Friday, 9 April 2021

More Stradiotti


I've just added a second unit of splendid Perry Stradiotti, beautifully painted for me by Shaun Watson, to my Venetian army, bringing my total to twenty. These formidable light cavalry bring a certain style to my army, in their top hats, and no baggage train is safe!

For To the Strongest! games at shows, they'll operate as two units of ten, on a 20cm grid. But at home or when I take them tournaments they will fight in smaller units of 3 or 4 on a 15cm grid. I've based them on my FK&P6 bases which I can fit together to make smaller or larger units.

My chum Ian Notter very kindly flocked these for me to match the original unit- so well, in fact, that I can't now tell which unit is which! I added the tufts and flowers- less is definitely more, when adding the latter.

I've not had time to post much, recently, but with Ian's help I am close to finishing a bunch more units so more posts will follow shortly.

Thursday, 1 April 2021

Swiss army progress

Here's the latest progress on the Switzers. Above, the vast majority of miniatures are painted, and most are highlighted and inked. There must be 650-700 of the blighters, the majority painted by Shaun McTague but some by David Imrie and Lionel Bechara. I even painted a few from scratch, and highlighted most of them. Later I'll need to add a unit of cavalry, some halberdiers and, of course, their Burgundian opponents.

Above and below are the four trays (roughly 500 minis) of mostly-painted minis. These are grouped by canton, but there's also a tray-and-a-bit of minis in non-cantonal colours.

Above and below are the 8 (of a projected 18) mostly-finished units. My chum Ian very kindly flocked them for me, he's a demon with a puffer-bottle!  I've not yet added tufts, that's the final stage.

So, I hear you ask "when will they be finished?" I've reluctantly decided to delay that step until the autumn, because I have an even bigger project to finish this spring/summer of which more, anon. So I'll be putting them all in storage boxes, to clear space, and trying to find a place to store them! In the autumn I'll finish them off and make a start on the numerous Burgundian army.

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

New version of the To the Strongest! Ancient Army List eBook released

I’ve just published an updated versions of the Ancient army lists for To the Strongest! The 280-page PDF includes 152 army lists including 12 new lists. Several of the existing lists have been revised, and a good deal of background information and quite a few additional images have been added.

Each list consist of a spreadsheet describing the army (example above). Most of the lists also include details of how the army fought and a historical background, and sometimes a picture of miniatures, (below). 

The new lists for March are are Kassite and Successor Babylonian Dynasties, Saite Egyptian, Old Babylonian and Old Assyrian, Urartu, Phrygian, Medes, United Monarchy Hebrew, Mannaian, Regnal Hebrew, Neo-Hittite, Aramaean City States and Lycian. 

You can find the army lists here; there's an equivalent medieval eBook.  Should you order the lists you'll receive updates every three months until the end of 2022, with new lists and additional material added each time. The eBook costs £9.99.

Friday, 26 March 2021

Marlowe to Maidenhythe FK&P scenario eBook

Today I've loaded up this exciting new scenario eBook, written by Robert Avery, into the BigRedBatShop.

The 66 page Marlowe to Maidenhythe scenario eBook is a digital file designed for the TtS! For King and Parliament English Civil War rules, but useful with other ECW rule systems, too.

It contains twelve free-standing fictional scenarios set around in the counties of Buckinghamshire and Berkshire during and shortly after the English Civil War. They tell the story of a series of clashes between Sir John Boulters (for the King) and Sir Christopher Grey (for Parliament). 

Each scenario contains a background briefing, separate briefings for each of the players, a deployment plan and orders of battle. 

The scenarios can be played individually or in sequence, as a campaign. Most of the characters and many of the units recur throughout the campaign.

You can buy it in BigRedBatshop:

Marlowe to Maidenhythe

Or, if you are in the EU, you can buy it from here:

Marlowe to Maidenhythe


Sunday, 28 February 2021

Sharp Objects

Here's a project that I finished a while back but never had time to photograph. This is my fleet of scythed chariots; the Mark I's (venerable Vendels) at the rear and the Mark II's (lethal-looking Gripping Beast Polemarchs) to the fore. I'm very pleased with them.

I assembled them - no mean task! I made the whips from plastic rod. Shaun McTague painted them all, he did a splendid job with the red and the gold. I based on my wobbly-edged bases.

All the models are intended for the Ipsus game that I plan to run at various shows in Q3 and Q4. I fully suspect that they will last for less than 90 seconds! I'd have done better building wrecked chariot models, at least they'd be there all game. ;-)

In other news, I've just published an updated version of the Medieval army lists. If you bought the lists before you should have received a download link.

There are now 108 lists in the Medieval Army List eBook, and around two third of them now include historical background material. I've also started to include photos of my favourite wargames figures painted by my favourite wargames artists. If you'd like to buy a copy you can find it here.

Tuesday, 23 February 2021


Mats Elzinga has very kindly made me up some beautiful Liégeois guild flags for my Low Countries Militia, who are clearly becoming more than a side-project. Above is the flag for the Meuniers (appropriately, the Millers) Guild- most of the minis are ex David Imrie.

Below the city flag with minis that are painted by me or Shaun McTague. Mats is going to do flags for the other guilds, too, so I will need to get a lot more minis painted! I don't mind this, though, as I have lots of spare plastic minis that suit this army rather better than they do Italian or Swiss hosts.

In other news, there's a palpable sense, here in the UK, that the tyranny of Covid is finally coming to an end. I'm busy dusting off half-finished projects from last year and planning events for Q3 that might, actually, happen! I am sifting through my lead-reserves and planning a real table-groaner.  :-)

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Low Countries pike

Last night I finished repainting these repurposed surplus Swiss pikemen who have signed up, instead, for the Liégeois militia. 

There's a cracking image of a soldier with a padded jacket with added metal arm protection (just like the Perry plastics, above) on the left in this painting of the Flemish School by Hans Memling (late c. 15th). He even has the red trousers that the militia wore.

At the moment I'm undecided as to whether I should base them, now, or paint up a bunch more to introduce more variety of poses. I might buy some Perry metals. We'll see what happens, next week!

Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Busman's Holiday

Whilst building the Swiss army I have picked up a lot of figures that are really well painted but which look slightly less Swiss, to me, than most. This can be because they have padded gambesons, which one doesn't see a lot (any?) Swiss in, or have shields. The front rankers above were superbly painted by David Imrie but fall into this category. I also have quite a few other minis painted by Shaun McTague that look rather northern European.

I have decided to use a lot of these minis in a different army. They will become Low Countries city militia, from Ghent or Antwerp or wherever. Apparently these militia came to the musters dressed in distinctive colours city or guild colours, such as red and yellow, which is very convenient as I have a fair few in those colours. I can give them guild flags, the one in the image which is from the Perry box art. These will become a block of 48 in 4 ranks.

I can then use them in various armies within the Medieval Army List book that will suit- notably the Low Countries list, Burgundian and the Hapsburg Burgundian lists, so they should see some action! I have lots of similar unpainted minis, too, so other formations can follow in due course. I'd like to be able to field the armies for Guinegate 1479.

In other news I came across some rather well-written TtS! medieval scenarios on another site- well worth a look!

Sunday, 7 February 2021

Switzers XIII


I have broken the habit of a lifetime and painted a few minis from scratch. These are guide minis that will gone to Shaun McTague, in the next week or so, so that he can paint the final two contingents of Swiss pike. 

I like both sets of heraldry, although I particularly like the former with the unusual diagonal, which came out great on the right-hand figure. I'll definitely also want some Zurich arquebusiers, too as Flags of War do such a lovely standard for the Zurich skirmishers.

Also I read an interesting piece in the Swiss Osprey, which says that Bernese skirmishers carried an axe called a mordaxt, in addition to an arquebus or crossbow. I read that a mordaxt is a 2m long polearm, which seems somewhat incompatible with carrying an arquebus, but perhaps most had a missile weapons and some the polearm, to support the former? It's an interesting modelling challenge, anyhow.

I'm confidently moving towards finishing the Swiss, and have even been able to find time to start a new unit of Burgundian opponents for them, pics in a day or so.

Friday, 29 January 2021

Switzers XII

I've been busy over Christmas/January on the Swiss Project, but haven't posted any pictures. Here's an update. Above are the troops painted so far- mostly by Shaun McTague, and finished by me, but including contingents from David Imrie.

I've planned 18 contingents of 32 figures, each representing a canton or part of a cantonal contingent, plus command, heroes and lights. So far 8 are finished, 5 are mostly done, 2 are partially done and three haven't been started. I estimate I'm over 70% of the way there.

The new contingents are forming up...

...I've done roughly 2/3 in cantonal colours, and 1/3 in random colours. That's probably too high a proportion cantonal colours, but they look great, and I don't care!!

I've prepped most of the minis for the final contingents, but they aren't yet off to Shaun to paint. The group at the back are those in non-cantonal colours.

There are also four command stands, 18 heroes, 70 light infantry and 10 light cavalry to do- perhaps half of these are painted. I hope to finish painting the pike by the end of February and, I suppose, there is a month's work to do on the lights. After that there's the grouting and flocking. But it's all coming along nicely! 

I've started to think about a huge To the Strongest! game at a future show using these, the most attractive option is Morat 1476, for which I'll need perhaps 450 Burgundians. :-/

Friday, 22 January 2021

Hannibal and Chits

We've just started playing an online To the Strongest! tournament called Hannibal Ad Portas, this week I fought my first battle. That's my vast Italian Tribes army at the bottom; 16 victory medals - that's a whole lot for a 130 point army. I played fellow veteran blogger Monty from the US, who had Spanish. It wasn't a game of any great tactical subtlety; we just had at it!  I narrowly pipped him by one medal, once I eventually remembered how the rules work. Below is an in-game shot.


If you fancy joining the tournament, which is, I suspect, the only ancient big battle tournament running in the world, just now, please email me and I'll put you in touch with Antony, the organiser. Its very good natured and very international in its nature, and a really good way to learn the rules. Or you can just watch us play online, if you like.

In other news I've released some more coloured activation and stratagem chits, this time in red and dark blue. 

The new stratagem tokens are single sided (plain red or dark blue on the reverse).

You can find them, here.

Also I've received a major restock of bases. Pretty much everything that I'd run out of is now back in stock.


That's if for now- I hope to be able to show some more Swiss in a day or so, as that project grinds unremittingly towards completion. 

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Swiss progress


Over Christmas and New Year, I've been chipping away at the edges of my Swiss project. I prepped 100+ plastic and metal Swiss, and detailed the 84, above, that Shaun McTague mostly painted, the bulk of the next four contingents - Glarus, Schweiz, Schaffhausen and Basel. They will be bulked-out with un-uniformed Switzers. My plan is to get the bulk of the remaining 250-ish Swiss finished, and then base them all at more-or-less the same time.

This is my first post of '21 - let's hope we all have a happier year, with rather more wargaming than the last one! I'm very much hoping to be able to run some big games, once we are let out to play, and join in some competitions, too. In fact there's an online tournament starting on Monday- Hannibal at the Gates- mail me if you would like details.

Hannibal Ante Portas online tournament

Look at those lovely Quincunxes!

Following on the heels of last year's successful TtS! 1066 and Kingmaker tournaments, Hannibal Ante Portas will be the next on-line To the Strongest! tournament, starting next week.

The tournament, organised by chum Antony, is set during the period of the 2nd Punic War 218 BCE. Players will fight with a variety of armies from the period – Gallic, Hellenistic Greek, Imperial Seleucid, Later Carthaginian, Later Macedonian, Numidian, Parthian, Polybian Roman, Southern Italian Tribes and Spanish, over 10 battlefields that take their inspiration from actual battlefields from the classical period – Lake Trasimenus, Metaurus, Cynoscephalae etc.

We'll be playing online using Tabletop Simulator, which is available on Steam.

The tournament will begin with a ‘pool’ stage that will start on Monday 18th January 2021 and finish on Sunday 14th March 2021, during which players may play as many of the other players in the tournament as they choose.

At the end of the pool stage, the top 8 players, based on their six best results, will then go forward to the knock-out stages. It is expected that we will have a number of players with the same points so we will use the following as the ‘tie breaker’ – Number of Decisive Victories in the 6 best results recorded, followed by, if required, the net Number of Medals Captured.

The quarter final battles will be fought between Monday 15th March and Sunday 21st March with the winners of the quarter final battles progressing to the semi-final battles.

The week commencing 22nd March is scheduled for the semi-final, 3rd/4th place battle and the battle for the title of Hannibal. There will be prizes at the whim of Antony and Simon.

How to Enter

Simply message Antony (aka antman1805), either through the TtS! Forum or the TtS! Discord server – ,  giving him your “Discord” handle and name and he will record you as a participant. Alternatively you can email Simon and he will forward it to Antony. Please also let him know which country/time zone you are in to help with arranging games. Antony will need to share names and email addresses in the form “simonmiller60 at gmail dot com” with the other participants so that players can contact each other to arrange games (if this is a problem for you, let him know, there may be a work around). As with previous TtS! tournaments we are looking for players from across the globe, who can't usually make it to the UK-based tournaments or, indeed, any other tournament at the present time.

Even if you are a newbie to the To The Strongest! rules or not even played them before please get involved. We have a great group of players who will be happy you teach you both the game mechanics and how to use Tabletop Simulator- you will be a battle-scarred veteran, by the end! Do please come along - we hope that the card gods will smile kindly upon you.