Friday, 25 June 2021

Marlowe to Maidenhythe in print

I launched the digital version of this book, written by Robert Avery for use with the For King and Parliament rules back in March, and it's proved so popular that I've commissioned a physical print run, which is officially launched today. 

The 66 page book 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, and a postscript describes what happens to them after the war. It's a whole lot of fun!

You can  find both the digital and physical version, here.  There are also some page images if you'd like a peek inside.

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

September To the Strongest! Tournaments

In these strange days there are but two face-to-face tournaments left standing this year, both in September:

Chalgrove Tournament “The Worlds” Saturday 4th September 2021

The Chalgrove Tournament AKA “the Worlds” is on 4th September at Chalgrove in Oxfordshire. If you come, you’ll get to play four games during the day, using 135 points armies from either of the current releases of the Army List eBooks.  We will be using Even Stronger v9 . It’s organised by Steve Dover and is always a great day’s gaming.

This year, Steve is applying a 0.5 point extra cost to lance-armed units and has reduced the costs of elephants, such that African Elephants cost 5 points and Indian Elephants cost 6. Escorted elephants cost double. Upgrading elephants to veteran will cost one point per “life” and downgrading elephants to raw will save 1 point per “life” 

It costs £10 to enter- if you think you can join us, email me at the address to the left and I’ll forward your details on to Steve.

London GT Tournament “The Nationals” Sunday 26th September 2021

For the convenience of those who are attending both Chalgrove and the London GT,  I’m changing the entry requirements for the GT such that they will correspond exactly to Steve’s amendments for Chalgrove, as above. This will mean that if your army is valid for the theme of the GT “Rome and Greece at War” you’ll be able to use it in both events, if you want. If you don’t have a suitable army for the GT but want to join us, then please let me know, I’ll lend you one- legionaries or pikes, perhaps.

You can bring any army from the following chapters of the Ancient Army List eBook:

  • "Frogs around a Pond",
  • "Kingdoms of the East",
  • "Rise of Rome”,
  • “Rome’s Empire”
  • Any army valid between 300 BCE and 300 CE from “Across the Indus” or “Beyond the First Cataract”

The format is very similar to Chalgrove, four nail-biting games in a day on a Swiss system.

If you’ve not yet booked a ticket for the GT, please get an entry in ASAP, and bring a friend if you can. It is a great venue and we had a super time, two years ago when it last ran- I have never seen so many gamers in one place, gaming! It’s easy to get to, being near the North Circular, M1, M11 etc., good parking, light and airy, and even a bar! Oh- and it’s my Birthday weekend- I’ll bring cake. Hope to see you there!

I am preparing my most spectacular-ever tournament army for both events. Its nature is currently top-secret but I’ll show some images in a month or so. I am confident that no army quite like it will ever have graced the competition table…

Monday, 21 June 2021

New version of the TtS! Ancient Army List eBook published

I've just published an updated version of the Ancient  Army List eBook. I've brought this out a little early for the convenience of those who are attending the Roman/Greek-themed tournament at the end of September at the London GT (tickets still available, here).  If you aren't already coming, do come and join us! 

This latest release includes new Middle Carthaginian, Carthaginian Mercenary Revolt and Early Etruscan lists. There are also new Axumite, Blemmye/Beja, Nobatae and Christian Nubian lists in a new African “Beyond the First Cataract” chapter, grouped together with some existing but edited list (Early Nubian, Kushite and Later Kushite). I will be expanding this chapter further, in future releases. There are some unusual, colourful and little-known armies to be found, south of Aswan.

I've changed Ligurians from warband to javelinmen in several lists. Significant edits to the Achaemenid Persian, Neo-Babylonian and Pyrrhic lists, and minor edits to some other lists, but I don't think there's much that will throw people's competition plans out. I've also added some extra historical background material and more images. It's now a 297-page PDF contains 159 TtS! ancient army lists!

Above and below are sample pages from the Pyrrhic list.

If you've previously purchased it, you'll have received an email from me with it as an attachment, or a download link if you bought it via Wargames Vault. If you've not bought it yet, you can find it hereI've also updated the Free Army list eBook.

The next version of the Ancient eBook will come out at the end of September, at the same time as the next release of the Medieval eBook (I've dropped back the publication date back a month so that it comes out after the tournament season, to avoid any confusion).

A big thanks to everyone who helped put the book together! I really hope you enjoy it. 

Monday, 31 May 2021

New version of the Medieval Army List eBook published


I've just published an updated version of the Medieval Army List eBook. This includes three new lists- Golden Horde, Hundred Years War English (Home) and Zanj Revolt. The Golden Horde cross swords with lots of other armies. The second list is particularly handy as it is the home service equivalent of the more famous continental English list, really handy for chastising the Scots, or fighting English rebels. The Zanj list is an interesting one; black Spartacus meets Isis.

There are significant edits to the Later Medieval Polish and Sengoku Samurai lists, and minor edits to Feudal English, Hundred Years’ War English (Continental), Later Swiss, Mongol Conquest, Ilkhanid Mongol, Later Byzantine and possibly other lists. I've also added some extra historical background material and more images. 

Above and below are sample pages.

The next version of this eBook will be released at the end of September (after this year's tournaments). An updated version of the Ancient Army List eBook will be published at the end of June. 

I do hope you enjoy the new book- it's getting quite big now, 206 pages and (I think) 111 lists. If you've previously purchased it, you'll have received an email from me with it as an attachment, or a download link if you bought it via Wargames Vault. If you've not bought it yet, you can find it here

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Dungeon level, plastered


The dwarven construction team have finished their delving and departed, leaving me something that is starting to look distinctly room-like and rather less dank than previously. Just needs a bit more fitting out; painting, heating, more lighting and racks (no, not the ones for making you taller!). Progress.

Thursday, 20 May 2021

Ipsus Nellies WIP

I'm getting not one, but two new herds of elephants ready for the huge Ipsus game at the London GT in September. On the left are fifteen "Indian" Indian elephants, and on the right fourteen "Macedonian" Indian ride-on elephants. 

The reason I need 29 more elephants is that we don't believe the howdah was in use at the time of Ipsus, and most of my previous elephants have these, so it's a perfect opportunity to collect more models. When these are finished and "in the field" I'll have six different elephant herds. As well as the two above, I'll have Successor Indian elephants with towers, Successor African elephants, Seleucid armoured elephants and Carthaginian African elephants.

The "Indian" Indian elephants are a real mixture. At the front are seven of the relatively new resin Aventines, lovely light models. Further back are some veteran Vendel and Essex elephants, and other pachyderms whose origins are lost in the mists of time. I still need to add crews and finish the basing. After Ipsus, these will, later, form the core of Porus' herd when I do the Hydaspes next year, or the year after. These were mostly painted by Dan Toone.

Here are the the "Macedonian" Indian elephants. They will be crewed by a mahout and a single pikeman and escorted by Greek-style archers. They will form an elephant screen across the front of the two Ipsus armies. These still need some detailing, weapons adding and basing. These were painted by Shaun McTague and Dan Toone. They are such lovely models that I'm tempted to add a few more, before the game, if time permits.

Above is an earlier version of the Ipsus game that I'll be running at the London GT in September. The new version will be 50% larger than this, with around 3000 minis on a table almost 6m wide, quite possibly the largest ancient battle run at a show- certainly the largest I've ever run by some margin. The pike phalanx alone will include some 1500 minis. 

Both this and chum Tim's Rome vs. Hannibal Battle of the Trebbia will be ten player games. They will be played at the London GT at the Lee Valley Athletics Center, on Saturday 25th September. You can book tickets for it below- there are only 20 tickets in total, and some have already sold, so don't leave it too late! If you come, you'll get to play both games and see all the other things going on at the event. 

There's a big TtS! tournament on the day after, Sunday 26th, too, the details of that are below. Why not make a weekend of it? I certainly plan to. :-) I'm prepping minis for a secret army.

It's been far too long since we have gamed properly! I hope to greet the post-apocalypse in some style- and I hope that some of you will be able to join me!

Friday, 14 May 2021

Dungeon level, revisited

Some of you may recall that I've been trying to create some much-needed additional storage space- got to put those minis somewhere! This is my dungeon level, now with added lighting and (much needed) waterproofing. Still some work to do... but coming along nicely.

You can see last year's dank hole here.

In other news I've a lot of modelling underway but nowhere and no time to take photos until next week. Also I'm getting together the end of May release of the Medieval Army List eBook- there should be three or four new lists and other new material. At the moment we have a new 100 Years War English list, for action in Britain as opposed to the continent. Also there's a Golden Horde list and a nice list for the obscure but interesting Zanj Revolt against the Abbasids; think Spartacus meets Isis.

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Liegeois Civic Militia

As a by-product of my big Swiss project, I ended up with a lot of Perry plastic minis that didn't look quite right for the land of mountains and superior hard cheeses, either because they are wearing gambesons or carrying bucklers or in the wrong clothing colours. Some of these minis are superbly painted by the likes of David Imrie and Lionel Bechara. It occurred to me that I could conscript them into the Burgundian army as the numerous civic militias of the Low Countries cities, who wore uniforms and marched to war under the banners of their guilds. They served the Dukes of Burgundy (and later the Habsburgs) with considerable reluctance and inefficiency.

n.b. You can click on the images for a close-up.

Unfortunately, I didn't have the right flags. At this point Mats Elzinga very kindly stepped forward and volunteered to produce a set of flags for the guilds of the city of Liege. I have eight guilds represented here. They all wear red except for the Meuniers (appropriately, the Millers) who have a yellow and black clothing theme, based on their guild flag. A few guilds had blue themes, perhaps a future project.

I found his flags were so pretty that I needed to paint more units in order to be able to use them all, so Shaun McTague very kindly painted up another 40 or so minis, which I highlighted. My chum Ian Notter flocked them- a considerable undertaking as they are very densely based in blocks of 16 and it's very hard to get in amongst the feet. I added tufts and flowers.

And here they are, all together! There are 99 minis, in all. I'm not entirely sure what I'll use them for, yet- possibly to fight a projected French army, since I rather doubt that they fought the Swiss (at least under their guild flags). But I'm delighted to own them. There are at least three or four lists in the To the Strongest! Medieval Army List book that I could use them in. I have told Mats that if he produces more flags for other cities (Antwerp would be really nice) then I'll make up some more units.

A huge thank you to Mats and everyone else who helped. I gather Mats will be producing the flags commercially, at some stage, they are quite lovely and without them I wouldn't have persisted with the project.

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Plastic boxes

Last night I accidently knocked over a tray of round metal shields and they rolled all around the dining room floor. I was making coffee, and my wife very kindly volunteered to help pick them up, asking where she should put them. I said “Please put them on top of one of the plastic boxes.” 

When I came back in the room, I found them on the table, instead. I asked her why she’d not put them on one of the boxes; she said “I couldn’t see any plastic boxes.”

That’s why I love my wife. 😊

Friday, 23 April 2021

Burgundian pike

Here are some Burgundians that were painted form me some time back by Shaun McTague and Lionel Bechara. I highlighted and finished last August. They languished in the basing queue until chum Ian Notter very kindly flocked them last month, after which I tufted. I'm trying to clear the decks of mostly-finished units before a summer basing push.

The unit is a single block of pike, for use on a 20cm frontage. All of the minis are plastic Perrys from the Mercenary set, and I used the flags that come in the box- they are simple, but effective. The six bases are my FK&P6a's, which are roughly 60x40mm.

I'm a bit worried for these chaps- they are very heavily outnumbered by the Swiss they will end up facing...

In other news I'm told that the tables for the London GT tournament on Sunday 26th September are starting to run short, so if you want to come along, you'd better get your booking in sharpish! The event  is themed Rome and Rome at War. You can bring any army from the following chapters of the Ancient Army List eBook- we’ll use the edition published at the end of March.
  • Frogs around a Pond
  • Kingdoms of the East
  • Rise of Rome
  • Rome’s Empire
  • Any army between 300 BCE and 300 CE from “Across the Indus”
If you don’t have a suitable army, I’m confident that we can lend you one. I could tell you what army I'm bringing, but then I'd have to kill you. ;-)

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. :-/