Monday, 28 May 2018

At last, some ancients!

At last, I've been able to fit some ancients into my busy painting schedule!  These GB Early German minis are ex James Morris and I've given them a little light refresh- new spears and highlights. They are joining a German Late Antiquity army that I'm working on, part of a big new project - of which more, anon.-  They will serve as Alemanni, Goths, Vandals and so forth. More photos when they are based.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

At Partizan with Soggy Bottom!

I had a fantastic weekend at Partizan in Newark with chums Andrew Brentnall, Tim Thompson and Ian Notter! 

Here are some photos of the game that Ian took. Above are the hard-riding Northern Horse (foreground) and the Troop of Shewe (AKA the Royal Lifeguard) beyond. Many of the former were Catholics so I game some flags with crosses. All photos can be clicked!

Above Sir Allen Aspley's; my favourite regiment of foote on account of its flags with their lovely gyronny designs. You may be able to make out the King and his bodyguard of Gentlemen Pensioners, beyond.  Below, right, Devereux's take to the field for the first time! I failed to point them out to Charles Singleton, which was a shame, but I'll take a better photo in due course.

Above, a view over Soggy Bottom. That's the butter market in the centre foreground and the Lych gate of the church in the right foreground. Below, the famous London Lobsters. I got to play these in the second battle; they withstood all attacks and eventually rode over their exhausted opponents!

Above, stalwart defenders of Soggy Bottom. In the second game Colonel Brentnall led these forward to the great discomfiture of the Royalists, or at least that is what he claimed in dispatches... Below, a regiment of Royalist horse

Above and below, Andrew brought his small but beautifully formed Soggy Bottom with him, which was much admired! Some visitors rushed straight across to the adjacent Baccus stand! I had a nice chat with Pete Berry about the Thirty Years War. Indeed many people asked about this conflict... I'm sorely tempted...

Above are regiment of the Oxford horse, and below a closeup of some Parliamentary "Dutch" horse.

The 28mm minis are mostly Bicorne and the buildings, Hovels. We used Andrew and my "For King and Parliament" rules; fought the battle twice, with Parliament winning both times (narrowly).

Partizan was a great show- again! It's always terrific to catch up with so many mates. Huge thanks to the lads and to Simon Williams and Andy Green for all their hard work, and a big shout out to everyone who came by the table! Also many thanks to Tricks and Laurence for organising, and the people who brought playing cards (I left all of mine, aside from a Seven of Clubs, at home).

We'll be back again with an ancients game at T'other Partizan, in August, and hope to take Soggy Bottom to Colours and SELWG later in the year.

Friday, 18 May 2018


I ran out of time, before Salute, and didn't manage to complete the basing of the Soggy Bottom horse. Yesterday and today I have been frantically adding tufts- at least four per mini- rather more than 1000 in total. Time permitting I will dry-brush them, later. Next I need to add weeds and flowers to some of the units. I've also added flags to the four regiments that lacked them- if manners maketh the man, cornets definitely maketh the regiment.

The four "Dutch" regiments are at the back and eight "Swedes" in front. This looks like quite a lot of horse, but to achieve a sensible horse:foot ratio to complement the infantry regiments that I have finished or mostly finished, I estimate that will I need to recruit around the same number again.

Oh- and the best music I've found for tufting- Bob Marley. The base line really helps with the rythmic action!

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Hold your horses!

Reinforcements for Sunday's Partizan game. These are the horse holders for Colonel James Wardlawe's dragoons and will sit behind a hedge, all day, doing absolutely nothing, except for looking pretty. Minis are super Bicornes, which a few Redoubt horses for variety, painted by Shaun McTague.

There are enough horses to mount one of my two units of dismounted dragoons. Next I'll need to ask Shaun to paint 18 mounted dragoons. Dragoons are a harsh mistress; three units need to be painted to put one on the table!

Andrew and I hope that some of you will see our Soggy Bottoms at Partizan on Sunday- we still have slots for players for the afternoon game- drop me a line if you'd like to play!

Friday, 4 May 2018

Coming to a Partizan near you, soon....

Andrew Brentnall and I will be bringing our Soggy Bottoms (same battle, two different scales) to the Partizan show in Newark on Sunday May 20th. If you would like to see how the For King and Parliament rules play, or better still join in and turn a few cards yourself, please drop me a line at the email address to the left and I'll book you in. Games will last under two hours and no previous knowledge of the rules is required.

If you've not encountered the new rules yet, they are a fast play ECW set that work for all scales (2mm to 54mm).  Played on a big (and usually not-at-all-obvoius) grid, with dice and cards, the rules are easy to understand and very decisive- some might even describe them as brutal.

In other news... as my ECW forces have now reached "critical mass", I've started a pair of new ancients armies for a very large new project, of which more, anon. It is likely to take 18 months or so before it hits the tables and it should be quite a spectacle!

Monday, 30 April 2018

Back to School!

Here are some pics of a To the Strongest! game run at a school in the 'States by Jared Fishman.

"On Saturday, April 21st, Hackley’s game club (NYSGA- New York Student Gamers’ Association) ran a battle set in 1099 CE, during the First Crusade.  Eleven 6th graders, many of them novice gamers, took on the role of Saracen or Crusader in an epic game using “To The Strongest!”

In total, there were about 50 units present on the field.

The battle was dead even by the final turn. The Turks, having started on the flank, put immediate pressure on the Crusaders and delayed their advance, while on the opposite flank, a quick moving flank guard of allied Byzantines closed in, inflicting enormous damage.

The students learned a lot from the game.  Two memorable quotes were: “I liked that you had to use strategy and military tactics to win the game and succeed.” and “I liked that there was a lot of detail in the rules, and it simulated everything we learned in 6th grade history when we studied the Crusades.”

All in all, the students loved the game, with a rematch battle taking place in a few weeks. Jared Fishman, the GM who ran the game and painted all the miniatures, is a veteran gamer who has successfully blended gaming into his curriculum, using it as a conduit for learning and engagement with his students.  He currently teaches at Hackley School, in Tarrytown, New York, where he founded the school’s game club c.2008. He sought and received permission to post photos of the kids.

This is a splendid effort which I thoroughly applaud- kudos to Jared! If anyone else would like to run a school or youth project, I have a number of slight second copies of the rules that I'd be happy to donate for just the cost of postage. 

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

For King and Parliament at Salute

I've been so busy since Salute that I've not even had a chance to post any photos! These were all taken by Ian Notter, who did a fine job. Most of the minis are Bicornes with a few Redoubt and Renegade added for variety. This thread is picture-heavy and all the pictures are "clickable."

Above, bluecoats guard the approaches to Soggy Bottom- stunning painting by Chris Meacham.

Above and below- Royalist siege guns with a stack of ammunition markers. These guns have the only straight-edge bases on the table- much more obvious than my usual wobbly-edged bases which vanish into the cloth.

Above are the mass of Royalist horse on the left- mostly Northern horse- with the King's Lifeguard of Horse to the fore. Below, Parliamentarian horse, with"Lobsters" to the rear.

Above, John Hampden's regiment. I used 42 miniatures, although perhaps half as many would have done! These were painted by either Chris Meacham or David Imrie.

Above- my own regiments for "For King and Parliament" are divided into "Swedish" troops of six or "Dutch" troops of nine, three troops to the regiment. Units of 18 or 27 horse are, however, strictly for masochists. 8/16 would be far more sensible.  :-)

Above- the  Parliamentarians eschew the protection offered by the stone wall surrounding the church of Saint Lasiurus Egregius. Below, the villlage of Soggy Bottom is largely composed of 25mm Hovels buildings- which have great character!

Above, sheep flee the sound of the guns. A lovely resin single-piece casting from 1stCorps, painted for me by Shaun McTague.

Above and below are shots from Andrew's game at the other end of the table. Andrew has a beautiful "Soggy Bottom." ;-)  Alas, I only have a couple of shots of this much-admired game.

Above is Lord Byron, the hard-fighting Royalist cavalry general. Below, Royalists defend a hedgeline. The long grass is from Killing Fields in the USA- a super product which I just needed to cut to fit the fields.

Bluecoats, again. The wicker fences are Renedra- a quality product that was easy to paint and assemble. 

Trotters- not the Peckham variety.

I've tried to depict plenty of livestock on this rural battlefield- sheep and lambs below, and cattle above, all painted by Shaun. 

Below- a view of the churchyard of Saint Lasiurus Egregiuso. Gravestones were still uncommon at this time. 

And finally, for today, His puissant Majesty King Charles and bodyguard of Gentlemen Pensioners. Tomorrow or Friday I'll have some more photos by Alan Daniels.

We fought the battle twice with, I believe, two Parliamentarian victories.

Salute is always fun- it's great to meet so many friends- I spent the entire day chatting! It was very well organised by the Warlords. Huge thanks to the chums who helped me put it on- especially Ian, Mike and co-author Andrew who helped with the set up on Friday, and Shaun who helped knock-down after the show.

The "For King and Parliament" rules were very well received and Foundry and Caliver had pretty much sold out by the end of the day, although I still have plenty of copies in the.BigRedBatShop. I've already started painting some more bits for the next games at Partizan on May 26th!