Thursday, 29 December 2016

Santa's been!!!

Hello again.

As 2016 wends its way towards conclusion, I thought it time to recap on what this month of gifts and goodies has brought me, starting with my purchases at "Wargamer" back on 4th and working my way through to the destruction of various sheets of coloured paper as I eagerly unveiled my presents on 25th!

For a small show, I managed to spend WAAAAAYYYY too much at "Wargamer". I bought myself a copy of "Escape from Colditz", now published by Osprey, and backed that up on the gaming front with a Fantasy Flight Games offering called "Age of War", which is a dice game and a sort of cross between Yahtzee, Risk and Happy Families. It is set in the classic age of the samurai and the object is to win control of various cards, representing castles, by rolling appropriate combinations of dice, each of which has various icons which may or may not be of use. The castles can form a set, which grants more points to their holder and the person with the most points wins. That person has so far mainly been daughter Eleanor...

I bought some stuff from Ainsty, who are carrying the SAGA ranges from Gripping Beast nowadays, so my fledgling Anglo-Saxons/ Anglo-Danes acquired Harold, Gyrth and Leofwine Godwinson, some huscarls, Hereward the Wake, some "Sons of Death" to add to my Irish excursion and William the (insert your epithet of choice) to add to my Normans, who are eagerly awaiting their turn on the painting table, along with Saracen and Military Orders forces for "The Crescent and The Cross". I also bought some Highlander reinforcements and a starter set of Compagnies Franches de la Marine for my "Sharp Practice 2/ Muskets & Tomahawks" foray into the French and Indian Wars.

Dave Lanchester furnished me with a copy of Neil Thomas' "Wargaming 19th Century Europe, 1815 to 1878", which I have read with gusto, and, last but not least, Tiger Miniatures very kindly sold me some of their Renaissance figures, including artillery, some arquebusiers and some cavalry, who have joined the ranks of my proposed French Wars of Religion project. Daughter Eleanor conned me into buying her her own set of dice (soft touch that I am) and I think that is about it.

Just before Christmas, I took delivery of some basing sheets from the ever-helpful Coritani/ Magnetic Displays (fantastic service as usual and highly recommended to all who would buy from them - Trevor even sent me a nice Christmas good wishes message, which only goes to show how good their service is!). To that I added a package from Pendraken consisting of some reinforcements/ alternatives for both my proposed 10mm American Civil War project and my "Warband" fantasy project that I spent most of last spring working on. They too deserve a lot of credit for their service quality, as I missed the posting deadline for Christmas quoted on the website but still got my order well before Christmas. Many thanks!

Christmas itself saw the opening of a parcel from Caliver Books containing a copy of "The Italian Campaign of 1859", edited by Dr. Stephen Summerfield, which I have again eagerly devoured. I also got a turntable, so I can play my old, vinyl records, many of which I do not have on CD, which has nothing to do with wargaming or the blog as a whole but just shows how much my lady wife loves me!!! I still wait with anticipation for the latest "Wargaming in History" offering on Koniggraetz, but Dave Ryan has my order and warned me it was unlikely to arrive pre-Christmas as it has not been published yet!

After all that, it is again time to decide on where my focus lies for 2017.
  1. I still have a passion for anything involving the Austrians, so 1859 and 1866 feature a lot in my thoughts.
  2. I want to get some ACW actions going to take advantage of all those readily-available battle reports and orbats, in my chosen 10mm scale.
  3. I want to fill out my Dark Ages pretensions and have now built an entire Anglo-Saxon/ Anglo-Danish force for SAGA which I need to paint.
  4. I want to add the extras to my 10mm "Warband" fantasy forces.
  5. I want to thresh out my FIW stuff and get some games of "Sharp Practice 2" and "Muskets & Tomahawks" in.
  6. I eagerly await Nephew Nick's commitment to the Marlburian Wars so I can kick-start my 1690 project and take him on! It will be just the excuse I need to add some more French and Irish units to my existing stock...
  7. I am torn between Germans vs Hottentots in what is now Namibia, Maori Wars or Sudan Wars for "The Men Who Would Be Kings", but seriously want to get something up and running soon for that era and rules set.

And then there is the large scale WW2 skirmish figures I bought last year, the Arthurians that have been lying around for ages, a large Macedonian army I have had for upwards of ten years that I still have stowed away, the Peninsular War stuff I bought back in July for "SP2", 15mm WW2 Ostfront c. Kursk, Bolsheviks to take on my WW1 Russians/ "Whites" and, of course, the French Wars of Religion project I want to get off the ground, ideally for 2019 and the 450th anniversary of the likes of Moncontour and Jarnac. I suppose I could stretch out that last option to 2022 and the 450th anniversary of the St Bartholomew's Day Massacre, but I prefer battles to massacres...

The good news is that my interest in this massively absorbing hobby has not waned one iota and I do not have a project to focus on specifically for 2017, as 2018's show game is decided upon already and I have the armies already too! (I could always rustle up an extra unit or two though, or perhaps a terrain piece or feature piece or...)

I love this hobby of ours!


Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Storri's Trek 2: The Rath of Cahan

Hello again.

"Wargamer" saw the "Wyrley Retinue" take to the road with our latest demo game offering, "The Rath of Cahan". The game is an Dark Ages affair set in Ireland, with Viking forces trying to defeat a force of Irish and their Norse-Gael mercenaries, who have the aforementioned rath to assist their defence. The rules are "Lion Rampant", written by Daniel Mersey and published by Osprey, and they give a quick and decisive action, so expect to remove figures quickly! You can also expect a truly frustrating time moving around if you suffer bad command rolls too! This is the only reason I took so long to get into combat on the day and there should be no suggestion that I was letting everyone else kill themselves so I could run away with the loot and keep it all to myself...

Nick built the boards and trees, I did the ship and buildings, Nick painted a third of the Vikings and I did the rest of the Vikings, the Irish, villagers, looters, livestock and the Norse-Gael.

Here are a few photos to hopefully whet the appetite ready for our next outing, which will probably be WMMS in Wolverhampton in March, but could be the new ROBIN show in Nottingham in February. We shall see.

For this outing, Nick and Kev took on Paul, Eleanor and me. As we always try and provide something different for each outing of any game we put on, you can expect more troops, sub-plots, perhaps a bigger table and other things next time we show up somewhere. We hope you enjoyed our little offering and, if you did not make the show, we hope to see you sometime soon at a show near you!


Four-fifths of the line up. From left of screen to right we have Nephew Nick, Santa Claus' understudy Occasional Wargamer Brother Kev, Nephew Paul with yet another dodgy homage to his favourite football team and Youngest Daughter Eleanor.

I bought two second-hand longships ready for the game but only had to paint one f them (the other does not fit!) The sail is a roll of paint-dyed calico secured with cotton ropes.

One of the prizes on offer was the Irish village, complete with sundry village types

The rath in all its glory, neatly blended into the board by Nephew Nick after I built it. I am sure that dice tower was not there when I took the photo...

My troops, which uniquely of all the figures on the table, belong to Nephew Nick and were painted by him. I do not know what the Norse for "they who will not move" is, but these are they! I blame Nephew Nick for infecting them with tardiness.

Some of my Viking figures advance through the sparse woodland, commanded by Eleanor. She is truly a reincarnation of Boudicca, Gwenllian, Zenobia or some other famous warrior type given her predilection for combat! She kept going right to the end despite enormous casualties!

A few more of my Viking figures, mainly composed of recent purchases courtesy of North Star.

These Vikings have obviously had some success up river. They are mainly Dixon Miniatures with a few odds from my spares box thrown in for good measure.

Some of Nephew Paul's command, headed by some berserking types.

Nephew Paul faced off against Occasional Wargamer Brother Kev with the mixed Irish/ Norse-Gael command. OWBK's command of his cavalry earned him the nickname "General Gung-ho". Lord Cardigan would have been proud! He did at least temporarily halt the Viking advance on this flank.

Some of Eleanor's Bondi prepare to test their strength against Nephew Nick's Bonnachts.

And I try and get moving off the riverbank...

A view from above and behind the rath.

Monday, 12 December 2016

WARGAMER, 4th December, 2016

Hello again.

Not much to say this time as I want to let the photos tell the story of the show that was "Wargamer", 2016. I will post pictures of our little offering over the next day or so but, for now, here are various photos of some of the other games.

I have absolutely no idea who did most of them, as most of the teams seemed to be publicity-shy and I don't automatically get a programme being a demonstrator, but I enjoyed the show and spent too much!!!


La Haye Sainte

Homage to Hyboria and the late Terry Wise

1914 action

A game about dinosaurs and Nazis. What's not to like?

Somewhere in South Africa in 1879 (with or without Stanley Baker and Michael Caine)

Some Dark Age action

The "Twenty-minuters" (if "Blackadder is to be believed, which it most definitely is not!)

Napoleonics...that's about all I can remember of this one

More Napoleonics, with French and Bavarians setting to against Prussians and Russians

The Alumwell club put on this figure-heavy Peninsular War game with masses of lovely buildings

...and a British battery

Something amphibious...

a "SAGA" participation game, the rules that started my own, personal Dark Age adventure


And M3's. The half track M3 as opposed to the M3 Lee, etc.

A participation game of some sort

And Russians!

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Shout it loud!!!

Hello again.


That is very near Birmingham, England, NOT Birmingham, Alabama. This Birmingham has probably never had a Governor, and, if they ever did, he was probably never robbed and we certainly never "did what we had to do", unlike Lynyrd Skynyrd with their Birmingham as celebrated in "Sweet Home Alabama".

So, you have the date, you have the address and, having picked up "MINIATURE WARGAMES" issue 404 for December, you have an advert for the show courtesy of that journal's "DIARY DATES" column on page 7!!!

I even joined Facebook this evening to add a comment to say the "Wyrley Retinue" will be there with our Dark Age Ireland game, "Storri's Trek 2: The Rath of Cahan".

This is a decent, little show and deserves support, but does seem to suffer from the simple fact that most people (in my small circle at any rate) do not even know it is on, because it is not generally well advertised.

The blurb on Facebook and on the web (wargamer.tripod. something or other) lists some eclectic traders and a fair number of clubs attending from the local area. Traders are set to include (according to the aforementioned blurb):

Warlord Games
Magic Geek
Black Pyramid
Tiger Miniatures
Dave Lanchester
Commission Figurines
PE2 Collectables
and numerous others to whom I can only apologise for my declining memory or they would have got a mention too!

The website and Facebook also have directions to the show, but typing the postcode into your satnav is probably a lot easier. You really have no reason not to be there!

So folks, let's see you there!


Wednesday, 9 November 2016

The Rath of Cahan

Hello again.

Apart from a few Dark Age Hibernian des res roundhouses, the forthcoming "Wyrley Retinue" demo game for 2017 required something a bit more substantial - a Rath, or Irish ring fort.

I first encountered one of these in an article on building one in "Wargames World" magazine, issue 5, about 30 years ago. That was also when I made a mental note to forego Ellendun, Ashdown and Maldon if I ever got into Dark Ages wargaming and head west instead to the Emerald Isle. An even better model than my original inspiration turned up in the "Shieldwall" (glimpses) and "Age of Arthur" (full on PHWOAR!!!) supplements for Warhammer Ancient Battles. So, with our theme decided earlier this year, we were heading off to Ireland in the 9th Century (-ish) and we were having a Rath.

Step 1 - take a piece of 3mm MDF and add concentric rings of polystyrene to achieve the desired height. Four rings in my case. Leave space for a gateway to access your primitive fortification.
Step 2 - take lengths of bamboo skewer, twig, cocktail stick, thin dowel and similar wooden materials and glue them into your ring of polystyrene using PVA glue or similar stuff that won't melt your rings of gleaming whiteness! A palisade may be a bit of artistic licence in this era, but I like it. The Ancient British stopped using palisades in their hillforts before the Romans arrived according to archaeology.
Step 3 - use wood filler to cover all the polystyrene.
Step 4 - build your gatehouse.
Step 5 - paint everything to taste.
Step 6 - remember to either build in some steps up to the ramparts and gatehouse platform for your figures to access them. Alternatively, build ladders afterwards like I did!
Step 7 - add scenic materials to blend it into your normal terrain boards/ cloth/ whatever.
Step 8 - remember to take it to the "Wargamer" show on 4th December for its first outing!!!

The very basic structure as in Step 1. The octagonal base is intentional to try and prevent warping. A circle would also suffice, but Nephew Nick wants to sink the base into his boards to make it all more seamless so the octagon is easier in this regard. The whole thing is about twelve inches across.

Not wishing to bore you unduly with yet more constructional photos, I have jumped straight to Step 6. I was keen not to have it all look like Sir Christopher Wren designed and built it, so the uneven and jagged palisade is intentional. I have tried to paint the woodwork as aged, weathered timber. This involved taking the basic wood colour and staining it with paint washes of grey and brown, followed by drybrushing with lighter greys and browns.

I have painted the whole thing largely to represent earth banks, but patches of rock are also visible for some variety in the finished article.

The gates are made from two 50x25mm plastic cavalry bases, heavily scored to represent wood and painted. The hinges are made from lengths of wire and a plastic sleeve from a ballpoint pen inner. After adding the sleeve, bend the wire ends and mark your holes in the dowel uprights. Drill small holes with a pin vice and do this BEFORE you build the gatehouse. The whole thing is stuck down piece by piece with my hot glue gun. More filler was then worked around the area to blend it all in. I added the hut for effect. It will be glued in later and blended in with more filler and paint. The gates even open and shut without breaking them IF you don't get paint in the mechanism!!!

Access ladders were made from matchsticks with artists' card runners glued on.

For scale, I have added one of my newly-painted reinforcements for my Dark ages collection, complete with suitable grisly trophy. The battlements are pieces of coffee stirrer and the base on which the figure stands is a 60x40mm MDF figure base.

I will glue in the most fancy of the three roundhouses and cover off some basic scenic work in the largely inaccessible bit behind the roundhouse and then hand the whole thing over to Nephew Nick to blend in to the boards he is making for the game, covering off Step 7. Finally, as in Step 8, I trust he will actually turn up at Wargamer with it!


Sunday, 6 November 2016


Hello again.

What do you get if you cross a cardboard tube, some fake fur and a pot of cheap wood filler?

Some Iron or Dark Age roundhouses, of course!
I am a rare builder of terrain at best, preferring to spend my time acquiring and painting figures, but every now and then, the urge takes me or I am forced into it. This is a mix of both urge and coercion.
Sunday 4th December, marks the next "Wargamer" Show at the Leasowes Leisure Centre in Halesowen, near Birmingham, England, and the "Wyrley Retinue" will be there as usual with the first outing for our next demo game. This year's offering (i.e. 2017's) is a large-scale skirmish affair set in Dark Age Ireland, an idea borne of our collecting for and playing of "SAGA". All three founder members of the Retinue started with a Viking force, so we have figures already, and I took the plunge to branch out into something different to the usual Saxons/ Anglo-Danes by collecting Irish, amassing quite a few, to which I have busily been adding reinforcements over the past few weeks. Nephew Nick is building some bespoke boards for our outing and I, apart from figures, agreed to do some other items, a couple of which you can see here.
The other major item I have built for this project will be posted later, so watch this space. (CLUE: I have wanted one ever since I saw an article on building one in "Wargames World" magazine issue 5 about 30 years ago! And it is very Dark Age Irish!!!)

This is the four bed detached executive residence, complete with cardboard porch clad in coffee stirrer. I got to use my limited knowledge of Pi to work out circumferences and heights of cones and the like to do the roof, which is covered in a layer of the fur. I also added some air-drying clay to the card roof former for this one to bulk it up a little, but it was not really necessary. A skim of wood filler on the tube, after the tube had been scored, and a paint job and "job done". The fur is dirtied up with a gloop of PVA glue, dark green paint (a few drops only) and some black and brown wash.

I also made two of these smaller huts. Actually, they are only smaller because: a) I did not bulk out the roves with clay prior to adding the fur and b) I did not add a porch. All three huts are made from a section of tube surmounted by a cone of card and some fur. They are deliberately basic in their execution as I wanted a grungy look rather than something rather more civilised.


Saturday, 15 October 2016

"Innocent" Bystanders

Hello again.

I have never really been interested in 18th Century warfare. I remember seeing a demo game probably 30 years ago in Stafford at some venue or other (it was not even a wargames show, but I also remember I first encountered live action role-playing there too...) which featured Austria's and Prussia's finest in the age of Frederick and Maria Theresa. I liked the colour, I liked the big units (I think they were using WRG 1685-1845 rules), but I had no knowledge of the period, had never heard of Charles Grant and had not at that time developed an interest in the Austrian Empire.

Fast forward 30 years and I have taken the plunge with my FIW forces, with "Muskets & Tomahawks" as the initial fuel and "Sharp Practice 2" the spark which ignited it. Not an Austrian in sight and nowhere near where I thought I would dip into this period, namely in India with Clive and Eyre Coote.

Yet, probably, this is exactly where I should be. Not only am I seriously inspired by the likes of the above rules sets, but I am also in "grand skirmish" mode and I can think of no better 18th Century conflict to fulfil that mode than the FIW (or "French & Indian Wars" for those who hate acronyms or simply don't know what this particular one stands for).

So far, I have painted around 70 figures and I have two "armies". I can certainly see the point of all those articles bemoaning the death of the "big game" in preference to these quick-to-table affairs, but I personally believe there is more than enough room for both. The FIW also gives me two very distinct-looking sides, lots of colour, varied troop types and the aforementioned quick entry to a new period. Whilst there might have been the odd big battle, I think the conflict is synonymous with small groups of protagonists sniping at each other from behind trees and rocks, raiding each other's villages and crawling around the primeval forests of the New World in search of profit or a scalp or two. My only grievance is that I have come to it so late.

And, the subject of this post, I get to play with some crud too! Civilians!!! The long-suffering commoner has been at the wrong end of various sharp sticks since time began and this war was no different. But this time they get to fight back! What better way to fend off a raiding party than to have your womenfolk load your muskets whilst you pop off the odd Frenchie/ Brit/ Native from behind the stout walls of your log cabin somewhere out in the Wilderness? So these particular civilians might not be quite the crud of legend, but they are not exactly staunch regulars either.

I bought these figures from the lost, lamented Stafford Games a few years ago when I first put this project on the "to do" list. I am not entirely sure that a couple of them are not more Gary Cooper than Fennimore Cooper. I have no idea what make they are either, but I had them, I liked the look of many of them and, therefore, painted them up to join the war for control of the New World.


The entire dozen - I hesitate to call them "dirty"...

And slightly closer in. I reckon the man on the far right (positionally rather than politically!) is more Wild West than FIW, but who cares. My usual group won't even notice anyway!!!

Monday, 3 October 2016

Citizens of New France

Hello again.

My on-going aim this year in the absence of a big project is to concentrate on one or two little ones instead. To that end, I have "done" my 10mm fantasy figures for the "Warband" rules by Pendraken Miniatures (see previous posts in the library), I have "done" my very long awaited Mordor Orcs (ditto on the posts bit) and, now, I am nearing the completion of my mini-French and Indian Wars set up.

Despite my interest in the Austrian Empire and general desire to collect something Austrian if they are present within a conflict, I have generally shied away from the eighteenth century, when Austrian armies are surely at their most common. Then, lo and behold, when I do venture into the Lace Wars period, I head off to the New World (will I ever fulfil my desire to "do" India???), where never an Austrian set foot - well, not in anger at any rate, at least not till the 1860's as far as I know.

It was "Muskets & Tomahawks" that first caught my eye, hot on the heels of my first forays into SAGA. The project sat on the back burner whilst I busied myself with other things for various show games, but then "Sharp Practice 2" arrived, a copy of which I bought at the Stafford show back in July. This was the catalyst to hold forth on my 10mm ACW, 54mm WW2, 15mm 1859/ 1866 and all the other projects I have in the wings and take my first, tentative steps into the wilderness of North America's eastern states.

I have long owned the various Ospreys on Louis XV's forces, so started with the French, well, after a brief (six months-ish for six figures!!!) affair with some Woodland Indians. My French are now all done, except basing, but I still need some more command for SP2 games. And then there's the Compagnies Franches de la Marine. And some more Milice Canadienne. And some more line infantry...

Here are the first of my French, then, in the form of Coureurs de Bois and Milice Canadienne. The figures are all AW Miniatures - large-ish 28mm, chunky and characterful, and easy enough to paint. I am indebted to a website I found when I typed "Milice Canadienne" into my search engine, the name of which escapes me now, but it was from a group of ere-enactors and had a detailed list of kit worn by these troops, as well as photos of the people in action to add to the words.

SP2 only allows for one unit of Coureurs de Bois, just six figures, so I was initially at a loss to what I should do with the other twelve figures I had bought from AW marketed as CdeB. The website was invaluable for this alone, as the figures looked identical to the Milice Canadienne re-enactors. So, the CdeB are painted in a rather less regular fashion than the MC to distinguish them on the tabletop.

To add to the goodies, a recent article by Diane Sutherland in "Miniature Wargames Battlegames" magazine covered building log cabins and one of the recent "Wargamers' Annuals" had a wonderful campaign set up fought out by the Grants, father and son.

What is not to like about inspiration of this nature??? Manna from Heaven I call it!


Coureurs de Bois. A unit of six is all "Sharp Practice 2" allows, but "Muskets & Tomahawks" allows for at least three. Were they really that good?

My Milice Canadienne, dressed mostly in regulation white shirts and red caps.

And a closer view. Not a tree in sight...

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

The Right Hand "Man"

Hello again.

Every cruddy soldier needs someone to lead them, and what better "someone" than an undead former king of men with a passion for breathing heavily when he speaks, a rather nasty knife up his voluminous sleeves, who gets to play with a very big mace whenever he chooses and can ride anything from a rather weird, ill-tempered horse to some great, flying beast from a nightmare place no one ever visits?

Many, many years ago in a time known only as the "Eighties", Games Workshop had a range of metal figures they marketed as "Lord of The Rings", well before a certain Mr Jackson ever sought to play fast and loose with Tolkien's finest work. They mostly (I think) came three figures to a blister pack and captured a view of Middle Earth that was probably in vogue at the time. I bought the Orcs offerings (which feature in my Orc army for Warhammer in their various guises), I bought various Elven offerings (which probably languish unpainted in a box somewhere), I bought a pack of Barrow Wights (one of which is now mounted in an ancient, Elven chariot and calls himself a "Tomb King") and I bought other bits and pieces, including the pack featured here.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, I give you the foremost of the Nine, the former ruler of Angmar and Destroyer of Arnor, the infamous Witch King!

I had him lying around, I had need of more command options for my Mordor Orcs and I could not stomach the extreme amount of currency required for the official LotR figures, so he got the gig!

This is the end of the Mordor Orcs for a while, though I do intend to grow the collection in time.


He must have been having a command meeting with Shelob, judging by the cobwebs hanging off his crown (or I have just left him lying around a tad too long...)

The Witch King in concert mode, singing his little heart (?) out for the adoring fans (or cowering Orcs)

Friday, 23 September 2016

Slightly less cruddy Sauronistas

Hello again.

The Mordor Orcs have approached a "logical" stopping point in their growth with the acquisition of a few leaders and specialists to accompany the dregs that have gone before.

These figures must be worth more than the average Cirith Ungolite as:
a) They are made of metal.
b) Some of them have names!
c) They come in packs the size of which makes them far more expensive per figure than the common or garden crud they get to lead (especially at GW prices...)

But, what is an Orc army without a few Uruk-hai, a few cunning nasties who call themselves "leaders" and the odd runt whose trickery, sneakery and general skullduggeriness outmatches that of Joe Average? Or should that be Azog Average?

I am looking to add a few more Uruk-hai, another couple of the named characters (though they will probably not be used as such in future games), a troll or two and I have an exceedingly venerable Grenadier Miniatures "Wraith on Fell Beast" to build and paint too. And I could always use another plastic boxed set of crud to add to the orc numbers and options.

I shelved the original experiment with the Army Painter dips on these and stuck to my usual collection of basecoats, washes and highlights. I am much happier with the finished result than I was with the original orcs. I could have tarted them up a bit beyond the dip stage but, as I wrote when I posted the orc pictures, it seemed counter productive to do so...


The command, including a "Grishnakh" with sword held low in his left hand. Note to self: stay away from trees, especially those that can walk and spring up unexpectedly when you chase hobbits into woodland...

Some Uruk-hai. I may commit figure heresy and get a box of plastic Morannon Orcs to fill out their numbers. The Morannon folk have better armour than the usual crud and are cheaper than these metal figures! Plus, I reckon they would fit in if you did not look too closely...

Some Trackers, a fabricated offering that basically gives you some archers who do know which end of the arrow to hold AND can very occasionally hit something with it.

Monday, 19 September 2016

More of Sauron's (less than) finest

Hello again.

As some of you will know, if you have bothered to read some of my more recent posts, I have been busily scampering through a few mini-projects in the past few months in order to try and clear up some quickies before I get sucked into yet another big project. The main two focal points in this regard have been my French & Indian Wars and Lord of the Rings "collections" - the parentheses are there because I am not really sure "collection" is the right word for a few dozen figures versus the several hundred I tend to get through as a minimum when I do a larger project...

Anyway, the figures below were painted ages ago, but only recently brought up to full completion with basing work, and they are something a little different to my normal techniques.

The figures are bog standard Games Workshop Mordor Orcs, twelve to a box and in various poses, but I avoided my usual base/ wash/ highlight routine and used the Army Painter wash on these. My thinking was that they were just a sideshow to my main interests and I wanted something quick.


I will come straight out with it and state that this way of working is not for me.

The product itself is fine, giving a suitable wash and varnish to suitably base-coated figures, but I do that anyway. What I missed out on with these, through choice, was the highlighting back up to my usual standard, which sort of makes the varnish side of the army Painter wash irrelevant. Also, I use washes specific to the base colour, so an all over gungy brown does not appeal, except in certain specific circumstances, I suspect. Those circumstances could include Mordor Orcs in truth, but I am more thinking Sudan Wars British in khaki, Afrika Korps/ 8th Army/ Italians in Libya - that sort of basic, uniform thing.

So, I have long since packed away my two jars of Army Painter wash for such projects and will continue with my usual techniques. Fair play to those who swear by this product - the great thing about this broad, wargaming church is that there is no heresy (unless using unpainted figures counts as such. OK, I'll come clean again - it DOES!!!) - so paint your own figures exactly how YOU want to. It just isn't for me.

Anyway, here are a few Orcs.

And the great thing about Orcs???
They constitute the sort of crud I get the most joy from!


The whole "army" of 30 combat figures...the good thing about GW games is that the paucity of figures required helps offset the massive cost of buying their figures to start with!

Lots of nice, varied poses provide the different equipment options allowed to Orcs in the LoTR rules.

And I have a few poor quality archers to keep the odd Goodly head down whilst the Orcs get over any initial flakiness and charge home.