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Monday 23 July 2007

A Grand Day Out....

Well, despite the almighty deluge that descended on Evesham at the weekend, and police warnings that no-one should attempt to visit said town, myself, Carl and Grahame made the bold decision to ignore all of that, brave the steadily advancing flood waters and head off to Hot Lead.

'Twas a decision both boldly executed and extremely well made, as:
a) the flood water was nowhere near the venue
b) although it was VERY close to the A46, it never actually blocked it (despite a supposed tidal surge at 2pm Sunday afternoon...squelch!)
c) it was a bloody STONKIN' day!!!!

Yes, following on from the excellence that was the 'Struggle for the North' day in Newark, this Hot Lead bash was magnificence personified. A hearty "HUZZAH!!!" to the chaps at 'The Beast' for organising the day and a further several "HUZZAHs" to my opponents, Ed, Karl, Guy and Bob (especially Bob...) for four of the best games of WAB I've ever had!!!!

The event also gave me the opportunity to meet the mighty Bill from Musketeer minis (Hi Bill...great meeting you at last!) as well as seeing once again a few faces from the Newark bash and other events I've been to in the past (Hi Warren, Jim, Andy, Steve, James, etc...) The other undoubted highlight of the day was being able to hob-nob with The Beast's Royal Family, Lord S even being so kind as to allow me a sneak preview of some of Soapy's new Saxons. Now, listen up folks, cos this is massive....we all know that the Soapster can sculpt a bloody good mini, but he's really gone and excelled himself this time....Rumour has it that he's been chatting to Guy 'I know everything there is possibly to know about the early Dark Ages...EVER' Halsall and as a result, he has produced THE most historically accurate, not to mention vibrantly posed little barbarian buggers EVER!!!! What with Musketeer Bill's models and these upcoming Beastie ones, Saxon players are going to be in little toy soldier heaven. Even I , notorious Saxon-hater that I am, will be hard pushed to resist buying several packs of these little beauties when they eventually see the light of day...Superb. Mr Soaps, we salute you, sir!!!

Anyway, enough of this...what you all want to know is, 'did Andy get his ass kicked again?' And the answer is a resounding 'NO HE DID NOT!' Out of my 4 games, I lost the first to Mr Ed 'quiet man' Mc Donald...we played the river crossing scenario. He had a Vortigern Romano British Civitates army and I decided that, despite being the 'defender', I was going to attack!! Not the smartest decision I ever made, as the river had clearly been swollen by the overnight rain over Evesham (It was several inches wider than any wargame river I normally use!) and my attack stalled!!!! Despite this, it was a great fun game. You can't have anything else when playing Ed...a gentleman and jolly nice chap all round...even reminded me that I could FBIGO when I forgot to do so.... Anyway, I lost by around 600pts, so a 'close run defeat' in Age of Arthur terms, but as Martin 'The Organiser' was running some bizarre (but very clever) scoring system, none of us had a clue what such a result actually meant!!!

Onto game 2! The 'Ambush (Roman Rd)' scenario. This is one I've talked about before on this 'ere blog and luckily, I drew the long straw and was the attacker. This is the game where you have to start in march column and get everyone off-table.. My opponent was a chap called Karl, quite new to WAB and using an Armies of Antiquity 'Cataphract' army. So, opposing me were two COLOSSAL units of horse archers (BS4, Parthian shot, fire & flee...groan) and the biggest unit of cataphracts (16 of the buggers!) that I've ever seen!!! Still, thanks to a dodgy 'fire and flee decision' ( the 15 man unit of horse archers fired and then fled off the table!!) that army was reduced to just 2 units in turn 2 and I strolled off table with everyone except the mounted combrogi who died under a hail of arrows. Result: a 1500pt victory to me...massive victory, but, again, with the 'secret scoring system', who knows what that signified??!!

Game 3: 'Surprise Return'. This is the 'loot the village' scenario and I was attacking with 1000pts. Now, I've changed my army considerably since first trying this and decided to go cavalry heavy, so a Teulu and 2 mtd combrogi units, 2 lots of skirmishy foot and 1 heavy infantry unit. I was playing this against Guy Bowers and his Fatimid Arab army. What saved me in this battle was that Guy didn't bring his army on until turn 4, so I got 4 turns of looting in virtually unopposed (ok, the bloody peasant defenders held out for a turn...) Having gained over 600pts by looting alone, my strategy when the Fatimid hordes approached was simple. Don't fight and don't die!! To that end, I used one mtd combrogi unit to tie up 2 units of Arab horse and 1 unit of Arab foot while the rest of my army danced away.. To be fair, Guy did destroy my skirmishers (with bloody nafatun...ugh...'orrible little blighters, them!!) but the overall result was an almost 600pt victory for me..a minor victory, but a win's a win!!!

So far, it was all going too well...a close-run defeat, a major win and a minor win...surely it would all go pear shaped in game 4??? Not so, my pretties...not so!!!!!

Game 4: Against a chap called Bob. Now, Bob is new to WAB and was playing with a rather nice little army of El Cid Spanish. This was the 'Hereditary Enemies' scenario where 2 random units hate the enemy. I ended up with 2 units of foot combrogi hating him and his king's knights (oh dear!!) and a unit of guard infantry (oh dear again!) hating me.
Now, I have to say this at this point. I've been playing WAB since it started, but this was without any doubt at all the most fun game I've ever had when wargaming! The battle was opened by Bob's jinetes charging my mtd combrogi, who fled and then failed a rally test, exposing my flank. Luckily, the Teulu stepped in and sent the Jinetes packing, chasing them down and slaughtering them when they opted to fire and flee. Luckily, my mtd combrogi rallied and returned to the fray to tie up his guard infantry rather nicely for the rest of the game. In the centre, Bob advanced into a veritable hail of sling stones that finally knocked over three of the king's knights, meaning that once the massed cavalry assault hit my combrogi, the king's unit was short on numbers and I could FBIGO from the ferocious charge. In the next rounds of combat, the Spanish king found himself in a tit-for-tat hatred contest that lasted the rest of the game, the rest of the caballeros villanos on either flank wilting under the hail of combrogi attacks and defeated by the rank bonuses. The game was decided when my Rex and his Teulu, having broken into skirmish formation, slammed into the King's Caballeros Hidalgos' rear and the Rex challenged the Spanish king to single combat. It was a tense moment...the Rex slammed home two wounding attacks, to be wounded once in reply...the very air crackling with the whirl of their sword blades...( carried away there for a mo!!) Anyway, in the next turn (the Hidalgos survived the devastating Teulu attack due to 'hatred'...well actually that's a fib..the battle standard bearer was the only one still alive supporting his king at that point) the Rex slammed home with three 6s on his 'to hit' dice and caused two wounds...the Rey's armour deflected the first, but he died under the second. The surviving Spaniards (with the exception of the guard infantry) all failed their panic test, the army standard bearer was slaughtered by the British Teulu and it was all over. What a game! Bob and I had a blast throughout, as there were several cases of either dodgy or magnificent dice rolling for both of us, several combats swung hither and thither... In the end I won by a massive 1300pts, but that wasn't a true reflection on how close it had come. Without 'hatred' I'd have been stuffed, as the Spanish would have overwhelmed my centre... Bob, I hope you get to read this mate. I'd happily play WAB with you yourself an army from Age of know you want to!!!!

So, that was the gaming over. Three wins (two real big ones too!) out of four games and all great fun to play. After the charity dice-off, I was delighted to win a large ornamental boar as the prize for 'best painted army' (James Morris also won this category...esteemed company I'm in there...James' vignettes and overall army painting skills are second-to-none!) and overall, I came in around half-way up the table..a real result, as I was expecting to be around the bottom at the start of the day, so expectations exceeded there!!! I also came in better than both Grahame and Carl, so that was nice!!!!

Having said that, such a day is NOT about's about having great day. I certainly had that and would have enjoyed it even had I lost every game!

So a HUGE "thank you" to Martin and the Beastie Boys for organising the day and to everyone else who braved the possible rising flood waters to attend. I'll DEFINITELY be booking back for 'Cold Steel 08' if they run it next year!!!

On another and entirely different note, this will be my last blog post for a wee while, as I'm off to get married on Friday, so I'll see you all when I get back! Watch out in coming months for pics of Caesarian Romans that I'm painting to use with the Crusader rules, as well as some of Bill's luvverly Saxons and my foot Teulu for WAB...

See you all anon......

Monday 9 July 2007

Work Sucks!!!!

Work's's now 5 past midnight and I've only just finished writing up the first of the two report forms from my visits to schools today. I still have one more to do, but I'm buggered if I'm doing it now...and obviously, I haven't picked up a paintbrush because of it and those Welsh pagenses have to be done ready for Hot Lead...bit of a sod really, as the rest of this week ain't gonna get any better...

I'm sorry to whinge, but sometimes one must vent one's spleen...

At least I managed to finish my Hot Lead army lists ready for a mate to check for me (did that while better half cooked dinner...) as that was a job I'd been putting off. Just hope that I can actually count and that both lists are actually legal, otherwise it'll be another bloody job to do trying to re-write them...sigh.....

Anyway, now I have to drink the rest of the cocoa and then off to bed...I'm back at @*$$%!*@# work in 8 hours time!!!!

Friday 6 July 2007

Welsh Lord On Foot

For some time now, I've been wanting to convert a dismounted version of the rather fab Gripping Beast mounted Welsh Lord vignette piece that I use as my army general in my British/Welsh Age of Arthur army. You see, I rather fancy a rock-hard foot Teulu unit to give me different tactical options to the usual all-out 'banzai' cavalry charge that is beginning to characterise some of my games...( all my secrets away... :-) )

So, after an email to Darren at GB central, I managed to negotiate a mixed pack of figures to do the job. You see, being a bit anal about it, I wanted the figure to literally look like he'd just stepped off his horse, so no difference in armour or clothing or equipment at all...tricky, you'll be saying...but no...not really. So, here's what I did...

This is the master figure that I started with: he's from a Teulu character pack...

However, he's got no shield, is bareheaded and the helmet he's carrying is the wrong one!! Also, he's got no splint armour on his legs..., I need a new head and probably a new left arm, as trying to just remove the helmet will be problem:

So, I sawed off the head and the left arm. I cut the arm off under the shoulder armour and then sawed very gently on the helmet where it joins the body. Remarkably, after the smallest of cuts, the whole helmet just came away!! The great God of converting was certainly with me that time!!

Then I just went to the other figures I had been given and as you'll see from the pics, chose the matching head and a good left arm to replace what I'd just chopped away...See below...

The head swap guy is from a 'standing Teulu' pack and the arm swap guy is from a Combrogi foot command pack. I fixed the head in place by glueing and pinning and the arm I just glued, as it was glued both under the shoulder armour and along the side of the body. In both cases, the joins were tidied up with a tiny bit of Greenstuff. While the Greenstuff was out, I also added splint armour to the lower legs. Before I did this though, I chopped the model off its base, as I wanted to create a scenic base with the lord standing on a slab of rock and its cast base rather got in the way. Unfortunately, while chopping, the left foot not only left the base, but also the model's lower leg!!! Bugger!!!
This necessitated a quick drill, pin and glue operation, before glueing the model to the slab of rock (actually a piece of 'slate gravel' type stuff that I ...err...'liberated' from the next door neighbour's front drive when he wasn't looking!) Repair completed, I set to work creating the splint armour with the aforementioned Greenstuff, also using it to bolster the join between the stone and the 20mm plastic base.
Now, I know that a lot of Age of Arthur players are basing all their characters on huge round vignette bases. They look bloody great when they do that, but I'm a bit of a pilchard on the wargaming front and, unless the character is actually sitting right in amongst his unit where he should be, I get ever so I've stuck to my 20mm base and will sit him squarely in the middle of his Teulu with his army standard right next to him on one side and his bard on the other!! Sad, but it helps me keep track of who's fighting who, etc...

After that, I found my last spare Foundry Arthurian shield and a GB sword and undercoated the lot. The shield I left separate until after the main model had been painted.

I then painted him using exactly the same colour scheme as the mounted variant, sticking the shield on last. And here he is in all his glory...

I hope you'll agree that he looks rather fab. I particularly like the effect of the stone on the base...very 'Welsh' and raises him up so that he stands head and shoulders above and slightly in front of his Teulu. They will not be painted for a while as this is my last major paintjob before I get married...3 weeks from today!!! Look out for the foot Teulu, complete with this chap, probably in September...

Sunday 1 July 2007

Where do the weekends go?

Well, it's midday on Sunday and I haven't done ANY of my weekend jobs yet... Well, that's not strictly true as me and my s'ignificant other' collected our wedding rings yesterday from Birmingham (can it only be 4 weeks til the 'big day?' Blimey...that's come round quick!) which entailed a whole day out as it's a 2hr drive from here. Still, the garden remains a's hard to time it right, trying to nip out to cut an already over-long and very damp lawn in between the deluges...sigh.....

On a wargaming note, managed a 'bloody stand off' against Grahame's Romano Brits on Tuesday evening. We did that 'capture the bridge and ford' scenario (can't recall what it's actually called) from the Age of Arthur and I managed to capture the ford and rout his entire left flank, while he captured the bridge on my left. All I actually lost was one unit of light cavalry and skirmishers, while I pretty much destroyed all his cavalry (2 light and one commanipluares light cavalryman stood heroically on the bridge at the end), his Saxon Geoguth allies and all his skirmishers. I couldn't dent his shieldwalls of Pedyt though, although another couple of turns might have done it, as I had his re-arranged battle-line nicely flanked at the he granted me a gracious 'moral victory' despite the scenario's actual result. They are playing a NW Frontier game at the club this week which I can't get to cos of the sig. other's birthday...Bum!!

Anyway, I did finally manage to complete the 'chopping, glueing and greenstuff-ing' phase of my conversion of a foot variant of my Welsh Lord. I've actually made him from 3 different Gripping Beast models, with a Foundry shield and he looks the 'mutt's floppsy danglers' to put it..err...strangely!!!!

Anyway, weather permitting, I hope to undercoat him this afternoon and make a start on painting him alongside the 9 sling-armed pagenses that I picked up last weekend, as I have decided that I need them for my British kingdoms army for Hot Lead. I also plan to start work on a couple of foot Teulu models...more conversions, this time using West Wind armoured Saxon and Pict Command bodies with Romano-Brit cavalry Helmeted and Saxon Helmeted heads and, in two cases, Artizan Carolingian arms with BIG swords in hand... (I had the 'Charlemagne' pack and have nicked the horses and the mailed officer for my Teulu, so Charlemagne's and the other chap's sword arms are being 'borrowed' for two front rankers in the foot Teulu..they now look awesomely hard, even before the paint has gone on!!!)

It's gonna be a busy week, what with sig other's birthday, the Peterborough Children's film awards (yes, honestly, our Primary school kids are making short animated movies as part of their literacy studies and we have an 'Oscar-type' ceremony on Thursday...last year's was brill..) and my dad's pending 80th birthday, for which I have lots to do...AND bloody work-related stuff, which is always a right pain in the arse and really gets in the way of painting... So I don't know if I'll get much painting done. Will post pics of Welsh lord as soon as I've got him finished..and must remember to send pics to Darren Beast as well...but it may be a while!! to Sainsbury's now and after that, the museum, where there is a 'real' king Arthur and Robin Hood on hand today as part of our 'Myths and Legends' themed Peterborough Festival..Could be interesting....