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Sunday, 28 October 2007

Why I Wasn't At WHW This Weekend...A Rock n Roll Story!

Yeah, this post isn't anything to do with wargames... Well, except that it's about why I didn't get to the Age of Arthur campaign at WHW this weekend.

Here's some pics of me playing with Thin Lizzy tribute band 'Cold Sweat' at the Peterborough 'Dedication 5' show on Saturday. The show (which takes place every year) raises money for the Rosin Dubh (Black Rose) trust that helps kids in Dublin to get off the streets and involved with music, etc. As with all previous shows, the guest of honour was Philomena Lynott, mother of Phil Lynott, Thin Lizzy frontman. At over 70, she always enjoys the shows, dancing away, leading the singing of 'Whiskey In The jar' (which the headline bands usually encore with) and generally imbibing what she refers to as 'the Holy water!' Great lady!!!

Anyway, there were 4 bands this year. As always, half the acts play 100% Thin Lizzy material and the rest play other stuff, with the odd Lizzy track thrown in. We did 100% Lizzy and I'm the bloke with the white Fender Stratocaster and dodgy bandana!!!

There's talk of us reforming (again!!) next year to headline the event, so Mr Robb Broom, let's see if we can manage to not clash events next time, eh?!!

Saturday, 27 October 2007

The Last Legion

Just for you Matt....

This film is worth seeing. It isn't a classic by any means, in fact it's a bit of a B-Movie in its overall look, but that ain't necessarily a bad thing! If you've read the book, there are a few similarities...the names of most of the characters and the basic plot, although there the similarities end!

The film itself is set in the late 5th Century when the last emperor of the West, Romulus Augustulus comes to power at the age of 13. At this point, the Goths under Odoacer rebel and take over, imprisoning the boy emperor and his British tutor Ambrosine in an impregnable fortress on the island of Capri. Fortunately, despite getting a right twatting by the Goths during the sack of Rome,, a handful of the Imperial Guard led by Aurelius and accompanied by a mysteious agent of the Eastern Empire, lead an escape plan, the idea being to take the boy to Constantinople. The last bit of the plan fails due to the fickle nature of the Easterners and they end up searching out the last remaining loyal legion: the 9th, based on Hadrian's Wall in Britannia.

This is playing right into Destiny's hands, as Romulus has discovered the Caliban sword of Julius Caesar, an invincible weapon forged in Britain centuries before and wanted by everybody including the vicious Goth lord Wulfila and some dude in Britannia called Wortigern...getting the pictutre so far?

Anyway, they head to Britain and there's a massive battle to end the film, although the final scenes that come after the battle really set the context of the legend...I'll say no more than that!!

The characterisation is weak...the Romans are either all noble, heroic and tragic, or treacherous...(with mostly English accents!!), the barbarians are all savage and cruel ( with Scottish accents, curiously!!) and the heroine is cute beyond belief and can swing a sword and that's all we can say about her!!! She certainly can't act!!!

The costumes are typical Hollywood...despite it being 476AD, the Romans all carry rectangular scutums with the Early Imperial insignia on them (sigh) although they do at least carry Draco standards. The barbarians are stereotypical...loads of fur, long hair and huge axes!!! The battle and fight scenes are reminiscent of Cona the barbarian (not necessarily a bad thing!) and were obviously done on the cheap...not masses of CGI, for example, but, again, I quite like that!!!

Despite the obvious flaws, I really enjoyed it! Don't take it too seriously and you'll do the same. However, expect an historically accurate story of the fall of Rome and you'll be VERY disappointed!!!!

Thursday, 25 October 2007

I'm Back!

Yup, I'm back and damned glad to be so too! No disrespect to any Irish folk reading this, but Dublin wasn't that great really....Some cool pubs, but as I'm not much of a drinker and can't stand Guiness, I was onto a loser really! On the plus side, the Medieval/Viking exhibition 'Dublinia' is really rather fab and rescued the holiday. Oh and the people themselves....really friendly and very helpful to two English folk who hadn't got a clue!!!

The wedding was good too, incidentally. Great ceremony, great people and great food....The bride had kindly 'arranged' with the band for the evning do that I would get up and do a number with them. Always tricky, never know if they are gonna be a decent band or a bunch of melons and THEY don't know if the person getting up can really play or not... Anyway, I did Bryan Adams' 'Summer of 69' with them-probably one of the easiest songs to play and a sure-fire crowd pleaser and it went well....lived up to my 'guitarhero' persona anyway and surprised those folk who knew that I 'play a bit of guitar' but who didn't realise that I actually really can play guitar fairly well!!!!

So, one more day off before going back to work and today I am going to the flicks to see the Last Legion and then will come the frenzied attempts to finish painting Tony's Saxons and my Teulu. All being well, about two weeks should see both complete...the Saxons sooner I hope (and so does Tony, I'll bet...a patient man, our Tony!!!!)

Also coming up shortly, battle 3 in the Raiding Season against the Picts and the commencement of the club Mordheim campaign...which reminds me...I really must work out a gang and paint Nov 6th!!! ARRRGH!!! Oh well, basecoats only I reckon...that'll at least stop me getting penalised for having unpainted models....I can top 'em up later!!! starts in an hour so I'm off...

See ya...

Monday, 15 October 2007

An Even BIGGER Question...

Will 'The Last Legion' film that comes out on Friday be utterly shite? Initial reviews seem to think so... Bloody shame, as the novel is a cracking read if one is an Arthurian/late Roman Empire nut like wot I is....

Nonetheless, utterly shite or otherwise, I feel that it is my duty to view it, as there are so few 'non-kniggets in armour' Arthurian movies out there that even a shite one has to be viewed.

Talking of which, Tristan and Isolde isn't a bad movie. A bit slow, but probably the most realistically portrayed post-Roman warriors and battle tactics (aside from the Irish archer on horseback...ouch...should've been lobbing javelins and ok, the Irish in the movie are more Saxon looking, but can't have it all ways...) that I've seen... Ok, I know that doesn't say a lot, but check out the scale armour, various leather accoutrements, vaguely spangenhelm helmets and Pictish shields, etc...

Worth hiring for a wet Sunday afternoon or even forking out a fiver worse than Clive Owen's King Arthur, which I found mildly entertaining if only for the Nazi-ish Saxons and the pretty cool battle on the ice (armour-piercing crossbows aside!!!!!!)

On the painting front, am off to Dublin for the wife's cousin's wedding this coming weekend, so that'll slow progress down, but I have to say that the Teulu and Tony's Saxons are looking pretty darn good thus far... Cloaks, hair, shields, weapons/helmets and banners still to about 2/3 of the way through really. At least the Saxons have LBM transfers for the bucklers, so that'll speed that bit up and their hair is dry-brushable, as is the fur on the cloaks, so that'll take a few minutes to do... It'll be worth the wait once they are done, I can assure you!! Trouble is, I have three banners (two British & one Saxon) to do, but I'll do those last and will make sure that I do the Saxon banner first so I can get them sent off to their very patient owner!!!!

Anyway, it's been a pig of a day, so I'm gonna chill for an hour...

See ya...

Tuesday, 9 October 2007


Question 1. How are the Saxons and Teulu coming on? Well, you'll be delighted to hear that the answer is 'slowly, but very nicely, thank you!' Tunic patterning is all done and looking suitably posh and noble and we are now painting lots of belts, shoes and general leatherwork, after which it'll be the wooden back of all the shields followed by the cloaks. The wife is away all day Saturday, so, aside from re-stringing the old geetar ready for next week's warm-up gig in preparation for the Thin Lizzy tribute thingy, it's paint slapping all the way!!!! Not long now, Tony, if you are reading this!!!!

Question 2. What will I be painting after the Saxons and Teulu are done? Hmmmm....Dunno...Possibly slapping a paint job on some of my WFB Dwarfs, but then again, the boxload of French-Indian war skirmish models (Rangers, Mohegan allies, civilians and nasty Frenchie allied Injuns) are really tempting me... Trouble is, I have a few old colonial movies to watch on DVD and that'll make me wanna buy NW Frontier skirmish models (Some lovely new stuff by Castaway Arts in Australia...1880's British, Sepoy and Pathans...REALLY nice!! Tempting...Must resist...) Also have the latest version of '4 Feathers' picked up for a bargain £5 (I heard it wasn't great, but for £5...) so watching that will make me want to buy Perry Sudan stuff...NOOOO!!! Must resist!!!!

Then of course, there's Soapy's and Bill's Saxons which I want as allies and enemies for my Brits... Oh dear, so much to buy and so little time available to paint it all....

Question 3. Will Darrell post any more pics of painted Welshies on his 'Just Add Water...' blog this side of 2009? :-) Sorry Darrell...couldn't resist...although you are getting very close to your deadline and are probably too busy painting to take photos... How many models do you actually need to get finished now?

Question 4. Why am I waffling about on here and not slapping more paint on those Saxons and Teulu? Bloody good question for which I have no answer....

See ya....

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Vengeance is sweet!!!!

"The clash of swords is silenced
The splintering of shields is over.
The haunting cries of the wounded and dying,
Harsh, piercing cries of ravens gorged.
Pictish dead un-numbered.
Honour returns to Briton lands!

The River Glein runs red,
Her waters a charnel house of graveyard reek.
Scene of slaughter, heroic battle,
Forests of spearshafts lay waste to the Picts.
Urien avenged!
Honour returns to Briton lands.

Fierce was the charge of Llywarch's Teulu...
Unnumbered the foe,
Undaunted the Cymri,
The splintering shield-rim,
The war-song upholding
Dying like heroes for the honour of Llywarch.
Honour returns to Briton lands." can't beat a bit of shite pseudo-Welsh poetry first thing of a morning!! They don't call me a literacy expert for nothing!!! (Err...actually, on the basis of that poem, they wouldn't call me literacy expert at all, but hey...who cares?)

Anyhoo folks, why am I writing crap poetry? Well, last night saw battle two of the 'Raiding Season' and the Britons have managed a close-run victory against Mike's Picts! Urien is almost avenged (see earlier post if you're wondering what the hell I'm on about) The river crossing is our's and now our warriors strike deep into the Pictish heartland, to plunder the spoils of war!

In a close-fought and bloody encounter, the Britons held the bridge and contested the ford. It was a game where both players went for it BIG style, where both our comitatus units were slaughtered, where the Picts' Saxon allies were rather pathetic and where both players had our share of very good and very bad dice rolls. In short, a bloody great game that tested our generalship and really went to the wire!!! (Especially when my Combrogi warbanded OFF the bridge in turn 6, leaving me from a position of victory, to a position of defeat!! Luckily, next turn - my last- they were able to pop back ON to the bridge and save my blushes!!! ) Now, THAT is what wargaming is about!!!

As usual, we forgot a couple of things in the excitement, but hey...not to worry! It balanced out in the end!

Anyway, the next game is 'The Cattle Raid', where I attempt to herd my plunder off the table and the Picts try to get it back!!!! A great fun scenario that I have played before as the attacker..and a great excuse to get my recently painted Gripping Beast cows and sheep back out onto the gaming table!!!!

On the painting front, slow progress, as I'm painting tunic decoration on Teulu and Saxons, but that'll be done by Sunday ready for leather work then the cloaks... We're getting there!!!!!

Right.. off to work....

See ya...