Saturday, 18 May 2019

La Garde march North!

Here are another detachment of La Garde just about to march to Leven via Newark.  These grognards are exceptionally well travelled, having flown to Paris where they were painted by chum Lionel Bechara, posted to Scotland where chum Saxon Dog detailed and weathered them, then back down to me for basing* and now back up to join their comrades for the coming Waterloo game in Glasgow. There will be around three times as many when they are all finished and assembled. 

*I didn't have time to tuft- I'll leave that to David, who can take proper photos.

Friday, 10 May 2019

On my basing trays!

Mea culpa- it's been almost 4 weeks since my last post. Since Salute I have been painting and basing various things- mostly late medievals- that have been stuck in queus behind my Celts. It's great not to be working to a punishing deadline! Above are some Bande Nere de Giovanni pike, Perry plastics mostly painted by Shaun McTague and Richard Hampson Smith. I discovered today that my chosen yellow-ochre and black colour scheme is a little too... yellow. So I will mix in some more black-garbed minis. Behind them you may be able to make out some Florentine swordsmen. 

Below are a pair of command stands for Florence and the Bande Nere, respectively. They need to be flocked, of course. I've used lovely flags from Pete's flags on eBay, which are essential purchases for the Italian Wars.

Here are some arquebusiers- again, Shaun's going to paint some more in black, and I'll remove around half of the above from the bases and replace. The bases are shallower Batbases from a new set I've had made. Below are four Florentine mounted crossbows, I'll need to get some more done because I want to be able to deploy them in big units of 12. If one is painting plastics, there's no excuse for stinting on the unit sizes!

Finally for the Medieval period, we have above 24 Burgundians painted by French chum Lionel. I've added a highlight to the flesh and will give them a very gentle wash- I don't need to do much because they are superb paint jobs- there will be better pictures when they are based.

One reason I'm furiously basing late Medievals is that I'm hoping to get a couple of spare armies ready for the To the Strongest! "Knight Fever" tournament at the London GT in September. If you've not yet entered this, please give it some thought- it'll be a great day at what I suspect must be the world's largest wargaming tournament. The details of the tournament can be found here- it's in Edmonton and the To the Strongest! tournament is a one-day event on Sunday 15th September- so you have more than enough time to get an army in the field! 

All you need is 130 points of Medieval figures- perhaps as few as 70-80 miniatures- which you could get from perhaps 5 boxes of Perry (or Fireforge) plastics costing less than £100 at a show. I will likely play my Italian Condottieri again- they have proved to be tough opponents in the last two tournaments- although I am very tempted by the pretty Burgundians...

Above and below are some minis that I'm basing for chum Howard Litton- mostly Aventines. Their Volscians, above, are a stunning range that are all too rarely seen on the gaming table. Below are some Aventine Polybian command and Warlord artillery beautifully painted by Shaun Watson.


Finally, here are some Victrix Garde painted by chum Lionel in Paris, detailed and highlighted by David Imrie in Scotland and based by me in London. Once I've flocked them, they'll be heading back to Fife again and David can show photos of the finished units. We need to do six more of these units for the big game in June...

That's all for now! It's just struck me that perhaps 90% of the minis on this post are plastic- that's pretty much a first for me!

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Mancetter to Salute- Part II

Apologies for the delay in posting the second part of this- I have been frantically busy since Salute! All of these lovely close-ups of our Mancetter 61CE  To the Strongest! game were taken by Alan Daniels.

The chariots are mash-ups of the Wargames Factory kits with Newline and other ponies.

Above is my favourite warband, based on Tacticus' account of the druids at Mona. "On the shore stood the opposing army with its dense array of armed warriors, while between the ranks dashed women, in black attire like the Furies, with hair dishevelled, waving brands. All around, the Druids, lifting up their hands to heaven, and pouring forth dreadful imprecations, scared our soldiers by the unfamiliar sight, so that, as if their limbs were paralysed, they stood motionless, and exposed to wounds. Then urged by their general's appeals and mutual encouragements not to quail before a troop of frenzied women, they bore the standards onwards, smote down all resistance, and wrapped the foe in the flames of his own brands."

Celtic women cheer on their menfolk. I see that d****d scene-stealing flock of sheep has crept into the foreground!

Another chariot. The look of the chariots was much improved by the recent flockathon.

Some of the warbands include armoured warriors, representing dismounted noblemen and chariot warriors.

Above is a downhill shot. The legions in the reserve line were not much engaged; the fight falling to the the auxiliaries, further down the slope.

Finally I was really chuffed to receive the Bill Brewer Memorial Award for best presented game: runner up; a super seal on the event. I'd like to thank everyone who helped with the project, especially Shaun McTague and Ian Notter, and, on the day- Ian, again, Mike Brian, Tim Thompson, Andrew Brentnall and Neil Graber. Also, of course, everyone who played or stopped by for a chat! And lastly the Warlords (especially Philip Andrews) who run the event with great (and often unappreciated) efficiency.

Onward to Salute '20... for which I already have half a plan!

Monday, 8 April 2019

Mancetter to Salute! Part I

Here are some lovely photos that chum Ian Notter took of our To the Strongest! Battle of Mancetter 61CE game. The shot above catches the back of the laager, warriors, slingers, Roman skirmishers, Auxilia line, legionary line and flanking horse.

Here's a wide shot. You can see that the British line is wider than the defile between the two forests, and the size of the hill which was perhaps 20cm high. 

The British had 12' of light troops and 12' of warriors, 2' of chariots and 4' of laager. The Romans had 4' of lights, 7' of auxiliaries, 4' of legionaries and 2' of cavalry. I might revisit this battle another year if I can get a few more units of warriors painted. :-) 

Above the shots show the forests. These attracted a lot of praise; they were assembled by the simple expedient of sticking ALL the trees that Ian and I own together, in close proximity to each other. The tall trees that people particularly liked, come from Debris of War.

Another show-stealing element was the flock of sheep in the foreground. From 1stCorps, and painted by chum Shaun McTague, these aroused more interest than the 900 freshly-flocked Celts. :-/

Above, druid offer a much-needed sacrifice. Below, a downhill shot, taken from behind the Roman lines. You can just make out the British women in the distant laager.

The British warrior units are three ranks deep, bolstered by heroes. These turned out to be quite formidable of which more, in part II, tomorrow!

And finally, here's a photo of me grinning like a loon, nicked from Antonio Dimichele.  As you can see, I had a VERY good time!

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Meet the Flockers!

Here am I (left) with chum Ian Notter (right) with the 100% flocked and tufted British army that we've just completed for our huge "To the Strongest! Salute game. Many thanks to Ian- it's not something I could have done all by myself- I think I would have gone mad! Well madder, anyhow.

There are 18 warbands, each of around 36 minis for a total of 640-odd hopping mad Britons. Many of these (250+?) have been freshly painted by Shaun McTague, others come from Shaun Watson. Most of the original warband were painted by Nick Speller some years ago and have all been re-based. I reckon there are at least 90 standards and 30 carnyxs.

Here are 90 skirmishing slingers that will screen the brave (suicidal?) uphill charge. All of the units are based on irregular-edged bases from my TtS!20 series, which should blend nicely into the terrain cloth.

Here are twenty light horse and some command stands.

On the left are 18 British chariots. On the right, the wagon laager.

Finally, here are sundry baggage elements and battlefield dressing.

I'm really delighted to finish these off! Please come by and see our huge Romans vs. Boudicca game, "Mancetter 61 CE", using the "To the Strongest!" rules, at stand GA12, just to the right inside the Salute entrance- the first table you'll come to! I'll be the one in the shirt. :-)

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Flocking Britons Day 4

Day 4: The entire dining room is covered in a thin layer of flock. Beer in hand, Ian is contemplated the last remaining unflocked unit of slingers.  After this there are the 18 chariots and the laager to reflock, and then about 2000 tufts to apply. I am 92% there according to my spreadsheet!

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Flocking Britons

Chum Ian on Day 2 of the annual pre-Salute flockathon.  That's around half the Britons.

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Gardes, Gardes!

I was doing a photo shoot yesterday for some new Flatpack Terrain river and track products that I'm selling, and found I needed some marching figures. In my loft I found these; they've not seen the light of day in five years or more (photo is clickable). My Napoleonic collection remains somewhat "in the closet", but I couldn't resist setting them out for a photo, especially as I'm currently working on a related project (below) with chums David Imrie and Lionel Bechara.

Lionel painted and David has highlighted and weathered.

With six battalions each of 24 Garde Chasseurs, it occurs to me that I'm within shouting distance of being able to field a full eight battalion division of them, which, with the Garde Grenadiers, would give me all the Old Guard infantry for Waterloo or the winter 1814 campaign. I also have most of the Young Guard, already based, much of the Garde cavalry and some of the artillery. It strikes me that they would work very nicely on a 20cm grid. Now if someone would only write a decent set of grid-based card-driven Napoleonic rules... ;-)

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Celtathon V

I've been posting less, of late, on account of all the basing I've been doing for my Mancetter 61CE Salute game. 

Above are the warbands for the game. The sharp-eyed will observe that five bases are still "blank" - I have just completed the 175 required minis but not yet based them. 

Here's a closeup. Each warband consists of around 36 minis (so there will be 650 in all). The minis are a mixture of all the larger Celtic ranges, particularly Renegade, Black Tree, A&A and Foundry. Many are conversions. Most were painted by Shaun McTague or Nick Speller, with some by Shaun Watson. I did some snagging and many of the shields. The bases are grouted and primed and, in a few cases, partially flocked. There's a heck of a lot of flocking to be done...

Here is a closeup of many of the blank bases. Each unit has two- a TtS!20F and a TtS!20G that fits across the back and can be angled or turned about to indicate disorder. You'll see I've chamferred the edges to give them a nice low profile, fitted magnets into the holes and primed them in an earth shade.

The slingers are mostly done, too, and you can see them here. The laager and the chariots are all complete. All in all, there should be around 900 Britons on the table, and perhaps 600 Romans. In the finest traditions of Salute, the glue will still be drying on the road to Excel!

If you are coming to Salute and would like to play in one of the two games (10AM and 2PM), please drop me an email at the address above left, and I will book you in. I also have a couple of free tickets that I can give to people familiar with TtS! who can play/help to run the games. I hope to see lots of you there! I won't be selling at Salute but if you'd like to buy anything from the BigRedBatshop now, and collect at Salute, that's fine- just let me know and I will refund your postage.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

The 2019 To the Strongest Worlds! Part III

Swiss civil war at Chalgrove
I thought people might enjoy some modest stats on the tournament!

List of the competing armies, in alphabetic order
Almoravid Berber
Caesarian Roman
Classical Indian
Early Crusaders
Early Feudal Spanish
Eumenid Successor
2 x Feudal English
HYW English
2 x Imperial Seleucid
Late Achaemenid
Late Romans (Western)
2 x Later Carthaginian
Later Italian Condottiere (Milanese)
2 x Later Italian Condottiere (Venetian)
Later Medieval German
2 x Middle Imperial Roman
Mongol Conquest
2 x Parthian
Polybian Romans
2 x Principate Roman
2 x Romano-British
Sultanate of Rum
2 x Swiss
2 x Tang Chinese
3 x Teutonic Knights
Wars of the Roses - Yorkist Pretender

Armies by type
10 Infantry armies (four or fewer hits-worth of mounted)
8 Cavalry armies (four of fewer hits-worth of foot)
24 "Mixed" armies- (the rest)

I have a few observations:-

  • The majority of armies are mixed.
  • Knights seem to be the new nomads- for the first time, there's a high proportion of armies drawn from the High and Later Medieval lists. This might be, in part, because I posted lots of pictures of my own knights in the lead up to the event.
  • Also first Parthian armies I've seen- probably due to the improvement to Cataphracts.
Scores on the Doors!
And finally, here are the top five armies- I think all five are "mixed":-

1st place   Chris Winter         Imperial Seleucid                              586.4 points
2nd place  Gareth Purchon Principate Romans                              580.2
3rd place   Colin Hoare         Later Italian Condottiere (Venetian)    570.0
4th place   Simon Miller (!) Later Italian Condottiere (Milanese)   552.2
5th place   Peter Anderson Late Achaemenid                              540.3
  • The winning army, Chris Winter's, was one of the few to include elephants, as screens, which he describes as his "ablative shield."  :-)  He reasons that elephants are stomping good value in a knight-rich environment.
  • I fought Gareth Purchon in the final round- a bruising draw - golly, Principate Romans are tough! The original TtS! army, and still one of the best.
  • I only briefly saw Colin's army- the cousin of my own- lots of lovely red flags fluttering.
  • I was astonished to be placed fourth- had a lot of luck. I really, really, like knights!
  • I played Peter in a tough game but was hugely lucky when four of his units failed their morale tests and ran away!
The event was generously sponsored by Keith of Aventine Miniatures. I ended up with one of the prizes, and have invested it (and more) in some lovely Huns, including this super baggage element

"Knight Fever" at the London Games Tourney
Should you wish to scratch your post-Chalgrove TtS! itch, or enter your first tournament, we are now taking bookings for a large Medieval-themed TtS! tournament as part of the huge London Games Tourney in Edmonton, London on Sunday 15th September. London GT is a huge event for the Warhammer 40K/LOTR crowd, with quite a sizeable historical contingent present, representing the various ancient rule sets. 

Knight armies are cheap and easy to build in these days of Perry and Fireforge plastics! If you don't have a suitable Medieval army (one from any of the three Medieval books), I (or someone else) might be able to lend you one- I plan to base a couple or three up. I'm also writing additional lists, currently Later Polish and I plan to add Lithuanian, Hussite and Spanish and hopefully more in the next month or so.

The details can be found at Knight Fever Details. You can book your place at Knight Fever Bookings- I already have, it was really easy! Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

The 2019 To the Strongest Worlds! Part II

Connor Truby I think, vs. Peter Ryding?
 Here are the balance of the photos that I've been given from Saturday's To the Strongest! Worlds.

Gareth Purchon vs. Barry Lee. I fought Garreth, later in the day, a tough and resilient opponent!
Peter Ryding, right, vs. ? Looks like a  nice compact line with a refused flank guard. I'd hazard that Peter outscouted his opponent and decided to kill one flank.

Roger Calderbank Tang vs. Alex Meyers with Imperial Seleucids

Rachel Winter vs. Simon Purchon

My own light cavalry crossbowmen- did invaluable service. It's really important to be able to disorder some opponents before committing the knights. They died to a man in the last game.

Me vs.Peter Anderson's LAter Acaemenids. An enjoyable game, with several reverses of fortune- I got lucky!

I think that's Howard Litton's Polybian Roman army (ex mine). I think Howard came second overall, which is remarkable in only his second tournament. Howard came all the way from the Isle of Arran. Sorry, I can't make out the opponent. 

We had the hall pretty much filled this year- might need to apply some creative thinking next year.

I really liked Jimmy Carter's vintage Swiss army. I covet a Swiss army of my own...

So the Worlds are over, almost 12 months to wait for the next one! :-(

On the upside, though, I can announce that bookings have just opened for a new one-day tournament, "Knight Fever", as part of the London Games Tourney on Sunday September 15th. This will be purely for armies form the three Medieval Books- if you don't have an army, but want to come, please mail me- or spend £60 with those nice Perry brothers and you'll be sorted in no time! Details are here- it's a Chalgrove-style event, it'll be fixed terrain for round 1 and optional terrain placement thereafter.  Apparently there are plenty of places and lots of free parking. This is where you can book.