Thursday, 22 October 2020

Switzers IV

Last night I had a bit of a push on the first keil and finished the flags. I went with the Uri flag (Flags of War) and a couple of other flags in similar yellow/black colours (Pete's Flags), which tied in with the Uri colour theme.

You can see that I've based the core of the keil, including the command, halberdiers and less-armoured pikes, many of these have cantonal colours. The better-equipped pikes will be around the outside- these will have partial or, in a few cases, full plate, and are in generally less bright clothing.

Here's the Uri flag which depicts an auroch- I slightly overpainted the very nice Flags of War flag- gives it a nice texture. Iain very kindly re-sized the flag for me to make it slightly smaller- I wanted to put it on a spear rather than a pike. These minis are mostly by Shaun McTague.

All things being equal, I should be able to get the other 64 minis on their bases, tonight. Can't wait to see how they look! I've had a quick count- I have another 200+ painted Swiss with pikes and halberds, so hopefully will have three keils "in the field" by Christmas.

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Kingmaker Tournament approaches its conclusion


The TtS! Kingmaker is now in its sixth and final week, and the players have ratcheted up a mighty 35 online Wars of the Roses battles between them, so far!

All of the terrain is based on WotR battles, as are the army lists. Antony Spencer, who designed, organised and is running it, has written a summary of the campaign, so far, including a campaign map. You can find it at this link on the TtS! forum. Fascinating stuff!

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Switzers III

I've finally bitten the bullet and started to base some Swiss, that were painted by Shaun and finished by myself, earlier this year. I have accumulated several hundred minis- it's now a matter of assembling them into suitable units. This block will be mostly Uri. Other blocks are likely to be a mix of cantons. I'll need to paint/repaint the minis to get a suitable blend of cantonal colours.

Each block will have a group of halberdiers at its core, with a colour party in front of them. The rest of the blocks will be pike or pike and command. David Imrie kindly sold me some Swiss pike, and I'll be mixing them in, too. Eventually I'd like 5 blocks of 96, but I'll start with two.

I'm looking at the bases, on the basing sheet, and thinking that I might make up some larger bases that could take 16 minis on each- fewer bases is always better! 

Sunday, 11 October 2020

Florentine knights WIP

Here are my Florentine knights, still forming up for action at San Romano.

The more I get into the period, the more I discover- it's like hitting a moving target. In this latest incarnation I've added glorious tall plumes from Mirliton in Italy to most of the knights in the leading unit. Unfortunately, very few of the knights currently have the characteristic giornea tabards, and some even have tunics, which aren't particularly Italian. Once I get the next batch of painted knights back from Shaun McT there will be some swapping in and out. Any knights who no longer qualifies for the Florentine host will be used, elsewhere- the ones with tunics will be joining the Burgundian army. I'll add more full-faced helmets with plumes, too.

My plan is to have three units of 18 Florentine knights, and then to move on to Milan, replacing my current Milanese with 54 more Italian-looking elmeti, some with Milanese heraldry- then I'll either do the same for Venice, or perhaps base up some Burgundians.

Friday, 9 October 2020

Boar Spears


I need to model some spear heads for the bulk of my Italian infantry. These will be plastic Perrys, and I could probably fit spearheads onto the spear-shafts they come with. But from whence can I source the spearheads? They are an unusual shape and rather large - I'd estimate at least 8 or 9mm long - and I believe they are a sort of boar spear, without the cross bar. Any suggestions would be much appreciated! Plastic would be perfect since they could be glued in place, but I could drill and glue metal. 

Thursday, 8 October 2020

Venetian Spearmen II


There was a lot of interest in my last Venetian post, so I thought I'd show a second WIP shot.

All of the minis are finished and based. The eight new minis (painted by Shaun McTague) are mostly on the right, but I mixed some in with the original minis, and vice versa. Similarly, I included some of the shields with Ian's Venetian transfers on each base- this helps the unit to look homogenous. I'm very pleased with the amount of variation in the clothing, colours and shield designs in the unit. It looks pleasingly non-uniform.

Just need to grout and flock the base- might take a week or two to get around to that as I want to do a batch of units together for flocking.

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Venetian spearmen


Recently, I've been busy modelling things but failing to post pictures, so here is an image of a unit of Venetian spearmen that I'm currently working on. I'm retouching and expanding my old 17-man unit to a 25 man unit on a 19cm frontage for the 20cm grid. All the minis are Perry plastics, with a few light conversions. The shields are pavises* decorated with Venetian lion transfers designed by my talented chum Ian Notter. I made up rather too many of these, and plan to use up the spares on a unit of crossbowmen. The background colour is "Venetian Red", which is pretty much a brown, in my books!

*If I was starting afresh, I'd give the unit oval shields like the one carried by the halberdier.

Monday, 5 October 2020

Updated Army List books

I’ve recently (30/9/20) published updated version of the army lists for To the Strongest! There are now a total of 242 different lists, many with additional content, and some now including images. The newly published lists are:

  • Bithynian, Bosporan, Commagene, Illyrian and Tribal Hebrew lists in the Ancient army list eBook.
  • Nanzhao Chinese, Kamakura Samurai and Muromachi Samurai lists in the Medieval army list eBook.
.If you haven't received a download link, you can download the eBooks, for free, from 

Sunday, 27 September 2020

Birthday and Rules Sale

Since it's my Birthday, and a significant Birthday at that, I've put the To the Strongest! and For King and Parlaiment rules on my traditional Simon's Birthday sale, whilst I settle down, with a war film and a cuppa, to address at least some of my epic basing backlog (currently I have several hundred minis and around 30 elephants part-based).

I had hoped to run a huge Birthday game to celebrate, but clearly that's not going to happen before the spring, at earliest. But I will, at the earliest (safe-ish) opportunity next year, declare an "official" birthday and get a load of lead on a table. This might be at Salute or a local venue, we'll see how things are looking after Christmas!

Monday, 21 September 2020

Italian knights take #2


I've discovered (courtesy of some research, confirmed by asking Simon Chick) that all my Italian knights are on the wrong hosses, at least the wrong hosses for the late c. 15th. Apparently the pesky Italians almost invariably rode leather-armoured hosses, not at all like the metal ones that my current Italians ride. Also the pesky riders wore a distinctive sort of tabard called a giornea; who knew?

Essentially, I find that I need to convert 80 or so knights to form an entirely new army, and convert the existing 50 or so knights to become a different army of an early c. 16th nature. Such is the hard life of a mildly OCD gamer.

The upside is that the leather horse armour was richly decorated with heraldry and I can give them great big plumes. Simply ginormous plumes, in fact, from Mirliton in Italy. Onwards and upwards!

Thursday, 17 September 2020

Dungeon Level, explored


...since there was so much interest in the hatch, I thought I'd post some images of the new dungeon level at the BigRedBatCave. Above is the larger end of the space, with the old, damp, clinker floor removed. This will, shortly, be covered with a concrete slab.

Here's the area under the hallway, before painting. 

...and after, now coated with a damp-resistant slurry, in a dungeon-friendly battleship grey. I may add some manacles.

Next step is for the concrete slab to go in. In the coming weeks, I plan to get the pipework tucked away and put in some ventilation.

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

New Dungeon Level for the BigRedBatCave


During lock-down, it dawned on me that I have, at last, completely run out of figure storage space, with every corner of the house currently packed with miniatures. Nil desperandum, dear viewer! I've decided to extend the BigRedBatCave by excavating a new "dungeon level". The first step is to install a trap door, which you can see marked out, above.

Above you can see the initial hole cut, exposing the beam, and below the reinforced hatch.

Finally, below, is the finished hatch from above- I just need to remove the labels I used to mark it out.

In a later post, I'll show some photos taken within the new dungeon level, itself, which is currently being excavated by a crack team of dwarven miners.

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

New Medieval Army list eBook released

I've just released all of the TtS! Medieval army lists in a new, free PDF eBook, instead of the previous six separate Excel booklets. The format is much more user friendly than before, with hyperlinks from a contents page that you can use to whizz around them. The Medieval lists are now in green, to distinguish them from their purple Ancient peers. I also took the opportunity to edit the style of the lists and buff the spelling and grammar. I think you will like them! 

You can download them, for free, from here. 

You might also like to download the equivalent Ancient list eBook, if you didn't, last month, and the index which has of all the lists in chronological and alphabetical order. Enjoy!

Saturday, 29 August 2020

Mild wargamer OCD


Here my mild wargamer OCD is demonstrated by the fact I am collecting armies for both 1672 and 1685+, despite the fact that the differences in uniform are pretty trivial. I suppose I'm also driven, in part, by the somewhat different sculpting styles between North Star and Front Rank ranges which I both like, in their different ways.

I've picked up around 800 painted minis so far. The plan is to form large battalia of c.40 minis, similar to my ECW battalia, but with a slightly different configuration. Also many will need grenadier companies and sometimes battalion guns. I'm planning to look at the 1672 fighting between the French and the Dutch, Sedgemoor in 1685 and possibly the Boyne in 1690. I'll need to write some rules, too.

Thursday, 27 August 2020

More knights and coustilliers


I'm in the process of adding rear ranks to my six units of Italian knights, bringing each unit to 18 strong, and adding a seventh unit. I need a total of 63 coustilliers for this- I'm now around 2/3 of the way there. Above are 15 painted by Shaun McTague and finished by me, and another 8 that I almost completely repainted from an eBay purchase. I'm just about to start another bunch, this time armed with crossbows. I love the Perry miniatures- such great models! The picture is clickable.

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

To the Strongest! War of the Roses

 TtS WoTR.jpg (63.83KiB)

Chum Antony Spencer has designed some stunning new digital miniatures for an online TtS! Wars of the Roses campaign, which he will run starting on 7 September. It'll be similar in some respects to the very successful 1066 tournament we ran in the spring, but as well as the tournament element, the outcome of the battles will determine whether York or Lancaster triumphs n the wars.

To join in you'll need a reasonably capable PC, broadband and the Tabletop Simulator software available from Steam. Antony or I can help you with these and with the rules. The new Wars of the Roses mod can be found at

If you'd like to take part, please email me at the address above and to the left, and I'll forward your details straight to Antony- or if you are on Discord you may be able to contact him directly. 

I suppose I'd better get some practice games in... :-)

Saturday, 22 August 2020

Going full Vauban


On a whim, I've bought myself a c.17th fortress. I have slowly been accumulating late c.17th minis and they need a secure base of operations!

This came from Germany, and mostly made from foam, with resin details. It's around 75cm square.

That gate needs some outworks- the whole fort does, really, earthworks and a ditch. It would also be nice to add a house for the governor.

I'm quite taken with it- with a little additional detailing, I think it will look very good on the table.

I particularly like the sentry points. 

The model came from More Terrain in Germany and was very reasonably priced. I'm really not sure how I'll use it- perhaps on the edge of a table at a show, just possibly in a siege.

Thursday, 13 August 2020

Burgundian pike


I've recently entered into a golden period of finishing minis, but haven't taken many pics, which I'll try to remedy over the next few days. Here is a unit of 48 Burgundian pike that has been on the back burner for 3 years or so. The first minis were painted by Lionel Bechara, but most were painted more recently by Shaun McTague. I finished them (highlights, shade washes) and added flags from the Perry box, which didn't look much on the page but which look great on the pole. The bases are FK&P6a's. Later, I'd love to add another 48 minis not in the Burgundian livery, but rather in various coloured uniforms with guild flags. 

At the moment I seem to be working on Swiss, Burgundian, Milanese, Venetian and Florentine armies, in parallel. :-/ I'm loving the Perry plastics.

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

New Ancient Army list eBook released


I've just released all of the TtS! ancient army lists in a new, free PDF format, replacing the original Excel format. The lists are now in a single eBook, instead of 8 separate booklets. The format is much more user friendly than before, with hyperlinks from a contents page that you can use to whizz around them. I also took the opportunity to edit the style of the lists and buff the spelling and grammar.

I think you will like them, You can order from here. Enjoy!

I hope to publish the equivalent Medieval army lists eBook by the end of August.

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

More long pointy sticks

A quickly-snatched picture of some Burgundians that I’m working on- mostly painted by Shaun McTague, with some by Lionel Bechara and a couple painted by me. I’m adding facial details, highlights and shading. 

This block will be 48 strong and will provide opposition for my Swiss (who are presently awaiting reinforcements). Later, I quite fancy adding some Low Country contingents, which often served in some Burgundian armies in the livery of their own cities, perhaps under guild banners, and which would help me to field Maximilian’s Hapsburg Burgundians.

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Switzers II

I've finished up most of the remaining minis for the first two Swiss keils- adding a highlight and matt ink wash over Shaun's painting. I now just need the final 2 dozen pikes, the flags and some new bases that I've had designed for the project. In the meanwhile, I will base the 18 skirmishing arquebusiers and a command stand, which will help clear some space for the expected reinforcements, and I'll prep some more minis for the remaining 2 (or 3?) keils.

Thursday, 9 July 2020

Switzers I

Here are my first two Swiss pike keils, forming up. All the minis are Perrys, painted by Shaun McTague, and highlighted and inked by me. They are mounted in threes on temporary painting blocks (magnetised Jenga blocks).

Here's the Berne phalanx, and mascot. The spare painting blocks are for the balance of the minis- Shaun has painted most of these and I'm filling in the gaps at the rate of 15 minis per day.

...and here's Uri. 

I plan to have 4 keils of pike (possibly 5). When completed, each keil will have 96 minis- mostly pike with a few halberdiers and command minis.  Several will also have an attached unit of skirmishing arquebusiers, and there will be a handful of light cavalry.   I'll also have the option of fielding a keil of pure halberdiers, for the early period, and I will be able to swap out some of the central pike, for halberdiers, in the transitional period. I'll describe the basing system in a later post.

Here's a close-up- I'm using the metal Perry Swiss heads on plastic bodies, with some metals mixed in, and some conversions. The chap in the middle, Lofty, is a cut'n'shut (WotR torso, Swiss legs) who came out on the tall side. Shaun, who painted him, calls him "the man with the two bums". :)

It's a big project- 500++ minis- but with Shaun doing the heavy lifting, it's going rather swiftly. I'd like to think I'll have the first two keils based in around a month's time. 

PS If you fancy a Swiss army of your own, have a look at the Swiss army list for TtS!, and also the special rule for "field squares."

Sunday, 5 July 2020

Weekly catch-up

This week I received some much-needed reinforcements from the Perrys. I must have already gone through at least 20 boxes of their Wars of the Roses plastics, and here are almost as many, again. They got the order out really quickly; kudos to them, great customer service. I also bought some metals, not shown.

On Wednesday we had a power cut, and I took this atmospheric shadow photo of my current painting project, by torchlight, silhouetted against a sofa in the background. It looks very much like a grainy 1930's movie. I'll take a proper pic of the minis, next week.

The weather round here has alternatively been rainy and sunny, and consequently the plants are doing really, really well. Above, red cabbages forming nice heads; below, the potato (5' high) and spinach bed. This gardening lark is very rewarding; who knew?

This is our first cauliflower- with Perry mini for scale purposes! Consumed, yesterday night, in a cauliflower cheese (the cauli, that it, not the Perry).

Finally, here's a  better shot of the winner's trophy from the recent online tournament- now flocked and in the post to Andy Lyons. It's on a Warbases counter, so super as a victory medal counter.

Thursday, 25 June 2020

TtS! 1066 Online Tournament- the Final Results!

Congratulations to Andy Lyon, our new Bretwalda,  who won the TtS! 1066 online tournament, and commiserations to Antony Spencer, who came second, after a very closely fought battle last night. 

Here's a shot from late in the game (above). Antony subsequently broke Andy's centre, but the heavy casualties he took doing so, and Andy's mercenary Normans taking his camp, led to a Scottish victory (below). 

Andy wins the Harald Hardrada victor's trophy. I think the mini was painted by James Morris- I still need to flock the base.  There will be modest prizes for the runners-up, including Wyatt Traina who came fourth (I came third)- I'll post them out tomorrow.

Thanks very much to everyone who participated in the tournament!. It's been great fun meeting new players, and all very good-natured. I've played way more games than I expected I would, this year! We played 59 games, in total- almost as many as are played at the TtS! Worlds in Chalgrove.

There will be another tournament starting in 3-4 weeks time- on the theme of the Italian Wars. It'll run for a longer duration, but with people playing a single game (or at most two) per week, which I hope will benefit those players who have busy jobs. It will also have what I hope will be an interesting campaign background, running in parallel with the tournament. I'll let you know more about it as we get closer to starting.

In other news, we are in the last few days of my current sale and I have rules, bases and even some mats marked down. Parcel postage prices to the USA will increase from Sunday, so it's a particularly good time to buy if you are American.

Thursday, 11 June 2020

Coustilliers II

Last night, I couldn't resist starting to base most of the finished coustilliers up with their knights. Here are a couple of quickly snatched photos. In the front are two units of 18 Venetian knights/coustillers, each, and, at the back is the front rank of a unit of Florentine knights, as yet lacking supports.  Hopefully, when I add my Milanese, I'll eventually be able to form seven units of 18 knights, and four units of light cavalry.

I'm mounting most of the minis for these armies on the FK&P6 base (my personal favourite). I can fit all 15 bases into a single 7L Really Useful Box.