Sunday, 19 April 2015

Best laid plans

I had a couple of things I wanted to achieve in my wargaming when I started the year.

1) I wanted to play more games - that is looking likely.
2) I wanted to get my SAGA gaming underway, including painting up two or three starter warbands. Job done, pretty much.
3) I wanted to paint up a few more units for our "Malta" game. Again, job done.

I then figured I would finally move onto a project I had considered for some time, namely the Austrian wars of the mid-19th Century, with maybe some 6mm Napoleonics as a distraction and the odd skirmish force for "The Crescent & The Cross", Border Reiving or similar.

That is where the plans fell over.

It is all Nephew Nick's fault.

We had figured on doing a Verdun-inspired game in our guise as the "Wyrley Retinue", for which I already have the figures. That lack of need to paint more figures for a specific project gave me the time to paint up what I fancied.

But Nephew Nick does not really do anything beyond the death of the musket...

So, a quick discussion or two later, and 2016 will be the year of the...

Burgundian Wars!

I have been busy digging out the Swiss and Burgundians I painted for Warhammer "Armies of Chivalry" a decade or more ago. I will be adding various Perry plastics and Old Glory figures to the Swiss ranks whilst Nephew Nick finally paints up his Perries as Italians.

So there we have it. Nephew Paul is busy (???) looking for a suitable scenario, possibly but unlikely to be an actual Swiss-Burgundian affair, to which we can lay out the figures and see how things go.

So, in honour of an old collection being rejuvenated for next year's show game, here are a few Swiss by way of an introduction.


A mix of Foundry, Front Rank, Old Glory and Essex figures in this Berne/ Lucerne/ Appenzell pike block. All the banners are Freezywater, available from the Lance & Longbow Society.

Uri/ Zurich. Figures as before, with the Uri Fahnrich an old Gary Chalk produced fantasy figure (Fantasy Warlord?) The "Uri Bull" to his left is an Essex figure.

A mix of Basel, Schaffhausen, Unterwalden and others.

I am going 6x4 for a standard "Pike & Shotte" rules unit and 32 figures in an 8x4 formation for a large unit.

The Uri contingent in close up.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Howdy Jarl!

Sorry, but I could not resist.

(No, I have not gone all ACW on you. As a period, I remain unconvinced by it, as all I see, no doubt far too simplistically, is lines of basically identical troops standing firing at each other...Complaints to the usual address).

No, here are the two warlords I built for my Vikings, namely Harald Ravenmane and Erik Stormbrow.

Both are built from parts from the Gripping Beast Viking Hirdmen boxed set, Harald's axe being converted by the simple expedient of lengthening the shift of a normal hand axe with a length of plastic rod to make a two-handed version. Both are mounted on 30mm diameter metal washers to make them stand out a bit from the rest of the troops.

Somewhat surprisingly, the SAGA Viking warband is not allowed Dane Axes, unlike the Anglo-Danes and Norse-Gael, so this axe is somewhat anachronistic in game terms, but I like it so it stays. (Until I break the end off inadvertently with some rough handling at any rate...)


Erik Stormbrow. Many of the plastic shields I have used I distressed beforehand with a craft knife and cutters to show some usage. The sword looks enormous ion this view, but it is normal size! Most of my Vikings also have patterned clothing in some form and Erik is no exception with his striped trousers and patterned tunic hem.

Harald Ravenmane, showing the elongated axe haft.

A close up of Harald's shield, the only one I have done so far with any sort of fauna depicted upon it. Once again, I have done striped trousers and a patterned tunic hem.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Crud 3 - Revolting Revolutionaries

In an all too common Mathematics faux pas, I posted "Crud 4" before "Crud 3"...

So, the "Revolting Revolutionaries", aka "Crud 3". I put these together ages ago and wrote an article for Battlegames magazine (issue 14 or 15 I think) about wargaming the Freikorps and their enemies in 20mm, in which several of these figures featured.

My Late WW1 Germans needed some opponents other than the Late War French I also own, so, inspired by the likes of Hans Fallada's "Kleiner Mann - Was Nun?", a text I had to study in my youth for German A Level, set as it is during the Weimer Republic, I set to in my favoured 20th Century wargames scale, 1/76th, or 20mm to you and I. During my studies, I encountered the likes of the Spartacists, the Freikorps, Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Liebknecht, rampant inflation, the rise of the Nazis and all that other period stuff.

"How different was that?" I thought.

I already had a good grounding in the sort of period figures available for The Great War, but needed a more civilian feel for my Spartacists. Cue some Irregular Miniatures Spanish Civil War figures, some It Figures Volkssturm, Partisans also by It Figures, Great War spares from the likes of It Figures, Irregular and Tumbling Dice, lorries, wagons and the like from whoever makes them and away I went. In short, if I felt it would fit the bill, in it went. The whole thing was a sort of wargames curry!

They will not stand up in a straight fight against the Freikorps, but that is why I like scenario games so much, because they do not necessarily have to! One memorable game saw them defending a station building, eager for the arrival of some explosives so they could blow it up, whilst being assaulted by the Freikorps. In the last turn of the game, they left out the back door whilst the Freikorps tried to get in the front and BOOM!!!!

I really must get these figures out again soon. Happy memories...


Ex-British army Mark IV by Emhar fronted by a mixed selection of anti-Fascists/ Communists and an ex-French army 75mm gun. The two figures with armbands are It Figures Volksturm, the others Irregular Miniatures SCW. The gun is from Tumbling Dice.

The Tumbling Dice 75mm and crew. The crew are also TD, French WW1, with a head swap from a WW1 Russian nearest to camera holding the shell. Captured equipment would have been quite common, hence the foreign kit, including Adrian helmets.

The big lorry is from Irregular, the figures a mix again, the Hotchkiss from It Figures. The smaller lorry is a Model T Ford built from a kit made by Polish company RPM and marketed as a WW1 Ambulance. The standard bearer is an identical figure to the one in black, but an arm bend did the trick to make him something else.

In addition to the politically-motivated civilians, the Red ranks also have a few ex-soldiers in their ranks. These are again It Figures (no longer available?), their armbands a simple strip of sticky label painted an appropriate red. The portee is Irregular Miniatures again, its crew a mix of Tumbling Dice and Irregular I think.

It Figures Russian sailors, painted blue to represent their German counterparts, with an It Figures Maxim. These, with the ex-soldiers, provide a bit of quality to the Crud.

Irregular Miniatures wagons, the red one converted with card panels to represent a delivery van of some sort. The teamster is another conversion, having had his sidecap shaved down and scored to represent hair. A civilian paint job completes the disguise.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Crud 4 - The Lowly Levies

At last, I can present for your amusement/ pleasure/ critique/ disinterest/ other (delete as appropriate) the figures that prompted the whole "Crud" theme in the first place.

When starting out with a SAGA warband or two the middle of last December, I chose Vikings simply because I already had some Gripping Beast plastic Hirdmen figures available to build after using this particular boxed set as a source of parts for Islesmen for my 1314/ Malleus Scottorum project.

But no, being me, I did not want to paint my Jarl or Hirdmen, I had to start with the rubbish I tend to steer towards. So, here are those self-same Thralls that started the whole thing, 12 levy slingers made from parts available in the Gripping Beast "Dark Age Warriors" boxed set. I would have preferred archers, but you do not get the parts for them in this set, so slingers it had to be. They fit the bill very nicely for SAGA, however, and will get some trial outings at the very least.

The first games are set for this Sunday. Having played just two games so far this year, I hope to get at least a couple in this Easter weekend. Both of my 4-point Viking forces are now finished, so I will post some more photos soon, I have started on more stuff for this basic project, we have a campaign in the offing and it's all good!

I might even remember to take a few photos of the games in action to log my experiences and these Thralls might even hit something!!!

Sunday could be a lot of fun.


The complete unit, ready to run at the first sign of trouble as all good levies should.

I tried to give them an earthy feel to represent better their lowly status. Bright colours and washing facilities were out, but this guy at least got a bit of hem decoration on his tunic.

And this one can stretch to a knife and pouch for whatever pass for his personal effects. The beauty of plastic figure kits is their ability to be customised to suit, the variety they afford from a few simple parts, their potential for conversion and the extra bits you seem to get in all these kits, to enable the addition of details such as the pouch and dagger.