood and the metalwork toned down with some mild rust effect courtesy of GW "Seraphim Sepia" wash. The windows are progressively lighter shades of GW blues to try and give a jewel effect on a supposedly flat pane of glass.

The devil is in the detail, so cue some hinges for the trapdoors. I could not be bothered to build hinges from plastic rod and thin plastic, so just painted them on, but I doubt most people will even notice the hinges in the first place!

And the gulls have been busy! Not to mention various generations of toilet-trained soldiery throwing their waste out via the garderobe...A bit more weathering would not have gone amiss, but I am happy with the overall look of the two of them, so that seems like a good place to end this particular mini-project.