Sunday, 26 June 2022

Later Thracians

I'm planning a very large Successor To the Strongest! game for Salute, and as such I need several more units of light horse of various nationalities. This unit is my first of Thracians, distinguished as such by their characteristic helmets, long boots and flowing cloaks. I didn't want early Thracians, with the soft caps, but rather later ones suitable for Lysimachus' army at Ipsus.

All of the riders are Wargames Foundry or Aventine Miniatures. Many are converted with heads from bought from Aventine, and all ride lovely Aventine horses. I added flowing cloaks to any minis that lacked them, which I think gives a real sense of movement. They were all painted by Shaun McTague - he did a fine job- and I highlighted and based them around 6 months ago- I only just got around to finishing them though.

I chose to depict them, skirmishing, in a Cantabrian circle.

In other news... if anyone was waiting for Geek Villain mats, I have them stock again.  I've also bought in a lot of cloth mats with a 7.5cm grid for people wanting to play TtS! with smaller 6mm or 2mm minis, or other games such as with Mark Backhouse's Strength and Honour. You can find the mats here. Finally, I'm back on editing the Renaissance rules, which are moving forward again, albeit at a glacial rate. I'm not yet ready for playtesting, but I'll keep you posted.

Friday, 17 June 2022

Niccolò da Tolentino

This is Niccolò da Tolentino, commander of the Florentine coalition at the Battle of San Romano. He was painted by the very talented Redzed (Shaun Watson), some time ago. All the photos are clickable.

He's accompanied by a unit of Florentine knights painted by Shaun McTague and myself. Aside from Niccolò himself, the knights are mostly Perry plastics, lightly converted with beautiful high feather headdresses from Mirliton in Italy. I've given many of them giornea tunics. I've tried to get close to the famous "Rout of San Romano" painting. 

I bases on my trusty FK&P6's, Ian Notter flocked and I tufted. The unit is 18 strong, that's how I do all my mounted units, these days. I plan a full Florentine army with lots of militia types.

Here's Niccolò from a different angle, from which you can make out part of the magnificent standard that Pete of Pete's Flags has designed. It's huge and stunning. The red flag in the previous image is also by Pete- Orsini, if I recall correctly, hence the bear.

In other news, it is the final day of my To the Strongest! Flash Sale today (Friday). I've added some new items and further reduced the price of some other items, some of the stuff is 30-50% off. You can find them here.

Here's a clickable version of the full-unit shot.

Tuesday, 14 June 2022

Flash TtS! Early Summer Sale

I've put a bunch of To the Strongest! products on sale for the next few days.  

There are rule books, chits,  bases, magnetic sheets, terrain pieces and tokens on sale.

Discounts vary from a modest 10% to a mighty 50%. Get them while they are hot- sale must end on Friday!  

In other news, I'm currently working on a TtS! scenario for the battle of Ceresole 1544, and (re)painting another regiment of ECW horse, some minis shown below. These will become a Royalist regiment, probably Prince Maurice's, who were at Roundway Down. Maurice's had red cornets so I'm giving them matching red sashes.

Tuesday, 31 May 2022

Latest Version of the TtS! Medieval Army list eBook is published

I've just released the latest version of the Medieval Army List eBook. This release includes two new lists - Later Lithuanian or Samogitian, and Frisian Free Cantons - bringing the total to 122. The former list provides able opponents for the dread Teutonic Knights. The latter is an obscure but fun list, since the Frisians are equipped with spears that double as vaulting poles!

There are significant edits to the Breton list, and Bretons in other lists. There are also edits to Western Franks, Pre and Post Mongol Russians, Nikephorian and Thematic Byzantines and possibly others. I removed Livonian light cavalry from the Teutonic knights list; apparently they never existed. I've also added additional background and army note material to some lists. The next version of this eBook will come out around the end of August, there will be several new lists. The next Ancient Army list eBook update is due out at the end of July.

If you have ever bought a paid-for version of the eBook (as opposed to free versions) you should have received a copy either by email (if bought from the BigRedBatshop) or as a download link (if bought from Wargames Vault). If you would like to buy a copy, you can find it here or, if you are in the EU, here.

Here I'm recovering from the exertions of Partizan and trying to push on with several projects in parallel- some more ECW for an extended version of Roundway Down, some more regiments for my 1672 project, some Renaissance knights and ancients for Ipsus. Photos in the weeks to come!

Tuesday, 10 May 2022



Here's chum Ian helping me to mark up cloths for the Roundway Down game with a very unusual 26cm grid, that is required because of the somewhat unusual configuration of the battlefield (7 boxes wide). This proved to be quite involved, since the cloths I had picked are from Geek Villain and use a fleece that is lovely but stretchy, being designed to go over hills. But Ian and I are grizzled veterans of marking up cloths with grids - heck, we've even done hexes! - so it wasn't unduly taxing.

The reason I like these GVs is because they are a great shade of green and there's a nice nap to the fleece. Unfortunately I had to use the last three I had in stock, so I can't sell you any, but I'll hopefully receive more in June, both gridded and un-gridded.

Friday, 6 May 2022

Bring on the Empty Horses

Above are the completed horse casualty markers for the Roundway Down game (click for a close-up), and below are the infantry casualty markers. The miniatures are a mix of Bicorne and some old Redoubts and a couple of Warlords The dead horses, above, I converted from a Bicorne horse and Bicorne very kindly then cast a bunch up for me (I've not seen them added in their shop). All the minis were painted by Shaun McTague or me, and chum Ian did the expert flocking, which I then tufted, dry-brushed and varnished. I added the flag for the wounded ensign; poignant, or what?

The title reference is from a David Niven auto-biography. The phrase was used by Michael Curtiz, the Film Director of The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936), when attempting to explain on set that he wanted a lot of rider-less horses in the background of the climactic charge; so it is fairly appropriate for Roundway Down!

My recent lack of posts has been because I've been very busy writing modelling for the Roundway Down game at Partizan.  I've almost finished this- just a few hundred tufts to go. I am currently working on the next release of the Medieval Army list book for the month end- I expect to add at least two or three new lists. I'm also finishing my contribution to a Helion book on Ceresole 1544, and writing some ancient army lists, and doing a little work on Renaissance. Lastly I was interviewed at length on the Plastic Crack Podcast, you can watch it here.  Busy, busy, busy!  :-)

Tuesday, 26 April 2022

Even Stronger V10 published

I've just published an updated version of the Even Stronger Rules Supplement- the first in over a year. There are a handful of changes, notably a new troop type, straddle cars, which I hope will help to raise interest in the Sumerian and other Third Millennium armies. There is an interesting, significant change to javelinmen. There's an extra ammo chit for all wheeled vehicles such as chariots. I also simplified the (formerly somewhat Byzantine) rules on massed lights and supported mounted. There are sundry other minor changes. If you've previously downloaded it, I've sent you an update link. If you haven't received it you can download it here.  It's free.

Late this week I'll publish an updated version of the Ancient Army List eBook. There are three new lists, and quite a few other lists will have some revisions, in particular the Third Millennium lists which are receiving something of a spring clean.  If you've previously bought  the paid-for version, I'll send you an update or a link.

Sunday, 24 April 2022

Roundway Down Roundup

I've been busy writing this month and haven't had time to post anything, so here's a sneak peak of the last minis for the For King and Parliament Roundway Down project. The officers are based, the casualties based, two new regiments of cavalry based. There's just these bit bringing up the rear - six artillery pieces and a limber. These are all painted except for the three light guns in the foreground, which I'll hopefully tackle tonight. 

I still need to do some work on the battlefield which is a huge, bare hill. I more or less know how I'm going to do it but that's not quite the same as having it done!

In other news, I'm working on the next update to the TtS! Ancient army list, which is due out on Saturday 30th. There will be three new lists bringing the total to 166 lists.  I'm also ready to publish the next Even Stronger, the first update to the rules in over a year. There will be some interesting new rules which I hope people will enjoy, in particular a new take on Sumerian battle cars.

Finally I recently found a big bag of gold and silver (plated) treasure- literally- and have completely restocked the shop with Victory Medals. Unfortunately these will be the last such medals I'll be stocking, because the supplier's wholesale price recently went up by 50%, which makes them unaffordable- once these are gone, these are gone.  So if you want to add some bling to your game, now's the time! Below is one of my favourites, the Pegasus of Corinth. Of course the best sellers are the Roman denarii.

Sunday, 10 April 2022

ECW progress

I'm conscious that I've not posted on this blog for almost a month- it can get that way when I'm busy in the lead-up to a display game (in this case Partizan). Above and below, I've been making command stands, pursuit  markers, casualty markers and artillery pieces for the Roundway Down game. This has been going pretty well, with the first three categories close to completion, and only the artillery needing very much work. I should have them finished with plenty of time, which is good news, since I still need to build a darned great hill. When they are completely finished, I'll take some decent photos. 

In other news, I'm working on the next release of Even Stronger, which will include some new troop types and streamlined rules, due out at the month end- it'll have been a whole year since the last version! I'm also editing ancient army lists for the month end release and a book. Busy, busy busy!

Thursday, 10 March 2022

Dutch Artillery, 1672 style

Here's my first unit of artillery for 1672, a battery of Dutch guns.  These are mostly miniatures from the North Star range, with accessories from Bicorne Miniatures and TAG. I converted several 1672 pikemen to add variety to the limited number of poses of the gunners. Unusually, I painted most of these myself from scratch, and the guns, too. Ian added the static grass and I added the tufts. all the pictures are clickable.

I think I have the uniforms reasonably right, but, in any case, there is a very great deal of uncertainty about the Dutch uniforms. They possibly had orange sashes. Incidentally, the wicker basket in the left foreground holds grape shot.

Here is a close-up of the unit's officer, he is an officer from the Warfare Miniatures "officers with character" range, equipped with a TAG linstock. These recent releases from Warfare are very nicely sculpted and compatible, size and style wise, with 1672. Great buttons! The chap behind him, on the left, is a 1672 pike man equipped with a (Bicorne?) trail spike. 

I hope you like these, I do! I'm still a very long way from playing a game in this period, but the armies are coming along in the background. A big shout out to David Imrie for further lighting advice; I now have green grass, again!

In other news, I've been chatting with Andrew Brentnall and David Imrie about how to depict units in the Thirty Years War. David Imrie has recently painted and based a breathtakingly-lovely Imperialist unit (shown below, with permission), and I am strongly resisting basing up a unit or two of Swedes. Andrew and I are in the early stages of discussing some possible tweaks to For King and Parliament to take into account some of the additional continental troop types and tactics that one encounters in the TYW.

Monday, 7 March 2022

New Chits of War released

 I've just released some more lovely chits for use with To the Strongest! and For King and Parliament. Chits of War come in sheets of 80, are 20mm in diameter and are drawn from a bag and used in the place of playing cards. I've introduced two new colours, white and yellow, to complement the existing five colours (purple, dark blue, green, red and orange). 

The coloured, varnished MDF chits are double sided for speed of play, because you don't need to flip them over.  The two new sheets offer a strong contrast to the existing colours, so you won't mix them up.              

I've also had matching stratagem tokens made:

You can find them here (chits) and here (stratagems).

Monday, 28 February 2022

Updated To the Strongest! Medieval Army List eBook released

I’ve just published an updated versions of the medieval army list eBook for To the Strongest! The 211-page PDF now includes 120 Medieval army lists, including five new lists (West Slav, Old Prussian, Early Lithuanian and Samogitian, Later Feudal English and Yi Korean lists). I’ve also moved the Later Hindu Indian, Early Lombard and Avar lists here, from the Ancient List eBook, as they sit better alongside the medieval lists. Several of the existing lists have been revised, and a good deal of background information has been added.

Each list consists of a spreadsheet describing the army. Most of the lists also include details of how the army fought and a historical background, and sometimes a picture of painted miniatures.

You can find buy the army lists here.  Should you order the lists you'll receive updates roughly every three months until at least the end of 2022, with new lists and additional material added each time. The next update will be at the end of May 2022. The eBook costs £9.99.

Alternatively, if you are outside the UK (especially if you are in the EU, where I can't sell digital products) you might like to buy it from Wargames Vault for $14.99.

Monday, 21 February 2022

ECW veterans

On Saturday I came across an old ECW regiment that I based up perhaps three years ago to illustrate how I'd model a unit on a 20cm frontage; it's the one featured in the colour pages in the For King and Parliament rule book. It's never been used, because I have always gamed on 30cm, but I've long thought about rebasing it. I worked out a shortcut to do this, by inserting three FK&P7 bases on the edged of the existing FK&P6's, adding extra files to the pike and to each wing of shotte. I just needed to paint an additional seven minis to bulk it out and, on a whim, I did this over the weekend.

The regiment is only in two ranks, unlike my other units which have three, but that's not an issue as I intend it to represent an understrength unit. The minis (many painted by Shaun McTague- the additional minis I repainted from eBay purchases) are a mix of Renegades and Bicornes, and feel like they are veterans.

I don't have a name for this unit, which is fairly generic- probably Parliamentarian as the sashes are orange. I'm open to suggestions! I'll post a better picture when it is flocked.

Tuesday, 8 February 2022

Blowing hot air

I am just finishing some bases on a couple of regiments of cavalry for Roundway Down (at Partizan in late May), and I found myself wondering whether anyone else uses their wife's hairdryer to blow away surplus flock? Also does anyone else matt varnish their finished flock? I find it comes out better in photos, that way.

Monday, 31 January 2022

Burgundian arquebusiers and TtS! Ancient Army lists

One more Burgundian unit, for the time being, again painted by Lionel Bechara, flocked by Ian and tufted by me. I intend to add at least two more units of these, including some nice old Grenadier minis that will add a bit of extra variety; perhaps also some Perry officers and a standard with an arquebus. this unit is based on slightly shallower
FK&P13c bases. I have more-or-less enough Burgundian foot, for the moment, and I've started to think about mounted knights, coustilliers and pages (gulp; potentially quite a lot of work in them!).

Today I've just released an updated version of the TtS! Ancient Army list eBook, with four new lists (Cappadocians, Hasmonean Judean, West African Forest Kingdoms and Mossi). Now with 164 army lists, the book is now approaching completion and consequently the new armies I am adding tend to be somewhat more obscure, although often all the more interesting for that. I'm still adding background material to the lists  - I'm up to 128,000 words (!) - and revising some of the older lists. If you've previously bought a paid-for version of this list (as opposed to the original free version of the book) you should have recently received an email copy (from the BigRedBatShop) or a download link (from Wargames Vault). If not, please mail me. At the end of February there will be a similar update to the Medieval army lists.

Friday, 28 January 2022


By way of a slight digression from the 1670s, here are some minis I finished late last year but never got around to photographing. I decided to expand my two x two stand units of Burgundian longbowmen each to three stands, and added stakes. Most of the miniatures were painted my my French chum Lionel Bechara, I did some highlighting. They are, of course, Perry plastics, even the flags are Perry. Chum Ian flocked and I tufted. I now have around eight Burgundian units, I need at least twice that. Chum David sent me some recently, which will certainly help. But even 16 units would barely speedbump my Swiss!

In other news... I've managed to get the BigRedBatShop restocked. I have pretty much everything in stock, aside from the Deep-Cut cross-grid mats which I can't get printed at the moment for technical reasons- but I have bought in some from Geek Villain. I have all of the coloured chits, plain MDF chits and bases back in stock. If there's anything that you want that appears to be out of stock (other than cross-grid mats), mail me, I probably have it somewhere in my lounge.

I'm currently finalising the latest version of the Ancient Army List eBook- that should go out on Monday, it includes four new lists and some other new material. If you've previously bought it I'll send you a copy or a download link.  It now has 164 lists in it- pretty much any ancient army that you'd ever want to put on a table.

Finally I hope to be at Partizan on 22nd May- I'll be taking Roundway Down in 28mm. I still have a few slots for players- email me if you'd like me to book you in.

Tuesday, 25 January 2022

Royal Dragoons

Here is the first detachment of my Royal Dragoons ca.1685, which I originally intended to use for Sedgemoor. Now I find myself wondering whether I might be able to use them as the English 1st Dragoons in French Service in the 1670s, but haven't as yet discovered any uniform/flag details, they may not exist. Red seems possible, although they might have been in grey like the English foot in French service. I could potentially swap out the nice Flags of War guidons and use them later with my (projected) Front Rank 1685 dragoon unit.

I bought some of these 1672 minis, painted, a few years back, and chum Steve Spence painted a bunch more. Shaun McT is painting even more for me, and the foot versions, too. Ian kindly flocked the bases, I tufted and matt varnished. It's a big, deep unit- I found it challenging to photograph.

I really hate dragoons as one has to paint them mounted, dismounted and the standing horses as well- three times the work!

In other news, I'm planning to run a big Roundway Down game at Partizan near Newark-on-Trent on May 22nd. I'm scouting around for players- I need three or four players each for the AM and PM sessions (around 90 mins each), so if you are going and interested, please drop me an email (above left) and I will book you in.  I am also desperately keen to find someone local to help me set up the day before - 4pm-ish for around an hour or 90 mins - I need help setting up a huge hill. If you are relatively local and free please mail me, there might even be beer or a curry in it, after. :-)

Monday, 17 January 2022

Adrian von Bubenberg

Adrian von Bubenberg was a Bernese knight, general and politician. He is chiefly famous from the battle of Murten, where his valiant defence of the town bought time for the Swiss army to assemble. This then went on to crush the Burgundians. Von Bubenberg sallied forth to join the ensuing massacre.

The models were beautifully painted by chum Andrés Amián Fernández, and are respectively Perry, Wargames Foundry and Grenadier miniatures. The flag is from Iain at Flags of War. Von Bubenberg probably didn't have a beard, but I love that model! You can't see it clearly in the photo, but he has blingy gold-plated armour.

He'll be one of the commanders for my Swiss army, which has been in storage for around a year but which I hope to get back onto, shortly, when I return from my holiday in 1672.

Today I'm working on the latest version of the TtS! Ancient Army List eBook, which I will publish on or about 31/1/22 (I'll send everyone who has bought it an updated version). I hope to include four new lists and a fair amount of extra background material on several of the existing lists.

Thursday, 13 January 2022

Pontius Pilate's Bodyguard

Here's the third finished unit for my 1672 armies and the first French unit, Régiment de Douglas (also known as Hepburn's and Dumbarton's regiment at different times). Founded in 1633, the regiment later became the Royal Scots, the oldest regiment in the British Army, nicknamed "Pontius Pilate's Bodyguard."

I might later do an alternative command stand with British flags- I also intend to do the same unit in Front Rank minis for Sedgemoor. All of the minis but two were beautifully painted by Richard O'Connor. The lovely French colours are Flags of War. I assembled everything, basing on my FK&P06's, Ian Notter flocked and then I tufted. I've recently taken to matt varnishing the flock, it gives a pleasing finish.

In other news... I'm currently working on the end of January update of the Ancient Army lists. I just received a restock of the Deep-Cut mats and terrain strips, and currently have all the bases, in fact happily I have pretty much everything in the BigRedBatShop in stock.

Saturday, 1 January 2022

A Happy New Year to All!

Here in the BigRedBatCave we've had a busy Christmas and I've only managed a little modelling. However in the days before Christmas I finally managed to paint the walls and floor of my cellar storage space, which I hope you'll agree is looking pretty tidy. I only have around 5' 9" of headspace, but it will enable me to store a lot of minis, once I've fitted racking and sorted out the humidity.

Below is the "before".

My resolutions for 2022 - 

  • Finish and publish Renaissance
  • Finish and publish the playtest game, Ceresole 1544 and a secret associated project
  • Finish the Swiss army that has been in hibernation for a year.
  • Put on some banging games at shows
  • Catch up with everyone who I've missed in the last year or so!
I hope everyone is safe and well. I feel very optimistic about 2022. I feel the prospects for life and gaming are likely to be much better, for us, this year- let's hope than none of our cards are Aces!