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Sunday, 7 December 2008

A Wargames Butterfly...

There is another blog out there that I occasionally visit, that is called 'The Life & Times of a Wargames Butterfly'. It's a truly apt title for describing a syndrome that affects many gamers - that inability to stay focused on any one period/project for more than 5 minutes. And, yes...true to form, I have been afflicted with the same!!!
I have been trying to paint my El Cid army for about 4 years now... I start...I do a bit, then something else comes along. First, it was Legends of the Old West and various events where Caesarian Romans were required...then came Age of Arthur, which turned my world upside down and which I'm STILL painting loads of models for!!

So anyway, I got going again and have now finished two units of Caballeros Hidalgos and the characters. See pics below...

However, I just can't settle to it... I have a unit of jinetes, 2 units of Andalusian cavalry, 2 units of archers and two of spearmen still to do... I just can't get the motivation to crack on and do it exclusively. You see, there's Romano British foot commanipulares and Frank allies to do... (I've decided I am taking that army to Cold Steel - see post below. I'm using all my German tribes figures that lurk within my Welsh units as Franks, with, hopefully, a few new models thrown in if I can get them done in time) The commanipulares are almost done. Just armour, weapons and shields to do. Then I have to paint the Romano-British and Frankish banners - 4 in total - and the army is useable...well...I could use the same banners I use with my Welsh, but I want very 'Roman' looking ones, really, so I hope to get those done soon.

And then there's colonials... For years, I've wanted to do some 28mm NW Frontier multi-player stuff at the club. I have gazillions of Old Glory Pathans sitting in a box and the advent of Army Painter dip (and a fab article about using Legends of the Old West as a Colonial set in 'Battlegames magazine) has finally convinced me to do it! Pathans worse mostly off-white, so it's a doddle!! White undercoat, basecoat fleh and weapons, the occasional coloured turban or sash, plus a few blue tunics (some clans wore blue, apparently) and DIP, DIP, DIP!!!! Trouble is, I've got about 150 of them to do... Then there's the Brits... Castaway Arts in Australia were the source of my British and Sikh companies. I tell you...if you want nice Colonial figures and a splendid customer service, use these guys!! The sculpts are not 100% perfect (long arms on some models) but I defy you to find models with a better period 'feel'. They are absolutely lovely!! And Gerry, who sculpts and runs the show, did me a super deal!!! I spent $200 (£80) and he sent me the stuff post free from Oz!!! Not only that, but the communication was friendly and of the highest possible quality. Recommended!!! Anyway, these models are also getting the 'dip' treatment...

So there you have it. Romano-Brits, Colonial Brits and Pathans, El Cid... I am flitting like the butterfly of this post's title between the three projects which means that neither really gets the time it needs... Still, Cold Steel has focused me on ensuring the Romano-Brits get the lion's share of this month's time.

I hope to post pics of the commanipulares and milites before Christmas.

And lastly, on a completely unrelated note. Those of you who like rock music (esp of the 1980s US variety) may be interested in my MySpace site, where I have begun to post songs recorded by myself and a few of my mates. Go to So far, there's one complete song up there, but we intend to complete another in the new year (only bass and vocals left to record) and there are loads more written and ready to go - time permitting!! If you like what you hear, leave a comment...

And that's another reason why the painting doesn't always get done!!!! :-)
See you soon...

Friday, 3 October 2008

Saxons and Romano-Brits...

I've posted a few pics of these on the WAB forum, but here they are for those that don't go there often. These are the second batch of Saxons I've painted as a commission. GB and musketeer minis and a total joy to paint!!!

Next up, some Romano-British Commanipulares with 'finest armour'/Belisarian Byzantine Buccelarii (I can't bloody spell that word!) I love multi-purpose Dark Age figures!!! These will be the mounted commanipulares in my 450-486AD Romano-Gallic army (Twilight of Britannia lists). I'm halfway through the foot version and have a unit of 24 GB Saxons and German tribesmen that I've set up for Frank allies awaiting painting. Trouble is, I'm on an El Cid thing at the mo, so Heaven knows when this army will be playable. I am thinking of taking a Romano British army to Cold Steel in January rather than my usual Welsh, as some of the Welsh foot can easily be used as milites/Pedes. It would have been nice to take the Romano-Gallic army, as it's a bit of a good 'un, but I must do some more El Cid painting first...

Anyway, the models....Most of the barded models are my late Roman cataphracts with a 'refreshed' paint job (toned down leatherwork, uniform colours and shields to match the rest of my Arthurian models...) All GB models, by the way...

The next post will be the characters and two units of Caballeros Hidalgos for my on-going El Cid army. It'll be a little while yet, but I'm doing quite a bit of painting while junior tries to avoid going to sleep in the early hours...the record so far is painting horses at 4.15am....

Sunday, 14 September 2008

My latest miniature!! :-)

It is with great pleasure that Lucia and I announce the arrival of our son, Cameron Jack Eric Hawes (Cameron cos we like it, Jack after my grandad, Eric after my dad) into this world....

He arrived today at 4.52 am after just under 10 hours labour. It wasn't easy and he needed a bit of help, but he's here and he and his mum are now doing nicely. His dad is still in a daze!!!

Without doubt, my finest work yet... :-)

Friday, 8 August 2008

A Rather Spiffing Surprise!!!

Bought the new 'Wargames Soldiers & Strategy' mag while on a shopping trip in Stamford yesterday (buying a host of jungle animal toys for Junior's 'jungle themed' nursery, dontcha know...)

Anyhooo, I knew that this issue contained an article by James Morris about the Picts, so I figured that was a 'must read' (and I was right...outstanding article...easily the best written I've seen in that magazine and better written than most of what currently appears in WI as well...Informative, suitably 'informal' writing style, backed up with a wide variety of references, good bibliography and minitures stuff...Well done, Mr Morris, sir!!)

Anyway, was reading through said article and there, on page 44, was a LARGE picture of a unit of my Northern Welsh Combrogi (taken at 'Struggle for the North' last year, I believe!!) Bugger me! Bit of a surprise!! (although, I knew that Mr Guy Bowers had taken quite a few shots of the army on that day...)

Other pics in the article are from the League of Ausberg's Arfur collection, (amongst others) so am in esteemed company there!

Anyway, I had no idea that was gonna be happening til I read it, so thank you, authors, photographers and ediitors of WSS...

World domination surely awaits......

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Hot Lead...The Run-Down

It's a long, long way to sunny Evesham (two hours plus drive) so we had to set off at 6.30am on Sunday... My wife reckoned it's all good practice for the lack of sleep I'll get when the nipper arrives...whatever!!!

Anyway, myself and my friend Carl (with his nasty Normans in tow) arrived at Beast HQ at 8.30 to be greeted by a far too sprightly James Morris, as well as various members of Da Beast's team...

After coffee and croissants had woken us all up, we kicked into game 1; Disaster at the Lake. This was a 1500pts v 1000pts special with a twist. The bigger army in march column along a lakeside road, amubushed in fog by a smaller army ('s lake Trasimene, really...) Trouble is, visibility is limited to 2" and every time an ambushing unit wants to move it gravitates 45 degrees left ona D6 roll of 1 or 2; right on a 4 or 6.

I was playing against Nick Buchanan and his Age of Arthur Picts (superb historical match up...the king of the Northern Welsh taking on the Picts near Hadrian's wall...marvellous!) and I was ambushing. He put his nobles with all the nasty characters at the front of the column (the object is to get as much off the short table edge as possible) and in my deployment map, the Welsh Teulu were lined up against them. This wasn't good cos at 1000pts I couldn't afford a Rex and every character in that front unit would eat my Tiern army General for breakfast... So, don't roll a 1 or a 2 for the Teulu Andy....Oh Bugger!!!!! That's be a 2 then... Yup, The Teulu crashed into the stubborn (yikes! Didn't realise THAT!) Picts whose General issued a challenge. I refused, and STILL won the combat but stubborn kept the Picts there... That combat then dragged on for several turns until I was pretty much forced to accept the challenge and fight the Pict chieftain...with predictable dead General and one fleeing Teulu, down to 4 men so couldn't rally... Shame, cos I'd utterly destroyed most of the rest of the Pict army with one foot combrogi unit and one mounted combrogi unit!!! So, defeat in game 1, but a fabulous see-saw game and Nick is a top opponent who I would happily choose to play any time at all.

Game two: The River Crossing: 1500pts v 1500pts , the 'capture the ford and bridge' thing from 'Arthur'. I've played this dozens of times, but never against bloody Normans!!! My opponent, Scrivs from the WAB forum, had deployed a mass of milite units, most heavily armoured and each led with a comes and I knew I was bolloxed from the start! So I played a game of cat and mouse. Predictably, when his troops caught me, it was a mess. On his first charge, I lost 9 men in one unit!!!! One comes left a unit and single-handedly destroyed a unit of mtd combrogi by killing 2 or 3 each turn, making them FBIGO then pursuing and doing it again... My one moment of glory came when he charged my Teulu with 8 light armoured milites. The Teulu lobbed javelins, killed 2 and in the ensuing panic test the Normans skeeddaddled!!! Fabulous result!! By this time, I'd got the Teulu, one unit of foot combrogi and one of mtd combrogi over the river, out of harm's way and claiming the bridge, but I'd lost the ford. So I lost, but only by about 150 pts, so I was pleased. From what I thought was a total no-win destructo-fest, I'd managed a close-run defeat... Scrivs was another top class opponent and if he picks an army other than nasty Normans, I'd play him again any time too!!!

So, 2 games down and 2 defeats...not looking too good!!! So, to game 3: The Miraculous Shrine. In this game, my 1000pts force was facing 1500pts of early Saxons from Arthur. Great! This is my sort of game! I deployed my shrine behind a small wood and chose 24 combrogi as 'guardians'. They have hatred and have to stay within 6" of the shrine, moving back if lured away by warband, etc... Any unit of mine fleeing within 6" of the shrine rallies immediately.

This game was against a chap called Adam Holmes and was even more fun than the game against Nick! Adam's army had a sh*t-hot nasty unit of Gedriht including a priest who made them 'fierce', 2 units of Geoguth and one of Duguth, plus assorted crap skirmishers and a single unit of 5 mounted Geoguth deployed on his right flank. He deployed bang in the centre with the aim of coming round the wood and overwhelming the guardians by sheer weight of numbers. However, the Welsh had other ideas!! I deployed the Teulu to the left and the mounted combrogi to the right. In my first turn, I charged the mtd Geoguth with the Teulu and killed them all. I wiped out the skirmishers with the mounted combrobi and then the fun began. My entire strategy was to use the mtd combrogi to draw the fierce Gedriht and Geoguth out of their attack, while the Teulu took what units they could to pieces. It worked like a charm! In the event, 2 units of Geoguth eventually charged the guardians of the shrine, but hatred and unmodified Ld 10 kept them there until the Teulu arrived to hit the Saxons in the flank....that was pretty! Lots of very poorly Saxons!!! The fearsome Gedriht never got a look in, being shot to pieces and led a merry dance by the mounted combrogi - it did help that they failed 3 'fierce tests' though. I was very pleased with the way I played this game and for the first time in a while, I completely out-played and out-thought an opponent. Adam tried very hard, but I beat him good and proper, winning by a very substantial amount of points, although if you'd have popped by the table at any point, it looked (and was) a fierce contest. One of the best games of WAB I've ever had, actually...and I'd happily play Adam again as well. He took his punishment very well and seemed to enjoy the game as much as I did.

So to game 4: Against Bill Smith and his Shieldwall Scots! This time we played 'Ambush' from Age of Arthur and I was strung out in column facing the Scots. Like all Shieldwall armies, the Scots have HIDEOUS characters and it was pretty clear from the army list that if I fought and got bogged down, I'd be in trouble, and, seeing as the object was to get off table, I decided not to fight, but spent all game dancing light cavalry around the Scot units. I think Bill found it very frustrating and I can't say I blame him! He wanted to fight anmd I wouldn't let him!! Again, he used the tactic of charging a Mormaer out at some infantry and slaughtered 3, forcing an FBIGO test that took them off table, so in the event, My characters and cavalry got off (which was my big points) , but the foot didn't. So I won, but not by a colossal margin. It wasn't quite as satisfactory, because I don't think Bill enjoyed it as much as I apologies to the good fellow if that was the case!!

I was pleased with the way my cavalry tactics are evolving, though, as in all games where light cavalry came into their own, I played them very well.

So, two wins and two defeats against 4 great players. A fabulous day's gaming once again.

A mention must be made of the winner of 'best painted army'. Bob Lorton fielded BTGG Ostrogoths and what a fantastic army! The mounted comitatus were unbelievable! I know that Nick Buchanan (my first opponent) is doing a write up for Wargames Illustrated and I hope that a pic of Bob's army makes the cut, cos it was STAGGERING!!!

Da Beast are trying to ensure that Cold Steel in January is an Arthur only event, which I will make every effort to get to, as it was the slight imbalance of the BTGG and Shieldwall armies vs the Arthur ones that might have caused some individuals a problem (it certainly made my 2nd game very tricky...)

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Huzzah!! Hot Lead!!!!

Just got back from 'Hot Lead' and you'll all be pleased to hear that the Sword in the Stone vignette won the prize for 'best shrine'.

Bloomin' marvellous!!!!! Nice Gripping Beast plaque was the prize there.

Then I won a lovely little pre-painted dark age hovel in the charity dice-off. It was worth 15 quid...I spent a tenner on got a spiffing little hut for bugger all!!! Result!!

Also managed two good wins and two defeats with the Northern Welsh, so am well chuffed!

More detailed report to come tomorrow cos I'm too bloody knackered to write one now!!!

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Yup...Still alive...still here...still painting.....

Cor, doesn't time fly when you are up to eyes with work, pregnant wife, nursery decorating, work, organising stuff for the wargames club, work, visiting family, work, more work, going to a couple of concerts, work, giving a mate guitar lessons, recording some songs with your mates on your fabulous new home recording studio, work..oh...and a bit of painting...oh and did I mention work???

Anyway, yes, I am still painting, much, I'm sure, to Tony's delight (you remember, that patient man who I promised to paint some saxons for?) Anyway, the second unit of Saxon Gedriht is well under way, although I can't seem to get in a good stint at them.

When I paint, I like to have a period of a month where I can do an hour a day, pretty much every day. That's when I build up a head of steam and actually crank through stuff at a decent rate. Sadly, I haven't really managed to do that since about February, so my many projects have all suffered horribly.

Anyway, the one thing I did manage to complete last week was this...did it in two evenings one weekend...mega quick time for me!

It's a 'Sacred Shrine' vignette for Gripping Beast's Hot Lead event next weekend. Basically, it's one of Martin Gibbins' cunning little WAB scenarios where a 1000pt army gets to try and take on 1500pts worth in a totally unfair sounds awful if you are one of the '2000pts, pitched battle tourney' types, but I love it! Really makes you think.... Anyway, for this scenario, 'Da Beast' are providing shrines, but have given the option for players to model their own themed shrine to take along. Apparently there's a 'best shrine' competition too!!

As I'm taking my now almost customary Age of Arthur Northern Welsh (Kingdom of Rheged) army, I thought that I'd do some sort of 'sword in the stone' vignette set on a barren, heather strewn rocky outcrop somehere near Hadrian's wall', and here's the result!

Rocks courtesy of my neighbour's garden, heavily drybrushed with Foundry Granite. Sword by 'Da Beast' simply stuck into a hole I drilled into the rock....Merlin, courtesy of West Wind; heather courtesy of the big pack of clump foliage by I can't-remember-who that's in my 'stuff' box, with heather flowers dotted on with Foundry Winestain red light...


Saxons coming early August once I've taken a day or two off work to complete the little blighters!!!!

Monday, 5 May 2008

A Grand Day Out....

Hi All

Just got back from a delightful morning out at Flag Fen (prehistoric/Bronze age historical site) near Peterborough.

Being Bank Hols, they always have some sort of event on, and this year it was 'Britannia' the Arthurian society doing a Romano-Brits vs Saxons re-enactment. Well, you know me and all things Arthurian - red rag to a bull, really - so I dragged the missus out and off we went.

Now, I've seen Britannia before. They were at Salute a couple of years back and were pretty darn good too! Today 's extravanganza was pretty spectacular, as not only did we get a full-on skirmish, but the Saxons arrived across the lake ( is the Fens!!) in a re-constructed curragh (hide-boat). That was pretty special, I can tell you!

Anyway, the narrative went something like this:

Saxon warlord arrives in his curragh demanding that the local Romano-Brits allow his people some land to settle on. Foolishly, they tell him to b*gger off and a few harsh words are exchanged (not to mention a few arrows, one of which came perilously close to one of the Saxon oarsmen's ears!!!)

The Saxons land and march on the Romano-Brit forces who attempt to defend their camp. Sadly, Saxon reinforcements arrive and the Romano-Brits get their a*se kicked big stylee and the camp gets looted!!

Here are some pics to support the narrative...

Pretty cool, I think you'll agree...although you'll also note that I did not take any pics of the victorious Saxons after the battle... You know me and Saxons!!!!!
If you like this sort of thing and ever see 'Britannia' advertised near where you live, go see them! It's a spectacle not to be missed!!