Thursday 31 May 2012

SAGA Viking Warband

I made a futile attempt to get hold of some Anglo Danish SAGA dice this afternoon but found that they'd sold out. However, in what appeared to be a good omen of some sort, the Viking dice set had just been re-stocked by Northstar, so I've now ordered a set. This means that the SAGA project will have a definitely scandinavian focus, with the Normans on hold for a second warband at a later date.

With that in mind, I dug out the box of Foundry Vikings that I originally aquired at some point in the last century for WAB Shieldwall. I've selected a six point warband with some room for adaptation just in case the format needs adjusting. I haven't played the rules yet, so may have overcooked things a bit but I have chosen a nice selection of figures nonetheless.

I couldn't be bothered with painting twelve levy archers so, instead, I have three hearthguard units of four hersir figures and a berseker unit to make things a bit scary. I also have two eight figure warrior units made up of spear armed but unarmoured bondi. To complete the Norse warband I have a jarl figure, who may well end up with a suitably bizarre but fitting title.

Up and at 'em!

We're all going on a...SAGA Holiday.

It's half term next week and, for a change, we're not going anywhere as the boys have cub camp to go to and there's quite a lot of work needed on the house and garden. This means that I'll have some time during the day and in the evening to get a project off the ground and, possibly, completed by the end of the holiday.

I've decided to have a crack at a warband for SAGA for the following reasons:

1. I already have loads of Foundry Vikings, Crusader Normans and Gripping Beast Anglo Saxons.
2. I have the rules and dice for the Normans.
3. I only need to paint around thirty figures.
4. The painting is pretty straightforward, especially on the chainmail figures.
5. I can do some scratchbuilding.
6. There are a couple of existing players up at the club.

I'm still debating whether to go for Normans or something else but, given the timeframe and my existing dice set, the Normans make the most sense. However, as I live in Winchester, the one time capital of Wessex and royal seat of the Anglo Danish kings, I might be tempted to do some huscarls instead. Either way, I'm planning to start on something over the weekend and will forus on a four point warband as the quickest way to get a force on the table.

I'm looking forward to it! 

Wednesday 30 May 2012


I've spent an hour or so this afternoon adding labels to the posts that I failed to label way back at the start of the blog. This means that all the posts, except the non-specific rambling ones, can now be found under their relevant headings, making it much easier for me to track what the *&^% I've been up to.

I've also ditched the picture at the top of the blog, which never really came out the right way round, up or down, in favour of an 'interactive' list of posts. This can be used to find things that you might be more or less interested in and avoid all the waffly boring bits. A bit of a mundane exercise but at least it's all sorted.

Who says I don't live on the razor edge of danger!

Tuesday 29 May 2012

Warhammer Gladiator Game

We had a crack at the Warhammer Gladiator system this evening up at the club, with what can only be described as mixed results. Whilst the rules are quick and straightforward, with the exception of the entanglement section which had us tied up in knots, they don't exactly make for an exciting tactical game. In fact, most of the games we ran ended up as last man standing hack and slash bloodbaths, even with the use of advanced rules for hit location to make things less predictable.

I have a couple of alternative sets of gladiatorial rules that may prove to be more challenging and a little less pedestrian, including Morturi Te Salutant and Let the Dominos Decide. I also have a Chris Peers set of fast play rules in the Foundry Compendium Burned with Fire and Killed With Steel, which look pretty good and probably much smoother.

If I have the time, I'll have a solo play test them to see if they're less clunky and more challenging than the Warhammer Gladiator version. One other option that we discussed was a quick mulitplayer ladder campaign in an evening, using the existing rules but with some modifications and twists to link the games together. Anyway, here's some pictures of the arena to make up for the rather flat if funny gameplay!

New VBCW Forum

There's a new forum for a Very British Civil War which looks like a promising resource and might even get me to finish off my stalled Red Workers Militia or add some extras to my BUF Flying Column. As you can see, the former wouldn't take very long and would be a good way to bridge the gap before I decide what to do next.

Monday 28 May 2012

The Little Blue Book

With the completion of the 28mm Gladiators project I have now finished the last page of my little blue book, in which I have noted down all the projects that I've tackled from January 2009 onwards. As you can see, this has been an invaluable track record of the various painting methods that I have tried out over the last three years, although a number of the projects I've started have remained half finished or have not even got half way off the ground.

There have been some notable success stories along the way, however, including my Bag the Hun planes, the AK47 dictatorship army, the Back of Beyond Americans, the VBCW BUF and various other bits and bobs that have eventually made it to the gaming table. Anyway, I now have a brand spanking new little book in which to record my painting all I have to do now is decide what to tackle next!

The Arab Revolt 1916-18

I've nearly finished Road of Bones, which has been a real page turner and very interesting, so I've been looking around for my next bit of historical background reading. As I've just ordered a small selection of the Artizan WW1 Arabs, I thought I'd have a dig around for some inspirational stuff and ordered a copy of the Osprey Campaign series book on the Arab Revolt from Amazon, using a birthday voucher that I was given back in January. It looks like a worthwhile but conveniently quick read and should give me some ideas that I can use with Through the Mud and the Blood, assuming that I get round to it sooner rather than later.

Sunday 27 May 2012

Halfords Camouflage Matt Spray Paints

I popped into Halfords this afternoon to get some matt black aerosol spray for undercoating purposes and noticed that they have a camouflage paint range of four shades in 300ml cans for £7.99 each.

I bought one of the khaki spray cans to see if it would be good as an undercoat or basecoat for figures or armour. I was tempted by the brown spray as well, as it would be good as a basecoat for the 28mm Darkest Africa tribal warriors that I've assembled but decided to try out the khaki shade first before taking the plunge.

Gladiators Finished!

I finished off the bases on the gladiators, the bear and the lion this afternoon as it was too hot to go outside and the garage was nice and cool. This means that I've now completed the gladiators project, although at a slightly scaled down level compared to my initial line up. However, I'm really pleased with the results and hope to add some more figures and terrain to the collection on an 'as and when' basis.

Saturday 26 May 2012

Light Gladiators [3]... and other stuff.

I managed to finish off the much reduced light gladiator contingent, the dead gladiator obstacles and two beasties that I need for the game on Tuesday. I now need to paint the bases and perhaps finish off a couple of terrain features to complete the gladiator project, at least for the moment. Ideally, I'd paint up a dozen or so additional figures and scratchbuild an arena but other things are in the pipeline and it's about time I got on with them.

AK47 Amphibious Assault Game?

With all the nice weather here in UK at the moment, my mind has been wandering onto things to do now that the Summer seems to have finally arrived. When I've finished the last few gladiators this weekend, ready for the game on Tuesday, I'll probably start on the Normandy Firefight project, which I can use the half term holiday to crack on with.

However, thinking ahead, I've also been lining up some actual games for June and July, before I shoot off to France again at the end of term. I'd still like to have another crack at Bag The Hun 2, which has languished a bit due to lack of takers at the club. I'd also be keen to try out my AK47 amphibious forces that I put together last year but never actually got around to using.

I'll have a chat with the guys at the club next week and see if anyone's interested. As I can supply both a dictatorship and a colonial settlers army, it shouldn't be difficult to set something up, especially if I use the club hexon terrain for the shoreline and land features. Anyway, to whet your appetite, here are some photos of the assembled amphibious rust bucket assault force.

Friday 25 May 2012

Through the Sand and the Blood

I've been thinking about which set of rules to use with the 28mm Artizan Arabs that I ordered the other day out of the blue. After some deliberation, I've narrowed in down to Through the Mud and Blood by the Toofatlardies. This was influenced by the fact that I already have the rules, like the TFL approach to things and have also found a scenario in one of the recent Summer Special specifically designed for just this sort of thing.

Not bad!

Thursday 24 May 2012

Pike and Shotte in the Post

My copy of Pike and Shotte arrived today in the post but, as I only got in at eight o'clock this evening, I haven't had a chance to have a good flick through let alone a decent immersive read of the contents. I'm not a big fan of fluff and eye candy but the book is a bit of a page turner, given the lavish production values and splendid photos of ludicrously unattainable 28mm armies,but they do look pretty impressive nonetheless.

Wednesday 23 May 2012

Artizan Arabians

Oh dear...

Not sure what possessed me to get these, apart from my son's latest Tintin book, but I've been thinking about them for a few months and finally took the plunge yesterday.

They are destined for some sort of skirmish type set up, perhaps against my Back of Beyond oil prospecting team or my as yet unpainted Copplestone Turks. They're really nice figures and I'm looking forward to painting them up but they're nowhere near the front of the queue and, for the moment, will be consigned to the ever expanding leadpile.

Tuesday 22 May 2012

Gladiator Terrain [2]

I have an old GW LOTR Mines of Moria set that's been gathering dust on the shelf, so decided to pinch the trapdoors to make some features for the arena. I think I need to paint in some iron bars across the black bits but, otherwise, they'll do very nicely when I need to release the hounds (or whatever). They were very quick to produce so I'm happy with the result, even if they're a little over scale.

I've also painted the bases on the dead gladiators, using a different approach to that I used on the rest of the gladiator figures. I painted a basecoat of Foundry Boneyard Shade, followed by a wash in GW Devlan Mud and finished off with a three stage drybrush of Foundry Base Sand. I think it looks better than my original method, so will probably re-paint the other bases to match, if I have the time.

Monday 21 May 2012

Pike and Shotte

I had the County Inspector for History in on Friday, so was observed teaching a Year 10 lesson and had to go through the usual Ofsted style grilling on GCSE results, residuals, gender gaps, differentiation, curriculum development and so on.

Anyway, it all went very well and the powers that be are, apparently, very happy, so I have rewarded myself with a brand spanking new copy of Pike and Shotte, to use as inspiration for my long planned 28mm early war Cornish solo campaign.

I think I deserve it.

Sunday 20 May 2012

Gladiator Terrain

I've been scratchbuilding some 'terrain' for the gladiators today, although the scope for anything substantial is a bit limited, short of a full blown arena. I used some plastic wine bottle corks, citadel bases and mdf circles to make some arena columns, with iron rings made from brass wire.

I also built a pair of columns on a plinth of rectangular mdf bases with the other bits following the same approach. The whole lot was then sprayed in a Humbrol grey, washed in GW Devlan Ink then drybrushed up with Foundry Arctic Grey. A bit of rust and some weathering was added too.

I've also undercoated and based up some obstacles in the form of dead gladiators, two of which are from the Crusader range and the other from EM4. I had to convert two of the figures into casualties by squashing them down and re-positioning the feet but I think they look the part.

Finally, I made some quick spike things out of bamboo nibble sticks and round mdf bases. I'm not sure what they are exactly but they were simple to make and will help to break up the otherwise flat and featureless arena. I think they're something akin to the six foot posts used to train legionaries in sword technique, only on a slighly larger and 'spikier' scale.

To make time for some more terrain building and to finish off what I've already done, I've decided to scale back the light gladiatiors to six figures instead of twelve, the boxers being consigned to the reserves box along with some of the other unarmed gladiatior figures. This means that I'll still have sufficient figures to make two teams of five gladiators for the game in a couple of weeks.

Saturday 19 May 2012

I was up in the loft this morning.....

I was up in the loft this morning, looking for camping kit for my kids weekend away with the cubs, when I found two 1/35th  Tamiya Universal Carriers instead. I knew I had one somewhere but to find two is a bit of a bonus. I can't remember where or when I bought them but they were in a sale of somesort so were a fraction of the full price. I think it was in Antics or Modelzone but it's academic really.

I can now provide some transport for my Tommies, in both operational and destroyed versions, which will be great for scenarios in Normandy Firefight. The Clear and Secure scenario springs to mind but I'm sure there are many others I can devise that feature a carrier including bringing up ammunition or food, casualty evacuation or even a FOO observing enemy positions.

There are also two PIAT included in the kit on the equipment sprue, so I can now kit out one figure as an AT specialist, which is perfect for the Tank Hunter scenario. I have one other PIAT already in the spares box so all I now need to do is find a suitable figure in firing, crouching and standing position to use it. I reckon one of the bren gunners that I have would do the job nicely if I can find suitable replacement arms.

Friday 18 May 2012

Light Gladiators [2]

A modicum of progress on the light gladiators and beasties this evening, although it's all a bit slapdash at the moment. I've set up a game at the club on the 29th so need to crack on with the current batch of figures, so that I can find the time to knock out some arena bits and bobs including obstacles, pit traps and platforms.

Thursday 17 May 2012

Warhammer Gladiator Game

I've set up a game at the club to try out the Warhammer Gladiator rules and scenarios in a couple of weeks time. This means that I'll need to finish off the light gladiatiors, a couple of beasties and scratchbuild some arena obstacles for them to fight over.

I've offered to provide a 20'' x 30'' arena board to play out the games on, so I'll be up to Homebase at the weekend to get some 20mm mdf cut to size. This will be coated in a good layer of PVA and then covered in fine sand, before getting an overall spray and drybrush in suitably sandy colours.

I've also fixed the camera and have taken some less grungy pictures of the gladiators that I finished the other day. To finish off, I started painting up the big scary bear, following the guidelines in the Gladiator rulebook by drybrushing over a basecoat of black using GW Brown shades. I think it's looking promising?

Wednesday 16 May 2012

Light Gladiators [1]

I blocked in the basecoat flesh shades on the light gladiator figures this evening but, being in a bit of a rush, they ended up a little crude to say the least. The flash has also gone phut on the camera, so they don't look quite as rough in virtual reality as they do in real life, which is a minor consolation. I'm sure they'll be fine in the end, so no worries.

Road of Bones

I've been reading this over the last few days and it's very good. I have a way to go yet but it's been a really interesting read thus far, full of period detail and atmosphere with some very well researched and well written chapters. Not your usual military history book by any means, which is probably a reflection of the authors background in professional journalism. Good stuff.

Tuesday 15 May 2012

A World Aflame?

I'm trying to find out more about this new but as yet unreleased set of interwar 28mm rules but with no luck. If they're designed for 1:1 skirmish games with a handful of figures a side, I might be able to re-animate my VBCW armies for a few games up at the club, especially as I only have a little bit of painting to do to complete my Red Workers and have already got a decent half platoon sized force for the BUF.

The rules aren't out for quite a while yet so I'm hoping more information will be forthcoming over the next couple of months or so. I noticed that Empress Miniatures are doing a pre-order deal that includes a pack from their SCW or VBCW ranges, so I might be tempted to crack ahead and get a copy in the bag anyway. If they're not skirmish level I can still use them for the Back of Beyond, so it wouldn't be a waste of time.

Monday 14 May 2012

BKC Aegean Campaign Update

I got back the results of  my turn one orders for the club campaign today and things are looking interesting for my Italian commander. Without giving too much away, it looks like my special forces are poised to pull off a daring commando raid, which will give me some much needed extra diplomatic pulling power. If things go BOOM! in the expected spectacular fashion, I should be well on my way to some extra gongs from Il Duce.

I've also gathered some valuable intelligence on enemy naval dispositions and have positioned my coastal forces to intercept them in subsequent turns, if everything goes according to my best laid plans. Finally, I've reinforced my authority over the Italian commander across the way with an offensive flying display and smoozed the other Axis commanders with fine wine, parma ham and gorgonzola.

What could possibly go wrong?

Sunday 13 May 2012

Gladiators [10]

I grabbed an hour or so this afternoon to texture the bases on the gladiators then another hour this evening to paint them up in Foundry Boneyard. They look a bit bland to me and I'm resisting the urge to wash them in some ink but I think I'll leave them as they are. I've also made a start with the flesh basecoat on the new gladiator figures that I based up and undercoated the other day and hope to get more done tomorrow.


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