Tuesday 31 December 2019

New Year, New Herds!

Over Christmas I've been working on three new herds of elephants, two of which are for the new Salute game (Battle of Ipsus)  and the third for the previous-planned Salute game (Thapsus, which I've pushed back a year). The new game, Ipsus, should enable me to get the better part of thirty howdah-less nellies on the table. There may have been as many as 575 elephants at Ipsus.

All of the Indians at the front (mostly superb Aventine resins, with some nice old Vendels, painted by Dan Toone and Shaun McTague) need to be finished and based or re-based. The six Aventine nellies at back left, and eight more not shown, need to be painted- they will be Macedonian ride-ons. The ten nellies back right (and below) are Aventine resin Africans, painted by Kevin Lucas). 

Below are some of the Indians. The riders are magnetised and can be removed; I'm not entirely sure whether that is necessary, but it is kind of cool. It might help with storage, and gives me the option of replacing Indian riders with Macedonians. They are all on my crinkly-edged batbases.

A very Happy New Year to all! I hope this finds you and yours well. A couple of chums are going through challenging times at the moment, and I'll be thinking of them at midnight. I hope we all have a rip-roaring Twenty-Twenty! 

Tuesday 24 December 2019

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everybody!  I hope all of your miniature dreams come true, in 2020. :-)

Friday 13 December 2019

New Hussite army list published

The new Hussite list, written by chum Peter Anderson (thanks Peter!), is the first published list to include large numbers of war wagons. The Hussite Wars are fascinating and this really is an iconic list that we should have published years ago. You can find the 218th TtS! army list in the  Later Medieval booklet.

The stunning war wagon above was painted by Gregory Blake, who tells me he has a dozen of them, lucky so-'n-so.

Wednesday 11 December 2019

New army lists!

Since the beginning of September, I've published 13 new army lists for To the Strongest! and edited and extended many others. There are now 217 different lists. The new lists include:

  • Hephthalite (White Hun), Indo Skythian, Later Muslim and Later Hindu Indian lists, all in the "Across the Indus!" booklet
  • An Old and Middle Kingdom Egyptian list in "Cradle of Civilizations"
  • Kyrenean Greek and Mercenary Greek lists in "Frogs about a Pond"
  • Western Frankish and Magyar lists in "Early Medieval"
  • A Khwarazmian list in "High Medieval"
  • Later Medieval Portuguese and Low Counties lists in "Later Medieval"
  • A Turkish Tribes and Kingdoms list in "Oriental"

I'm very excited about some of the new lists- particularly the ones in the new Indian booklet, which are very exotic and include some very unusual troop types.

All the lists can be downloaded, for free, from https://bigredbatshop.co.uk/collections/all/army-lists

Monday 9 December 2019

Thapsus elephants

It's been the longest time since I posted images on minis- real life stuff has kept me too busy. But normal service will henceforth, hopefully, be resumed. Here are some WIP images of one of the projects I've been busy on. Six of these beautiful Aventine elephants (along with two other beauties for another project, not shown) were painted for me by chum Kevin Lucas- I just added some highlights on the howdahs and crew. The Aventine elephants are resin with metal detail and are beautifully light. I have rebased two very nice Agema elephants from my Numidian army, to join them.

The un-textured areas of base will take the screening light infantry, which aren't yet painted. These eight will form the screen for my Pompeian army for the Salute Thapsus game. I'll take proper pictures, when they are finished in January. I think I now have 31 elephants on bases, altogether, with another 15-20 painted but not yet based, mostly intended for a projected Classical Indian army.

Thursday 5 December 2019

TtS! Tournament in Paris

French chums are organising a To the Strongest! Tournament in Paris next summer, and say that we rosbifs would be most welcome to come along and join them. Unusually, it's in 15mm scale (the preferred scale in Mainland Europe) but they can lend armies - from what I've seen, they aren't short on miniatures!  Six games will be played over two days on a 6x4 15cm grid.  The price tag of the tournament is 25€ for the 2 days and includes the lunches.

I intend to go, travelling out Friday PM and back Sunday PM by Eurostar, and staying in a local hotel TBA, and hopefully scoffing a couple of nice French meals in the evenings. If you think you might like to come (no need for a firm commitment at this stage), then please email me at the address on the left. I'll collate the UK responses and get back to Pierre Aymeric who is organising it. 

Cheers, Simon

Monday 2 December 2019

... and Godendag, too

In the run-up to the Chalgrove TtS! Worlds there is what I like to think of as the "Welsh Open", at the Godendag event in Firestorm Games in Cardiff on Saturday 8th Feb 2020. This is a super opportunity to refresh yourself with the rules and road-test your Chalgrove army.

I'm just booking my rail ticket and will be staying in Cardiff the night before, if anyone is about for a beer/curry. After all, what TtS! event would be complete, without the mild hangover and dodgy tummy experience? ;-)


There are just 8 remaining places, at time of posting. Hope to see you there!

Sunday 1 December 2019

Chalgrove is coming!

The date of the sixth annual To the Strongest! World Championships is 22nd February 2020 - please put it in your diary - and it will, again, be held in Chalgrove Village Hall, Oxfordshire (OX44 7TE). 

For those who haven't yet been to the TtS! Worlds, it is the largest 28mm ancient/medieval big-battle tournament in the world, with 40 or more players expected to participate in the one-day event. We hope to make 2020 the biggest Chalgrove, yet.

The rules used will be the v1.1a To the Strongest!, along with the Even Stronger V8 supplement. Battles will be fought on 6' x 4' tables on a 12 x 8 box 6" grid. Armies will be 28mm and 130 points; any of the 215+ official TtS! army lists are permitted. If you don't have a suitable army, mail me, we may be able to lend you one. 

Four rounds of battles will be fought in the familiar round-robin format. 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. 

The final tournament ranking will be determined by the total of how many medals you take in a battle, how many you have left and with a bonus applied if you won, outright. It's a good-natured competition, not taken too seriously by most of the competitors.

There will be a £11 entry fee, payable in advance or on the day. Tea, coffee, hot chocolate and biscuits will be provided, and lunch can be ordered in. There will be prizes for the winner, runner ups, good sportsmanship, best army+camp+terrain and other prizes at the whim of the organisers - not to omit the traditional dead elephant award for the player with the lowest score.

To secure a place, please email Steve at  steve.dover@3dsystems.com if you haven't already done so! 

We are now officially open to receive army lists! Please mail your list to tim.thompson9 at btinternet.com. The closing date for list submissions is 10th February, but we are very keen to avoid a late rush.

Any questions please mail me at simonmiller60 at gmail.com

We very much hope to see you there!

Saturday 9 November 2019

Base camp

I realised I needed even more bases for the Salute project- here they are, something like 425-450 of the blighters. They are chamferred, magnetised and sanded to perfection, and I have spray-painted the edges so that I don't need to hand paint them, it'll save a few hours, later on. There's no point in spraying the tops brown as they are already primed and will be covered in minis and grout.

The above stands are mostly for veteran legionaries, and the below for standard and raw. I prime everything in Halfords grey, below you can see other bases before priming.

And these are command stands, and stands for elephants and lights, and a bombard for the early Renaissance.

The bases are from my various ranges, mostly designed by myself and Ian Notter.

So I have no excuse, now, I need to get some minis on bases!

Thursday 7 November 2019

Edgehill Cards Deployed

Here are some shots of the TtS! Edgehill scenario and cards, in action. Ian printed, laminated and cut the cards; he did a fine job.

Here's the whole battlefield, 270cm wide, from the Royalist side.
The mat is a 9' x 4' plains with a 10cm cross grid. We didn't have a large enough table available, so set it up on the floor, with books underneath, for the hills. Old Skool!

The Royalist Centrre
We used felt for the stream and cut up scouring pads for the hedges.

Royalist left- you can see the dragoons and horse holders, behind. There is even a card for John Smith.

The parliamentarian artillery and the Lifeguards that saved the day.

The Royal Lifeguard of Foote, with Royal Standard and attached gun

Prince Rupert and the Royalist right, behind a scouring-pad hedge.  :-)
It is really great to see the project come to fruition. I'm sure we will take this to one of the shows, next year. If you'd like a set, you can find the cards here.

Tuesday 5 November 2019

Edgehill Scenario and Unit Cards published!

I've just published two exciting new downloads for use with the For King and Parliament ECW rules.

The first download is our Edgehill 1642 scenario. Edgehill 1642 was the first major battle of the English Civil War, and amongst the largest. The 18 page PDF includes a brief account of the campaign and the battle, reconstructed orders of battle for both sides, deployment diagrams and photos of beautifully painted wargames figures. It can be viewed on a tablet, or printed out and bound. The scenario, designed for the TtS! For King and Parliament English Civil War rules but could be adapted to work with other rule systems, too. It is a large and well-tested scenario that will suit two to six players.

The second download, below, is a 17 page digital file of unit cards, which can be printed, cut out and used to re-fight Edgehill, in conjunction with the scenario and the For King and Parliament rules (although the cards could be used to fight the battle with other rule systems, too).

There are cards representing all the general officers, some colonels and all the units that we have been able to identify as present at the battle. They are additional cards for Parliamentarian reinforcements that might have influenced the battle, had they arrived in time. There are also cards permitting an alternative deployment of the Royalist foot in a Thirty Years War "Swedish" style, which may have been used in the battle. There are card overlays that will indicate whether your horse is pursuing, or your foot formed up in hedgehog. Lastly, there's an explanatory booklet which explains how to prepare and use the cards.

The cards can be printed and cut out either for use with a 10cm grid (9' x 4' playing surface) or a 7.5cm grid (6' x 3' playing surface). They can also be used in conjunction with miniatures, taping each card under a unit's base, so that only the tag with the unit's name and details upon it, protrudes. A really useful way of showing which unit is in which brigade!

You can buy the Edgehill scenario and/or the Edgehill unit cards here. 

Monday 4 November 2019

Edgehill - Unit cards - Sneak peek!

Here are a couple of images from the Edgehill Unit Cards pack. The cards are designed by my chum Ian Notter, based loosely on the images in the Streeter Naseby engraving. Here is a page from the introductory pack that accompanies the cards, and, below it, an image of a sheet of the unit cards, themselves.

These are some of the Parliamentarian Edgehill foot; large units, eight  ranks deep, so with an extra (fourth) hit. We have added uniform colours, where known (not often!), sometimes we have guessed. The flags indicate who the officer for the brigades is, and his superior general. All the information needed for play with For King and Parliament is on the card tab (save, ammo, battalion guns and so forth). If you laminate the cards, then you could use them with a whiteboard pen.

The whole Edgehill OOB, with lots of "what if" units, will be included in the download. Hopefully I'll have it in the shop on Wednesday or Thursday. If it proves popular, we will give the same treatment to some of the other battles of the ECW; perhaps we could produce a set of generic unit cards for use with the game.

Sunday 3 November 2019

Edgehill Scenario- sneak peeks

Here are a few sample pages from the imminent Edgehill scenario booklet- due out later this week.  :)

Friday 1 November 2019

Edgehill Scenario and Unit Cards coming soon....

Very shortly I will have two new For King and Parliament products coming out- a PDF scenario booklet, based on Andrew Brentnall's excellent and well-tested game, and a pack of stunning unit cards designed by Ian Notter, which can be printed out and used to re-fight the battle (if you don't have three or four thousand suitable minis ready to go, that is ;-) ). Here are the covers, I'll post some images from inside, in the next day or so!

Watch this space!

Thursday 24 October 2019

Mancetter at SELWG

Here are some absolutely cracking images of the final outing of the Battle of Mancetter at SELWG, last Sunday- also the final event of my wargaming year, before my annual hibernation. All the pictures were taken by Ian Notter, and they came out brilliantly! They will expand, if clicked.

Above, waves of Britons crashing against the Roman lines. The Roman auxiliaries are in front, and the legionaries in reserve, as at Mons Graupius.

The omens are good! Lamb cutlets for supper.

I absolutely love the way that the above shot came out; even with the ghostly hand! Those are Wargames Foundry "Saleh" sculpted legionaries, my favourite Early Imperials. I've not come across anyone else with a collection of them.

Above, one of the eighteen British chariots. 

Finally, another shot of the British advance. Most of the Celts were painted by Shaun McTague with a little finishing by me- others are by Nick Speller and Shaun Watson, and others, still, random purchases from eBay. The trees are from Debris of War.

We had a super day at SELWG. My To the Strongest! rules worked very well, delivering two results in just over two hours a game. The Romans won one game, and the Britons, the other, leaving the natives ahead by five games to three on the 2019 series. Romanes eunt domus! This is a most surprising outcome, what with the Romans being both better armoured and uphill; I put it down to the staying-power of the deep units, and some plucky British players.

A huge thank-you to Ian Notter, Ian Cameron-Mowat, Mike Lewis and family, Nick Speller and John Carpenter who helped set up or knock down, or both. Also my thanks to everyone who played!

Tuesday 22 October 2019

Making basing!

These are the additional bases required for my Salute game (luckily, my Numidians are already based). There are (I think) 124 of them, each of which needed the edges to be chamfered and fitted with 6-12 magnets.  They took me something like 5 weeks of evenings to do, I went through around 60 Xacto blades and a couple of fingers.

The bases at the back are from my FK&P14 range- two of them fit in a 20cm square. The bases at the front are from various other ranges and three fit in a 20cm square. Laid edge to edge, there are 10 metres worth of bases here; the reason for having so many is that both armies will be formed up four units deep across the whole width of the battlefield.

Now I just need to fill them with minis!

Friday 27 September 2019

Bande Nere

Here are my Bande Nere di Giovanni, ready for the Italian Wars, for which I am currently writing rules. I've recently expanded the pike to be 4-deep. The arquebusiers can be fielded as light or massed-light units. All of the minis are Perrys, with most painted by the prolific Shaun McTague, and finished and based by me. You can click the photos for a close-up! The flags are from Pete's Flags.

I have the ratio of pike-to-shot correct; 2:1. This was thought at the time to be too high.

Now, I suppose I need to get someone painted for them to fight!

In other news, it's my Birthday, today, so I have a sale on.  :-)

Monday 23 September 2019

To the Strongest! in Glasgow, Part II

Here are some photos from the second day of the Glasgow To Strongest! event, starting with my third game. This was against Ian Austin and his Spartan army. Ian set up in the left corner of his side, and I set up in the left corner of mine. My flank attack failed to kill the Spartiates, largely on account of their excellent saves, and by mid-game most of my units were facing right, and most of his were facing left.

Despite our best efforts, nothing was dying. Nothing at all. I couldn't break his hoplites, frontally, and any knights that got disordered pulled back and rallied. It became a unique game with not a single unit lost, not even a measly helot. I cannot recall this in any previous game of TtS! that I've seen; it is a famously bloody set of rules.

In the penultimate turn of the game, though, I rode some light crossbowmen off of the table edge near his camp. On the final turn, I managed to bring them back onto the table, and activate them for a lucky second time, to trot into his adjacent camp, securing three points. You can make out Ian menacing the offending horsemen, in the image below. Ian had certainly picked the rules up, in only his fifth game, he was playing quite as well as I was, after well over 100.

In the final game, I found myself facing John Muir's Italo-Normans. across an open plain. This was a very different game from the previous three. Eschewing subtlety, John and I lined up opposite each other, and charged. He had more knights, but I had better-armoured knights, so it was pretty even. The battle degenerated into a single huge confused melee (below), with troops facing in all directions- charging, retiring, rallying and shooting. Slowly I was able to gain the upper hand and, eventually, cornered and killed one of his generals to win the battle 10:3. It could easily have gone the other way.

The scores...

And onto the presentations! 

Above is Liam Entwhistle, who secured third place with his beautiful ex-WAB Later Hungarian army.

And, second once again, yours truly! Always the bridesmaid, never the bride! ;-)  I received some lovely Claymore Castings minis, so I suppose I'll have to start another army, now.

Finally, below, the winner Peter Clarke whose Fatimid Egyptians had pipped me 63.5 points to 63. As well as a trophy, Dave Soutar presented him with a stunning command stand, painted and generously donated by chum David Imrie.

And finally Dave Soutar very kindly gave me some souvenirs - haggis, Scottish shortbread biccies and a limited edition Glasgow and District Wargames Society dice (!!!) tray. 

A huge thank you to Dave Soutar and the other organisers of the event, and to everyone who came along and played! It was a blast. I very much hope to come back next year. Dave and l set a provisional date, shortly.

p.s. Dave has just sent me some more photos- I'll either do a third post, tomorrow., or provide a link if he posts them online.