Thursday, September 21, 2017

Strengthening the Legions

Last weekend's trip to visit my Mum in Wirral also gave me a chance to pop into the War Game Store in Brimstage.

I picked up these guys:

Another 60 Legionaries will give me a very usable little Republican Roman army. I'm a little disappointed that the velites-and-command-figures sprue is identical to the previous legions-in-chainmail box but that's not a problem.  Most of the velites in this box are going to be converted into unarmoured hastati.

I have a choice now. Should I keep going with Carthaginians until I've finished my second unit of citizen levy spearmen or should I start painting Italians straight away?  Keep looking out for updates!

Whilst at the shop I also invested in a second TIE Bomber for X-Wing.  I'm planning a scenario based around a strike mission for Christmas.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


We've seen the Roman army that emerged from July's trip to Brimstage.  Now I've finished the first Carthaginian unit that owes its origins to the same shopping expedition.

These Carthaginian citizen levy spearmen are mostly by Victrix. There's also a Black Tree Spartan and a couple of Foundry types in there too.

They will be treated as Hoplites in To The Strongest!

Next up is a unit of Gallic cavalry.  Perfect as mercenaries in the army of Carthage.

These guys are all by Warlord Games.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


I really hate these Warlord Games waterslide transfers!

This shield decoration has been on and off the front of the shield three times as I try to flatten it down.  In the end it's only stayed in place because I somehow managed to keep it in one piece whilst painting the surface of the shield with watered-down PVA before reapplying the decal with a wet paintbrush.

I think I'm probably going to abandon the rest of them and do hand-painted shield designs.

Monday, September 11, 2017

On the Workbench - More Ancients

More progress on the plastic Victrix guys from my Gauntlet/Wargames Store trip. These Carthaginian  citizen spearmen are nearly complete:

There are three metal figures mixed in and they give a pleasing heft to the unit.  I guess these are later models than the Victrix Romans as the spears are much finer. So much so that I've already broken and re-glued one of them.

Next up are these Gallic cavalry from a Warlord Games box I picked up cheap at Wargames Emporium in Sheffield.

These are an interesting lot. The horses and the legs of the riders are single-piece white metal castings. Upper bodies , shields and weapons come in the form of a sprue from Warlord's plastic Celtic Warriors box (complete with a load of spare infantry legs).

I'm not 100% convinced of the believability of some of the upper body poses as riders rather than charging foot warriors.  Also some of the upper bodies are a little slim for the white metal waistbands they sit in.

By the way, the white metal casting has a concave upper surface into which the convex torso fits.  I've found the best way to join these is with a drop of superglue followed by a small blob of Green Stuff followed by another drop of superglue.  Press down, clear up anything that squeezes out of the join and leave to set.

I also have to say that I'm unimpressed by the waterslide shield transfers that came with the models.  They are excessively glossy and, when they finally deign to come off the backing paper, distinctly lacking in adhesive power.  I've had to try and run thinned down PVA under the edges to hold them in place on the shield.

There are 10 figures in the box. I plan to finish one unit of four before the weekend, when another trip to Wirral might see more toys arriving from the Wargames Store.  Another four will give me a second Gallic unit whilst the remaining two may go towards the Gallic/Germanic bodyguard of a Numidian king.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Senatus Populusque Romanus

About fifteen months ago I was visited by a realisation. If I accepted the "that-looks-good-enough-at-arm's-length" approach I could paint 28mm figures at a reasonable pace. That way I could retain my interest long enough to get a small but usable force completed before my brain flitted off to some other project.

The new approach allowed me to complete Swiss, Burgundian, Late Roman and Bacaudae forces for Lion Rampant and now I've managed to finish a whole box of Victrix Republican Romans.

Based for To The Strongest! these guys form the basis of a Polybian Roman legion.  I need to add an ala of cavalry. I have the figures from Curteys; just need to get them assembled, painted and based.

The legion consists of three units of velites (Light Infantry, javelin) ...

...and two of hastati (Legionaries, small)...

... it's the unit that's small, not the men by the way. And then we have two units of principes (Legionaries, veteran, small)...

You'll note that the second unit of principes are on to half-sized bases. This was a late decision. I suddenly realised that I could add a 4cm wide base to an 8cm wide "small" unit to make a unit at my standard 12cm element width.  This would allow me to use these guys as post-Marian-reform cohorts for, say, the later stages of the Jugurthine War or perhaps even for Caesar's campaign in Gaul.

And finally, it comes down to the triarii...

These old lags of the Roman army are Hoplites, veteran, small in TTS! terms.  I'm going to repaint their plumes in black and white. That will help players less familiar with the army to distinguish between the three types of legionaries (all my hastati have red plumes and all my principes purple).

Oh and finally, finally we have this, intentionally nameless, legate commanding the force...

These guys are never going to win any painting prizes but they are finished, and finished in just two months; the box of figures was purchased on 3rd July from the Wargames Store in Brimstage.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Officers of the Borsetshires - Rolica

As I reported recently, we used the Sharp Practice rules to generate the characters of a selection of officers from the Borsetshire Regiment.  I intend to come back to these guys on an occasional basis as we follow the Regiment through the War in the Peninsula.  Having done this I thought it would be a good idea to record the result here in case the original paper copy gets lost.

We start with some of the battalion officers and then go on to the officers of the Light Company, who will be the main focus of our games.

Lt Col Pargeter is the commanding officer of the battalion. He comes from new money and has extravagant wealth. He is of average build and a good looking chap. Honourable and charming, he is a stunning linguist.  He's a Level IV leader.

The first of the battalion majors is Major Markham (a Level II leader). An honourable chap, he rose from the ranks to his current elevated position. Though fair of face he is a sickly cove. He is thoroughly disliked by officers and men alike (the men prefer to be led by a real gentleman).

The other major in the battalion is Major Tavington. Like the Colonel he comes from new money but is personally impoverished. Perhaps his mill-owner father disapproved of his career choice?  Tavington is of average stamp and fair of face. He is affable but is secretly a cad.  He's another Level II leader.

Sergeant Major Horsham is the Borsetshires' Quartermaster. Thoroughly disliked (but what efficient Sergeant Major isn't?), Horsham is a good looking chap but a sickly cove, having suffered greatly from an ague contracted during the campaign in the Low Countries. He's a Level II leader.

We now come to the officers of the Light Company. Captain Archer (of course) commands the company.  He's a Level III leader and a former gentleman ranker. Diminutive and of plain and unremarkable looks he is a thoroughly dislikable cad.

The light company's senior lieutenant is Lt Villiers (a Level II leader).  Coming from a military family he is very conscious of the honourable behaviour expected of a gentleman and an officer. Though fair of face he is a diminutive chap and very sensitive about his height. His short temper and wicked tongue lead others to regard him as a vile individual.  Despite this, the Colonel was happy with is performance at Rolica.

In that regard he is matched by the company's junior lieutenant. Beastly Lt Rogerson shares his brother lieutenant's military background but unlike the poverty-stricken Villiers, Rogerson's uncle is a General and he enjoys money and influence.  A giant of a man, Rogerson is fair of face. He's another Level II leader.

Sergeant Grundy (Level I leader) is a strapping fellow but hideously scarred. He's a vile individual who rules his men with a rod of iron.

The other light company sergeant is Sergeant Walter (also a Level I leader). Another strapping fellow and a handsome devil he is affable and popular with the men.

The company's three corporals are all Level I leaders.  Amos Able is a sickly cove, though a handsome devil. He's a vile individual despised by all.  Michael Norris is a strapping fellow, though plain and unremarkable of visage.  He manages to make himself thoroughly dislikable. And finally we have John Brown. He is something of a mystery, rumour having it that he is the illegitimate offspring of some noble house. This flashing blade taught fencing to gentlemen before joining the army.  He is fair of face and an affable fellow.  Brown did a solid job when the light company first encountered the French near Rolica.

So there we have it. With the exception of Colonel Pargeter, Sergeant Walter and the mysterious Corporal Brown, the current crop of leaders don't have a great deal to recommend them. I wonder if the Borsetshires are a happy regiment at this time?

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Winged Hussars at the Armouries Today

Jamie and I met up in Leeds to see the Winged Hussars special event at the Royal Armouries today.

There was a very entertaining presentation about the charged of the Polish hussars at Siege of Vienna by an English re-enactor...

... followed by a display of remarkable horsemanship by a Polish group.

Apart from the skill of the riders at controlling their (locally supplied) horses, I was struck by the way they were able to aim so precisely with the three-metre long lances.  At pretty much a full gallop, with laces crouched and leaning forward in the saddle they were able to keep the lance rock steady and with its point aimed exactly and human-head-sized targets from twenty or thirty yards out.   Brilliant stuff and well worth the entry fee!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Near Obidos, Portugal, 15th August 1808

Andy, Chris, and Arthur came over today and we had great fun determining the names and characters of the officers of the Borsetshire Regiment and particular of the Regiment's Light Company.  All in all they seem to be a pretty unsavoury lot and I don't think it will be a happy mess, at least until some of the current crop are weeded out by the exigencies of warfare.

After that we played what will hopefully be the first of a series of games following the Borsetshires through the Peninsular War.

The action was based on the clash between Sir Arthur Wellesley's advanced guard and the French rearguard on the even of the battle of Rolica in August 1808.  Andy played a small (probably too small) swarm of French voltigeurs whilst Chris took on the role of Lt Villiers of the Borsetshires.  Arthur played the role of Sergeant Goodison, whose dozen men of the 95th Rifles were on the Borsetshires' flank.

Andy was tasked with holding off the British whilst gunners and drivers tried to empty a tightly
wedged wagon said to contain the General de Brigade's collection of stolen statuary.

First to arrive on the table was a small group of voltigeurs under Sergeant Jarier.  Almost immediately they were in trouble. It seemed their water discipline had been poor and it became apparent that, parched, they were lagging behind their expected pace under the hot Spanish sun.

Worse yet, three of the men thought they had spotted a Spanish seƱorita entering the building in the corner of the battlefield.  Keen to 'present their cards' they set off for the farmhouse leaving Sergeant Jarier with only three men.

Jarier set off after his men and caught them up as they crossed a small field...

... as Jarier began to remonstrate with his men, a fusillade of shots rang out as Sergeant Goodison's riflemen found their range. At once Jarier fell wounded and the three men decided that the farm house was probably a good place to hide too.

Meanwhile Lt Villiers' men of the Borsetshires' light company were approaching in open column.

By now the rest of the French force, two more groups of voltigeurs under Lt Delaborde had arrived in the centre.  There was some exchange of shots with Goodison's Rifles.

Keen to exhort his men to greater deeds, Goodison stepped forward and was shot in the buttocks for his trouble.  A random event came up, the Rifles had acted last so got a 'shooting random event' and Arthur rolled snakes eyes!

Meanwhile the Borsetshires marched up the flanks and Delaborde's men turned to face them.

The Borsetshire lads turned to form line, advanced and they sent a punishing volley into Delabord's men.

Caught in the crossfire from light bobs and rifles, the French stood no chance an they were soon in headlong retreat.  French force morale was down to two when we called it  day.

So Lt Villiers and Corporal Brown of the Borsetshires survived the Regiment's first action in the Peninsula.  Sir Arthur Wellesley will now march his army to Vimeiro, where the Borsetshires may again see action.

All enjoyed the game and we agreed we should play some more while the rules are fresh in our minds.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Sort of Ancients

I'm busy painting Republican Romans in 28mm at present and there's not much in the way of completed work to show here.  I'm half way through a box of 60 Victrix legionaries but enthusiasm is waning so productivity has been higher than it is right now.

By way of a change of pace I thought I'd dig out what I have in my Glorantha collection that could work for ancients-period To The Strongest! games.

These Achaemenid Persians were bought for use as Lunar Empire troops in Prax (hence the desert-y basing).  I don't have any other Persian troops of that period to go with them but I wonder if I could stretch a point and use them in a Seleucid force?

Then we have my Sun Domers. These were mostly made from a pack of Black Tree Designs (I think) Spartans.  There are a few Foundry Greeks in there too.  I can make one nice, deep hoplite unit...

... and another smaller one with a few singly based Heroes.

I guess these guys could serve in the army of one of the Hellenistic kingdoms or at a pinch as mercenaries for my Carthaginians?

Finally, there's also a unit of bow-armed light infantry for the same force.

The distinctively Sun Domer blonde hair may be a bit of a problem....

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Back from the Far North

As the last post suggested, I've been away in the Burghs (Edin- and Bam-) for ten days.  The main purpose of the week was to visit some shows at the Festival Fringe. I strongly recommend Hardeep Singh Kohli, Austentacious, George Egg's DIY cookery show, and local band Flagstaff's Americana Sundays session.

However, as I said in the previous post, our first Saturday in Edinburgh coincided with the Claymore show at Granton.  It was nice to meet up with a couple of mates, Hi Peter and Kenny, but disappointing not to see the Blues Bears present.

A few games caught my eye.  This ACW game made nice use of a Cigar Box battle mat...

This Operation Market Garden - Crossing the Waal game was impressive....

...and I was quite taken by this large scale 1970s New York gang warfare game.

Shopping-wise I was relatively restrained.  Between Claymore and a visit to Wonderland Models on Lothian Road, my trip to Edinburgh netted the following...

The Ian Heath Armies of the Dark Ages was a bargain at £5 on the Bring and Buy and has already inspired my to consider some Dark Ages battles for To The Strongest in 6m to take advantage of my listing Late Romans and Goths.  Armies of the Carthaginian Wars is showing its age but useful reference material as I continue my dalliance with my 28mm Punic Wars.  The white metal is a pack of four Roman cavalry from Curteys for the same project.  I think they might be a little short of stature compared to my Victrix plastics.

The black items are a pair of resin gargoyles that will end up in the Pavis project...

Finally, apart from a pot of Dark Earth paint, there's a box of HaT plastic Napoleonic Royal Marines and Royal Navy crew.  

Painted up these guys will give me (with the addition of a couple of officers) a naval landing party for Sharp Practice. In addition, the Royal Marines will do nicely as Government forces for the United Irishmen's Revolt.

Also purchased, but not in the pic above were a ship's wheel and a couple of anchors that will go along way towards turning my Spongebob Squarepants pirate ship into something more historically accurate.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Claymore purchases

We're in Edinburgh for a family holiday and ooh look, it just happens to coincide with the Claymore show at Edinburgh College's Granton Campus. Edinburgh's one of my favourite cities and Claymore's a nice show.

There were some nice games and I came away with some ideas it can't post pics here due to the limitations of Blogspot on an iPad.

Purchases-wise I did quite well.  Armies of the Dark Ages and the Osprey book on the Punic Wars for a fiver each on the bring and buy was a nice find.

I also bought four Republican Roman cavalry to complete my To The Strongest legion from Curteys Miniatures, a couple of resin statues that will appear in the Pavis project, and finally some 28mm ship accessories that will help turn my Spongebob pirate ship into a reasonable scale model.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Polybian Romans part 3

The latest stage of my concentrated effort to paint up a whole box of Victrix Republican Romans has resulted in these, nearly complete, Triarii.

There are shields to come.  I'm planning on yellow at present.

These eight figures will form the single triarii element in my first Roman legion (in this scale).  Im planning on standardising on 8cm x 6cm bases for Small units in To The Strongest!  They get me to half way through the box of sixty.  Not bad for a month's painting.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Sikorski S55

I've finally painted the helicopter that came with my Revell USS Burton Island kit.

The model comes with open spaces where the windows should be so I had to sculpt some in with Green Stuff.

The colour scheme is a 1960s US Navy one.  Stands out nicely doesn't it?

I did consider painting it up as an RAF Wessex but I think it improves the look of the Burton Island so significantly that it's best used in this role.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Polybian Romans part 2

A further progress shot on those Victrix Romans...

As usual with my camera's harsh flash, they don't look as good as they do in real life.

A few things still need completing. I've done the signifier's headdress as if it were a wolf but then realised it's supposed to be a lion.  Secondly I'm not happy with the feather plumes on the helmets.  I think I'll redo them in black and purple.  And finally, I obviously need to complete the shields.

Monday, July 17, 2017

On the Workbench: Polybian Romans

I've decided to have a go at running a game of 28mm To The Strongest at Christmas.  I'm planning Carthaginians vs Romans.

My Roman legion is going to be made out of Victrix plastics.  I'd like to get some Agema plastics and Aventine metals too but the Victrix guys are quite big so I won't be mixing them in the same units.

So far I have these guys at various stages of incompletion...

I started off planning on using eight guys in mail with pila as Hastati but as time's gone on I've given it further consideration.

The Victrix box contains 60 figures of which 18 are unarmoured velites.  I only need twelve for my planned three four-figure units so I'm going to use some of the velites, with legionary shields, helmets and pila, as poorer hastati.  I think I'll also give the hastati a larger proportion of men wielding gladii.  My thinking is the the hastati are the first into action so should have thrown their pila earlier than the principes.  

Principes will be distinguished by all having pila (apart from officer and standard bearer) and full armour whilst the single unit of triari will get long spears and the fancier helmets.  I also want to see if I can get a general element out of this box to represent the legate in charge of the legion.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Joy of Six 2017

I had a most enjoyable day today.  I nearly said, "A most enjoyable day's gaming" but to be honest, we spent so much time chatting to each other and to visitors that I don't think the Cold War Commanders got through more than about five game turns all day!

The scenario was entitled LANDJUT 1989 and was a based on the fighting so far in our campaign covering a Warsaw Pact invasion of Denmark.

Soviet and Polish forces were attempting to take the Kiel Canal.  

Phil Gray and I commanded a US airborne brigade and managed to spend the whole game arriving by helicopter and then moving to occupy the large forest in the photo above.

As always the terrain, mostly provided by the Grimsby club and by Richard Phillips, looked great!

We already have a plan for next year's game, of which more anon.