Sunday 30 December 2018

Last knights

Some more Perry knights have arrived from chum Lionel in Paris. I've decided that I want these to be in the livery of Milan (yellow and white, mostly) so am changing the plumes and painting three more to join them (on the left). When these are finished, I'll have all the troops I need for Chalgrove in February. I have some lovely "Pet's Flags" banners to go on these... Hopefully I'll have them on bases for New Year, since other projects beckon!

Yesterday Andrew Brentnall drew my attention to this excellent podcast review of For King and Parliament. It is most entertaining; the authors really seem to have "got" what we were trying to achieve. :-) ```

Friday 21 December 2018

On the ninth day of Christmas...'s a Christmas miracle! Two more units on bases. Above are a unit of Bande Nere pikemen- mostly minis from Richard Hampson-Smith. Below are some formed crossbowmen. In both cases I've re-based, because I like a high density of miniatures and wanted to use my wobbly bases. I highlighted and washed the minis with a matt acrylic varnish. I am still loving Pete's flags- these ones, again, feature demons. I'll take proper pictures of the units next year, when the basing is complete.

At Chalgrove, the above two units will have to proxy other troop types. The tough-looking pikemen will represent raw spearmen, and the crossbowmen will represent pavise-less crossbowmen.

And here is the army. The final, missing, unit is a bit of a problem- I am awaiting reinforcements and probably won't have them until late January. 

I'm delighted how quick it was to finish and re-base the units- just over one evening per unit. 

Tomorrow I'll finish and publish my army list (here) and send it to Tim Thompson. Could those coming to Chalgrove please send their lists to Tim, if complete, I want to get as many in as possible before the holidays.

I'm really taken with these Perry minis. I think there's the makings of a really great campaign in this era, with players representing city states and condottieri.

Wednesday 19 December 2018

On the eighth day of Christmas

....OK I hear you say "It's three days since his last post", but who's counting? Yuletide preparations have taken precedence. That said, last night I managed to finish two more units of knights, The first (above) is Giovanni de Medici, and the second, below, are some knights for the Bande Nere, the Black Bands of Giovanni, which confusingly appear to have post-dated his unfortunate encounter with a cannon ball.

Both units are plastic Perry minis from the small army I recently bought from Richard Hampson-Smith, highlighted and inked. All the flags are from Pete's flags- and rather lovely! You can find them on eBay. The stands of knights with banners will be the command stands.

You'll see I have only three units to go; one more lot of knights, some scruffy spearmen and some formed crossbows. I don't have any of these minis, exactly, but I have others that can proxy for them and I'll see if I can get some more on bases before Christmas!

Sunday 16 December 2018

On the seventh day of Christmas...

...six more barber-shop knights a'lancing. The six new ones at the rear were painted by Parisian chum Lionel and I merely did a little inking and highlighting.  I haven't stuck them down, because I might want to add some "socks" to a few of the horses.

Seven down, five to go. Tomorrow, instead of painting, I shall try to publish the army list. The remaining units look likely to take a couple of days each to finish, so I probably won't finish by Christmas; but you never know!

If you are coming to Chalgrove, please get your army list over to Tim Thompson by Christmas, if at all possible. If you aren't booked in, but would like to come on February 23rd, please drop me a line!

Saturday 15 December 2018

On the sixth day of Christmas....

...we have the final four mounted crossbows, a skirmishing.Again, Perry minis from Richard Hampson-Smith that I have highlighted; still loving the yellow and black.

The great thing about this FK&P6 base size (above left), is that I can use two elements for a unit on a 15cm grid, or three on a 20cm grid, so I can use the minis for both competition and for larger display games. There's a double-sized element (FK&5, right), too, with twice the footprint that will help me to keep the overall number of bases to a minimum, which will save time when deploying the army.

I love to recycle basing material; it saves time, money and (in a tiny way) the environment, so I'm reusing material salvaged from Richard's bases.

Here's the army to date. This is the most organised army build that I've every managed! :-)

I was going through my loft today and I keep finding more units of painted WOTR and Burgundian minis; I must have two or three hundred of them!

Friday 14 December 2018

On the fifth day of Christmas...

...four more mounted crossbowmen, a skirmishing. These are minis from the army I bought from Richard Hampson-Smith, highlighted. Who would have thought that lemon and black would work? It really does. The banner is the first of many in this army from Pete Smith- it is one of the Bande Nere flags which depicts two devils playing dice; quite stunning! If only they were playing cards. ;-) Pete's lovely Medieval and Renaissance flag designs can be found here.

You'll see I am nearly at the half-way stage of building my army for Chalgrove, although the larger and more complex units, the knights and formed foot, are mostly still to come.

Thursday 13 December 2018

On the fourth day of Christmas...

...we have six more skirmishing crossbowmen, that I plan to use to screen my expensive knights. There are retouches of minis from an army I recently bought from Richard Hampson-Smith.

The army is starting to come together; I'm currently plugging away at some more mounted crossbowmen. I hope I can keep the unit-a-day rate up...

Wednesday 12 December 2018

On the third day of Christmas...

...we have four crossbowmen, prancing.

Four mounted crossbowmen, bought from a chap in Sweden and highlighted- the first of three such elements. I love the red and green that he picked.

Three down; nine to go! I am loving the Perry plastics... when they are done, I'll have an easily portable army that I can take to competitions next year.

Tuesday 11 December 2018

On the second day of Christmas...

...we have six later knights a lancing. These are Perry plastics painted by chum Lionel in Paris, and highlighted by me. They are great minis and paint jobs; a later photo, once based, will do them more justice. Lionel is painting some more for me; there will be 30 mounted knights in the army.

Above is the progress to date, two units down, ten to go! Then of course grouting, flocking... and a camp.

In broad terms the army is going to consist of five units of later nights, five skirmishing crossbowmen (three mounted, two on foot), and a unit each of formed crossbowmen and spearmen.

Monday 10 December 2018

On the first day of Christmas... true love sent to me, six crossbowmen skirmishing (pics are clickable). These are part of the Later Italian Condotta army I'm raising for the To the Strongest! Worlds in Chalgrove on February 23rd. I'll try to add a unit every day, or other day, until Christmas, when it will be mostly complete (I have most, but not all, of the required minis).

Here are the bases- I prepared them yesterday, fixing magnets, chamfering and priming.  These are Batbases from my shop. Although originally designed for the ECW, I have realised that they also work really well for both the 15cm and the 20cm grid mats, using them as two-base units on the 15cm mat or three-base on the 20cm. With a bit of careful planning, I will, therefore, be able to use the same minis on both grids (the 15cm for competition and the 20cm for display games at shows). It'll all become clear over the next two weeks.

The first minis are one of two units of Perry Italian skirmishing crossbowmen; they are mandatory in the list which I'll describe more fully, tomorrow. Quite useful troops- cheap, too!

In other news, I've just launched a pre-Christmas sale of some of my Deep-Cut mats, and have a continued an existing promotion on the rules.

Sunday 18 November 2018

To the Strongest! at Warfare

Simon Purchon and Steve Dover ran a super-looking Roman vs. Sassanid game at Warfare, yesterday, which I was sorry to miss in person. Simon says "We played two games, although neither got the end, and we had novices in both games. In the second game, three out of the four players were new to the rules."

As well as Simon's Sassanids, which I am all-to-used to seeing from the wrong end of a lance, I think I spot some Late Romans that used to be in my collection and which are now in Mark Philips' collection.

The mats are Sahara 15cm grid; they look great with a few palm trees scattered around.

A great looking game!

Tuesday 6 November 2018

Magnesia phalanx

I realised, today, that I forgot to blog the pictures of my pike phalanx, from Partizan back in August. Here it is; most of my phalangites are drawn up, 32 ranks deep, 1048 strong, with elephants in the intervals, representing a section through the Seleucid phalanx at Magnesia. The full Seleucid phalanx at 1:1 would be 32 feet wide. :)

Thursday 25 October 2018

Loading for the Wargames Holiday Centre

At dawn I'm off to Basingstoke for a Wargames Holiday Centre weekend at the Holiday Inn! Here are 82 boxes of minis and terrain. I think it will all fit in the car.... it's certainly the most minis I've ever shifted. I'm very much looking forward to some serious gaming... :-)

Monday 22 October 2018

Soggy Bottom at SELWG

Here are some random pictures from yesterday's game at the excellent SELWG show in Crystal Palace, mostly taken by chum Ian Notter, except for the first and last pictures, which are by the SELWG team. All will expand if clicked! 

The battle is Soggy Bottom 1643; a battle designed to illustrate the TtS! For King and Parliament rules that co-author Andrew Brentnall and I wrote, in quite possibly its last show outing. Above is a shot along the battle lines.  I love the way that the deer appear to be watching from the forest...

Above- grim-faced, hard riding Northern Horse - mostly Catholics from Yorkshire. 

Below, dragoons doing what they do best. At the end of the second game, Oliver Cromwell ordered them to mount and charge over a hedge; in a hilarious run of astonishingly lucky card play, they took out most of the Royalist left wing!

This battery was flanked by the Royalists. We spent a couple of minutes checking whether they could turn their guns, before realising they were out of gunpowder and cannon balls!  :-)  The crews legged it.

Royalist lifeguard of horse. Senior commanders often had a personal bodyguard troop. These particular flags are GMB- very crisp!

The eponymous village of Soggy Bottom. I absolutely love the Hovels buildings, and have bought a small Dutch town from them.

And finally, our efforts were crowned with success- we won Best of Show! I was completely taken aback- hadn't thought we'd win anything as there were some super games on display. Huge thanks to Ian Notter, Shaun McTague and Chris Winter and to everyone else who helped or played in the two games, or who popped by for a chat- I was very hoarse last night. Really enjoyed meeting everyone!

The SELWG team worked really hard and the event was very well organised. They were very friendly, too, and helpful. I blew a lot of money on the Bring and Buy, and with the nice people at 1st Corps. I really enjoyed the show and will certainly be back next year! 

Thursday 27 September 2018

2019 To the Strongest! Worlds at Chalgrove

The date of the 2019 To the Strongest! World Championship will be 23rd February 2019 and it will, again, be held in Chalgrove Village Hall, Oxfordshire (OX44 7TE). For those who haven't yet been to the Worlds, they are a friendly, one day competition, probably the largest 28mm ancient/ medieval big-battle tournament in the world, with 30 or more players expected to participate.

The rules used will be the v1.1a To the Strongest!, along with the Even Stronger V7 supplement (which be published in early October). The V7 supplement will remain substantially similar to the current V6 version, but will include some changes to mounted evades, for game-balancing purposes, and a small but helpful change for players wishing to field cataphracts.

Battles will be fought on 6' x 4' tables on a 12 x 8  6" grid. Armies will be 130 points and composed of 28mm miniatures; any of the official TtS! army lists are allowed. If you don't have a suitable army, we may be able to lend you one- please ask. Please don't submit your list yet, we'll start taking them from late November, and will need all the lists by the end of January.

There will be four rounds in round robin format, as last year. The first round will feature pre-set terrain and the second, third and fourth rounds will use pre-set terrain if both players are happy, otherwise terrain will be placed as in the rulebook. Please bring terrain pieces, if able, there will be some terrain available to borrow on the day.

The final tournament ranking will be determined by how competitors did in each of the four rounds using the traditional cryptic/unfathomable formula:  Tournament points = (100 x fraction of Victory Medals you have taken from the opponent) + (50 x fraction of VM you have left from your own army) + (50 if you have scored a victory over the opponent).

There will be a £10 entry fee, payable in advance or on the day. Tea, coffee, hot chocolate and biscuits will be provided. Steve will ask the Red Lion pub whether they can supply baguettes again.

Provisional timings are as follows:

Friday evening- The Night Before Chalgrove Dinner, somewhere in the local area- please let Steve know if you are interested. Start the Worlds with a hangover!

  From 08:30 onwards, entry to the hall

  09:00 players to tables

  09:10 battle #1 starts

  10:35 current turn(s) to be completed. (N.B. the non-phasing player gets a final turn if they went second (i.e. lost the scouting), to even out the number of turns played) 

  11:00 battle #2 starts

  12:25 current turn(s) to be completed. 

  13:20 battle #3 starts

  14:45 current turn(s) to be completed.

  15:10 battle #4 starts

  16:35 current turn(s) to be completed. 

  16:50 Declaration of the winner who is then carried aloft around the room accompanied by  triumphant frenzied bellowing, ululation and chest beating, or maybe just a sedate presentation and a group photo.

There will be prizes for the winner, runner ups, good sportsmanship, best army+camp+terrain and other prizes at the whim of the organizers - not to omit the traditional dead elephant award for the player with the lowest score.

To secure a place, please email Steve at if you haven't already done so!

Tuesday 25 September 2018

To the Scottest!

This weekend we enjoyed a 28mm To the Strongest! tournament in Scotland, very kindly arranged and hosted by David Imrie, and named "To the Scottest!". It was held in the Leven Sea-Scouts Hall which turns out to be a fine venue for wargaming, with bunk beds, on-site catering and its own cannon. Above is the setup- we had six tables, five 6x4's and a 6x8 for a big Wars of the Roses game that David brought. All photos will enlarge if clicked; I have "borrowed" a couple of photos that Dave Soutar kindly sent me.

Simon Purchon (above), Steve Dover and I travelled up from Kings Cross- took us around six hours, and we talked wargaming all the way. Simon used his Sassanids to proxy Sarmatians. Do not be fooled by his pleasant demeanour; he did cruel and 'orrible things to my poor Romans (10:2 victory).

Above and below, Simon is playing Howard Litton who travelled all the way from the Isles of Arran, with Philip watching sagely from the sidelines.

Chris (left, above) is playing Ken Pearce (right). Unfortunately, the way the draw went, I didn't get to play either of them which was a pity. Below Steve Dover plays David Imrie.

Below Polybians battle Carthaginians (I think).

Above Peter Mearns and David Soutar, again, sadly, I didn't get a chance to play either.

Here are a couple of shots of David Imrie's lovely Wars of the Roses collection and stunning buildings. I especially covet the latter, I need something similar for my ECW collection....

Above Simon Purchon chats with David Imrie. It was an extremely affable event- there was quite a bit of socialising, especially in the evenings. On the Sunday I was nursing a massive hangover...

Above, me in my "shirt of war" battling Philip Marshall (below). Philip (current World Champion) took my army apart with surgical precision in around 40 minutes (10:0).

My Polybian Romans were numerous and not too shabby!

Above Howard is playing Simon Purchon, and below David plays Steve Dover.

Above the final scores on the doors; I avoided the wooden spoon by one point. I had played three of the best players in the world, so I didn't feel to bad about this, but I clearly need more practice!

Above Philip Marshal was the well-deserved winner. He strangely forgot to wear the victor's laurel wreath in the pub, afterwards! Below, Howard is presented with the wooden spoon prize which he pipped yours truly to win by a mere one point.

Above are most of the players on the quarterdeck of the Sea Cadet Hall.

On the Sunday morning we played a nine-player game- the empty seat on the right was mine. 

My Polybians advance boldly (top)- far too boldly, as it turned out- since Steve Dover smashed my wing and Howard Litton routed my legions. It was a fun game though!

It was a great weekend and I'd like to think we'll do something similar next year. Huge thanks to David for suggesting the event and organising it, and to everyone for coming! We also owe a debt to the Sea Scouts who were great hosts and cooks!