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Friday 23 December 2016

Season's Greetings!

Well, hello! Just a quick message to wish all of my readers, both regular and occasional, a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

By way of a  small 'gift', here is an update on progress with the Oldhammer/Dragon Rampant Wood Elves I mentioned in my last post.

Here are some armoured 'elite' foot, comprised of late 1980s Citadel Melniboneans. I love these models! The left-handed spearman is a late 1980s Elf champion and the chap on the round base is a conversion of the Citadel Elric of Melnibone 'Dyvim Tvar' (I think that's how you spell it!) model. I always thought it was a horrid model, with a long, pointy fingered left hand and a horridly sculpted head with some odd dragon helm thingy... So anyway, I repositioned the arm, replaced the head (with one from a  spare 1980s Elf cavalry man I got in a big box a few years ago off EBAY) and added a cloak, with greenstuff fur to disguise where that joined the body. I'm quite pleased with him - he looks suitably 'heroic' and can either function as a single-model unit of elite foot or can accompany the 5 Melniboneans to create a unit of elite foot. When playing WFB 4th edition, he'll be a champion in a unit of armoured spearmen. The banner was previously on some other models, but I felt these guys looked more 'elite' so swapped it over! Anyway, you want pictures!! Enjoy!!

Sunday 4 December 2016


Well, I am pleased to report a gradual return of the painting mojo. No pictures today, but I can report that progress with the Oldhammer/Dragon Rampant 1980s Wood Elves is coming on rapidly! In the past three week, I have base coated and dipped:

12 Scarloc's Archers;
15 armoured Elf Spearmen
2 heroes, 1 of which is a cunning conversion
A classic treeman model

I am in the midst of base coating

12 more Scarloc's archers
The classic 1980s Elf attack chariot.

I have a load more left to base coat, including:

3 mages
12 more archers
12 swordsmen
12 classic unarmoured spearmen
6 Dryads

I also want to get 5 eagles on which I intend to mount some classic 80s Elf knights!! Trouble is, metal eagles cost a bloody fortune!!!!!!

The aim is to get as much of the stuff base coated and dipped as possible, so that I can then focus on highlighting. This is thus far working! I also intend to get cracking on some Elf cavalry, as I started those using the Dallimore technique and need to finish them the same way! This is challenging due to dodgy eyes, but I have done 2 already, plus the general and therefore I need to do 7 more to get a decent Warhammer unit. If I can do 4 more, I have enough for Dragon Rampant.

Anyway, pictures as soon as I have anything fully finished...hopefully at least a few archers before Christmas!!

Tuesday 8 November 2016

Saga - Aetius and Arthur Coming Late November

I must have been living under a rock or something but it had completely passed me by that the new supplement for Saga, Aetius and Arthur, is coming later this month.

I haven't played Saga for ages, primarily because of playing too many other things, but this new supplement could well see that change as it deals with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and Arthurian Britain, for which I have plenty of models and which, as you all know, is my favourite of favourite wargame periods!!  Several folk at the club also have models for the period and also play Saga, so this could be a winner.

Apparently, there are boards for Late Romans, Romano-British, Early Saxons, Goths, Huns and Picts, with options to create Salian Franks and Eastern Romans by using pre-existing boards. There's also a campaign system and four new scenarios, all of which makes it a bit of a 'must-buy' at Geetarhero Towers!!!

Watch this space later this month!!

In other news, painting has slowed to a crawl or is non-existent. I'm trying to battle on with some Fantasy stuff, but I'm not getting very far. Mojo gone again, I'm afraid and no deadlines left to work to... Gaming has taken a bit of a hit too... Hope to be back on track soon. Thanks for sticking with me.

Saturday 1 October 2016

War and Conquest 'Age of Warlords 2' day at Peterborough Wargames club

Brilliant day last Sunday at the club! We hosted the second War and Conquest 'Age of Warlords' gaming day, with participants either trying to cause (or prevent) the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the mid 5th Century AD. I had written the lists prior to the same event last year and they had seemed pretty well balanced last time out.

Once again, I took my Patrician Romans. This time, I restructured my force so that it was very elite-cavalry- heavy, fielding my Bucellarii as Huns, supported by foederate German nobles and Hun horse-archers. This was backed up by one unit of Roman pedes and a unit of Germanic foot who had been whipped from the Roman fabricae, so were armoured, and equipped with with heavy thrown weapons. There was an additional unit of Roman sagitarrii and I had 4 personalities - 2 Roman with the bucellarii and 2 Germanic - 1 with the mounted nobles and one with the infantry. This gave me 5 SIPs...very useful they proved too!

Most of the armies present were significantly bigger than mine - players having gone for troops and often big units of them to get more dice in. We had a fair few Patrician Roman armies, several Saxons and a Frank, maybe some Romano-British too...can't quite remember. But each army did have its own 'character', which was nice - no two forces had been composed the same.

Due to one player falling ill on the day, I only got one game in during the afternoon, against George ad his Heptarchy Saxons, so I spent some of the morning downstairs playing some Sci-fi thing by Spartan games (pretty good fun actually, despite the fact I don't really like such games normally) and making tea!

My game was really good fun! It went to the wire! I initially drew the 'kill your opponent's 2 most valuable units' objective. Well, no way my poncy late, late Romans will kill Saxon Gedriht, so I expended a SIP to choose one and went for 'get an unbroken unit into the enemy deployment zone and prevent him doing the same.'

I decided to play aggressively, as George's army was bloody enormous! However, he only had one unit of Gedriht, so that was a bonus! I deployed with all my cavalry on my right flank, intending to refuse the other as long as possible while I smashed his left. I expected him to advance, form shield wall against my cavalry and envelope me on my weak left flank, thereby crushing my plan, but, for whatever reason, he didn't. Seeing my massed large cavalry units, he moved an infantry unit from his right to his left to support it. This was his undoing, as, although his Gedriht mashed my foederate foot like they weren't there, my pedes broke the unit of Geoguth they were facing and, chasing them down, smashed into the flank of the marching reinforcements, breaking them in one turn! While this wa sharpening, my bucellarii, despite flunking two charges, did massive execution in their second combat round to break the Duguth facing them and threaten the flank of the Saxon horse who were valiantly battling my German nobles, the Huns having seen off the skirmishing Saxon cavalry with a volley of arrows and a well-timed charge. In the end though, it all came down to who got strategic advantage in the final turn. If George won that, his Gedriht would have flanked and slaughtered my bucellarii...if I got it, I'd be home and dry. My extra SIPs saved the day here and the game went to me, as my Pedes were firmly settled in George's deployment zone and my cavalry were soon to arrive there, as the Saxon horse were unlikely to last another turn.

This game made me think about the lists. They are generally good, I think, but there may be an argument for slightly increasing the cost of armour for some units - notably those non-noble units who can get them from Roman fabricae, etc, as armour certainly makes a difference (as it should) in combat. I'm going to look again at the lists and possibly submit some suggestions to Rob Broom about that.

Anyway, it was a fun day - everyone seemed to think so and reported it as such, so we must be doing something right! Huge thanks to all who travelled so far to come along, especially Rob who drove from Bristol to be there for 9.00am!

Here are a few pics...

My only game of the day - The Patrician right flank - Huns about to see off the Saxon light horse...

View from the Roman lines...

View from the Saxon lines...

Roman bucellari crash into Saxon duguth...kontos didn't work ever so well in this charge, but luckily the Saxons did no better!

Combat erupts all along the lines

My depleted bucellarii about to finish off the Saxon Duguth...

Saturday 17 September 2016

Romans Rampant!!

Just lately, Cameron (who just turned 8 years old...8...where has the time gone?!) has been enjoying playing Rome Total War on my Mac and, as the other weekend included a Saturday with a deluge of almost Old Testament proportions, we decided to combine toy soldiers with Rome Total War and play 'Romans Rampant'!!!

Yes, we dragged out Dragon Rampant and played it with Late Republican Romans! Both forces were identical with 4 units of legionaries (offensive heavy foot), one of which was the 'commander', which meant we stuck a nice 'genera;' figure with the unit as a reminder; 1 unit of Gallic horse (heavy riders, or whatever DR calls them); 1 unit of either Cretan archers or Balearic slingers (scouts) and a unit of auxilia (Greek peltasts/Spanish Caetrati types) which we classed as bellicose foot.

We attempted to design a special rule to give the legionaries the pilum, but it was crap, so I won't bother explaining my failings!! cavalry and bellicose types also had short range missiles, although I soon realised that given their wild charge, this was pointless for the latter (I wasn't having a good day, clearly).

We reduced the distance between units from 3" to 2" (which looked better) and adopted the TMWWBK approach to activation, so failure didn't end the turn - far better when playing with an 8 year old!

Anyway, we set up a standard bearer model in the middle of the table as an 'objective' and off we went!

In the event, it was fun to move some models and roll some dice, but the identical forces did make it a bit 'best dice wins', although tactics and deployment did play a part. We enjoyed it and it passed an afternoon that otherwise was boring us due to the monsoon outside and nothing of excellence on telly!!!  Here are some pics...

Next time we may try another 'pilum' rule, perhaps something like allowing legionaries to re-roll 1s in the first round of combat for each unit...needs more thought...

Wednesday 22 June 2016

The Great Arthurian Repair Project, Colonial Updates and Kings of War...phew!

Just a quick update tonight...

Firstly, after my...ahem... 'slight accident' involving the road and a large box of my beautiful Arthurians a month or so ago, I am pleased to report that all bar 4 of the damaged cavalry are now fixed (barring a wee bit of varnish and Dullcote). This is good, as I want to field them in next week's club Kings of War campaign game!! There are still about 25 infantry in need of a few fixes, but nothing as major as the cavalry - mostly just new spears or bows to paint.

Talking of Kings of War, here's my latest model for the Kingdom of Brythonia, a small kingdom near the Mammoth Steppes...and here's their Warbeast, a faffing great mammoth, courtesy of West Wind miniatures (albeit minus its Dwarf crew!) Apologies for cruddy pics...just snapped 'em quickly with the phone.

Eventually, this will be crewed by this fella (the one with the mahoosive axe!) from the brilliant Barbaric Splendour Barbarians Kickstarter that I have pledged for. I may also add a few old Grenadier barbarians to the crew as well (I intend to do a barbarian war band for Dragon Rampant, you see, so this will get dual use...)

Finally, my good friend Andy MacTaggart and I convened at the club on Monday to do the first play test of the 'Men Who Would Be Kings' game we are taking to Hereward Wargame Show this year. A couple of teaser shots you can see, we have temporarily departed from the NW Frontier in 1897 and have gone back in time 12 years to 1885 in the Sudan! Watch this space for more details as play tests continue!!! 

That's all for now. Back next week for a full Kings of War batrep, all being well!! Toodle pip!!!!

Friday 3 June 2016

The Annals of Linnius Chapter 13: Pilgrimage - The Holy Undersmock of St Cuthbert

"Verily, Our Lord has smiled on the kingdom this day! Many are His blessings that shall fall upon those who did fight with such bravery! Surely also, a special place in Heaven doth await those who did die saving St Cuthbert's Holy Undersmock! Oh, glorious day!" 

Thus spake Bishop Augustine after a fierce affray on the great West road this day. Rumour of Saex raiders had caused His Holiness to order the transportation of a most holy relic, the Holy Undersmock of St Cuthbert, from it's chapel on the coast of the Northern Sea, to be brought to safety inside Caer Lerion, to the church here. 

The Holy Undersmock of St Cuthbert...having already lost the Holy Knucklebone of St Cadwyr to the Saex, 'twas unthinkable that this second and most holy of relics should fall into barbarian hands. It is said that St Cuthbert, while on evangelical duty in the kingdom of the Franks, did suffer capture by a barbarian warlord. After much torture, he did still refuse to deny his faith and so, the warlord did order him thrown from the cliffs into the sea wearing nothing but his undersmock. It is said that Our Lord had not yet finished with St Cuthbert and thus did the Holy Undersmock balloon with air and upon this makeshift float, St Cuthbert was thus taken across the Northern Sea to make landfall on the coast of the kingdom whereupon he did build a small chapel and from whence he did administer to his flock. The undersmock has been kept in the chapel since that day and record of it was made by my father, Municipus Librarius, though, truth to tell, there has been some doubt about the tale. There are those who do state that my father's hand was poor and that his spelling weak. Indeed, the Tribune Andrucius has been heard to mutter that mayhap the Holy Undersmock may not actually be a relic at all and may well be more in need of the attentions of a seamstress... These words must never reach the ears of the Bishop, however...

Anyway, on this day, a small band of monks did escort the Undersmock in its wooden case on the back of a small pony cart, accompanied by Lord Geraint and the milites of the kingdom ready to meet the Tribune and the remainder of the force for the march to Caer Lerion.  However, word must have reached the dreaded Saex, for a vanguard of their hearth guard did approach the convoy, swiftly followed by the remainder of their force. 

Quickly, the Lord Geraint did launch a pre-emptive assault on the Saex, but they did withdraw  awaiting further reinforcement.  Luckily, the Tribune had not been tardy in his march and within minutes, had formed shield wall with Geraint, facing down the Saex Lord and his hearth guard  and further warriors who did jointhe formation. 

While this face-off did happen, the diminutive Decurio Maximus Minimus did lead the levy to the aid of the convoy. Alas, for all his haste, Maximus did initially fail to reach the convoy before two groups of Saex warriors did slaughter the monks and capture the wagon! They did turn tail to run with the relic, but the diminutive Decurio did move the levy apace, crashing into the rear of the Saex, crushing their formation and recapturing the Holy Undersmock! The Saex did flee in disarray! 

At that same moment, the Lord Andrucius did launch a huge assault on the Saex Lord's formation. The fight did swing back and forth, with many men falling to bloodied spear thrust and hacking blade, but truly, Our Lord was with the tribune this day and the assault of the Saex did falter and fail. Licking their wounds, they did withdraw from the field, leaving the tribune to count the cost while Mximus Minimus did bring the Holy Undersmock into Caer Lerion! This is the second time in  as many engagements that the diminutive Decurio did take major part in the victory. A second Garland of Bravery has therefore been awarded to the Decurio for his part in this victory.

This was a play test for the second scenario written by Mike 'Trouble at t'Mill' Whitaker for the upcoming Dux Compendium. As you can see from the words of Publius Librarius above, we approached this game with all of the usual seriousness we bring to these things!! The game played out very well indeed, which is testament to Mike's scenario-writing skills. We needed to tweak some wording along the way, but the basic scenario idea seemed very sound. Somewhat unusually, this game saw me gain an excellent hand of cards including two 'Step Forth' cards that allowed Tribune Andrucius to muscle in ahead of the Saex Lord in two vital combat rounds. Even then, cruddy dice nearly messed it up for me, but I managed to gain the upper hand and, once again, shield wall saved my bacon.

It needs play testing again, but overall, another keeper, methinks! Here are some pics...

Initial setup. The convoy enters on the road on the left and has to exit opposite. It travels 6" per turn, activating after all the cards are dealt but before any uncommanded groups activate.

The Saex vanguard threatens the convoy...

The Milites form a hasty shield wall to protect the convoy...

The relieving force begins to arrive...

Quick, men! To the road!

The British shield wall has formed while the levy race the Saex warriors to the convoy...

Who will strike first?

Massacre! The Saex slaughter the monks and the Holy Undersmock of St Cuthbert is in their hands!

Revenge! Maximus Minimus slams the levy into the rear of the Saex formation, recapturing the Holy Undersmock! Hurrah!

The Saex, badly mauled, flee the field. Rear charges with carpe diem cards don't half kick arse!!!

Combat! The Hearthguards clash (sorry the pic isn't at the right angle!)

Phew...that's a anybody actually fight again now???!!!

It's even worse now...formations shattered, death all around...The Saex are crumbling...

All over bar the shouting now...