Tuesday 28 April 2015

Getting back on the bike.

It was great meeting so many friends at Salute, and I'll post about that tomorrow, when I have more time. Today, however, I am getting the copies of To the Strongest! ready for posting tomorrow and also prepping some Spartans for one of the games I'll be running at the Wargames Holiday Centre on the weekend 15th - 17th May

Painting permitting, I plan to make one of the four or five games I'll run Pyrrhus' siege of Sparta.  Some of these fine chaps will form an additional phalanx and others will man Sparta's improvised wooden wall of wagons. The minis at the top are being repainted from various eBay purchases; mate Nick is painting some more for me. Happily Spartans are easy to paint!

Friday 24 April 2015

To the Strongest has landed!

...just in the nick of time for Salute.  Phew!  The print quality looks very good, and I am rather chuffed to put it mildly. A huge thank you to all those who helped get me to this point! Now I just need to introduce Mrs. Bat to the new warehouse facility in our hallway, and schlep half a tonne of books, minis and boards to Excel.

If you'd like to pick a copy at Salute, you can still pre-order from my shop- I'll refund postage costs


and collect from Agema Miniatures (TE11), or just turn up with twenty quid on the day at either the Agema miniatures stand or Caliver Books (TL11).

Orders for delivery by post will go out next Monday/Tuesday.

Thursday 23 April 2015

Furiously flocking

Today I am furiously flocking my new terrain boards for the Cremona game at Salute on Saturday! Here I'm applying corn-stubble to a couple of fields and adding patches of long grass to break the flatness of the boards up.  It's a lovely sunny day and I'm playing '70s rock.  :-)

Tuesday 21 April 2015

Eagerly anticipating Salute

Sid and Nancy (above) are eagerly anticipating the Cremona 69AD at Salute.

My game is just about the furthest game from the Salute entrance (see map below). When you come in, don't get caught up in the crowds near the entrance- stroll purposefully along the central aisle, past the stage, looking neither to your left nor your right (blinkers might help here) until you reach the far seating area. Cremona will be the game just to your right, with the bridge and all the Romans. And Sid and Nancy.

If you are collecting a set of the To the Strongest! rules that you have pre-ordered, they can be found at the Agema Miniatures stand TE11 (the black asterisk above), Greg will have a list. You can pre-order the rules or buy them on the day, too.

Sunday 19 April 2015

River boats

Here is a small squadron of newly-painted river boats for my Cremona game on Saturday, when the will be carrying a commando gladiator raiding party.  

Later on, I will add seating and some German style rowers on benches that I am sculpting, and I will hopefully be able to play some riverine games.  I have a nice cataphract liburnian from Thomas Foss that will provide suitable Roman opposition.

Monday 13 April 2015

All laagered-up!

Here is my completed wagon laager, which I'll use with my Celts and my (projected) German and Goth armies. The photos were somewhat delayed due to camera issues (thanks to Ian for uploading). All photos are clickable!

The minis are a mixture of Foundry, Black Tree and Crusader.  All the minis were painted my mate Nick Speller, who did a splendid job! I painted the wagons and clutter.

All of the figures are removable- later I plan to add some Goth and Spartan wagon defenders, to maximise the use of the vehicles (take note, Nick!  ;-)  ).

The Foundry German civilians are a splendid bunch of minis!

The Germans have been at the lager- boom boom.

The carts are a real mix bag.  The majority are Front Rank and Irregular, but some are scratch built and others are old Minifigs from the '70's.  There is even a Citadel Adventurer's cart!

I'm also planning to make up some tents and other vignettes to sit behind the laager.

The wagons will be used as wagon laagers in games of "To the Strongest!" Their next major outing will be at Partizan in May. 

In other news, I'm now pre-selling my rules for collection at Salute on Saturday 25th, and postage out the following week, they can be found HERE.

My new lance and shock missile (=pila) chits that may be useful with the game can be found HERE.

Oh- and Monger has helped me to set up a "To the Strongest!" Forum.  I'm in the process of populating it, now.  If you have questions or comments about the game this would be a great place to ask them!

Best, Simon

Saturday 11 April 2015

Via Postumia tombs

My Bloody Cremona game at Salute is set along the line of the Via Postumia as it approaches to Cremona.

I thought it would be nice to depict some of the characteristic Roman roadside tombs and monuments, so I made these up. And when I say that I made these up, well, they aren't based on any particular Roman research.  ;-)

The figures are lovely Aventine Miniatures; they look suitably archaic and the pose of the horse is just right for an equestrian statue.

Here is another Aventine general, this time on foot.

The pedestals are made from very old (= 50 years!) Lego bricks and Games Workshop bases; I spent a little time "distressing" them with a scalpel.

They were sprayed white, stained with inks and I then "applied" lichen and moss to age and weather them.

Sometimes the Romans liked to use pyramidal shapes, echoing Egypt.

And finally I made a simple tomb around 30mm long.

The tombs will sit under the cypress trees alongside my Via Postumia in my "Bloody Cremona, 69 AD" game at Salute on Saturday week. If you are coming to Salute, you can find my game at GM11 on the below map, marked with the dark red asterisk. It is next to the large rest area at the far end of the hall from the entrance. Please do drop by and say hello! If you want to join in the game for a half hour or so, perhaps to get an idea of how the rules work, I'm sure we will be able to fit you in. Mark Freeth of the Wargames Holiday Centre will also be there, helping out and taking bookings!

Greg at Agema Miniatures will be selling my "To the Strongest!" rules at Saltue. You will be able to collect your pre-orders made from my shop from his stand, TE11, marked on the map with a black asterisk. He will also have some great Salute deals on his miniatures...

Friday 10 April 2015

Pre-ordering To the Strongest!

I have the proof copy is in my hands and it looks brilliant; the quality of the paper is excellent and the images and diagrams are really crisp. :-)

If you would like to pre-order a copy of the book, it can be now purchased in the BigRedBatShop. The physical book version retails at £19.99, and the digital version £9.99.  Both versions can be purchased together for £24.99, a saving of £5.

If you previously bought the previous digital version, the new extended version will be emailed to you on the 27th of April. You are also entitled to a £5 discount off of the cost of the physical book; just buy the book in the normal manner, drop me a separate email at simonmiller60 (at) gmail.com and I will refund £5 against the cost.

If you are attending Salute you can pre-order and collect the book from the Agema Miniatures stand (TE11), saving the cost of postage. Simply purchase the book in the normal manner, drop me an email at simonmiller60 (at) gmail.com l to let me know you will be collecting it and I will refund the postage costs. I will post out the remaining orders early in the week after Salute (i.e. from 27th April onwards).

Salute is also be a great opportunity to pick up chits and victory medals, post free!  I have just added some shock missile (pila, angon or soliferrum) and lance markers to the shop that will be handy with the new version.

Here's the pre-order link for the rules, again:  BigRedBatShop

Whilst you are picking up the rules, you might like to take advantage of one of the the several excellent deals on their own products that Agema Miniatures will be offering on the day.  They have their Legion Deal (1 x box Legionaries, 1 x box Velites, 1 x pack metal command) for £30; a Praetorian Army Deal (2 x Legion deal, plus a pack of metal Army command, all for £60) and a buy three, get one free deal on all their metal blister packs. 

Thursday 9 April 2015

Majestic cypresses

I've had some issues recently with my camera and haven't been able to photograph some of the models I've been making for my Salute Game "Bloody Cremona, 69 AD".  Today, happily, that is resolved and I can start to catch up.

Here are some new cypresses. I love the pencil-thin cypress tree. They always remind me of the Dylan lyric "I waited for you on the running boards, near the cypress trees, while the springtime turned Slowly into Autumn." I am especially keen on these particular cypresses because I made them and they cost almost nothing, unlike model cypresses which cost a couple of quid each (and aren't as nice IMHO). They stand around 6" tall (next to the 28mm figure).

A WIP Cypress is shown to the left.

In order to make the trees, I twisted a double thickness of black pipe cleaners together to make the trunk, and then other pipe cleaners around them to achieve the characteristic pencil thin shape, slightly wider at the bottom. I then dipped the trees in diluted wood glue and applied a couple of coats of fine sponge (two colours, mixed), later revisiting to touch-up any bald patches.

The trunk was glued into a hole drilled into an MDF disc and this, in turn, glued to a coin to act as a counterweight. I textured the bases and later I will partially flock them. Job done!  

I would really love to make some characteristic Italian umbrella pines up but I fear that time will preclude this...

If you are coming to Salute, please drop in to see me at my game (GM11 on the Salute map, near to the seating area that is furthest from the entrance).

Wednesday 8 April 2015

Sneak-peeks of To the Strongest! v1.1

Very shortly I'll start taking pre-orders for the new book version of my "To the Strongest!" ancient and medieval wargames rules and the associated digital version (which will be free to those who purchased the previous version). 

In the meanwhile I thought people might like to see some pages from this new extended version of the rules, which has benefitted from a glossy makeover by Aussi mate Millsy and editing/proofing by various mates but especially Aaron Bell in Japan. Here's the new front cover (all images are clickable):

Next are some other pages, chose more or less at random. There are some rule changes to the previous version; legionaries now have a pila to throw, for example. There are a couple of new troops types, too: war wagons and heavy chariots. I will be providing a summary sheet listing the various rule changes. 

I really like the photo on the page below, which I hope helps to make the point that the game can be played in 15mm (or 10mm, 6mm or even 2mm!) as well as 28mm. The production-value of this version of the rules is much improved, and both versions have an Index. The digital version will retain the popular hyperlinks.

Lastly, diagrams have been made clearer and more examples have been included to help players to pick the rules up quickly.

I am momentarily expecting the proof-copy to plunk through my letterbox. Assuming I'm happy with it, I'll put them up in the shp for pre-ordering! I will have both versions ready by Salute (25th April), and if you are attending you will be able to pick up a copy (and perhaps chits and whatnot) there and save yourself postage.

Best, Simon

Thursday 2 April 2015

Arriba Espana!

Today I uploaded another army list to the BigRedBatShop; this time ancient Spanish, and I thought I'd show a pic of the few Spanish caetrati (round shield bearers) that I finished some years back. I have more in the loft that just need basing, just not enough time to do it! It was interesting to research this list.  Over the last decade opinion seems to have shifted towards a regular battlefield role for the Spanish, compared to previously, when they were considered more as guerillas.

The new list can be found here

In other news, mate and proof-reader-extraordinaire Aaron has played a game of To the Strongest- you can read his after action review here and here.